I was with him when he took his last breath. I felt as though it was mine. One second he was there and the next he was gone. We had said all there was to say between two people in love. Sharing the good times and the sad times, we relived our entire married life within a few days. Then he was gone.
One of the most common questions we hear is, "How do we make our relationship work?" The answers are complicated, varied, and, after a while, can start to sound like muddled platitudes. But these commonplace sayings get repeated because they work. With this in mind, we pulled together 12 cliches that, in fact, reveal simple, tried-and-true advice for having a healthy, happy relationship.
What do you say to your significant other when they lose (or know they could lose) a close friend or relative? And how do you help them regain their footing after the loss? Everyone experiences grief differently, but here are a few things to remember.
I am a woman. I have all the biological requirements to have a child. Yet, I do not have the instincts or rational desire to do so. Does that make me less of a woman to not want to have a child either by using my body, my eggs, or my money to adopt?
I knew my mother was pretty far along on the narcissism spectrum, but I wasn't sure that I'd been all that damaged as a result. Until, that is, I reached page 118 of "Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. There it was, all laid out in front of me: the exact retelling of how my last relationship devolved and fell apart. According to McBride, when times get tough, the daughter of a narcissistic mother may get codependent and "end up stifling [her boyfriend or husband] with her overwhelming demands, jealousy, and insecurities. She will want him to be with her at all times and expect him to meet all her needs, particularly her emotional needs…[When he can't] she will feel the same disappointment and emptiness she did as a child and blame her spouse." As I continued to read, humbled, I thought: the good news is that I can get better; the bad news is that I'm not the only one who comes from a narcissistic parent and heads ill-equipped into love and dating.
Parents love me. They've always loved me. On paper, I make a good impression. But peel back a few layers and that's where good dirt about me and my family is hiding: my struggles with depression.
What would you do if you found out that the mom you shared carpool duties with was a dominatrix at night? Or what if that cute couple next door wasn't really a couple—but a threesome or a foursome? How would you react? Well, you better get used to it, because all across America, in sleepy suburbs just like yours, moms are hiding secrets. Meet Robyn. She's a 44-year-old mom of three and a polyamorist who's currently involved in loving, intimate relationships with three men. And she's open to more, time permitting.
Religion has never played a large part in my life. I grew up celebrating "Christian" holidays like Easter and Christmas, but in America, these days are so mainstreamed and commercialized, they almost seem secular. I've never minded not having a religion, and I like the fact that because I'm a blank religious slate, I can approach new religions without prior assumption. I've learned Hindu traditions while in India, marveled at the Muslim mosques while in Indonesia, caroled in a Carmelite monastery, and recently visited a Zen Buddhist center for meditation.
When you have a lot invested in a partnership it's sometimes easier to blame the person who's smashing your rose-tinted glasses than the one who's breaking your heart.
Buzzfeed posted a great list from Tiny Cartridge of "Boyfriend Criteria," including the usual "smart," "cute," "funny," and the more unusual like "did not pick Charmander as first Pokémon." There's also a list of pluses ("glasses," "good shoes," "good tattoo") and minuses ("annoying," "too tight pants," "think you're sooo smart"). Since I'm getting married in three days (!!!), the list got me thinking about my "husband criteria" and how well my fiancé fits my list. After the jump, see how he does.
Thinking vs feeling. What's your approach to relationships? "As the couple was about to enter the party, Mary stopped, turned to her fiancé and asked, "Do you think what I’m wearing is okay?" Dave gave her an appraising look and said, "You look great. But you probably could have worn different shoes." (Insert collective gasp here.) Mary took a moment to recover from her disbelief and then said, "Are you having a 'T' moment?" Dave thought about it then nodded his head and said, "Yes, I'm sorry. You look wonderful." So, what’s a "T" moment? What are these magic words that can stop a bad conversation dead in its tracks?"
Are you a bad feminist if you ask someone—say, someone like me—why she stayed with the guy who beat the crap out of her, nearly murdered her, and raped her on a regular basis?
How I became a divorced virgin: "I was twenty-nine, single again after a five-year marriage, and a virgin. When I met my now ex-husband Mike, I had just turned 21. We met at small Catholic liberal arts college, and even though I no longer believed in Jesus, the Saints, the Bible, God, really any of that. I was a virgin then, and I was a virgin when we divorced."
Well, we all have one: One friend who we think is in a terrible relationship. Her husband or boyfriend is a complete jerk and treats her terribly. He makes jokes at her expense, calls her names—he even argues with her in front of friends. It's hard for you to understand what it is she sees in him, but it's even harder for you to witness it without wanting to say something to her. What's worse is that you do love your friend, but you feel like you have to avoid social situations—being around the two of them is uncomfortable for everyone (not to mention, you and your husband have your own issues—why do you want witness them arguing?!)
More often than not clients wanting to improve their relationship skills at some point had to realize the importance of personal and interpersonal forgiveness to their well-being and overall happiness. The truth is that all of us have transgressed or acted in a way that brought about a negative impact on our self or someone else. So from this perspective, none of us is without the need for forgiveness, and each of us will encounter the opportunity to grant forgiveness. With that in mind, here are some important benefits associated with practicing forgiveness.