Relationships and How to Safely Let Your Guard Down

It can be scary to let your guard down. We’ve all been there. We’ve been hurt. We all have a past. Some of which may be scary, dark, and full of grey skies. However, it’s important to remember that it’s in the past

You’ve been blessed with this new relationship. A relationship so great, and with someone so wonderful, that it pushed those grey-skies aside, covered you with warm sunshine, and allowed you the space to take a deep breath. Due to past fears and triggers, it feels nearly impossible to let your guard down, but in order to keep the sunshine and fresh air flowing, you’ve got to start the process…

Trust isn’t built overnight, and neither are healthy relationships. They take hard work, dedication, and a great deal of respect and honesty. Nonetheless, regardless of the scary what-if’s, the sooner you begin to move forward, the better.

NOTE: It’s crucial to keep in mind that this is NOT your last relationship. If you had any doubts, you would have probably run for the hills by now. Clearly, there is a reason you’ve stuck it out this long. Trust yourself—know that you are choosing wisely. Continue to utilize those awful, hurtful lessons learned to keep your heart safe; those lessons help you make better choices. Put your fears aside, let your guard down, and take a risk—it’s possible that you may find exactly what you’ve been looking for…

Here are some simple steps to help you let your guard down:

Trust

This can literally be one of the hardest things to accomplish. Trust is earned, and it takes time, but when you have it…you’ve got gold. Try to trust your new partner. When I say trust, I don’t just mean knowing that she won’t lie to you. I mean giving him the kind of trust that will allow him to see the real you—the kind of trust where you let him in.

Stay positive

Keep things light and happy—try not to go to your dark place. Consider the positive things, and focus on the good. Allow yourself, and your new beau, the opportunity to have fun and enjoy the time you spend together.

The good stuff

Take notice of how great your partner is. Even if it takes you writing down or verbalizing five things you like about your babe every day, do it. This will help you build trust, and also focus on the positive. You’ll thank yourself later…

Family and friends

Introduce your partner to the important people in your life. Trust that she will behave appropriately, and expect her get along with your loved ones. If she fits you, she’ll fit them too…

Participation

Allow your partner to participate in your life—include him in the things you love to do, whether solo or in a group. Providing your partner with this opportunity will help you evaluate if you want him to be included in exciting parts of your life. It’ll also help you discover how well you two fit together.

Also, having fun is necessary in all successful relationships.

Honesty

Be honest with yourself, and with your partner. If you’re having triggers, or feel smothered, let her know. If you want to spend more time together, or feel that you’re unable to trust him, share your thoughts. Honesty is truly the best policy…

Communication

Along with honesty, remember to communicate as clearly as you can. Don’t sugar-coat things, and know that people don’t read minds. Ask questions—share concerns—express gratitude and joy—communicate. Being open, honest, and expressing yourself will deter arguments and will keep you focused on the fun stuff.

let your guard down | relationships | trust | communication | love

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Paula

Ultimatums and What They Mean for a Relationship

Ultimatums sometimes happen in relationships. With ultimatums, you can sometimes find yourself in a situation where you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. You’ll find yourself in a place where it needs to be his way or the highway. You’ll find yourself needing to choose between two awful options. As you might imagine, ultimatums typically aren’t healthy.

Several years ago, I found myself in a relationship that revolved around ultimatums. It was devastating, to say the least. Feeling as though I didn’t have a say in how my life was progressing, or how my day-to-day life would look like made me feel very out-of-control. It caused a great deal of resentment, anger, and frustration. After a while I began to fight back against the ultimatums—sometimes this also lead to me to use ultimatums to get what I needed. At the end of the day, nothing was accomplished, and it’s safe to say that we were both unhappy.

Clearly, ultimatums are not healthy, nor are they acceptable. Relationships should be based on compromise, where the opinions and needs of both parties are considered when making a joint decision. Ultimatums completely take the power away from one person, and can instill a great deal of fear, whether that fear entails losing your partner, not being included in something, or potentially being punished.

Healthy adult relationships should focus on positivity, support, love, and equality. Ultimatums do not fit the bill, and include control, punishment, and power.

Here’s the kind of damage a relationship with ultimatums can cause…

Inequality

Ultimatums lead to a loss of power. If one is forced to only choose between two options, of which both are much less than ideal, that person loses a great deal of power. This can lead to resentment, which is a silent killer in relationships. Relationships shouldn’t be about power in the first place, but this is a sure-fire way for one partner to ultimately keep the ball in their court…

Taking the highway

In ultimatums, it’s either one way or the highway. This is literally the worst. This should never happen in a relationship. I truly believe that where there’s a will, there’s a way…highways don’t have a place in love.

Threats

When love comes down to threats, that’s no longer love. Many will say that if A and B aren’t done, “it’s over.” Threatening the end of your relationship, or to walk away, or to never speak again, is not a productive way to get what you want, or to resolve an issue. Is what you’re asking for worth losing the person you love?

Lack of respect

Being forced into an ultimatum exhibits a severe lack of respect. When two people care about and love each other, respecting opinions, feelings, and thoughts also plays a significant role. When ultimatums are presented, one partner is clearly disregarding the needs of the other. The desires of both partners should be considered when making choices at all times.

Emotional damage

Remember those negative emotions mentioned earlier? Anger, resentment, depression, frustration, angst, etc.? Yup, those types of feelings in general, but especially over an extended period of time, can cause substantial emotional damage. Experiencing negative feelings can also destroy the ability to identify and create healthy boundaries, and can also impair one’s ability to establish trust. It will require a lot of work to reverse the emotional injuries sustained…

Being unhappy

It is nearly impossible to be happy in a relationship with ultimatums. I mean, what’s love all about anyway? Happiness. Life is short, so make it worthwhile. Think twice about your needs, and what you deserve. It may be time to move on…

The one positive…

The only time an ultimatum can be helpful is when you use it to get yourself out a rut. When in a situation where all you are given is ultimatums, use it to your benefit. Use it as a last resort. Use it as an opportunity to escape whatever obstacle you may be facing. Even if it’s a tactic to release yourself from a relationship full of ultimatums…use it.

Any relationship that results in ultimatums is not a healthy, safe relationship. Remember, you deserve more than second-hand choices that don’t fulfill your needs. You deserve more…

ultimatums | relationships | dating | love | unhealthy relationships | dysfunctional relationships

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Paula

Relationships and Why to Let Your Guard Down

Needing to let your guard down can be terrifying. After getting hurt you spend so much time fixing what was broken. You spend so much time trying to readjust to single life. You spend so much time keeping yourself safe from hurt and just trying to heal.

It’s much easier to keep your heart safe behind the walls that you’ve built so tall and wide. Why risk getting hurt, right? Well, not totally right.  Yes, learning to let your guard down is the last thing you want to do, especially after you’ve finally picked up all the pieces of your broken heart. Why would anyone want to purposely go through that kind of pain again?

Even though getting hurt sucks, big time, deciding to let your guard down is the only way to figure out if they’re the right person for you. Does he make you happy? Is she respectful of your boundaries? Does he provide you with the space you need? Is she understanding of what you’ve gone through? Is he patient enough to wait until you’re ready to move forward? These are important factors when considering letting someone in.

Ultimately, you have to decide if this person is worth potentially getting hurt again, and if dating this person is worth the time and the effort.

Here’s why you should consider letting your guard down…

Fear of the unknown

You’ll never know until you try. Fear can keep us from pursuing a lot of things, especially those that entail risk. This can potentially cause you to miss out on really great opportunities—life altering opportunities—so weigh the pros and cons, and make a decision to let your guard down.

Be yourself

In order to really get to know a person, it’s crucial that you are exactly who you are. With your guard up, you aren’t allowing the true you to interact with this person; there’s a constant façade. With this, you will build a foundation that is not completely honesty. Remember: honesty is the best policy, so be yourself.

Feelings

Along with being yourself, unless you let your guard down you won’t learn how to truly feel about this person. If you don’t let this person in, and if you aren’t able to get to know one another on a deeper level, you won’t be able to figure out if you’re a good match.

Hindering progression

If you’re unable to tear those walls down, you may be hindering your relationship from fully moving forward. Without being all in and giving a relationship an honest try, it may never progress.

Resentment

You may start to resent the relationship, or your partner, if things aren’t moving forward. Again, try to let your guard down.

Wasted time

If you take too long to give it your all, you may end up committing to something that isn’t right for you. The last thing you want is another broken heart and wasted time. Be mindful of this as you decide whether this relationship is truly worth letting your guard down…

Fairness

At the end of the day, you need to be fair to the other person involved. Yes, you want to protect yourself, but it’s also not cool to hurt someone else who was genuinely trying to make things work. Be considerate of the person on the other side, and either really get to know them, or kindly part ways.

Being ready

Being ready to date again is a vital component when putting yourself out there. If you’re not ready to be with someone new, make it known. It’s okay to take the time you need to heal. Mending a broken heart is not an easy task, and there’s no need to rush into a new relationship.

Love will find its way to you when the timing is right…

let your guard down | love | dating | relationships | broken heart

Not sure if it’s real love? Here’s how to know if it’s real love…

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Paula

7 Things to Consider Before Moving in with Your Partner

Doesn’t the thought of moving in with babe make you feel giddy?! Just knowing that you’ll get to wake up to your partner’s gorgeous face every single morning gives you happy feels so gooey that it’s kind of like a scoop of melting vanilla-bean ice cream on a just-out-of-the-oven molten chocolate cake. But is moving in simply about the happy feels? Or is there more to it?

There is a lot to consider when cohabitating, as it is a bigger step than most imagine. At the end of the day, it is two independent people joining forces to share a space. This gives me the feeling that things might get sticky if they’re not handled appropriately.

Yes, you love your partner. And yes, you two basically stay over all the time. But, you still have the ability to return to your own space when you need some alone time. Even though the idea of moving in is bright and beautiful, like a diamond-covered unicorn flying in sky, it doesn’t always lead to a happy ending.

Research has found that compared to Gen X, more Millennials are choosing to move in prior to tying the knot. So before you and your partner jump into cohabitating, like many other millennials, be sure to have a discussion about what living together will look like and how co-adulting will be handled.

Not sure what to talk about? Here are some ideas…

Finances

Money is just that, money. Loving someone is much more important than dolla dolla bills, but we all work very hard to make a living. Considering this, things need to be fair. Talk about who’s paying for what: Will you divvy up all bills? Will you split rent and each pay different utilities? Will one person cover groceries, and the other pick up the tab when dining out? Regardless of your plan, be sure to set some ground rules so that no one feels taken advantage of.

Discussing the “what ifs

Unfortunately, happily ever after isn’t guaranteed. What happens if you two decide to part ways? Will only one of you be on an existing lease? Will you both be on a brand new lease? If things don’t work out, who gets to keep the apartment? How will you split up furniture and belongings? Who keeps the dog? Does the other get visitation rights? A lot of couples invest quite a bit in creating a beautiful home for themselves but don’t consider who-gets-what if things go sour. Not to encourage negative thinking, but this should be discussed prior to potentially signing your life away…

Future goals

Moving in a huge step forward, so it’s important to know whether this is the last step, OR just a stepping stone to the next step. It’s important that you’re both on the same page about where you are in your relationship, as well as what you want in the future. Do you want to get married but your partner doesn’t? Does he want kids but you don’t? It’s important to consider these matters before taking such a big step.

Cleanliness

How do you like to keep your home? Sharing a space with someone can be very difficult if you’re on opposite ends of the spectrum. Many people have tidy living conditions, while others don’t. Are you a clean freak, but your partner’s a messy slob that never does the dishes and puts her dirty shoes on the bed? This can ultimately make or a break a relationship. Making sure that some ground rules are established for tasks such as cleaning, cooking, chores, etc. before the big move is crucial to surviving cohabitation.

Dividing responsibilities

Along with cleaning come many other housekeeping things that need to get done. The list literally feels endless, but who is going to do the laundry? And clean the bathroom? Who’s changing sheets? Who is walking the dog in the morning? Who picks up the mail? Again, talk about the things that need to get done in your home and equally divide tasks. Regardless of how you choose to share responsibility, you should each hold your own and contribute to the household.

Lifestyle

The way in which you and your partner live day-to-day can also determine whether cohabitating will work for you. Do you like to go to bed early, while your partner stays up until 3AM binge-watching GOT? Do you enjoy hosting, but your partner doesn’t like people in his space? Does your partner have friends over all the time, but you prefer less frequent guest visits?

Especially for those who live in small spaces (i.e. studio apartments), this can become a huge barrier to enjoying your living situation. With this, a great deal of negative feelings can arise, which can potentially lead to arguments. Be sure that you have some rules in place. Maybe your partner can use headphones while watching late-night TV, and you and your friends can go to the local bar for drinks. Whatever it is, come up with a solution before you share a space.

Communication

Most importantly, talk to each other.  You partner is not a mind reader, so tell him if something is bothering you. This is a two-way-street, so be sure to encourage your partner to also share any concerns with you. If you two aren’t able to talk things out and come up with a compromise, cohabitating may not be the best move for either of you.

Moving in is such a significant step in a relationship—be sure that you’re both ready to walk up to the ledge and leap…

moving in | cohabitation | love | relationships | dating | communication

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Paula

Relationships: How to Know if it’s Real Love

Relationships are particularly tricky, especially when trying to figure out whether it’s real love or not. When we are in a new relationship, it’s as if the world is now made of chocolate chip coated cotton candy clouds. Everything is pleasant, and peaceful, and your heart is so filled with joy that it’s left your body and made its way up to heaven without you.

This initial stage of love, also known as the honeymoon phase, is so much fun. But once your cotton candy bubble pops, your love can look significantly different. The question is, however, is it the love that’s different? Or is it you that’s feeling different?

Being in love can lead to a skewed perception of reality. Feeling all the love can cause one to ignore possible red flags, potentially turn a blind eye to dishonesty, and even accept behaviors that aren’t okay. Once you’re able to make your way back down to planet earth from those cotton candy clouds, you may, or may not, like what you’re seeing.

There can be a wide-array of barriers when it comes to actually understanding whether the relationship you’re in is right for you. Is it healthy? Is it making you happy? Are you at ease? Every single person has a unique set of needs when it comes to finding the right partner, as well as the right kind of love. There are many things to consider, so what do you need to look for to discover if it’s real love?

How to know if love is real… 

Self-love

When you find the right kind of love, it becomes a lot easier to discover just how much you love yourself. I truly believe that self-love is part of the foundation of any successful relationship. Alongside trust, communication, and respect, the way in which you love yourself is also how you will accept love. When you love yourself, you have the insight and ability to know whether or not you’re not being treated appropriately, and you can better understand if this love makes you feel good about life and yourself. When it’s real love, you’ll feel it in your bones…

Boundaries

Being able to set boundaries with your partner, and make him or her aware of your needs is crucial to the success of your relationship. Anyone can set boundaries, however, it’s whether or not your partner respects those boundaries. If your needs aren’t being met, it possible that you won’t continue to be cuddled up in your cotton candy clouds.

Things are easy

Yes, all couples have problems and conflict can sometimes arise. But if at the end of the day things flow pretty nicely, and being together is easy and fun, you’re definitely on the path to a healthy relationship.

Relationships are not meant to be hard, they’re meant to be fulfilling and joyful…

Lifestyle and compatibility 

Do you two like the same things, and want to live life the same way? Are you able to complete your partners sentences? Do you know exactly what your partner is thinking when he sees the dog with the rainbow mohawk walking down the street? That’s great. You’re compatible, you want the same things in life, and you understand one another. Being able to engage in fun activities together allows your love to blossom and build a strong bond.

Compromise

When you and your partner are able to make decisions based on both of your needs without becoming resentful, you’re solid. Engaging in a discussion about potential life altering changes, and figuring out how to make those changes, all while respecting one another, has a lot to do with love. If someone doesn’t love you, they wouldn’t be willing to switch things up and make improvements.

Guilt be gone 

Guilt is something you don’t want in a relationship. Being able to put yourself first, whether it be for your career, schooling, or for the sake of balance, without your partner making you feel guilty, is pretty spectacular. Knowing that you are free to do whatever you need without worrying that you’ll come home to an angry partner is truly a gift.

If your partner understands you and provides you the space that you need to care for yourself, that is a selfless act. It’s kind, and it conveys a great deal of love…

Acceptance

Accepting one another, as you are, and not wanting to change a thing is a very loving gesture. It is hard to enjoy every single thing about a person, but if you are capable of doing that with your partner, it’s real love.

Love is all around you. How you choose receive and extend love is up to you…

real love | relationships | love | lifestyle

~Photo by Christian Gertenbach on Unsplash~

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Paula

Dating Should Be About More Than Instant Gratification

Dating has significantly changed over the years. While our parents and grandparents were meeting in high school, or at the local ice cream shop, or seeing each other from across the room, millennials are now meeting on platforms such as Tinder. All love stories are beautiful, but that’s just it—are they still love stories? Or has dating turned into a single-serving experience? Simply a way to get what you need for right now? 

Because of the new rules of dating, the value of building a relationship with another person has radically decreased. This is problematic for many reasons, especially because millennials are learning to degrade people; to cheapen their worth. People are people, and they should all be valued and respected, whether they fulfill your needs or not.

Dating should be about joy, adventure, and the excitement of learning about a new person. Figuring out how this person complements you, and what makes them special. To discover what they like, and what things you two have in common. To be friends. To be lovers. To be all that you need.

Not all relationships work out and head in that direction, however, it’s important to have fun. Each person will teach you something new, and it will be worthwhile in the long run.

Dating should not be about instant gratification. It should not be about using someone for your own selfish needs. It should not be about ghosting, and ignoring, and being hurtful. Dating should be about honesty. It’s possible you may not be interested after a few dates, so be honest. Just be honest—if not for the other person, do it for yourself…

Why dating shouldn’t be about instant gratification:

Socializing

With the way in which millennials communicate today, primarily via text, emojis, and email, it’s possible to lose sight of how to best socialize. Whether meeting your soulmate, or going on a single date with someone, be social. Ask questions, get to know one another, and most importantly, put your phone down. Dating well is something you can learn, so enjoy yourself and take notes—this may benefit you in the future.

Building relationships

If the date doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with this person. Take time to build a relationship—you never know what you’ll find and how it can impact your life.

Figuring out what you need in a partner

If you don’t allow yourself any time to actually get to know someone, you won’t have the opportunity to learn what it is that you want, and don’t want in a partner. By engaging in single serving relationships, you are doing yourself a disservice…

Missed chances

According to Forrest Gump, life is like a box of chocolates and you never know what you’re gonna get—so try. Not getting to know someone can potentially cause you to miss out on finding your special someone.

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Society is so heavily focused on looks, money, and status, that it may prevent you from giving someone the chance they deserve. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Meet up with someone because they’re cool and make you laugh, not just because they’re hott. Although attraction is important, don’t be shallow.

Respect

Respecting others should always be a priority. If you don’t plan on seeing someone anymore let them know. Remember, there’s an actual person on the other side of the text box. A human being with thoughts, emotions, and a heart. It’s not appropriate to just ghost someone because you can’t be bothered to deal with it—would you want someone to do that to you?

Be yourself

Remember to always be yourself. Be the kind, cool person that you are. Let people in and allow them, and yourself, to see just how wonderful you are. Let them see why you are to be valued. Let them see what makes you special. Let them see you.

dating | millennials | respect | ghosting | relationships

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Paula

Why It’s Important to Travel with Your Partner Before Tying the Knot

Travel is such an important part of life. Travel allows for new experiences, personal growth, and the ability to really get to know someone else. Whether doing it solo, with friends, or with your partner, your joint travel experience can define that relationship.

 I’m one of those people who can’t travel with just anyone. Because of this, I was pretty nervous about taking a 3-week international trip with my beau. We’ve been together for over a year, and our local trips have been great. I literally can’t get enough of this guy. BUT, traveling across the world, while trying to navigate a new place, in a foreign language, with varying cultural norms, can create some friction. 

The primary question I got from friends when we got home was, “did you guys fight?” This was confusing to me—were we supposed to fight? Luckily, there were no arguments, and we had an amazingtime. 

Having had the opportunity to spend 24-uninterrupted-hours together each day for 3-weeks helped me realize just how much we love each other. However, if we weren’t compatible enough, many things could have gone wrong. And if they did, we may not have returned as two people in love…

Consider these 7 things when traveling with your partner before tying the knot: 

1. Making plans

Making plans is so important. Whether it’s for dinner, travel, your new apartment, or your future family, being on the same page is crucial. What’s your travel destination? What attractions will you visit? What type of food will you eat? Will you rent a car? Or utilize public transportation? Will you stay in a hostel? Or a fancy hotel?

Being able to weight the pros and cons, and make a joint decision that both parties are comfortable with is just the first step. If the two of you desire different things, making plans can potentially become a barrier to moving forward in your relationship. 

2. Compromise

Compromise is also part of making plans—can the two of you work together to settle on something you’ll both be happy with? It can be one person choosing hotels, and the other booking tours, or both of you planning everything together. Whatever it may be, make sure you are both happy with what’s coming. 

3. Lifestyle

Leading a similar lifestyle is vital when it comes to travel. Are you wanting to go on a foodie tour? See the sights? Visit the museums? Or climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Will you both agree on engaging in the same activities? Or will it become a battle? 

My beau and I decided early on that we wanted to eat our way through Europe. We wanted to get lost in each city, and take in as much of the culture as we could. We did not plan any tours, nor did we engage in the craziest activity that city had to offer. Our desire was to enjoy our vacation and go with the flow.

If we hadn’t agreed on the same things, it would have been totally possible for conflict to arise.  

4. Spending time 

I think spending an extended period of time with someone and not wanting to punch them is a reallygood sign, lol. Are you able to tolerate your partner 24/7 for several days and/or weeks? Are you able to remain patient? And kind? And not find something to bicker over? 

If you can handle constantly being in close quarters for several weeks, sometimes under difficult circumstances, you and your beau can really get through anything…

5. Having fun

Do you have fun with your partner? Does your partner suggest activities that you both enjoy? Taking pleasure in the time you and your partner spend together, even if you’re doing nothing, is crucial to the success of a relationship. 

You can’t always be happy, and life isn’t always fun, but there should be more good times than bad… 

6. Listen to your gut

Are you at ease? Or are you anxious? Are the butterflies in your tummy from excitement? Or from nervousness? Listen to your gut. Our bodies can sense things that we might not yet realize. Living a life where you’re constantly on edge is not healthy. Be aware of what your body is trying to tell you…

7. What’s next?

Will you come back from your trip knowing that this person is the one for you? Or will you return wanting to end things? Long trips can do that, and it’s okay. If you can’t tolerate two weeks with your partner, how are you going to endure a lifetime? 

Traveling with your partner before tying the knot can reveal a great deal about both you and your partner. If you’re both on the same page, and have the ability to work together as a team, your relationship is probably in a healthy place…

travel | dating | marriage | relationships | travel with your partner | compromise

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Paula

10 Emotional Consequences of a Dysfunctional Relationship

If you’ve ever been in a dysfunctional relationship, please raise your hand. Yup—my arm is definitely in the air…

The battle with dysfunctional relationships is that they may not seem so bad at first. The red flags are usually there, but they’re not severe enough to cause alarm until you’re in pretty deep. Or it’s possible that it was a choice to overlook those concerning behaviors all along. Regardless, they’re very misleading…

I decided to address this topic today because a reader recently reached out to me and shared her story. I think it takes a lot of courage to become aware of how dangerous some of these red flags are, and most importantly, being able to acknowledge that you deserve better. I personally went through something very similar, and experienced many of the emotional obstacles discussed in this article.

While undergoing the internal struggle between the madness of things eventually getting better, or you needing to make a run for it, it’s possible to suffer a great deal of psychological and emotional harm in the interim. With this, you begin to question everything and start to feel that you don’t deserve better. But guess what? You do!

That’s what a dysfunctional relationship does—it causes you to feel as though you are not worthy of love, and care, and happiness, and stability, and all other things that allow one to feel secure and safe. But you are worthy.

Dysfunctional relationships can cause a lot of damage, and whether you’re in a place where you’re contemplating a break-up, or have already walked away, there is a great deal to overcome once it’s over…

10 emotional consequences of a dysfunctional relationship:

1. Decreased self-esteem

It’s difficult to feel good about yourself when the person who is supposed to bring out the best in you makes you feel small.  Actions such as pushing you away, making you feel unwanted or unimportant, constantly placing blame, or only pointing out your faults, can absolutely cause a significant drop in your self-worth.

In situations like this, remember that you’re not the problem. This type of treatment is unacceptable. Be sure to stand up for yourself (if safe), and engage in activities that will your self-love on a daily basis. Constantly use this as a reminder of just how great you are…

2. Feeling at fault

Remember that the way in which your partner acts or treats you is not your fault. Each person is responsible for their own actions, and should be able to address matters in a respectful and kind way. If your partner makes you feel as though they need to treat you poorly, that is not on you. And you shouldn’t tolerate that type of treatment either…

3. Somatic symptoms

Sometimes our feelings can be so severe that they physically manifest themselves. Going through an emotional rollercoaster can literally make you feel sick to your stomach. If you start to experience physical symptoms that are out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

At this point, it is important to consider the way in which your relationship is effecting your health. Your wellness should always be your top priority.

4. Lack of motivation

It’s really difficult to achieve your goals and focus on the things that matter when you’re distracted by your relationship. Not to mention, negative feelings and decreased self-esteem can strongly interfere in your successes.

5. All the negativity

Experiencing a plethora of negative thoughts and feelings over an extended period of time can be very unhealthy. Between the anger, resentment, sadness, self-doubt, and disappointment, it can feel nearly impossible to find some joy.

Try to keep your head above water by surrounding yourself with people you love—people that are supportive. Engaging in activities that make you feel good is also a healthy way to combat some of the negativity…

6. Inapt priorities

Our priorities shift due to life circumstances. When in a dysfunctional relationship, priorities become blurred, and what’s important can sometimes be placed on the backburner. Be sure to always put yourself first and maintain sight of your needs.

7. Isolation

Depending on the direction in which your relationship is going, it’s possible that you may become isolated. Whether you’ve become disinterested in socializing, or spend all of your free time with your partner and his circle or friends, this can be very serious. Try to remain in contact with your friends and family, and make time to see them.

Also, feeling isolated and unsupported can absolutely hinder you from walking away from a dysfunctional relationship, if you decide to. Your social network is a resource—keep the lines of communication open.

8. Learning to tolerate abuse

Abuse comes in many shapes and forms, including emotional, verbal, and physical. Being mistreated so often eventually starts to feel normal. This is extremely problematic, and being abused is never okay. If you need help, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

9. Tolerating dishonesty

Whether lying, cheating, or stealing, dishonest behavior should not be tolerated. Trust is an important part of any relationship, and you deserve better.

10. Losing yourself

Whether losing sight of who you are, or losing your voice and ability to stand up for yourself, this is the most difficult emotional outcome to recover from. Not being heard when trying to speak your mind is destructive and hurtful. Being with a person who is not interested in hearing your thoughts or feelings is a person that is not worthy of you

Dysfunctional relationships are exactly that, dysfunctional. Don’t allow yourself to feel that you are to blame for all of the misfortunes of your relationship. You’re not, and you deserve more

relationships | love | dysfunctional relationship | emotions

Not sure how to walk away from your dysfunctional relationship? Read up on how to prepare yourself here

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xx,

Paula

Why Millennials Are Choosing to Postpone Marriage

The concept of marriage is drastically shifting, and societal norms have a lot to do with the way in which Millennials choose to live their lives. Not only that, but there are also family expectations, cultural values to follow, and personal hopes and desires to consider. So how does one find a balance? It can be difficult, but possible to make it work.

I grew up in a family that was pretty set in their ways. I was the youngest, and the only one of my sisters to move away for college. And even though very out of the ordinary for my parents, they were able to see the value in my decision to relocate and step out of my comfort zone. Soon after, things began to slowly progress and they chilled out a bit.

Now that I’m thirty, the “when are you getting married?” question keeps making its way into every single one of our conversations. My parents absolutely adore my boyfriend, so they’re hoping the answer will be “tomorrow.”

Following the question of when, comes “why wait?” I always want to respond with the many reasons as to why my boyfriend and I are waiting, but I don’t think they’ll quite understand due to the generational gap.

I believe that, just like myself and those in my network, many millennials are choosing to hold off on marriage. This may not be because they haven’t met the right person, but rather, because life has so much to offer.

Couples can absolutely embark on a million adventures together, and many may prefer it that way, but I’ll be the first to admit that our generation is selfish. We like what we like, we want what we want, and we want it done in the best possible way.

Best looks differently for each person, so flying solo can ultimately be necessary. Doing things exactly as you want them can be difficult when there is an entirely separate set of needs and ideas to consider when making decisions.

So, millennials are marrying later in life. Clearly the definition and face of marriage has changed overtime. With this transition, people are marrying later for many reasons. Most of these reasons are different than why people married in, let’s say, 1950. Let’s talk about some of the changes:

1. The need for accomplishment

There’s really no need to rush into a marriage. As individuals, millennials have plenty of things to accomplish. It is a time to focus on establishing a career, and also embark on adventure after adventure. There is an abundance of opportunities to explore, and these are the life-changing experiences that can shape a person.

2. Self-actualization

There is now more of an emphasis on knowing who you are than ever before. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs includes self-actualization as one of the five human needs. Although it is the most difficult to achieve, it is one that involves development and growth, and allows one the space to truly become the best version of themselves.

Engaging in creative outlets and projects, and exposing hearts and minds to the world is such a beautiful thing. This is also something that other generations may not have had the opportunity to do. Living in a time such as this one is truly a privilege.

3. Shift in gender roles

Women and men are no longer confined to specific gender roles; these roles have become fluid. Women are no longer needing to marry for financial support, and men no longer need to marry in order to procreate and have a wifey to care for the family.

Women now have educations, careers, and are really living it up in what used to be a “man’s world.” Men are learning to cook and do laundry, and some are even stay-at-home dads. Bottom line, both men and women are independent and able to care for, and provide for themselves.

4. Procreation and the concept of family

Having children was relationship goals for centuries. Now, however, it seems as though less and less people are having children. According to the NIH, “the replacement fertility rate is roughly 2.1 live births per woman for most industrialized countries.” This quite low compared to the average of 3.67 in the United States between 1955 and 1960.

A recent study did find that more highly educated women in the US are bearing more children than in previous years, however, they are doing so later in life. According to the Washington Post, “the share of mothers with at least a master’s degree who have just one child fell from 28 percent to 23 percent [;] while those having three or more children rose from 22 percent to 27 percent.”

5. Taking time to find the right one

It’s now possible to link to literally the entire world. Millennials are able to interact with anyone and everyone, via a plethora of platforms, so why settle for a relationship that’s mediocre when one can potentially have an incredible love? Why settle for what’s right here when you might find exactly what you’re looking for out there? There’s really no rush, and settling shouldn’t be an option.

6. Cohabitation plus some

Due to this major shift in cultural and societal norms, couples are now able to live like married couples without actually being married. More and more couples cohabitate and have families without tying the knot. Society has allowed for a type of leeway that wasn’t available before, and millennials are taking advantage of it.

7. Freedom to love as one chooses

Millennials have the freedom to choose. Millennials choose who to be with, when to be together, at what capacity, and if marriage is the right thing for them. Love comes in a million shapes and sizes, and is no longer as simple as going steady, putting a ring on it, then getting married. Love is so much more than that. And I truly believe that millennials have been able to experience love at its’ best because of the freedom to do so.

marriage | millennials | relationships | love | dating

Not sure if you’re with the right person? Consider these ten things when dating someone.

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xx,

Paula

How to Say Goodbye to an Unhealthy Relationship

Being in an unhealthy relationship can break your spirit, but so can saying goodbye…

You’ve found yourself in a relationship that makes you unhappy. In a relationship that is no longer fulfilling. In a relationship that is unhealthy for you. Are you ready to abandon ship?

Sure, but how?

Living through the cycles of an unhealthy relationship is very familiar to me. Deciding to quit the person you love, or think you love, is a struggle that I wish on no one.  Not only are you internally battling yourself, but making your way out will most likely cause a scuffle.

The decision to leave the relationship, in and of itself, is tough. You start to look back at all the great times you’ve had together and wonder how you’ll survive without your beau by your side. You count all the months and years you’ve spent building a life together, and don’t want it all to go to waste. You reflect on all of the adventures you’ve had together, and just can’t imagine exploring the world with anyone else.

I know, I’ve been there. It’s hard to believe that you can wake up and not see your partners face. To hear a funny joke and realize that they’re not by your side giggling too. How can you live a day without the love of your life?

Guess what? Life goes on, and so will you.

Fear is not a valid reason to stay in an unhealthy relationship that makes you miserable and causes distress. Yes, you invested a lot of time. Yes, it will be hard to let go. Yes, you will heal and eventually find that life is better without this person.

You will be doing yourself a colossal disservice by staying in a relationship that is making you unhappy because you’re scared of the unknown. You deserve the best that life has to offer, and it’s up to you to advocate for your happiness and wellness…

10 Ways to Prep Yourself for Saying Goodbye to an Unhealthy Relationship:

1. Weigh the pros and cons

Make a list of all the good and bad things about your relationship. What aspects of your relationship are positive and give you happy feels? What aspects make you feel angry, sad, resentful, etc.? Are there things about your partner that drive you absolutely crazy? Or things that make you smile so hard your face feels like it’s going to fall off? If the bad things outweigh the good, you’ll need to reconsider where you stand…

2. Consider how often you’re happy

Once upon a time I thought that it was acceptable to be in a relationship where happiness was a distant concept. Now that I’m in a relationship where I feel happy at least 90% of the time, I know that happiness really isn’t an inaccessible notion. If you’re with the right person, in the right kind of relationship, you should be happy more often than not.

So, think about it: how often are you happy in your relationship?

3. Make final attempts

Know that you did everything you could to make it work. Improving communication, making changes and compromises, taking a break, going to counseling, etc. If after you’ve done literally everything to make it work, and it’s not—then it’s just not working. No regrets.

4. Don’t blame yourself

Relationships are a two-way street, and even though you may have done everything in your power, there’s a chance it still won’t work out. If someone really wants to be in a relationship, they will also do whatever it takes—you are not the only one to blame for the failure of your relationship. Remember—It takes two to tango.

5. Create a plan

Whether it’s looking for a new place to live, figuring out who gets custody of the dog, or deciding how to call it quits—have a plan.  Make sure that all of your bases are covered, especially if you two have any financial/legal ties.

6. Reach out to your support network

When in certain relationships, we become isolated or spend less time with friends and family. Reach out to the people you love. Rekindle those friendships and get together. If you feel comfortable doing so, let them know what you’ve been going through.

Break-ups are never easy, and you will need a tremendous amount of support during this transition. Know who to call, and who to count on. Be sure that you are well supported, because you’re going to need all the TLC you can get…

7. Know that you deserve better

Again, I know making a move as significant as this one is terrifying. You’re so doubtful, and fearful, and unsure of what the future will offer, but know that you deserve better than what you’re going through right now. Love is supposed to be a beautiful thing—and not just temporarily. Remind yourself that you deserve to be happy, even if that means finding happiness on your own first.

8. Take a trip to Muscle Beach

Always remember how strong and resilient you are. Regardless of the circumstances, you’ve made it this far. You’ve made it through a tremendous amount of hardship and struggle in life. You have what it takes to get through this—don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise.

9. You will survive

Initially, things are going to suck. But know that you will be okay. You will survive this, and it will only make you stronger—so cliché, I know. Most importantly, don’t believe your partner when they say you’re nothing without them. You are everything you’ll ever need, plus some.

10. Embrace life & love yourself

Along with knowing that you deserve better, give yourself permission to experience joy again. Do the things that you once loved, and find new things that bring you pleasure. Be free of criticism and hurt, and live life in a way that is fulfilling. Love yourself.

If you don’t love yourself, no one else will be able to love you the way you deserve to be love.

unhealthy | relationships | saying goodbye | break-ups

Not sure how to cope with the actual break-up? Check out these tips on how to move forward….

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xx,

Paula