Love lessons from mermaids, hookers and Gérard Depardieu.
Ladies, it’s time to open the X-files. Shudder!
Passionate feelings such as love and hate are inextricably linked; for this reason, I do not believe men and women can truly be friends post-breakup. At least, not until many, many years have passed.
In addition, if you’ve loved someone with all your heart, and they’ve exited from your life – note the emphasis on ex – why would you invite them back in? Especially if you’re trying to move on and date someone new?!
And sure, there are exceptions to the rule: if you’ve got children together, then that’s clearly a major game changer and, whether you like it or not, you’re bound to each other for life and must stay civil for the sake of your children.
Case in point: actor Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin who stunned the world when they “consciously uncoupled” in March 2014. The pair, who has two kids together, split after an 11-year marriage. And, in an emotional and somewhat bizarre statement, they asked for privacy at the time to “consciously uncouple and co-parent”, while Gwynnie’s Goop website talked of holistic “wholeness in separation”.
While the tabloids labelled the couple’s statement as “new-age tosh”, it’s surely an admirable sentiment to be as loving as you can towards the mother or father of your children. But, outside of celebrity La La land, with all its privileges, this can be significantly tougher in real life.
And if you’ve ever had the misfortune of dating someone who’s not over their ex – I don’t envy Jennifer Lawrence one bit, as she’s allegedly dating Martin – it can feel like there’s three of you in a relationship and things can get way too crowded.
We all have baggage, but is it ever OK to be friends with an ex? And how does this affect your current relationship?
SHESAID went in search of answers, consulting a top clinical psychologist who specialises in relationships for insight into this complex issue.
Q: Is it ever OK to be friends with an ex?
A: Whether or not you are friends with an ex will depend very much on the circumstances that lead to your break-up. If it was a mutual decision to part and the separation was amicable, then you might choose to remain on good terms and take an interest in the well-being of each other as time goes by. However, if the relationship was toxic and the separation hostile, being friends with your ex is the last thing you’ll want.
Q: How do you cope when your partner is still close to their ex?
A: It can be very difficult for a partner whose loved one remains on good terms with an ex. We all suffer, to varying degrees, from insecurity, and the more insecure you feel, the more difficult it will be to accept that your partner wants to keep in touch with and even spend time with an ex. It begs the question – why? Of course, if there are children involved there is a reason to stay in contact with an ex – for the well-being of the children. In this situation, a certain amount of contact is inevitable and the best approach is to accept the situation gracefully and make interactions with your partner’s ex as stress-free as possible. But if there is no good reason for your partner to stay in touch with his/her ex, and if it really bothers you, your partner should respect your feelings and cut contact.
Q: What if your partner lies about catching up with an ex?
A: If your partner lies about catching up with an ex you’ve got a problem. You’ll be asking yourself why he/she felt the need to lie. Approach the situation in as mature, calm and non-confrontational manner as you can; after all, shouting and abusing him/her won’t help. But if your partner is being dishonest about catching up with an ex, and doesn’t have a very good reason for the deceit, it’s probably time to make some hard decisions about ending the relationship.
Q: Does having an ex always threaten a current relationship?
A: Not necessarily, it’s more about how the other partner feels and whether the person having contact with the ex is prepared to take their partner’s feelings into consideration. If he/she ignores your wishes and feelings and maintains the contact when it makes you feel very uncomfortable or miserable, then the problem is more about the lack of consideration being shown for your feelings and wishes. That might be enough to threaten the relationship.
Q: Should a man or woman urge their current partner to also be friends with an ex to lessen the threat?
A: They could try if staying in contact with the ex means so much to them. This would be helpful it there are visits from children involved. Trying to be friends with your partner’s ex would probably work better if the ex has a partner – that would help to alleviate feelings of jealousy and insecurity and fears that your partner is still attracted to his/her ex. Bring these feelings into the open and discuss them with your loved one – again, if your relationship is good, he/she should be considerate of your feelings and cut or reduce contact with their ex.
What do you think? Can you be friends with your ex?
Main image via www.tmz.com; secondary image via perezhilton.com; third image via www.quora.com and final image via eclectikramblings.wordpress.com.
Do you love a good shopping spree, but dispose of the evidence faster than you can say “CSI”?
“This old thing?” you laugh off to your beloved husband when he compliments you on your brand new summer maxi dress. “I’ve had it for ages!” Erm, guilty as charged! Or, did you have a recent windfall and you’re hiding this in a secret savings bank account from your significant other?
Conflict over money is a major cause of marital discord, psychologists say. In fact, study after study of married couples’ relationship habits shows serious financial secrets can in fact lead you on a rocky path to divorce.
So, what’s the key to happy and harmonious monetary matters with your spouse?
Speaking from personal experience, it’s certainly tricky going from being an independent bachelorette with your own bank account, to sharing a joint bank account with a partner, where your every expenditure is open to scrutiny.
Should couples keep their own independent bank accounts, rather than a joint one? Is that a less stressful option for both parties? There’s no easy answer to this – you have to work out what’s best for you and your partner, relationship psychologists say.
And while I personally still struggle to curb my shopaholic tendencies in my marriage, I’ve certainly learnt to be more mindful of my spending thanks to my husband’s more thrifty ways (luckily for our bank accounts). So, why is it so important for couples to be honest with each other about their personal finances?
“All good relationships are based on trust. If someone is dishonest with their partner about their spending it’s highly likely they will be found out and it will be very difficult to regain the trust, putting the relationship at risk,” says my go-to clinical psychologist source.
“The most likely reason a person may have a desire to hide their spending from their partner is due to something they’re ashamed of, or which their partner would disapprove of, such as gambling, an affair, or spending up big on a personal project that doesn’t benefit the partner.”
And if you’re wondering why monetary conflict is such a “red, hot button” in your marriage, it’s because we as a society closely connect our financial situation to our sense of emotional security.
“Everyone likes to feel that there will be enough money available to them for essentials and emergencies,” says the relationships psych. “So, because of the emotional component involved, arguments are bound to arise if partners have different priorities in how to spend their available funds.
“It’s also likely that strong emotions such as fear, anger and anxiety will continually crop up if it seems there won’t be enough money for what each person perceives as important.”
So, should I stop hiding my new clothing price tags in an effort to be more honest and open about my summer maxi dress obsession with my husband? Shhh, don’t ask, don’t tell…
Images via www.pixabay.com.
What do you think?
Even if you’re in a happy relationship, you’ve probably wondered, what exactly is the perfect relationship? Who is the happiest couple out there? We’re not sure this couple actually exists, but researchers from around the world think they’ve found the secret to the perfect relationship. Read on for their relationship advice for your own happily ever after.
You don’t fight (anymore)
Couples who have “angry but honest” conversations early in their relationship were happier in the long run.
You don’t text each other
Couples who spend more time texting than having face-to-face conversation are less happy in their relationship.
You both do you fair share at home
Those who share household tasks like cooking and cleaning and clearly outline each person’s responsibilities are more likely to feel satisfied in their relationship, according to a UCLA study.
You’re very similar
Couples who share similar interests and traits are happier. “If your partner is helping you become a better person, you become happier and more satisfied in the relationship,” one researcher told the New York Times.
You both laugh at the same jokes
Researchers have found that a similar sense of humour is beneficial to long-term relationships. In one study of couples married for at least 45 years, sense of humour was among the top three reasons given for a couple’s success.
You’re genuinely happy for each other
Couples who celebrated their partner’s achievements as if they were their own experienced greater satisfaction than those who reacted with indifference or apathy.
You spend money the same way
One survey found that couples who spend money the same – whether they splurge or save – are the happiest.
You have lots of sex
Increasing sex from once a month to once a week results in a happier relationship, according to this paper.
So, sound like anyone you know? There’s probably no such thing as the perfect relationship, although there are some handy reminders about what make a relationship stronger.
What do you think makes a strong relationship?
Ask Kathy B!
Relationship guru Kathy B is on a mission to solve all your relationship dilemmas!
Question: “I’ve been seeing this guy for a couple of weeks and it’s all going well. Great sex, we have fun and no commitment. At this point, I would usually move into relationship mode but the reality is, this time I don’t want a full-blown relationship. I want more than just a bonk buddy, but also the freedom to see other people. Does that kind of relationship even exist? If so, what do I tell him?”
Kathy B: First of all you need to work out why you aren?t interested when you?d normally be keen to move into blissful monogamy. Is there something different about him or you? If you know you?d never settle down with him then gently let him know, before he gets too serious. If you want him to be more than just a ?booty call? then things tend to get sticky if you also want the freedom to date (and presumably sleep with) other guys. This kind of relationship can exist but only if both partners are fully aware of the rules and you each have a ?get-out as soon as I spot someone I could truly love? clause in your casual relationship. You also need to set the rules now i.e.: make sure its clear that you?ll always use protection and that you both must also do so with any other partners. If you can take seeing him with another girl and not fly into a fit of jealousy and he can do the same with you, then you are really just friends who sleep together. Don?t see it as anything more now or in the future or you will get hurt. If you?re both protecting yourselves physically and emotionally, that?s fine as long as you aren?t using it as an excuse to hide away from a real relationship. As far as what to say to him, say that you love spending time together but that you also want the freedom to go out with and sleep with, other guys. You?ll very quickly get the picture about whether he?s happy with the situation or not.
Question: “My friend goes on and on about problems with her relationship and asks what she should do, says I’m right but never follows through. As a friend, I want to be there for her but how do I tell her that she seems to be shooting herself in the foot by continuing in the relationship?”
Kathy B: Everyone has had an energy-draining friend who rants for hours about her problems but never does anything about it. Meanwhile you?re stuck feeling like a very bored, broken record and probably like you are about to explode after every supportive session. If her partner is emotionally or physically abusing her then you must step in and help give her the courage to break away, quickly. If however, she?s enjoying selfishly going on and on about the same problems (while she never listens to yours!) then do something to save your sanity. The next time she launches into a complaining session say, ?I really care about you and want to help but we?ve gone over this issue dozens of times. You know what I think you should do and I can?t offer any more advice. Perhaps its time you thought about speaking to a counselor about these relationship issues.? She?ll either get the message or will speak to a professional, if she needs to. She may be just being selfish or she may have bigger problems than she?s willing to admit to you. Another option is to say to her that you don?t want to speak about that particular issues until she?s done something positive to resolve it or bring in ?complaining hour? ? one hour a week when you can both complain about relationship issues. It is better than listening to it all week long, right?
Question: “My older brother has the bedroom next to mine. On a few occasions I’ve been woken to the sounds of him having sex with his girlfriend. Do I mention it, or just let it be to avoid any potential embarrassment for all parties?”
Kathy B: Eeek! Poor you sweetie. Remember that if you hear his amorous encounters then your parents most likely have to and they?re probably not happy either! If it bothers you then definitely say something. Perhaps you could give him a ?CD for Lovers? gift for his next birthday and say jokingly, ?Use this next time you?re in the mood so I can finally get some sleep!? Unless they?re reenacting a porno version of Tarzan and Jane in the jungle, it should muffle out most of the sounds (and its better to listen to Marvin Gaye singing, ?Lets Get it On? than your brother yelling out ?Yeah baby!?) If you?re close then just be straight up with him. Say, ?I love you but I don?t love hearing you bonking big bro. How about going to your girlfriends place every now and then, going on a camping holiday and when you are here throwing on some music to muffle out your sex sounds out before you scar my innocent mind forever!??
Kathy Buchanan is the author of Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette and Quit for Chicks. Charm School offers fun but helpful advice on why manners are sexy and how to use them to create the life you?ve always dreamed of. It deals with difficult love, social and work situations like how to ace an interview, help a friend through a difficult break-up, handle cheating flat mates, keep your hairdresser faithful and how to not fall in love with gorgeous gay men. Charm School: The Modern Girl’s Complete Handbook of Etiquette Penguin. RRP $24.95 but only $22.46 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop
Quit for Chicks is a how to quit smoking support guide for women, with a foreword from supermodel Sarah O?Hare, Penguin, RRP $9.95 but only $8.96 if you buy from the SheSaid Bookshop
If you want Kathy B to answer your relationship dilemmas, email email@example.com with your question.
* “Always love each other”
* “Be best friends”and so on and so forth. As wonderful as those seem, they seem to me to be very idealistic and somewhat na?ve.
I have one I’d like to table.
“Make life easy for each other”.
You know, “that lovin’ feeling” ebbs and flows during a relationship or marriage.
We all experience highs and lows, where sometimes we feel desperately in love with our partner and can’t bear for him/her to even leave to go to work for the day. Other times, we barely notice them walking in the door at the end of the day. It’s natural, we can’t always expect to be in a constant state of high romance and affection. But one of the constants we can depend on is the art of making life easy for each other.
You don’t have to be in the middle of a melting embrace to know that there are things you can do to help your partner’s day run more smoothly. Or in fact, his/her life to run more smoothly.
Imagine the peace you feel when you know that you can depend on your partner to unconditionally support you when you make a mistake. In return, you feel more than happy to make sure you deserve that support so it pays dividends to both of you.
Making life easy for each other isn’t just about doing odd jobs around the house, or sharing the housework, or doing the gardening together. It’s about making the effort to understand each other, standing united against common challenges, letting go of arguments that really, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter. It’s to do with compromise and fairness. It’s so simple, really. Think in terms of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
By making life easy for your partner, how can he/she not do the same for you, thereby creating a harmonious, comfortable existence. And don’t we all want an easy life?
By Gina Luca
* Gina is a freelance writer whose passion for talking to people on the Internet provides much inspiration for her writing.
- Go for a romantic walk at night after dinner.
- Surprise your partner and call him out of the blue at work or home, just to say that you love him.
- Set the mood once a week with a special home-cooked meal, candles and their favourite CD playing.
- Make a point to compliment each other. Make this a habit. It is actually a very good one to get hooked on.
Go on an active weekend. Climb a mountain or visit the local markets.
- Learn a foreign language together.
- Have golf lessons or do some sporting activity together.
- Grab your favourite take-away, your fave video and stay inside for the night.
- Pick some flowers and put them in a vase next to your bed. This will make you both feel special.
- Give each other regular cuddles.