How to Have a Terrible Breakup

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Every relationship you get into in life appears to be unique. Even if you have a certain type of person you always seem to date, one boyfriend or girlfriend is rarely exactly the same as the other. The same can be said for the breakup. At the close of one particular romantic relationship during my undergrad, I was shocked to find myself devastated not by the breakup that had just happened, but instead by a relationship that had ended 6 months before. The older relationship seemed significant enough for me to mourn twice, while the newer one I shrugged off with ease. This left me with a lot of questions, the most important two being: Has this happened to anyone else? and Am I simply a terrible person?

It turns out, there are different ways to manage (and perceive) a breakup. Some lead to devastating mourning periods mixed with pain that lasts for years, while others make the pain a little easier to take.

How to Have a Terrible Breakup.

“I am unloveable”

There are usually a few reasons behind a ... Read more »

Are You Blinded By Love?

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Love is Blind

We have all heard the saying “Love is Blind,” and chances are we have seen couples that seem to prove it.  Why else would a really tall person marry a really short person?  Because most of us don’t believe differences like height are dangerous to relationships, we often find love-blindness humorous and perhaps a little strange.  


But when we see a couple who seems to be blind to serious faults in their partner, we begin to worry.  And maybe we begin to worry if we are being blind to something serious in our own relationships.  We may even begin to question the wisdom of being in love if it only makes us blind.


Fortunately, love may not be as blind as we might think and having blinders on might not always be a bad thing.  In a recent review of research, Garth Fletcher and Patrick Kerr of the University of Canterbury discovered the truth about love and what it does to our perceptions of our romantic partner.


The Two Errors

When it comes to judging the characteristics of a partner, there ... Read more »

Why Your Partner Should Be Your Role Model

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Role Model

Do you look to your partner as a role model?  Over my 13 years of marriage I have consistently found myself thinking about ways that my wife is a better person than I am.  This has motivated me to become a better person, not only as a spouse, but in general.  But does this type of thinking actually help most relationships?


Absolutely, and here’s why.


The scientific word we use for the phenomenon of looking up to our romantic partner as a role model is called idealistic distortion.  That sounds negative but it highlights that many of us have an overly positive view of our romantic partner that is slightly distorted from reality.  But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad.  In fact, research has found that this type of thinking can have both positive and negative effects on relationships.  Here’s how to make sure it has a positive impact on your own relationship:

1. Let It Motivate You

It’s one thing to look up to your partner but what really helps relationships is when such thinking motivates us to be better.  This is ... Read more »

The 10 Seconds That Might Save Your Relationship

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10 Seconds

Ten seconds.  It’s the amount of time it takes to climb in or out of your car on the way to work or the store.  It’s the amount of time you spend every day putting on your socks or deciding on your breakfast cereal.  Ten seconds is nothing.  Yet, 10 seconds might be all that stands between you and a long-term and happy relationship.  Impossible you say?  Not if you understand the power of perception and the nature of human emotion.


Our perceptions about the world around us are what determine everything we do.  You see a preview of a new TV show and you immediately determine within 30 seconds if you think it’s interesting.  If you decide it’s not, you’ll likely roll your eyes every time someone makes a positive remark about it.  What do they know? After all, it was so clear to you that the show was a waste of time.  Our relationships aren’t much different.  Every single interaction with our partners, from the first time we meet, to the hundredth time your partner tells you the ... Read more »

The Trouble With Knights in Shining Armor…

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Benevolent sexism might sound like a fancy academic word but it can have profound consequences in relationships.  The idea of benevolent sexism is essentially that while trying to appear overly kind or generous, someone actually views the other person as incapable or incompetent because of their gender.

**Disclaimer** We’re going to explain this concept in terms of men being sexist towards women because the examples are easier to understand, but it definitely happens the other way around too–women can be benevolently sexist towards men as well. 


One professor shared a great example of this when she told a story one day about an old relationship.  Many years ago when she was still dating, she was getting pretty serious with a guy she liked.  For Valentine’s Day they went out to a nice restaurant, but it was pouring rain.  When they pulled into their parking spot, she threw her door open, booked it to the restaurant, opened the door, and walked inside to the dry warmth of the indoors.  All through dinner, he seemed perturbed and she didn’t understand why.  After a little ... Read more »

10 Ways Your Thinking is Twisted…

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Cognitive Distortions

We all have those moments in relationships where we wonder if we’re crazy or if it’s our partner, right?  One common problem in many relationships is our thinking and expectations of our partners can become distorted or problematic.  Sometimes the way we think about ourselves interferes with our ability to even find a good relationship partner.  Below are 10 common ways our thinking in relationships can become “twisted” and hold us back from happy and fulfilling relationships.

1. All-or-Nothing Thinking

You see everything as black or white.  There are no shades of gray with this type of thinking.  This lead to fault finding with our partners or unnecessary guilt about ourselves.  When we think in all-or-nothing terms we often make mistakes and  automatically think, “Because I messed up, I am a total failure.”

2. Overgeneralization

You assume that because something bad happened once, it’s bound to happen again and again.  For example, if you get rejected for a date, you assume that every time you ask someone on a date from here on out, they’ll say no just because it happened ... Read more »