The 3 Worst Couples You’ll Ever Meet

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When I was 4 years old someone told me I had to get married someday. I cried for hours on my mother’s lap while she tried to comfort me by saying I never had to get married if I didn’t want to. This fear of marriage stayed with me for most of my life, and I justified it by pointing out all the terrible couples I saw around me. Why on earth would I get married just to end up like them? I eventually realized that many couples have perfectly happy and healthy marriages.  I also realized that many of these “terrible” couples were simply like most of us, experiencing the ups and downs of a normal relationship.  

Who are these couples and is everything about them really that terrible? Let me summarize some of the more common types of marriages we see.  You’ll likely see yourself and your relationship in some of these descriptions.    

Overly Reactive Who?

This couple is like the high school sweethearts who dominated the halls with their screaming matches or passionate kissing; everything is at 100% ... Read more »

5 Ways Your Partner Could Leave You Powerless

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It seems that it is infinitely easier to give out advice than to take it. It also can seem almost impossible to see red flags in your life while the ones in your BFF’s relationships stand out to you like neon signs in Vegas.

This is one of the reasons that people can find themselves in a controlling relationship with no idea how they got there. Chances are the relationship began happily with romance and passion, but gradually became more worrisome until you can’t avoid admitting it. So what ARE the warning signs? What bad behaviors in a relationship mean that you should jump ship? Or should you always hold on and work through issues?

Isolation from friends and family.

Every new couple may find themselves lost in each other’s eyes at some point, and many go through periods where they only ever want to be with each other. The sense of satisfaction to just be with one person isn’t a bad thing. However, if a partner actively tries to stop the other from having any sort of social life ... Read more »

Why Ya Gotta Be So Rude?

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There’s a popular song you might know called “Rude.”  The song is sung by a young man who wants to marry his girlfriend who asks her father for permission.  When he’s denied, however, he calls the father rude and says he’s going to marry the daughter anyway.  In the song, the couple is going to get married with or without the approval of her father.  But is elopement really the best solution for them?


A recent study by H. Colleen Sinclair at Mississippi State University provides an answer for the couple in the song.


Should she disregard her father?  

Based on Sinclair’s research, probably not.  She found that the more our friends and family approve of our relationships the more likely we are to experience love, commitment, and trust in them.  So, disregarding the father’s lack of approval and eloping might lead to a rocky relationship.   


Should they immediately break up the relationship?

Just because the girl listens to her father doesn’t mean she needs to immediately end the relationship with the man she loves.   Sinclair suggests that when friends and family ... Read more »

2 Surprising Ways You Might Be Relationally Aggressive–And What To Do About It

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relational aggression

We often hear about physical aggression in relationships and know that it is absolutely not acceptable.  It’s easy to recognize.  When we see someone physically hurting another (or an object) out of a desire to control behavior, we’re witnessing physical aggression. But what about the less obvious relational aggression, or using relationships to control others?  How do you know when you’re seeing relational aggression and what do you do about it?  A recent study by Jason Carroll, David Nelson, and a team of scholars from Brigham Young University helped explain how to identify and avoid relational aggression in our relationships.


Relational Aggression

The study found two common forms of relational aggression couples use to control each other, most often in the midst of conflict.  

1. Love Withdrawal:  Any act which seeks to control or hurt your partner through the use of limiting affection and expressions of love.  The “silent treatment” and  withholding sex or other physical contact are common love withdrawal tactics.


Why we do it

Those who use love withdrawal often seek to control the behavior of their partner by using expressions of ... Read more »

The Surprising Truth About Rebounds

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“I just got out of a relationship, so I’m not really looking for anything serious right now.”


Does that line sound familiar?  It should.  We hear it, or something like it, on the big screen all the time.  We’ve probably heard it in real life too, either because we asked someone on a date or said it ourselves when someone asked us.  Why do we do this?  Why are we so quick to turn down new relationship opportunities?  Whatever your reasons, chances are you’re also partially trying to avoid one of those “rebound” relationships that always turn out so bad–or so you’ve been told.


But what’s the truth about rebounds?  Are they really so bad?  Up until now, scholarly research has paid little attention to rebounding, so our perceptions are fueled primarily by social beliefs.  However, in a recent study, Claudia Brumbaugh of Queen’s College in New York and Chris Fraley from the University of Illinois found some reasons to consider getting yourself back out into the dating world sooner than you’d think.


It is better to be in love ... Read more »

Did You Convince Yourself You Were in Love?

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Have you ever wondered if you convinced yourself that you were in love when you got married?  Or convinced yourself that your relationship was better than it really was?  If you have, you might’ve experienced some anxiety about whether you chose the right person to spend the rest of your life with or not.  A recent study reassured us that we shouldn’t worry too much about it if we’re already married because the way we remember things is probably not even close to reality.


In the study, for 8 months about 300 individuals in relationships came in each month to mark their emotional progress with their partner on how ready they felt to get married to them.  At the end of the 8 months, they each told their relationship history from beginning to end (current) to the researchers.  After extensive analysis, the researchers found that there were 3 types of relationships and people who were in each one told their relationship story very differently.


Types of couples:

1. People who stayed the same on how ready they were to get married to their partner.

These people ... Read more »

Are You Cheating?

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Cheating Relationship

As a society, most of us agree on one thing–cheating on your partner is not okay.  However, we sometimes differ on what we define as cheating.  Does just thinking about someone else intimately count, or do you actually have to have sex with another person?  Every individual is a little different, but read on to discover some important things to consider before behaving in a way that might be considered infidelity.

Karen Wilson and a team of scholars around the United States wanted to understand the different behaviors that people consider cheating.  What they found is that the actual behavior involved doesn’t always matter.  What matters most is how each partner perceives that behavior.  This team of researchers identified three distinct aspects of behaviors that might be considered “cheating”.


Intimacy Intentions

Sometimes our actions are completely innocent, when under different circumstances these same actions would be considered unfaithful to our partners.  Whether or not these actions count as cheating depends on our intentions of intimacy.   Intimacy is a desire to be close, friendly, or emotionally connected to another person. Our intentions of ... Read more »

6 Red Flags To Watch For When You Date

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Dating, Break up

Dating can be a frustrating experience, especially once you’ve decided it’s time to start shopping for that one and only (or you’re at least open to the idea). You might spend months or even years nurturing a relationship with someone you’ve already picked out baby names with only to have everything come to a screeching halt and feel like you’ve wasted the last months or years of your life. And suddenly you’re back to square one, trying to find another potential Mr. or Mrs. Perfect. Luckily, relationship research can give you some insight into what things you can look out for that might save you time, energy and emotional baggage down the line. Here are some things to look for when you’re dating and trying to find “the one”.


Red Flags (a.k.a. things that you should be aware of but aren’t worth ending a relationship over) Family issues: Dating partners that have a history of family turmoil (such as divorce, high conflict, etc.) are more likely to have similar issues in their own relationships. No, this does not mean you should never date ... Read more »