Changes in a Life ~ 2

How & When & Why ~ 2

Marriage, Affairs & Relationship Discussion Forum ~
My last post ~ 'It is what it is' I say to myself with a smile .... 2-5-06
Coping With Life's Transitions ~
Letting go is a decision ~ 2
Trust ~ 2
Expectations-Boundaries-Accountability & Anger ~ 2
How & When & Why ~ 2
Healing, Forgiveness, Moving on ~ 2
The Sedona Method ~
Toxic & Difficult Relationships -Personality disorders ~ 2
Things to try ~ Things to learn ~ Ways of Looking at Things ~ 2
Metaphysical Points of View ~ 2
Internet relationships ~ 2
Love, Lovers, Friends & Friendship & their Relationships ~ 2
When It's Finally Over ~..OR..~ When it's Over, Finally ! ~ 2
Considerations & Perspectives to stretch your mind ~ 2
The Music ~

How & When & Why ~ 2



 1. 10 ways to know it's over.
 2. Does SHE/HE still love you?
 3. Five Reasons Why Couples Break Up  

 4. National survey asks who breaks up with who, and why.
 5. Freedom - and why you break up with someone smothering you.
 6. 5 Reasons Couples Fight and Breakup and What you Can Do About It.
 7.  Lost love
 8.  What does it take to be that significant other?
 9.  Relationship break up tips
10. How to fall out of love.
11. End of a Relationship Warning Signs
12. Warning Signs of Relationship Breakdown
13. 5 stages of decay.
14. Not all relationships are meant to be.
15. Top Tips for an Amicable Breakup
16. Recognizing Sour Relationships
17. There are certain signs that are present in almost every bad relationship
18.  Improve your communication skills ~ Broken and difficult relationships can be avoided by understanding the principles of communication, and the pitfalls we encounter.
19.  Communication That Really Improves Relationships
20.  Letting go of a broken relationship that does not nourish us: the why and how
21.  Why Do We Hurt the One We Love?
22.  Relationship Break Up
23.  Essense of Infidelity
24.  The Eight Faces of Infatuation

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10 ways to know it's over
 **NOTE: SHE/HE are interchangable

So many men (and women) ask me, "Shawn, here is my situation... is it over?" Well, once and for all, let it be clear that if you have experienced any of the following 10 scenarios, then it is a clear-cut sign that the fat lady has sung and Elvis has left the building.

10. She got a new  phone number
"(out of service dial tone) You have reached 555-O-V-E-R, the girl you are trying to reach is making it painfully clear that things are finished, so please stop calling before she releases the hounds on you."

If she suddenly changes her number and never forwards you the new one, then maybe, just maybe, she has moved on and prefers leaving you where you are. And if she forwards you to her voice mail after answering the call, then you should take the sign and run.

9. The chemistry is gone
She used to rave about the chemistry that you two shared. But now, you are out of sync and out of touch. It's like you are having different conversations
with one another. Restaurants are devoid of chitchat, and dates are spent in movie theaters so you don't have to speak to one another (unless it's to pass the popcorn).

8. She now plays for the other team
It's not your fault... of course not. Regardless, she now plays in the other team's lineup and has become your competition and you didn't even see it coming. All of a sudden, she is checking out the women more than the men.

7. She moved... without telling you
You show up at her place only to realize that she no longer resides there. Apparently, she moved and "forgot" to let you know where she was going. Like the  phone number
example above, this is probably one of the most blatant signs that you too should move on. Do not stalk her and do not pursue her, set your sights on new fish. If you lived with her and she moved out without telling you, well...

6. She just doesn't care
Whether it's because she no longer finds those annoying habits of yours cute, doesn't care when you screw up, doesn't care about what you like, or gives the flowers
you bought to her mother, you know that things have changed. And to top it all off, she religiously begins going to the gym all of a sudden.

Get a grip and a new girl after No. 1 occurs...

5. Your pictures disappear from her room
In the final days, you notice that your shrine has been losing some luster; the picture frames in her room are gathering dust. With time, you realize that the frames are gone and the pictures have been put to rest. You are nothing but a distant memory in her shoebox.

4. She prefers hanging out with others
Although you used to hang out, eat together and live as one, she now opts to hang out with someone else. You have moved from priority numero uno to a has-been. It may hurt, but it's time to realize that your services are no longer required.

3. She said "it's over"
If the girl
explicitly tells you that she no longer wants you, do not try to decipher it any other way. It doesn't mean she's tired, hormonal or unsure. If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck and tastes like a duck...

2. She "forgot" your birthday
Whether or not you have forgotten her birthday in the past, this year she forgot yours. Two things are possible: either you messed up so bad in her eyes that she could not bring herself to saying "happy birthday," or she is sending the loudest message that she is now dancing to another tune, which sounds more like "I Will Survive".

1. She has a new guy
You notice that she frequently talks about other men; she calls you "Tom" when your name is "Joseph"; she starts referring to your best friend
"Mike" as " Big Mike". Bottom line: you know something is up. The jig is over, she has found herself a new man and his name doesn't rhyme with yours. Just consider yourself lucky that you did not walk in and witness the new dashing duo going at it (and you know what I mean by "it").
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 Does She Still Loves You? By Heidi Muller
Relationship Correspondent -

A woman's heart can, at times, be the most difficult thing in the world to capture. Once you have it though, chances are it's yours forever, unless of course you drive her to madness. Unfortunately, most men screw up somewhere down the line in relationships.

When men are making fatal relationship errors, most women give off subtle signs, remember all of their partners' screw-ups, and usually don't love their partners anymore. There are always telltale signs. Some women are blunt and tell their men abruptly that they hate their guts and no longer want them. But most women are clever and will only offer hints that their love is long, long gone.

dear john

This example will demonstrate my theory. Recently, I went to a male friend's birthday party. His girlfriend gave him a gift and a card on which she wrote, You've played a key role in my life . I had previously read other letters she had written and they all said, You're the most precious thing in my life or You're my reason for living .

This time she wrote key role , as if her boyfriend had been demoted from love of my life and is now a team player in his girlfriend's life. Who played the other key roles ? Ex-boyfriends? Her boss? Her friends? A simple phrase like that served more as a code red to the boyfriend than a love letter.

I didn't tell my friend what I thought (I didn't want to ruin his birthday party), but two weeks later he called me crying, telling me his girlfriend doesn't love him anymore. Surprise, surprise.

telltale signs

She doesn't have to say key role in a letter for you to realize that things are going downhill in a relationship. There are generally three very obvious signs that every man should recognize:

1) She stops calling
Most women
love attention and love it when men compliment them, look at them, ask them out. Women also love calling their boyfriends or husbands (and love receiving phone calls) because it gives them a chance to receive attention. Most couples I know are in daily contact with each other, no matter where they are in the world. A lot of married couples call each other at work, either to check up on each other or out of boredom.

Suddenly one day, she stops calling . Very subtly you realize that the phone doesn't ring quite as often, until one day it almost never does. This is a big sign . If a woman stops calling you, it is because she feels she shouldn't make the time or effort to call. When a woman is in love, she will bend over backwards for her man. When she isn't…see ya, wouldn't wanna be ya.

2) She stops caring and stops acting jealous
After a woman stops calling you, more of her behavior starts to change. Most women are at least a tad jealous by nature. Most women deny it, but it's true. Women don't want to share their men with anyone, so they do what's necessary to keep them happy (this includes: baking a cake, going shopping with his mom, ironing his shirts, and oral sex).

So when your girlfriend or wife suddenly stops acting jealous or no longer does things for you, watch out. When she stops asking about your day or getting mad at you for looking at other women, start counting the days. She's not in love with you anymore.

3) Do you want to go to the movies?
The third sign that things are going badly is actually pretty simple. If you go to the movies every time you go out with your partner, this is another sign . Being at a movie theater is a great excuse to spend time together without actually having to say a word to one another.

If a woman says, why don't we just go see a movie? every time you want to go out, she is really saying I don't want to spend time with you, especially in public because I think you are an idiot .

Not exactly in those words of course, but you get the point.

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Five Reasons Why Couples Break Up 
by Dan Hayes

Relationships are either heaven or hell. Sometimes both. Making relationships last mystifies the most sincere seeker and the most casual. One out of every two marriages in America today ends in divorce, and many that do survive do so only in a state of armed truce.

The problems begin long before marriage. Couples who began their dating relationships starry-eyed and dreamy all too often end them red-eyed and dismayed.

Girlfriends and boyfriends, who were certain theirs was the romance of the century, find themselves shot down in flames for reasons they do not understand. Among high school and college students, the habit of breaking up is so frequent that some avoid dating just to avoid the hurt.

In the last 10 years, during my travels to hundreds of colleges and high schools, the response to my question "how are relationships going here?" has grown increasingly negative.

Sadly, there is a hint of hopelessness about it. As students watch their peers, siblings, and parents struggle with relationships which frequently terminate, they develop a "what's the use?" mentality. "How can my relationship succeed," they reason, "when those of so many people I look up to fail?"

Hopefully, this article will be helpful in examining some of the causes and cures of such unnecessary splits. I will highlight five reasons couples break up and try to offer some hope to stem the tide.

REASON #1: Sweeping Cultural and Structural Changes

The sweeping cultural and structural changes which have occurred in society in the last 80 years have contributed to higher levels of break up.

In 1910, 80 percent of Americans lived in rural areas. Today, 80 percent live in urban areas. One out of every five Americans moves every year. City life and relocation stress are just two factors that have put additional pressure on couples. The faster paced city life forces people to try to build relationships quicker. However, no matter how much one want to do it differently, relationships only grow strong and deep when built slowly and steadily. And so, haste in relationships tends to build weaker ones, which are easily broken.

Eighty years ago many marriages were practical in nature. Today, they are primarily social. That is, in 1910 Mom and Dad to keep her from being an old maid. Dad needed Mom to help him run the farm and bear children to assist economically. Today, however, questions such as -- Do I look good with her? Does he look good with me? Are we sexually good together? How will she fit with my family? Do we have the same tastes? -- are paramount. When the answers to these questions change, the relationship changes.

A third factor in this category is the rise of the commerce-centred marriage versus the home-centred marriage. In the past, couples primarily related around the home environment. Often, they would eat all three meals together. Today, of course, it is considered unusual to eat even three dinners together in a week. Business and professions compete strongly for the time needed to establish relationships. Again, when time is shortened, relationships suffer.

A final point is the rise of new motivational factors in the last eight decades. Sex and money are two of these. I call them new not because they have not existed in the past, but because of their tremendous rise in prominence.

Sex, of course, has always been a major part of relationships, but today it has become the only part for many couples. Sex saturates our advertising, media and cultural mindset. Few products are sold without using it. As a consequence, the sexual aspect of relationships assumes unrealistic and unrealized proportions. Inevitably disappointment results; having no other basis than sex, relationships end.

Money has always been important in a relationship, but today financial security is urged as an absolute necessity. Prenuptial agreements abound, palimony suits multiply, and everyone covets financial self-protection. Let's face it. A prenuptial agreement is a lousy way to begin a long-term relationship. It basically says, "We don't expect this to last." Whenever you assume an escape hatch, it won't be long before someone decides to take it.

Certainly much has changed in our society to put stress on relationships in eighty years. How do we adapt? We cannot change the culture, so we must change the way we think.

One piece of advice is this: take it gradually. Few relationships fail because they are built too slowly. Take time, converse, communicate. View your partner as a person, not just as an object that makes you feel good. If you want fast food, you will get it cheap and in a paper box. If you want a feast, you must prepare it lovingly and slowly, but it will last a long time.

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 It's high time to break up

In ideal world people, who love each other, either long for being together, or they don't – anyway, they experience the same feelings. Should one grow cold towards his/her partner, or become enamoured of him/her, another one should manage to catch and to understand this. But if one meets stumbling-blocks in coexistence with a partner, that means he/she just keeps off conversations about ending a relationship and ignores break up signs. Being blind in love relationship, people often lose their ability to feel the real threat. Actually, there are several reasons for making haste to discreet relationship break up:

1. Verbal signs or 10 main phrases one would never like to had slipped from dearly-beloved lips:
- We need to talk seriously;
- You are like a sister/brother for me;
- I don't love you any more;
- It's not your fault. I'm the one to blame;
- I think we would better be friends;
- Do you remember when I've said everything is all right? I've lied.
- Do you really want to know why I go out to dinner with my assistant?
- You've never made me hot;
- Have you always been such a bore?
- Give me back my keys.

These words hurt and make us lose the last hope. Moreover, they might be the certain signs of ending a relationship.

2. Have you ever asked yourself about the reason for keep on dating someone you don't care at all? Appearance? Opportunity to make a career? No way. Remember that unhealthy and bad relationships result from the lack of respect. As one gives a damn for his/her partner, he/she gets into a jam. It would become a heavy burden and would finally lead to ending a relationship.

3. Unhealthy abusive relationship is one of the most forcible arguments to break up. A negative reaction to your partner's presence, lasting uncomfortable feeling, violent quarrels, unwillingness to express one's feelings and thoughts, lack of humor and sex drive, could be explained as an absolute relationship incompatibility. Should one feel unwell near his/her partner, ending a relationship would be a must.

4. Is it possible to save relationship when the love has gone? Definitely, it is not. There's no sense to keep on moving together hand in hand, due to some features that suit one another. Sooner or later one would approach to ending a relationship, since living without love appears to be unbearable.

5. Disparateness in values and objectives of the partners lead up relationships into a blind alley. One has no good reason to make the date dance to his/her tune. Insisting on his/her doing a good turn to you, diverting a partner from his/her job and activities, being intrude in telephone calls and senseless talks, you push the lover to ending a relationship with you.

6. It is no wonder that our friends' and family support helps to survive in the most tangled situations. When the lover becomes an obstacle between you and your relatives, stripping you of the contact with other people, he/she steals your complementary burst of energy and your independence. As a result, you changes into a lonesome wanderer, losing significance of existence. Nip it immediately in the bud even by means of ending a relationship at all! You are worth being truly loved.
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 National survey asks who breaks up with who, and why
by Janet Jacobsen
Mar/Aprl 2003

Recently American Demographics magazine polled a nationally representative sample of 3000 adults via the Internet to find out what goes on when couples break up. They found that 59% of those age 18 to 35 had recently experienced a breakup, compared to 31% for those 35-54 and 12% of folks 55 and older.
While half (51%) of women say they ended the relationship, just 32% of men say the breakup was the woman's idea. Among the guys, 29% say they were the ones who ended the romance, and 38% say the breakup was "mutual" (compared to 28% of women).
Infidelity was at the root of the split, according to 30% of women and 28% of men. It was the most common reason given by women; women also cite "commitment problems" (27%), lack of passion (17%), and physical or emotional abuse (25%). (More than one reason could be given.) "Growing apart" was mentioned by 29% of women, but was the most prevalent cause for men (40%).

Men may "ease" out of relationships
Why the difference in perception of who is breaking up with who? One reason may be a technique that some males use in the belief that it allows the woman to save face. (Women do this too, but in my observation, men use it more.)
Having decided that the relationship isn't working (for whatever reason), the man will begin behaving "badly." He calls less, breaks dates, shows up late, and becomes generally such a lousy boyfriend that the woman finally ends the relationship. This would explain why he is more likely than she is to see the breakup as "mutual" - he knows they both wanted out, but she doesn't.

Getting over it
The poll also asked what strategies people used to heal their broken hearts. While women were more likely to use multiple strategies, the top three approaches were employed by both sexes. The most common choice for men - date someone else - was third among women. Women were most likely to call friends or family (second choice among men). Rent movies/watch tv ranked second for women and third for men.
In the top ten list of strategies, both sexes sleep more or less than usual, both eat more than usual, and both drink or get drunk. Men's list also includes eating less than usual, exercise, and going on a trip. Women's list has cleaning, going shopping, and writing in a journal.
When it came to keeping in touch with an ex, men and women of all ages took a similar approach - about a third stayed in touch

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 Freedom -
and why you break up with someone smothering you

copyright 1997 by Harlan Jacobsen

You get that big romance going and no one else or nothing else seems important. You spend every possible waking moment together and you even talk, talk, talk on the phone when you are apart. You just can't seem to ever get enough of each other. It's one tender kiss after another Sunday thru Saturday and it's really togetherness.

Then, rather suddenly, it's SPLITS-VILLE. What happened? Perhaps it could have been a long permanent relationship yet it wound up in good-byes.

A single has gained certain personal freedoms, freedom on how to spend time, money, and your energy. They may not be totally aware that they have these freedoms until that certain someone comes on the scene. Togetherness is nice but soon they get upset, nervous, aggravated. They are being smothered and they wish they were out of it. (They haven't lost interest but they think they have because they know they want out).

Tonight maybe, they want to stay home alone and read, but they can't tell you that. They don't want to hurt your feelings. You like this end to loneliness and you want to work at it full time. If you still care about me, why can't we be together tonight?

You do not own them and you are not entitled to 100% of their free time, attention or energy. Freedom to run around or freedom to be untrue is not what we are talking about. You need to allow the other person as much personal freedom as they want to keep. So you must play it cool by loving but not smothering.

You must allow room for individuality. Insist that they allow you time and you allow them time to maintain other outside interests. When it's constant togetherness with no outside interests, soon there is nothing to talk about.

The big problem is learning to play it cool, a middle route, not do nothing or not go overboard.

Be involved, be in love, but don't suffocate them with too much of you.

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 "5 Reasons Couples Fight and Breakup and What you Can Do About It"
by Susie and Otto Collins, Relationship Coaches
Nearly everyone has experienced a relationship breakup or divorce and it can be one of the most painful periods in your life as you try to heal your broken heart.  What we have discovered in our relationship coaching practice, many breakups don't have to happen.

So, if breakups don't have to occur, what cases them and how can you prevent them?

Here are four ideas to help you better understand why breakups happen and what you can do to prevent them in your relationship.

1. Old Fears Surface.

It's to be expected that being in an intimate relationship will inevitable bring up fears and challenges from the past.  These might include fearing not being good enough, attractive enough, wealthy enough or even feelings of abandonment.  If fears are not expected, looked at and healed, they interfere in some way or another with the health of every relationship. Take some time to notice when the fears surface, be loving with
yourself but look inward instead of outward blaming your partner for what clearly is your issue.
Ask yourself if your fears are "true" or are you just making "stories" up in your head.  If you are creating those "stories" and there's no basis of truth to them, then change your thinking.  It's not always easy to do and it takes moment by moment monitoring of your
thoughts. If you need help and support to make the changes you want in your life, be courageous enough to get it.

You may not have healed your broken heart from past relationships that ended and you find it very difficult to trust your current partner or open your heart completely to him or her.  We suggest that you stop living from the hurt of those past relationships and bring yourself into the present moment, without continuing the "stories" of the past.  Commit to starting over, allowing your fears to be there but reminding yourself that this is a new day.
2.  Not Feeling Understood, Valued, Loved and Appreciated.
Everyone wants to feel understood, valued, loved and appreciated and when we're not, we tend to either withdraw or attack the other person for not meeting our needs.  If you want to be appreciated, start appreciating the other people in your life.  Sounds simplistic but it really works!
If you are not feeling loved, start being open to seeing and feeling love and appreciation that people are giving you that you may not be aware of in your daily life.  It may be that someone allows you to go ahead of them in traffic or tells you to go ahead in a grocery line.  Send some appreciation back to them and to everyone around you and watch love snowball in your life.
3.  Not Making their Relationship a Priority.
Many couples take each other for granted and don't give their relationship the attention it needs most of the time. The lack of closeness and connection can be overwhelming and can cause great loneliness.  Make your relationship a priority in your life.  Set aside time everyday to connect with your partner.
We believe that sex happens long before the bedroom.  It starts all day long when you have thoughts about your partner--Are these thoughts positive or negative?  It continues when you come together--Are you happy to see each other and express love and appreciation or do you great each other with a laundry list of chores, things to be done or grievances?
These are just a couple of ways we make our relationship a priority. Try them in yours!
4.  One or Both People are Made to Feel They are "Wrong."
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they make each other wrong.  As soon as critical words are said, defenses and walls go up and suddenly that person who you love and they love you becomes an "enemy."
Before you jump into blaming and judging your partner, stop and take a moment to breathe. Ask yourself if making your partner wrong will drive you further apart or move you closer toward healing.  Open your heart to understanding the dynamics of what's going on between the two of you. Understand the full story before you start making someone wrong.  So often we assume to know what is in someone's heart and we really don't.  Take the time to find out!

5. Not healing your heart after a previous relationship breakup
Many people go from relationship to relationship without truly healing their hearts. They never discover what went wrong in their previous relationship and what they could have done differently.  They keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again and always expect a different outcome.

We suggest that you take the time to heal your broken heart and your attachment to being a victim, in being right or whatever holds you to a previous relationship.  Spend some energy in taking responsibility for what happened, forgiving yourself and your previous partner, and deciding what you want to change in your life.
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 Lost love

Every love affair has it's lifetime. This that as long as it has a start it has a finish.  Some relationships last to the end of partners lifetime, some die soon after they started.

Love may start as the strongest passion but time passes and the storm of emotions calms down, relationships once so bright and full of surprises become routine. It drags on for a while and than comes crisis. A couple can either survive through it or fall apart.

Even when the love is gone it's always hard to realise that you have to quit something once so good. There's no certain way to decrease the sad feelings about falling apart. You may only try to stay civilised people about it and to let the one who's leaving do it without making up grandiose scandals and hysterics.

Although some think that it's better to stay enemies than friends because than you will have nothing to regret about and won't execute meaningless attempts to get things back. But is it so right to ruin all the memories about the happy time two people have spent together with ugly scenes screaming and blaming each other in the worst sins?

It's over when it's over and sometimes it's obvious that all is over. Two people scream and shout one at the other almost everyday, they have nothing to talk about and if they do every conversation turns into a quarrel, one finds faults with everything the other does, they both simply annoy each other. That's definitely the end.   

The question is where the love's gone. Nobody knows it. Maybe they've been spending too much time together and finally have started to bore each other. Maybe he has stopped telling her about his love and she has stopped feeling it. Maybe time has made the illusions disappear and the reality has turned to be not what they both expected. Maybe there was only passion and after it's gone nothing has left. There can be plenty of those maybes. Every misfortune has it's own face. It may even be that nothing is over but people need to take a little rest one from the other or try to diversify their relationships. In fact when each one of a couple is willing to fight to make love stay they'll find the way to do it.

The real tragedy is when one still feels the love but the other is bored and wants to leave. If the feeling is really gone no tricks will help to keep the partner, sooner or later he or she will finally leave and those few more weeks together won't make you happier. The only thing you can really do in this case is to try to get over him/her as soon as possible. That misery will pass as the happiness did.

Sometimes (and it specially refers to women) a man looses his interest to a woman because she has given up her job, interests, friends and etc. in order to become the part of his life, to be everything he needs. He doesn't have to conquer her no more, she has stopped being a personality with her own life that he had once fallen in love with. If fact this is one of the general mistakes people do. They get too comfortable and stop fighting for each others love. And than when a partner starts packing bags they wonder where did I go wrong.

But still in very many cases lost love isn't anyone's fault. It is just the way things go. We should never stop believing that next time the feeling will be real and will finally last to the very end. We have no limit of times that we can fall in love and so although it's sad to loose love, each time we do we should try to look at it as on the chance to find a new better one.
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 What does it take to be that significant other?


  • Sees the other person as perfect
  • Wants to get own needs met; selfish
  • Spends all time with the other person
  • Quickly "falls" for the other person
  • Other relationships and friendships deteriorate
  • Dependence on the other person causes
  • Jealousy frequently
  • Lasts for a short period of time
  • Distance strains and often puts an end to the relationship
  • Quarrels are serious and common
  • Quarrels can seriously damage the relationship


  • Sees the other person's flaws and still loves them
  • Wants to serve the other person; selfless
  • Still spends time with others
  • Takes time to build the relationship
  • Other relationships and friendships grow stronger
  • Trust and understanding results in less severe and less frequent jealousy
  • Encompasses a long-term commitment
  • Survives and sometimes is strengthened because of distance
  • Quarrels are less serious and less often
  • Quarrels can strengthen the relationship

Infatuation can be so tempting. But the question is, do I want a lasting, satisfying relationship? If so, infatuation isn't the answer. Look at your relationships through the grid above. Infatuation isn't a bad thing, as long as we don't base a relationship on it.

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Relationship break up tips

Making an attempt to cross one's t's and dot one's i's in relationship with an intimate friend, one would rather work out a kind of break up conversation model. This relationship advice is to be guided by those, who try to avoid after-pains of rebound relationship, as well as to have a go at another successful soul mate search. Sincere and friendly manner of relationships break up gives an opportunity to appreciate reasonably all the pros and cons of your decision.

1. The preparatory stage of relationship break up lies in a well-considered desire to bid one's farewell. Escape from reality is an important step to clarify the feelings. Meeting with friends, taking activities, shopping and walking, one should appreciate his/her ability to destroy romance relationships and to survive.

2. Having thought over the necessity of relationship break up, one should keep in mind that procrastination is the thief of time. Regardless of your plans foiled, never try to have the last intimate contact with an ex-lover. One could hardly enjoy the glass of dazzling champaign or candles' light, realizing that the love is approaching completion. Don't gratify your ego.

3. The worst relationship break up advice to be imagined is to avoid the last talk. Those, who pass out off sight, send "good bye" e-mails or leave phone messages, are called miserable cowards. Determined to relationship break up, organize a meeting with your ex-date and declare your intentions t.te-.-t.te. Express yourself clearly, be friendly.

4. Hold the strong will in your fist and go on talking. In the course of relationship break up ex-lovers should take their time to share the sore points. Each moment of your life is precious, so bless your partner for those days you've spent together. Consider his/her opinion, while discussing all the positive and negative moments of your relations, and then forgive each other.

5. The one, hanging in the wind towards the relationship break up, would better learn not to let the past steal the present. You don't need to save relations in front of the fear of loneliness. Follow this relationship advice and never look back. The end of the world will hardly happen, and life does go on.

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 How to Fall out of Love
by Tigress Luv

For 'dumpees' the world over, the BIG question is: How in the heck am I supposed to fall out of love with my ex?

The biggest mistake most people make when they breakup with their partner is to believe that they somehow have to instantly, magically "fall out of love" with their ex. That simply is just not so. Feel the love for your ex in your heart, allow the memories and good feelings to flow if you want...but just remember while allowing your heart to feel the love to also use your brain to receive feedback that it is over and will not work out. Feel free to feel the love but accept the fact that it is over, too. You can love him/her for the rest of eternity if you'd like. There is NO reason to think you have to 'fall out of love' with him/her...however you do need to go through the grief of loss, the withdrawal from that which has become an addiction if you'd like, and acknowledge and accept that the relationship is over. This is the key to getting past the grief to a point where our hearts are open and love can re-enter our lives. can't just 'will' your heart to not love someone anymore than you can will your heart not to beat. It just isn't possible! What is possible, however, is to 'allow' yourself to fall out of love. If the relationship is over then stop fighting it, and learn to accept it - learn how to 'allow' your heart to stop loving your ex.

To 'allow' your heart to stop loving your ex is hard - it means admitting to ourselves that the relationship is over, and that we will be okay - no matter what. To allow your heart to fall out of love means to open it back up and 'allow' others in. You can speed up this process by either getting rid of anything that reminds you of your ex, or by packing it away - out of sight. By clinging to the love you are not keeping the relationship alive - like your mind has convincingly deceived you into believing - all you are doing is keeping the grief alive.

Get new interests, change something about yourself or your life that you were dissatisfied with, find new hobbies, join clubs or groups and make new friends. This is a time of rebirth for you - a second chance at life - so go for it with all the gusto that you possibly can!

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End of a Relationship Warning Signs

One or both partners may exhibit the following warning signs and changes:

Contact: Contact between partners diminishes. Phone calls lessen in frequency or length, emails drop off, and time spent together becomes less and less.

Mood Changes & Irritability: One or both partners may be edgy and are often in a bad or depressed mood. Little things about their partner may irritate them and they seem more touchy, sensitive, argumentive, and hypervigilent.

Secretive: Is your partner suddenly secretive about where they are going, or who they've been with? Do they whisper when speaking on the phone, or tell the party calling that they'll call them back?

The Here & Now : Does one partner suddenly stop talking about the future, or limit plans to 'today'. Does making plans for upcoming events suddenly stop?

Separation: Does one or both partners seem to be spending more time with friends, or visiting their family. Do you or your partner some how end up in separate rooms during the evening, or one of you spend more time than usual falling asleep on the couch? Do you plan separate weekend activities?

Communication: Does one or both partners avoid in depth conversations, preferring to answer questions or inquiries with a quick 'yes' or 'no'? Does one or both partners get overly absorbed in a t.v. show, or book? Is the table quiet during meals, and the mornings spent with you or your partner's nose stuck in the newspaper?

Criticism: Does one or both partners suddenly seem over critical of the other, concentrating on the other's flaws or faults, or perceiving faults where there really isn't any? Does one or both partners exhibit 'delusions', seeing things that are wrong with their partner or relationship, where in reality these really don't exist?

Intuitive: Do you just have an 'unexplainable' feeling that there is something wrong with your partner, or the relationship? Do you 'sense' or have a 'gut-feeling' that something is amiss?

Distant: Does one or both partners seem to be distant, distracted, or miles away in  their thoughts? Is one or both partners daydreaming more than usual?

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Warning Signs of Relationship Breakdown

One of the most useful recent research findings is the work which has identified the early warning signs of deterioration of an intimate relationship. Based on these signs, researchers have been able to predict with a very high degree of accuracy (about 90%) which relationships are likely to end within a few years. This information is crucial in accepting when your relationship is in serious need of more attention or help. 

Dr. J. Gottman and colleagues at the University of Washington have found that there are four specific signs of deterioration of an intimate relationship. In order of increasing danger, they are listed below: 

Criticism - instead of merely complaining, the person attacks and blames their partner's personality and/or character, such as "you are a selfish uncaring person"; 

Contempt - feedback with the intent to insult and/or psychologically abuse the partner, such as "you are more than stupid: a total idiot "; 

Defensiveness - not being willing to listen to anything your partner has to say to you, out of fear of them hurting or attacking you; and 

Stonewalling - ignoring, avoiding and distancing from your partner.

References: Gottman, J. M. (1993). A theory of marital dissolution and stability. Journal of Family Psychology, 7, 57-75; Gottman, J. (1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Crown Books.

Dr. H. Markman and Dr. S. Stanley at the University of Colorado have also identified four warning signs of deterioration: 

Escalation of negativity during the couples' interaction - an increase in complaining and criticism;  

Invalidation of each other - not making attempts to understand each other's points of view;  

Negative interpretation of neutral or positive events - when one person does or says something which is clearly meant to be neutral or even positive, but their partner interprets their intentions as being hostile or negative; and 

Avoidance and withdrawal from partner.

References: Markman, H.J., Floyd, F.J., Stanley, S.M., & Storaasli, R.D. (1988) Prevention of marital distress: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 56, 210-217; Markman, H., Stanley, S. and Blumberg, S. Fighting for Your Marriage: Positive Steps Preventing Divorce and Preserving a Lasting Love, 1994.

These research findings are very similar, despite completely different couples and research agendas. If you notice that your relationship is experiencing two or more of these signs, your relationship needs some extra help and attention. An ounce of prevention can save an incredible amount of emotional, financial and physical pain.
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Relationships: The 5 stages of decay"Just because the situation starts to spiral doesn't mean all is lost. Only by examining the situation can you begin to grow again."
I. Differentiation - Whereas you once made an effort to be seen as a couple, you now work to be seen as an individual. When conflicts arise between the two of you--or even when everything is okay--you focus on your differences, rather than similarities. We, Us, Ours -> I, Me, Mine

II. Circumscribing - Rather than continuing the same old fights, you avoid them. You're filled with an internal rage but as of this point, are not ready to vocalize the problem to others. You stop going out together as much, preferring time with your separate groups, and when you are together, the interaction is limited.

III. Stagnation- No growth, no real decay, just still. Same old, same old is now a little too old. Nothing seems to change, and your feelings are suspended mid-air, almost.

IV. Avoidance - **The Point of No Return** You physically go out of your way to avoid your partner. Being in the same room, perhaps living in the same home, becomes an impossibility as you become more likely to engage in bitter, heated arguments.

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Not all relationships are meant to be

What to do when the lows outweigh the highs

Not all relationships are meant to be. And it's much better to admit when it's run its course rather than squeeze out every last drop. If you've decided to call it a day then play fair and let your partner down honestly but gently. A definite goodbye will hurt but it will be easier all round if you are clear that the relationship is over.

Give some thought to how you are going to end the relationship. There are right ways and wrong ways and, although you may no longer care for the other person, don't humiliate or embarrass them. You liked them once and they deserve better. Think how you would like to be treated if the situation was reversed. You cannot be sure how they will react, and it may not be pretty, but knowing that you dealt with it decently will mean you won't be dwelling on your bad behaviour later on.

Some choose to end a relationship by text or email: before doing this, imagine how you would feel if somebody let you down in this way. It's difficult to break bad news but there is less confusion and upset if you give the other person a chance to air their thoughts back to you rather than delivering a one-way message. You don't have to get into a post-relationship analysis, and don't let them talk you round if you're sure finishing is the best thing, but face-to-face or over the phone shows a little more guts and respect.

If you opt to end it to their face then do consider where you'll do it. A public place may not be the best option if you think the other person is going to start crying or creating a scene; although if you are scared that they will take it very badly then you may feel safer with other people around.

It can be confusing if the person you thought you were seeing has simply stopped contacting you. The hardest thing about this kind of break up is not knowing what's going on. If your partner has quietly skulked off then you may end up making excuses for them: don't kid yourself that because you haven't verbally split up your relationship must still be okay. Be brave, pick up the phone and find out what's going on for sure. You don't deserve to be ignored! If the news is bad, at least you know where you stand and can move on. Asking or not asking them is not going to change the way they feel about you, while avoiding this conversation is only delaying any heartache.

The end of a relationship can leave you feeling miserable, even if you were the one doing the dumping.

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Top Tips for an Amicable Breakup
by Tigress Luv

1: If the two of you have children together, keep in mind that you will be in touch with each other until one of you dies. Never let your children see hostility, animosity, or any other bad feeling flow between you and your ex. Do not exchange unkind words with your ex in front of the children, and do not force your children to take sides. Never speak bad of your ex to your children! Your children have the right to reap the benefits of a joyous childhood.

2. The way you handle your breakup will make a huge impact on the rest of your life, and on any other future relationships you may have. If you have strong feelings of worthlessness, anger, resentment, hopelessness, or the inability to accept the breakup, professional counselling may be necessary to help you cope with and understand these emotions. 

3. Realize that you are in complete control of your responses and emotions to any situation. You have the ability to control your 'actions', simply by not allowing them to become 'reactions'.

4. Allow your grief to happen. Grief is not something you get over, it is something you get through. Cry if you feel sad. Punch your pillow. Call your mother, your best friend, or a close colleague and wail away. They'll understand.

5. Understand that most of your grief comes from the death of the dream of 'forever'. Replan your future and set some new and realistic goals to strive for.

6. Don't rush into dating again. When you were in your relationship you gave 'pieces' of yourself to your mate and to your relationship. Wait until you have regained all your pieces back before thinking about giving of yourself again in another relationship. Additionally, don't introduce new dates to your children right away. Make sure you have a solid relationship with another person before bringing them into your home and introducing them to your children. Children feel loss, too.

7. If you are getting a divorce, try to talk with your soon-to-be-ex regarding divorce settlements and visitation rights outside of your lawyers. Peaceful arrangements are much more rewarding to both you, your ex, and your children, than long, drawn-out  and bitter divorces.

8. Take good care of your health. I remember looking in the mirror a couple of months after my breakup and being shocked by the Zombie staring back at me. As hard as it may be at this trying time, please try to eat healthy, get adequate rest, and plenty of exercise.

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Recognizing Sour Relationships

Has your relationship turned a bit...sour? Do you recognize any of these symptoms?

  • Avoidance. Remember when you used to be each other's best friends, and you two spent every minute together?
  • Irritability. "I love you," once spoken softly, is now "what the *#@& did you say to me?!" "Leave me alone!" "You make me sick!" "I've had it!" "Get off my back, will you!" and even "I HATE YOU!"
  • Silence. Oh, argh! How many of us haven't resorted to the dreaded "silent treatment." We just clam up, stick our nose up in an apathetic air, and pretend like they don't even exist  - and, if they did exist, are not even worthy of our attention.
  • Enlisting allies. Yes, we turn family members, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances into our own personal army in our vendetta against them. We even view our therapists and counsellors as potential enlistees.
  • Threats. "I'm leaving you!" "I'll find another!" "Don't make me hurt you!"
  • Constant quarreling. Bickering back and forth. Often times neither party can even remember what the fight was about.
  • Feelings of being unloved. The biggest sign of a deteriorating relationship is suddenly noticing that you have become insecure. You feel neglected, unloved, unattractive, incompetent, and as though you could very easily be replaced by another. Often you may feel defensive, as though you have been singled out for attack.
These are just some of the signs of a deteriorating relationship
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There are certain signs that are present in almost every bad relationship

Chances are, if you're coming out of a relationship that ended up in a breakup, that you had pre-breakup foresights for which you had subconsciously selected to ignore. There are certain signs that are present in almost every bad relationship, sometimes we do not recognize them until after the relationship is completely over, after the grieving has finally passed, and when we begin to realize that we actually  are starting to feel fact, we feel BETTER THAN EVER!

By  going over this list, and being able to recognize the worst traits and characteristics in your ex, you will be able to see exactly where you were heading in your relationship. Friend, you deserve better than that!

Now many of you out there will say "Absolutely not. Our relationship was GREAT, then out of the blue they broke up with me." While it  may be likely that this could have been the case, more than likely there were signs of an impending breakup that you chose to not acknowledge. As I have stated before, these signs are often only recognizable once we are out of the relationship, moved passed the grief and started the healing process. We all of a sudden feel this enormous sense of relief! Like the clouds have parted, a ray of sunshine has sparked our souls and a heavy, leaden weight has been lifted off our backs. It is the most refreshing, cleansing, truly wonderful feeling!

That is when you can honestly recognize all those unheeded signs of your doomed relationship that you couldn't see before: Such as: Lack of energy and enthusiasm. Discouragement. Irritability with friends, co-workers, and family members. Avoidance, or dread, in seeing your significant other. Feelings that you gave more than you received. Being self-critical and suddenly lacking feelings of self-confidence. Doubting your adequacy, intelligence, or performance when in the presence of your significant other. Unexplained uneasiness or uncomfortable feelings when you were around your significant other. Feeling as if you were singled out for criticism, but rarely, if ever, acknowledged for things you did well. Feeling as though you had to consistently defend your actions. Feelings that your significant other purposely sponged up all the bad things about you, or your relationship--no matter how minute, no matter if your ex even had to invent problems. Feelings of resentment that others got better treatment, more respect, more time, and/or more positive attention than you from your significant other. Difficulty thinking straight, or focusing on your job. Frequent physical illnesses such as colds, flus, upset stomach, or headaches. Subconscious , or conscience, obsessive habits such as nail biting, over-eating, obsessive dieting, drinking, or drugs. Constant feelings of being forced to take the defense, the need to point out your side and point of view. Sudden, unexplained jealousy over inanimate, insignificant , or unwarranted objects such as his sports game, her hobbies, his interests, his friends, her family, or even their cat.

Hell, doesn't it feel good to be rid of these feelings!?

(Click here for more warning signs of the end of a relationship.)

Identifying your ex (and yourself).

The JUDGE. Continuously complains, advises, and finds fault.

The VICTIM. Sits on his pity-pot, wracked with sympathy for his "woe is me" life.

The KILLJOY. Constant spoilsport. Pessimistic and negative.

The PULVERIZER. Insensitive, arrogant, appears selfish, self-centered and extremely apathetic.

The NEWSMONGER. Rumors and gossip is this persons forte.

The DIRECTOR. A total control freak.

The ILLUSIONIST. Truly a falseheart. Back stabber. Tends to be two-faced, dishonest, and cunning.

The SNUB. Gives you the cold-shoulder. Aloof, disengaged, and distant. Avoids contact.

The CONTENDER.Consistently competing. Takes sides and keeps track tit for tat.

The OLYMPIC GAMER. Always striving for more, never satisfied. Pushes themself to the limit. Tends to over-work.

The JERK. Arrogantly makes crude suggestions. Flirtatious. Untrustworthy. Invading and harassing. Offensive. Unfaithful.

The SILLY PUTTY. Weak-kneed, mealymouthed. Overly eager to please. Can change entire persona to meet another's expectations.

The GREEN-EYED OGRE. Rages with envy. Jealous, over-possessive.Covetous of.

The BANG. Highly explosive personality. Seethes with rage. Easily riled.

The DOWNER. Constantly down-and-out. Needy. Suffocating. Soaks up all you have to give, and rarely, if ever, gives anything back.

The JUDGE. Perfectionalistic. Driven. Bossy. Judgmental. Superiority complex. Arrogant. Criticising. Draining. Instructing. Faultfinder. The Judge comes on as a know-it-all. You will feel like you are constantly being scrutinized. Every fault or flaw that could possibly exist the JUDGE will find it. The Judge tells you how to drive your car, how to change the baby, how to balance your checkbook, and even what clothes to wear. They talk to you as if you were 8-years-old and incapable of understanding beyond a second-grade level. The Judge complains about the way you clean, the way you do the laundry, the television programs you like. They drain you of your energy and make you feel defeated and inadequate. The Judge calls all the shots in your relationship. Their constant criticism will keep you on the defensive 24-seven. They are more like your boss, father, mother, or teacher, than your lover or best friend. Living forever with this person would be similar to spending the rest of your life as an inadequate child.

The VICTIM. Defeatist attitude. Passive. Self-blaming. Totally helpless. Irrational feelings of doom. Brooding. Gloomy. Worry wart. The VICTIM's life can tragically collapse over the simplest of things, such as spilling a glass of milk or forgetting to close the garage door. The Vicyim wallows in self-pity and pooh-poohs any advice of any kind. There is always a reason why a plan couldn't possibly work. The Victim worries over EVERYTHING, and often has insomnia.  They believe they are cursed. They often feel like they are utterly helpless. The VICTIM wouldn't dare risk entering any confrontation, or competition, because they already knows they would be defeated. Staying with the VICTIM will most assuredly drain you of every ounce of your energy. Your days will be cloudy, and your nights will be the dark before the gloom. Your total essence will disappear as you slowly become consumed from caring for this person.

The KILLJOY. Negative-minded. Cynicism. Pessimistic. Discounting. Deflating. Critical. Despondent. Passively hopeless. Rejecting. The KILLJOY will break your spirit and make you feel like "why bother?". They will thrive on bursting your bubble, or raining on your parade. If you want to go back to school The Killjoy will point out a hundred reasons why it wouldn't work. If The Killjoy gets a promotion they just know it's because their company is really planning on going under next spring. You most assuredly won't be able to enjoy a night out at the movies because they think it's a stupid flick and, anyway, they just have this nagging headache. You tend to hide your excitement over things because you know The Killjoy will deflate it in a minute flat. Throw any idea at them and they most likely will find a reason why it won't work. Living with this person would be like trudging through a maze of endless, wearisome dead-ends. Pretty soon your smile will fade and your shoulders will droop. And most assuredly all hope will fade and you will eventually lose your ability to dream. Staying with this person will guarantee you a life of sadness, misery, and drudgery.

The PULVERIZER. Bullying. Arrogant. Know-it-all. Self-righteous. Authoritive. Fiercely independent. Blaming others, not responsible for their own actions. Condescending. Users. Makes friends, or seeks out only those people, that may have something that The PULVERIZER thinks may be gainful to themself. Discards others needs or wants. Boisterous. Obstinate. Stubborn. Offensive and rude. Ignorant. The Pulverizer will always be in the drivers seat, and if you don't jump in quickly they will run right over you.  They are insensitive and will cut you to the bone with their rude insults. They are loud and often embarrassing. You feel that The Pulverizer doesn't really need you for anything, and you often feel unimportant, unappreciated, and easily replaceable. The Pulverizer tends to seek out and befriend only those for whom they believe may benefit them in their own personal gain. You tend to go out of your way to please this person. You feel they are overly judgmental of you and you often feel like a child around them. You have never won an argument, nor convinced this person that their point of view is not always necessarily the ONLY point of view. You are convinced that at any time this person could drop you like a hot potato and never look back. Their sports are more important than you. Their friends are too. And their hobbies. Their dog. Their car. Living with The PULVERIZER is the worst possible place to spend your life. You will never be right, never be special, and never be important. It's highly unlikely that this person will even notice you are there. You will spend your life hiding in the background, waiting and hoping that The PULVERIZER comes out of 'themself 'and notices you there. You will live all week long for that one-second of acknowledgement that The Pulverizer gives you, usually its just a pat on the head ( like you were a good-little-doggy) but by this time you are so starved for attention and acknowledgment that that one pat can melt your heart like an island of velvety roses.

The NEWSMONGER. Gossips. Talks too much. Nosy and intrusive. Lies for no apparent reason. Enjoys destroying others. Plastic and superficial. Self-righteous. The NEWSMONGER will always air every detail of your relationship to all those who will listen. You will feel as though there is nothing sacred or intimate left between you. They are so involved in everyone else's life they have no real clue as to what is actually going on in their own. The Newsmonger belittles you to others, and others to you. You feel you cannot trust them. You always feel like they are keeping a secret from you. If you live with The NEWSMONGER odds are you will never feel like you have a best friend, or confident in this person. You will never be able to share with this person your deepest feelings or emotions. You will feel denied the pleasure of having anyone to turn to, or lean on, and you will end up feeling alone and resentful. This person will never know how to have fun, and will only enjoy themself at the expense of yours and other people's lives.

The DIRECTOR. Offensive. Obstinate, they KNOW their way is the only right way. Intrusive. Obsessed with certain issues. Tries to change everyone around them. Demanding perfection both from themselves and others. Low tolerance to normal human mistakes. Over critical. Sulking and self-centered. Easily aggravated by unimportant issues. Demanding. Inflexible, and unyielding in their way of doing things. The DIRECTOR is an obnoxious control-freak. They want things done their way and do not tolerate well anyone who chooses not to do it their way. The DIRECTOR will constantly be angry with you for the most insignificant of things.  They will tell you what utensil to use when you are frying chicken. They will control the thermostat, the budget, the car maintenance schedule. The Director decides when you go to bed, what television shows you watch, and where you will go on your vacation. The Director tells you what to wear and whom you may associate with. They are the only one that knows how to do anything 'right' and they will never delegate responsibility comfortably to any other living being.  The Director obsesses with details and tends to be overly picky. They have every aspect of your relationship on an agenda, including retirement, child-raising, and residential locations. They have even scheduled your lovemaking. You are often taken back by their rude direct insults to your dress style, housecleaning, job performance, or choice of friends. The director demands from their children, much as a captain of a ship to his crew. Spending your life with The DIRECTOR would be like relinquishing your soul to them. There will be no negotiation in this type of relationship. It will always be their way or the highway. They will try to control every aspect of your life, leaving you with no self-respect, feelings of personal accomplishment, independence, or peace of mind.

The ILLUSIONIST. What you see is not what you get. The ILLUSIONIST is a backstabber. They are deceitful. Conniving. Revengeful. The Illusionist is prone to a passive-aggressive type of personality that will most likely make you want to scream. Just when you think they are smiling and supportive, you find out they are really resentful and angry. The Illusionist tends to be vindictive, and you often feel as though you've been betrayed. You find that you can't ever feel comfortable or trust this person. You feel like they could and would walk all over you if it meant they were attaining their own goals. If you spend your life with this person you most likely will be constantly watching your back. There is an old saying that goes "sleep with your eyes open". Living with the The ILLUSIONIST will base importance on that saying. You will never be able to relax and feel safe or comfortable with this person.

The SNUB. They are impersonal. Indifferent. Excluding.Withdrawn and secretive. Often gives you the cold-shoulder or silent treatment. Shows an apparent lack of emotion. Unresponsive. Rejecting. The SNUB shows little personal interest in your life. You feel as though they are pushing you away or trying to brush you off. The Snub tends to be cliquish. You often feel rejected, and held at arms-length. They tend to withdraw from you and you find you cannot depend on them for anything. They are unresponsive to your needs and wants. Living with this person means living a lonely existence, where you are consistently on the begging end of the relationship. You need and crave love, acceptance, and attention and The SNUB will not be able to deliver those vital needs to you. You will always be wondering what you did wrong and never truly will you feel like you belong or fit in this person's life.

The CONTENDER. Competitive and overly ambitious. Assertive. Envious. Relentless in their pursuit of a goal. Workaholic. An individualist who considers themself apart from all others. Always trying to one-up on others. Grandstanding and boastful. Strategically plans their life as if it were one great big chess game. Tries to win through intimidation. Poor loser. You consistently feel that you have to impress The CONTENDER. They never celebrate your successes but yet you must repeatedly listen to their constant barrages of every achievement they have ever made. They keep score of who has done what in your relationship. Being in a relationship with The CONTENDER is like running a marathon. You will never win an argument. You will never achieve the same level as 'their greatness'. They will wear you out and intimidate you. You eventually will lose your own identity, and subconsciously succumb to their constant demand for acknowledgement of their performances and accomplishments. If you write a short story they will one-up you by writing a novel. You will most likely feel empty after sex with this person, as they inevitably will make sex into an olympic accomplishment of their stamina and expertise, and less an act of love and sharing. You will forever spend your life in intimidation, forcing praises of their accomplishments. Life with this person will be lonely and exhausting, living in the frigid cold of their shadow.

The OLYMPIC GAMER is much like The CONTENDER. They are a tireless workhorse. Driven. Smug in their expertise of certain matters. Never satisfied, always striving for more. Impatient and demanding. Over reacts to their own failures or shortcomings. Restless and agitated. Intimidating. As with The CONTENDER, The OLYMPIC GAMER will wear you out. They will bring their job home from work and you will feel as though you have disappeared into the background. They will ignore you and throw themself into activities, work, or outside hobbies with a vengeance. The OLYMPIC GAMER never seems to be able to relax and you constantly feel uncomfortable, as though you need to entertain them, amuse them, or keep their activity level at a high. You feel like they look down their nose at you for not being as driven. Living your life with this person will be like living in a continuous roller coaster of upheaval and commotion. You will never feel like you can relax. You will feel unimportant and left-out. In the end you will feel defeated and exhausted  from trying to please The OLYMPIC GAMER.

The JERK. Sly. Vain. Overly flirtatious. Always needs to be in the spotlight. Zeroes in on your vulnerability. Power hungry. Opportunistic. Flattering. Over conscious of their clothing attire and image. Flashy. No doubt if you have lived with The JERK you have caught them in the act of lustful leering. They may or may not have confessed to numerous affairs but you can never really quite feel like they are, or have been, monogamous. When out together with this person you subconsciously scan the room for other members of the opposite sex so you can immediately sum up your competition and know who to watch for. They call every member of the opposite sex that they have ever met by their first name. Even if it was only briefly at the Quickie Mart. You sometimes feel embarrassed or offended by their inappropriate remarks of you or others. Living with this person would be like falling asleep on the edge of a cliff. You will never feel safe, comfortable, or good enough. You will feel like you have to constantly measure up, and their need for attention and affirmation will be exhausting. That nagging feeling that they might leave you for another will drain your smile and leave you feeling unloved, unattractive, and insecure. You will never feel quite good enough, as this person will suck the life out of you in their constant search for approval and attention.

The SILLY PUTTY. Superagreeable. Undependable. Overly attached. Compliant. Insecure. Self-blaming. Zeroing in on innocent criticism. Plastic and superficial. Phony. They are like a chameleon that will often change to suit their surroundings. Chances are if you are living with The SILLY PUTTY you sometimes wonder if they have a mind of their own. You feel like you have become this he-is-she unified creature. You find you have to constantly reassure them of your love . You carefully select your words before you speak because they are overly sensitive, taking things way to personally, and they get 'hurt feelings' easily. They are just too damn agreeable and it makes you want to scream. Just once you want an assertive PERSON in bed that is wild with desire for you. Living your life with The SILLY PUTTY would be like living your life in love with yourself. This person has no identity or mind of their own. They have no character. They laugh if you think it's funny. They dislike broccoli because you dislike it. They never make decisions. They'll promise you anything because they are super agreeable, let they  never deliver. You cannot rely on them for anything. You will begin to feel suffocated. You will never be able to sit back in the passenger seat and enjoy the ride, because you will always do the driving. Basically this person is silly putty, absorbing the image of all those they come in contact with.

The GREEN-EYED OGRE. Unsupportive and hurtful. Always angry. Overly competitive. Greedy. Insecure. Low self-esteem. Jealous. Insulting. The GREEN-EYED OGRE constantly compares themself to others. You will find them demeaning , unsupportive, or belittling of your accomplishments. In time you will learn to hide your accomplishments. They find fault in your job, your successes, your accomplishments, your dress style, etc.  They tend to be overly boastful of their accomplishments, and they never let you forget them. The GREEN-EYED OGRE is insecure and non-trusting. They accuse you having affairs outside of the relationship and can dwell on this possibility for endless hours. If you are five-minutes late they demand to know where you were. The GREEN-EYED OGRE insults and cuts down your friends, family, and coworkers. Living with this person will be like walking on eggshells. The GREEN-EYED OGRE can be intimidating and scary. The GREEN-EYED OGRE can often turn physically abusive because they feel the need to 'put you back in your place', which, of course, is beneath them.

The BANG. Emotionally unstable. Questioning of others motives, cynical. Overly critical. Untrusting. Rude, sometimes making callous comments to others that you find embarrassing. Revengeful. Plotting. Selfish. If you do The BANG wrong, even unintentionally, you can most assuredly expect them to 'get back at you'. You are afraid of this person's temper and it doesn't take much to make them explode and send them into a rampage. You find The BANG has very little empathy for others, and often thinks that people are out to get them. They often have a short fuse and the slightest of setbacks can make this person dangerously explosive. The BANG tends to not trust you and is often suspicious of your actions. They question where you were and who you were with. You have caught them going through your drawers, your purse, your wallet, your pockets, your personal journal. Living with this person would be a life of non-stop tension. You will never be able to relax and will subconsciously find yourself sugar-coating everything you say less you set them off. You will find yourself purposely hiding things from them because you just know "they wouldn't understand". You will be scared to go out with your friends after work, or defy their demands.

The DOWNER. Clingy. Needy. Suffocating. Scared. Guilt-inducing. Consumed by themselves and their own needs. Stifling. Crisis-orientated. The DOWNER can drag you down. You sometimes feel like they are attached to you at the hip and you start to feel suffocated. You feel like they are sponging the life right out from you. Your relationship with The DOWNER never seems to be heading anywhere. You feel guilty when you say no to The DOWNER. Living with The DOWNER will be liking surrendering your total existence to keeping their head above water. They will always have a crisis. They will never notice you or your life as they are so totally absorbed in their own problems. The DOWNER can't be left alone for one minute, and the minute you walk in the door their helplessness will consume your every nerve. They will drain you, slowly, inch by inch, until you feel you have nothing left to give, then The DOWNER will work on your sense of guilt making you feel like the lowest creature-form on this planet for abandoning them in their hour of need. Every hour is an hour of need to them. They feel they have one constant crisis after another and they may cling to you. If you are looking for a knight in shining armour you better look the other way, you'll never find it in The DOWNER.

Most of us will find some similarities either with our own selves, or our exes, and some of the characters listed above. Some of our exes may have only a few of those traits, but I bet that the majority of us can pick out one, or two,  particular characters above that sums up our exes to a tee. (Mine was The PULVERIZER.) I hope that if you found yourself decribed in any of the above that you will seek ways to improve upon yourself. (Please see tips/links for emotional health and self-help at Verve! Online)

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Improve Your Communication Skills

by Geri Forsberg, Phd

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you couldn't communicate? That means no tone of voice, no body language or facial expressions, no words, no alphabet. Nothing.

Effective skills in communication are necessary to maintain and increase the quality of our lives and our relationships. If we can't communicate effectively, we will be led in a direction we don't want to go. We all have misunderstandings within our relationships. And it would be very easy to become confused, frustrated and disappointed simply because we are unable to communicate appropriately.

Broken and difficult relationships can be avoided by understanding the principles of communication, and the pitfalls we encounter.

When we know and understand the process of communication, we can actively implement the principles, hone our skills, avoid the problems and become the effective communicators that we all desire to be.

The language we use to symbolize reality is incomplete.

We will always leave something out when we're retelling a story because we can never say everything about something. And the words we choose to describe something are not reality. They are our understanding of reality.

Do you remember the telephone game from elementary school? One child whispered a message to the next, who then passed it on down the line. By the time the message was spoken aloud at the end of its trip, it varied immensely. Why? Because each child understood the message differently and passed on what she thought were the important details.

How do we avoid the pitfall of miscommunicating reality?

Be careful in the words you choose. Be sure they symbolize what you really mean. And when you're communicating with someone, ask questions to clarify what the person really intends to say. If you are unsure about what your colleague means when he tells you he doesn't feel well, ask. Find out what his reality is.

What do you do if someone gets angry at you and says, "You're all alike. I just can't stand it." The simplest and most natural thing to do is to react because she is angry. But imagine what would happen if you ask a simple question like, "What do you mean, we're all alike? What can't you stand?" Those questions and a few extra minutes allows the angry person to elaborate on her sentiments and inform you directly what is the matter. Then you can respond more appropriately.

We all see the world differently.

How we encounter the world has been influenced by who we are, our backgrounds, our education, our values and beliefs, our needs, positions, jobs, and more. In other words, we each see the world through our own set of lenses.

To become better at communicating, and to understand others' perceptions, we need to ask questions. We need to listen. Learn to delay your reaction until you have more information so you don't form inaccurate assumptions.

In the real world everything is extremely complex. With language, we simplify it by categorizing our words and ideas, and often the categories are either/or opposites.

In the process of simplifying things, we omit details, forget differences, ignore uniquenesses, and eliminate the various levels of meaning. When we view life through such a narrow spectrum, thinking that life is as simple as an "either/or" situation, communication breakdowns are bound to occur.

So, to guard against these pitfalls, we need to develop an open mind with each other and within our relationships. If you believe that reality is as simple as hot or cold, then you can only accept someone and accept what they say or you have to reject that person and reject what they say. However, if you have an open mind, you have more options.

In the real world everything occurs within a context.

We have probably all been misunderstood or had misunderstandings when something has been taken out of its original context.

Although we don't fully understand how much our environment influences us, we need to consider that when we communicate. We must be able to understand the context of our own communication. And we must understand that every message we receive has its own context. By understanding these foundational principles of communication, we can avoid and even solve our communication woes.

With those principles in mind, here are five things you can begin to do today to help you become a better communicator:

  1. Ask questions. Don't assume you understand what a person means. Once you ask a few questions, it doesn't take long to really find out what she really means.

  2. Listen. To become a better communicator, you must be willing to listen so you can understand the other person's perspective.

  3. Observe and be willing to verify the information you receive.

  4. Let people know what you are thinking by sharing it. By disclosing information about yourself, it aids the other person in understanding who you are and how you are understanding them.

  5. Remember that love covers a multitude of sins. If your motives are wanting to understand people and accept them for who they are, then communication will be easier. But if you set out to convince them that your way is the right way, then that's not communication. And that's not love.

Take some time to think about a specific communication problem (difficulty, challenge) you have had recently or in the past.

  1. In a few sentences, describe the problem.

  2. In what environment (context) did this communication problem occur? (home, extended family, workplace, other)

  3. Was the communication problem resolved? If so, was it resolved to everyone's satisfaction? How was the communication problem resolved?

  4. What principles of communication could help you with this situation or other communication challenges in the future?

Now ask yourself some tough questions about how you communicate.

  • Am I seeking to understand the person?

  • Am I listening and really hearing what he is saying?

  • Am I expressing my own point of view so she understands what I mean?

  • Is there anything I'm doing in my nonverbal communication (tone of voice, body language, etc.) that I don't intend to communicate?

  • Am I making a quick judgement without examining the facts?

  • Am I trying to see things from many different angles or am I just looking at things in an either/or fashion?

  • Am I adjusting my own communication patterns to suit the person I'm dealing with?

Developing your communication skills and abilities is a lifelong process. Throughout our lives we are faced with challenges in communicating effectively. You can learn to be a more effective communicator by:

  1. Observing and imitating excellent communicators.

  2. Learning from your own and others' mistakes.

  3. Developing a conscious awareness of communication habits, patterns, styles, strengths, weaknesses.

  4. Applying principles of effective communication.

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  Communication That Really Improves Relationships
by Alina Ruigrok

Communication is something we all know is necessary to keep any relationship strong and loving, and although we are aware of the importance of communication, we still seem to be clueless about what exactly good communication really is. This does not mean you are clueless as a person, but it does mean that more attention is required on your part, so that you can become more open and invite the many forms of communication that exist, so that you will be able to understand yourself and your partner much better. There is nothing that keeps a relationship healthy, better than understanding and once you start becoming more familiar with your communicating styles, as well as your partners, you will be able to work better as a team in making the best of your relationship.

The first step in achieving better communication that will really work, is to take a look at you first. People always tend to turn to their partner first when things are not running so smoothly in their relationship. They automatically start pointing out what their partner is doing or not doing, as well as how their partner is not listening to them. This may all be true depending on your particular situation, but it is important that you take the responsibility in reviewing your own actions and communication first, before you can point anything out in your partner. Remember, it is very easy to see other people's mistakes, but when it comes to looking at you, it is much harder to accept criticism, even from yourself- because no one wants to be wrong. This is where you need to get real about things. Communication is not about who is right or wrong, but instead about helping each other see things from each other's perspective, so that you can be on the page and avoid any misunderstanding that will cause unneeded arguments.

Get winning out of your mind. So many couples claim to have tried communication, but it does not seem to work. If this is your case, then the best thing would be to slow down, calm down and take a few steps back. Perhaps communication is not working for your relationship, but what method of communication are you using? You see, communication itself cannot be the problem or the ineffective ingredient, because communication is the main key to a healthy relationship, so it must be the way you and your partner are communicating. When you or your partner talks to each other, do one or both of you talk to win the conversation, or to actually reach a level of understanding of each other's needs and wants? Believe it or not, it is very common for people to focus on being right and trying to convince their partner of seeing things their way, instead of just sharing what they think and feel so their partner can understand what they mean and what they need.

Listening is so important if you truly wish to accomplish good communication that will improve your relationship. Are you really listening to what your partner is saying to you, or are you waiting to get things off you chest and make your points? Listening may sound like an easy enough thing to do, but many confuse it with hearing. Hearing what your partner is saying versus listening to them, are indeed very different. Listening involves true dedication and your full attention to the words your partner is serving to you, as well as the tones and expressions that go along with those words. Listening means that you are interested in learning more about what your partner is making an effort to tell you and making the emotional connection needed in order to achieve your relationship goals together. Keep in mind that when in a relationship, all communication between partners has to be open, honest, non-judgmental and patient, if you are to succeed and maintaining a happy and healthy relationship.

Communication is not so complicated, once you understand what the right way communicating is, and of course- what methods of communication works for you and your communication best. Effective communication cannot happen on it's own or with the efforts of only one person. Both you and your partner have to be open and willing to work as a team on improving the way you communicate, so that you both can enhance your relationship skills and build a relationship where you both will have an understanding of who you are as individuals and what you both need and want. Just remember to stay real with yourself and avoid painting a foggy and falsified picture- so that you will never be caught off guard with nay-painful surprises or stressful misunderstandings.

Alina Ruigrok is an independent relationship expert

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Letting go of a broken relationship that does not nourish us: the why and how

Most people have relationships in their past that didn't work. Most people have one such relationship that is very hard to let go of. This type of a relationship will be covered in the next two columns.

There are two points to look at when we can not let go of a relationship in our past. When our partner was at their best, they met all of our needs. They were a perfect fit for us in our mind. If they could be the way they were with us 100% of the time, rather then 10% or 20 %, we would be in love forever. The times that they were everything we needed are very hard to let go of. We have been looking for that kind of a match all of our lives.

Here was a person who could meet our needs the way we wanted. We knew they could, because they had. But they wouldn't. We wanted to make them. We did everything possible to make them be the way we wanted them to be 100% percent of the time. We sent them to therapy, we talked to them. We used all of the tricks in the book to evoke the behaviors we craved. 

Finally we left the relationship. We knew we deserve better than just some percentage of what we wanted. But the attachment to our ex-partner lingers. It lingers because we never succeeded in making them fulfill our needs completely. This means we failed. It also lingers because we are angry that they had what we wanted and would not give it to us. For an explanation of the dynamic around the sense of failure please see column #1.

Let's talk about the issues of anger. Have you ever been in a situation when someone has something you want but won't give it to you? As far as you can see, it would be very simple for him or her. It may look like they are not doing what you want for no reason, just to be difficult, or to spite you. How do you feel in that kind of a situation? Most people would feel very angry, at least initially. They may also find that their mind will go over the situation again and again. Same thing happens in relationships. Because your partner had what you wanted, could clearly provide it, and yet did not, you find you are angry. You may also find you are repetitively thinking about him or her. Anger is a great way to stay connected to someone, albeit not a positive way. When we are angry at something or someone it overtakes our whole life, it becomes our god. Anger will permeate every interaction and activity we are involved in. This is one reason we find our past relationships hard to let go of.

There is also another reason why it's hard to let go of this type of a relationship. It is possible that the person we were involved with truly had great qualities. Perhaps with them we had truly an incredible connection. Maybe they loved us even more than we loved them. They may still love us. The only problem in the relationship was that they could only love a part of the time. The rest of the time, they acted hurtfully toward us. And yet it is very difficult to discount and throw away the connection that we had. It is even more difficult if they are still in our circle of friends. And more difficult still when we interact with the wonderful, caring side of them.

All this pulls at our heart. It throws us back in to the dynamic of anger. It also catapults us in to grief. The grief is about a relationship that has died with a person that we truly love who is alive. It is so much easier to let go of someone when it is clear they don't care about us. It may even be easier to let go of someone that dies, because there is nothing that can be done. But to let go of someone that is well and alive and loves us is an incredible task. Yet let go we must if our partner is not willing to meet our needs. And if we are ever to be fulfilled in any relationship, we must complete with our past partner.
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Why Do We Hurt the One We Love?

One of the most common (and most frustrating) relationship dynamics that we hear about is couples who feel emotionally wounded by each other on a regular basis. They both love each other, and want to stay together, yet they keep hurting each other through verbal abuse, physical rejection, taking each other for granted, betraying emotional trust, or bringing up the most vulnerable topics from their partner's past. This is a such a common phenomenon that it became the focus of the famous 1944 song by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher, "You Always Hurt the One You Love", with this bizarre last line: "So if I broke your heart last night, it's because I love you most of all." Huh? That's clearly not love.

Why do we do this? We hurt the one we love for several reasons:

1) Unconscious re-creation of emotional trauma - we all experience various degrees of emotional hurt and trauma growing up. Unfortunately, we form part of our identities around whatever we experience, be it love, distance, drama, or verbal or physical abuse. As adults, we may feel most alive or most like ourselves when we are feeling the same way we did as children, and so we may do things unconsciously to get our partner to trigger those feelings. For example, a person who grew up with a lot of distance may feel uncomfortable with closeness, and may sabotage it by picking fights or avoiding intimacy. Or a person who grew up in a chaotic, dramatic home may be uncomfortable with harmony and quiet and always seem to trigger chaos or drama in their relationships.

Also, as adults, our fantasy is that we will find a person who will finally give us the love we never got as children. If we can't get the love from our original parent or caretaker, the next best thing is to get the love from someone who has a very similar personality to the person we originally feel wounded by. We'll generally feel a lot of attraction, chemistry and intensity in our love with such adult partners, due to the interlocking nature of our emotional baggage.

But what we may not realize though, is that this person that we fall in love has the perfect tools and personality to emotionally re-create our childhood hurts. After the initial infatuation wears off and we are in a deeper, committed relationship, their fears (and ours) often get activated. And when they get afraid, they will strike out in exactly the same way that our parents or caretakers did. The result? We get wounded again. Only now it's worse, because the very person who we hoped could give us the love we never got, is hurting us. Not because they 'love us most of all', but because they are unaware of their own unconscious defenses.

2) We lack the knowledge and skills of how to communicate our feelings constructively - many people may realize how they hurt their partners, and feel like they want to change that behavior, but simply not know how to change, or how to communicate what they are feeling in a constructive manner. Our culture does very little to teach us how to relate to our own feelings, and how to communicate those feelings to others in a safe, healthy way. Men especially may feel uncomfortable dealing with feelings of fear or vulnerability and may feel safer expressing anger or control when they are really scared.

So what can we do to stop hurting the one we love? We all have to take responsibility for getting clear and resolving our own emotional hurts from the past. We need to learn how to make it safe for our partners to express how they feel. We need to learn how to create a loving presence where we genuinely listen and validate our partners' experience. We need to learn how to express feelings in ways that bring us closer, not in ways that create more distance and hurt. We may need to do some work together to understand how and why we trigger each other to lash out in hurtful and destructive ways. We need to respect the fact that in an intimate committed relationship, we have access to the most private and vulnerable aspects of each other's lives. We need to treat that as a sacred privilege that we relate to with the utmost respect, not as an entitlement to trample upon for our own ego gratification.

We are all on a journey of awakening, and intimate relationships provide us with a powerful opportunity to see ourselves and our psychological and spiritual lessons more clearly. We can hide from ourselves, from our therapists, from our bodies, from our spiritual teachers and from our friends, but we cannot hide from the one we love and who loves us. All of our stuff will eventually come to light through this mysterious and wonderful process we call love. And when it does, we can choose to defend, judge, attack and run away. Or we can choose to be present, to look inside with acceptance and love for ourselves, and to feel gratitude that this aspect of ourselves has revealed itself. Then can we clearly see that any part of ourselves that hurts others is simply a part of ourselves that needs more love. From this perspective, we hurt the one we love so that we can learn to love ourselves and others more unconditionally, more deeply, and more completely. And by loving and healing ourselves, we ultimately heal our partners' wounds as well, because we make it safer for them to fully be who they are, and to experience the deeper Oneness and magic that only love can bring to our lives

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Relationship Break Up

Relationship break up can be tough to deal with. If your relationship has become serious, but you can't decide if your heart is in it for the long haul, ask yourself the following questions to make sense of the situation.

Difficulty: Hard

Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

1.   Does the good outweigh the bad?
Make a list of all the things you like about your partner versus
things that could doom the relationship . Don't just see which list is longer. Instead decide which items are most important on each list and determine if you can live with the negatives.

2.   Will you achieve long-term happiness?
Picture yourself with this person one year from now, five years, ten years, fifty years. Do you foresee a
future of happiness or constant heartache?

3.   Is anybody else out there?
Consider colleagues, friends, acquaintances, anyone in your circle of contacts. Do you deep down prefer one of these people over your current partner? Do you value the chance to
meet someone new over sticking it out?

4.   Does your partner put you first?
Does he or she at least treat you equally? If not, you may be in for disappointment down the road.

5.   Do you ultimately trust your partner?
If you have major character questions and trust issues, this is a clear indication that the relationship either needs major work or should be ended.

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Essense of Infidelity
By  Susan Sheppard
  On one very popular web site there were 260 posts from both sexes commenting about forgiving and forgetting infidelities. I read every one of them. With one exception, the perception conveyed was that one party was an innocent victim of the other’s philandering. It seemed to me that everyone was looking at adultery as a cause of marital discord. From my perspective, there are only rare exceptions to the fact that adultery, cheating, or affairs are SYMPTOMS of long standing marital problems. The cause occurred possibly even before the marriage vows were uttered.

Let’s go back to the beginning of a relationship. What really happens before two people decide to get married? They have been dating and checking each other out. You all know that women do the choosing. Men respond to a woman’s signals and a relationship moves forward at a pace governed by the woman’s appetite. So how does a couple who is totally in love and committed to each other end up in the predicament dictated by an affair?

I think the predicament results from the general consensus of opinions and expectations generated by a marriage. In all of the posts that I read it seemed that "being married" automatically presupposed that fidelity is the most precious aspect of the marriage. It appears that everything that could go wrong would be tolerated, everything except infidelity. I do not support tolerating infidelity. What I’m wondering is what are the reasons that people actually get married? Do they get married because they are in love? Want to have sex? Want exclusivity? Want emotional, financial, sexual security? Want to have children? It seems like the thing to do? Or do they get married because they have found someone with whom they are career compatible, financially balanced, sexually attracted, intellectually well-matched, culturally congenial, religiously aligned, madly in love, with whom they want to procreate and raise children according to mutually agreeable standards? Do all people get married for the same reasons? I don’t think so.

I believe that some people get married for love, some for lust, some for status, some for money, some for security, some for convenience, some to have children, some looking for parental guidance, some for business reasons etc. etc. And if that is true, why is it that everyone who gets married expects adherence to the same standards as far as fidelity is concerned? The expectation seems to be that everyone gets married for passionate, romantic love and fidelity is the highest value of marriage.

I don’t presume to have all the answers, but possibly some suggestions as to the seeds of infidelity. Let’s start with a couple who declare that they are in love and want to commit to each other. They are starry eyed and the state of "in love" creates a certain blindness and denial especially when this person seems to be almost perfectly aligned with the important values you have designated to be essential in the person you are going to marry. So this person lies to you about something or breaks a promise to you, or does something that totally violates your ethics, but you love him/her and he/she is so perfect otherwise. It’s just a small thing and you can certainly tolerate a little thing like that. After all, you are getting married and that means you can work it out. Love conquers all. Here is the problem. Love doesn’t solve anything. People come to agreement or negotiate boundaries and decide to be together because they want to be together. They choose marriage. I think the rules of marriage and the boundaries that each couple wants to live by must be negotiated. Obviously each and every scenario cannot be discussed ahead of time, but the individual standards of each partner in each marriage must be decided prior to the vows. When a woman/man settles (that includes compromises, tolerates, sells out) on a value that is significant to her/him, the bond is compromised. It makes it okay to do it again, whatever "it" is.

According to the Man/Woman Strategy that I subscribe to, women have the power in relationship and their job is to provide appetite, which challenges the man who loves her to produce results. The man who wants to please his woman will produce those results as long as she believes in him and respects him as the producer. The other component in this neat little package is the sex. Men will do anything for sex. Women love sex as much as men do; it’s just not socially acceptable for them to say so. Men get their pleasure from a woman’s pleasure and "most women lie to men about their satisfaction" which leads to the giant gap in the presumption that marriage presumes passionate, romantic love and fidelity are the highest values. Women on the whole are not able to maintain the level of energy and self esteem necessary to always validate for a man what sexually satisfies her. Thus the communication regarding sex gets distorted. Men, unless someone instructs them, can not be expected to know what areas of a woman’s body are responsive to erotic touch. It’s different for every woman (man too). So here’s what happens. Women get pregnant. Pregnancy creates enormous changes in a woman’s body and physiology, which at times do not make sex appealing. Women become mothers. Parenting, especially mothering is a 24-hour job, which includes massive sleep deprivation, and instincts, which consume even the most, prepared. Generally, both men and women have jobs, which consume time and energy. Women also feel responsible for the upkeep of the home. Not that men do not, but somehow for a woman five million years of homemaking has become instinctual. So what does this entire story mean? It means life gets in the way of relationship and unless some time and energy is devoted to the relationship as an entity, that state of "in love" that everyone marries into will disintegrate.

There are exceptions, but generally speaking most people do not intend to cheat on their spouse after the wedding nor do they intentionally pursue an affair. So here is how an affair begins. One or the other partner is not getting his/her needs met for whatever reasons. That person encounters someone at work, or at a party, or in the neighborhood, who notices him/her and sees something that attracts. There is nothing like a flirtation to restore a sense of self-esteem. Initially, the married person resists but enjoys the attention. That person then goes home to his/her spouse and hints that he/she needs more attention. The spouse at home who assumes that because they are married, everything is great and there is always time for taking care of the spouse later, ignores the hint That, my friends, is the beginning of the affair. When one partner seeks emotional or physical or intellectual support from someone of the opposite sex outside of the marriage, the seeds have been sown.

The marriage is taken for granted. The almighty wedding ring is supposed to be able to bind people to their vows automatically. This is the false presumption that leads us to the incorrigible statistic that 80% of marriages are affected by infidelity. Marriage doesn’t work by itself. It takes two people who pay attention to each other’s needs. It takes two people who believe in each other and validate each other. It takes two people who want to love each other and who continually approve of each other which allows the vulnerability necessary to be honest about their personal needs.

What should be done about reversing this destructive trend? Marriage encounters? Premarital counseling? Relationship coaching? Pre-marital coaching would be best. Determine if the person you are marrying meets your standards and that you are not just settling because he/she is almost what you want and you might not find anyone better. Second best would be to stop an affair before it happens. This could be accomplished by paying attention to your relationship and not taking anything for granted. Decreasing the number of affairs would probably make a difference in the divorce rate. Preventative would seem to be preferable, but some people need to get hit by a board before they wake up and realize they are in jeopardy. Ideas are welcome. What do you think are the cause and effect of infidelity?

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The Most Basic Law of Respect in Sex

Whoever is going the fastest must slow down and go as slow as the slowest one, or there can be no healthy progress. Breaking that law is called date-rape. The person doing it often calls the victim frigid. The consequences of breaking the law range from alienation to a prison sentence.

There are exceptions to every law...but very few.

Some other assorted laws....

  • The more friendship you give - the more romance you'll get.
  • The more romance you give - the more friendship you'll get.
  • The more certain you are - the less certain they become.
  • The less certain you are - the more certain they become.
  • The slower you go - the better it takes.

If romance is giving you more pain than pleasure for longer than a month, either you're doing something wrong or you're doing it with the wrong one. Change something now.

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The Eight Faces of Infatuation. It is appropriate for this time of year because besides the spring, when love is in the air, the holidays are the time single people are most likely to be on the prowl for a significant other. Eric Orner skillfully describes, pictorially of course, each of the stages of infatuation.

1. Wanting – there he is, in all his glory. The man of your dreams just walked into Starbucks looking like the angel sent from heaven that he is. Tall, dark, handsome and he knows how to order a Double Tall Sugar-Free Peppermint Organic Non Fat Two Splenda Mocha like a pro! He shoots you a smile that makes your heart melt like chocolate on Smores over a campfire. You want him and if someone has to die for you to get him – well, sometimes sacrifices must be made.

2. Needing – It isn’t that you really want him; you need him. With a smile like that, how could your family not love him and accept him (and your relationship) over the Thanksgiving turkey. Not to mention that his picture could finally replace that old magazine clipping you had skillfully filled the “Perfect Boyfriend” frame with so many years ago. He had you at “are you using the cinnamon” – the first words he ever spoke directly to you while making eye contact. Let’s face it, he completes you!

3. Lusting – Not only is he the perfect man on paper, in the coffee shop, and at your family’s house, but he is clearly the object of your nighttime fantasies. Just the thought of his gorgeous shoulders, perfect pecs, chiseled jaw line, and spectacular butt stirs the manliness inside you and more than once! If only he knew how you longed for him and lusted for him he would welcome the explosive, sensational, and mind blowing sex you dreamed you two could have every night!

4. Longing – Though lusting is time consuming and not unpleasant, it does get a little lonely spending every night at the coffee shop waiting for him to come in. Especially when he can only see you every other time. After all if he knew that you thought of him, daydreamed of him, planned your future with him every second of the day he wouldn’t confuse your love with stalking… but better safe than sorry.

5. Hungering – Well somewhere after lusting and longing your need for this man finally becomes a thirst that must be quenched and a feeling deep in the pit of your gut that, if not fulfilled, will eventually eat away at you. So you meet him and just like in your fantasy it is explosive, mind blowing, and hungry animalistic sex. The throes of passion are literally throws, tosses, turns, twists, acrobatics, even some yoga-like tantric positions that even you never thought you could do. It is, simply, the best ever.

6. Pining – You only thought you were thinking about him too much before. Now it is twice every second of the day. “I love him, I think…” “I miss him so much.” “That is crazy you barely know this guy.” “But he is so fine and so good in bed.” “Not to mention how great he looks in a sweater.” “Or out of a sweater!” Like Sybil, your split personality converses back and forth, contemplating your future, your next encounter, and what the heck his last name was. But no matter what, you must have him again and again and again.

7. Clinging – You had a good run. Sex with this guy was beyond belief all twelve times you did it in four days. But he isn’t really “into dating” and maybe you can “hook up again sometime.” All of a sudden tears well up in your eyes and you throw yourself in front of the door. Doesn’t he know how much you care? That you are knitting him a stocking so he doesn’t feel left out on Christmas morning at your parent’s house? Could he even be serious? Over? Before it had even begun? Same old story you have heard a hundred times: Boy meets boy. Boy has mind boggling crazy-awesome sex with boy. Boy gets dumped. Boy begs to be given a chance but boy leaves again. Boy stalks boy. Boy gets slapped with a restraining order. The vicious cycle goes on and on.

8. Denying – The saddest part of all, denial. Not just a long river my friends. He must love you; he can’t really want you to stay at least 200 feet away from him at all times. Can he really think that is “his Starbucks?” Yes my friend, it is over and you aren’t letting go. Get your latte someplace else from now on and for the love of Peter, Paul, and Mary, be more careful next time!

So this holiday season, no matter if you are dealing with the eight faces of infatuation, the six stages of love, the five phases of a break up, the four crazy in-laws, the three wicked step children, the two insane exes (who are now a couple), or one loveable partner, remember that life is too short not to enjoy whatever is on your plate.
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You are listening to TEMPTATION by Billy Joel

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