How Do You Know If He’s Bad for You?

how to know if you're in a bad relationshipEvery group of friends has one:

The girl who doesn’t see the warning signs about the guy she’s with.

She’s so happy to be with him that you can’t say anything. You exchange concerned glances with other friends, but you know the rules. It’s not your place to comment.

Besides, maybe you don’t know him as well as she does. There must be something good about him.

But still…

You’re just waiting for the fall. For the day she calls you up and tells you she needs you to come over right away, because something REALLY bad has happened. You’re going to be there for her when that day comes. And then you’re finally going to tell her the truth about what you knew all along.

What you never expected was this phone call…

“Guess what?!” Her voice is the most excited you’ve ever heard. “We’re getting married!”

Whether a relationship is healthy or not doesn’t matter to someone in love.

When you love someone, all you know is that you want to be with him. You want to make it work no matter what. If things get hard, you work harder. Obstacles only strengthen your resolve.

It’s not my job to tell people whether they should split up or stay together. What I think of someone’s relationship isn’t as important as what they think of their relationship. But I do see unhealthy relationships. It’s hard not to notice sometimes.

Here are 3 tipoffs that can help you recognize a relationship that’s not good for you.

  1. You may be in a bad relationship if…
    Your self-esteem has been going up and down a lot.

Some relationships lift us up. They make us feel stronger, happier, and better able to take on the world.

Other relationships lift us up only to dash us down. They’re a roller coaster of emotion.

Rocky relationships can consume your life. You hang in there, because the good times are SO good. You keep hoping you’ll find a way to make it work, so you can live happily ever after.

There’s a lot of satisfaction in fighting to keep the relationship together and make him happy. The harder you work on your relationship, the more committed you feel. You can’t give up now. Not after how much effort you’ve put in.

But if the thought of splitting up fills you with terror, you might want to ask whether it’s love or fear keeping you in the relationship.

  1. You may be in a bad relationship if…
    You’ve started doubting yourself more since you’ve been with him.

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The Secret to Lasting Happiness

The Secret to Lasting HappinessI had the good fortune of meeting a lovely elderly woman who was celebrating her 50th wedding anniversary. Of course I had to ask:

“What’s the secret to staying happily married as long as you two?”

“Secret?” She laughed. “There’s no secret. A happy marriage is made up of two happy people. We’re just happy people, I guess.”

From the sparkle in her eyes and the laugh lines etched into her skin, I could see the truth of her statement.

As I excused myself to let the lineup of well-wishers behind me have their turn, I smiled to myself at what she’d said. Just be happy. How easy it sounded!

But then the face of a client I’d spoken to earlier in the week flashed before me.

This woman’s face was young and smooth, but her eyes were red from crying. She was desperate to know how to create happiness in her relationship.

“I don’t know what to do to make him happy. I’ve tried and I’ve tried. It would be so different if he made an effort, too. If he tried to make me happy, just a little bit. But I do everything, and he does nothing.”

She believed what most people believe:

That the point of relationships is to make each other happy.

But is it?

What if we’ve got it all wrong?

Research shows the boost in happiness provided by falling in love and getting married doesn’t last. About two years after the wedding, the couple adapts to their new circumstances. They go back to feeling just about as happy as they used to feel.

We’ve all got a baseline level of happiness. That friend of yours who’s always happy will probably wear that smile until the end of her life, even should some misfortune befall her. That friend of yours who’s never happy will probably always be a bit of a grump, even if she wins the lottery.

You can’t shift your baseline level of happiness by winning a fortune or marrying your dream man. It’s a function of your outlook, not your external circumstances.

Or, as I explain it:

Happiness isn’t what you have. Happiness is how you see the world.

So, when a client comes to my office expecting her partner to make her happy—or expecting to be able to make him happy—I have my doubts.

I explain that there’s a better goal than making your partner happy. In fact, if you pursue this goal, you’ll have a happier relationship than if you spent all your time trying to make your partner happy.

Want to know what it is?

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The Mistake We All Make When Interpreting Other People’s Actions

Properly Interpreting People’s ActionsTell me if this sounds familiar.

You’re excited to see your guy. He walks in the door, gives you a quick peck on the cheek, and…

…hardly notices the fact that you’re absolutely beaming at the sight of him.

Immediately, you’re wondering what gives. Does he not like the new outfit? Geez, you were sure he’d be a fan. Or is he just being a jerk? I mean, how hard is it to give you an enthusiastic greeting?

But what if his lack of excitement has nothing to do with you?

I’m talking about a phenomenon called “Fundamental Attribution Error.” Fundamental Attribution Error is defined as our “tendency to give personality-based explanations for other peoples’ behavior more weight than situational factors.”

In other words, we tend to assume the way people treat us is a reflection of how they feel about us. But much of the time, that assumption is dead wrong.

In the example above, maybe your guy seems distracted because he’s distracted. After all, there’s a lot of other stuff going on in his life.

That doesn’t mean you’re not important to him. It just means you’re not always the center of his universe.

And even though that makes perfect sense, Fundamental Attribution Error is incredibly common. Practically everyone does it. Not only that, but it’s almost impossible to avoid.

So how do you deal with those moments when Fundamental Attribution Error kicks in?

You can outwit your own knee-jerk assumptions by doing just two things.

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What Men Need More than Pep Talks When Feeling Stressed

how to help your man when he's stressed outMany of the women I know can give a motivational speech better than any keynote speaker.

If you’re having a tough time, these women are the ones you want by your side.

They’re supportive, encouraging, and positive. When they see that someone is feeling down, they make it their job to bring that person back up again.

I think that’s wonderful. I value having people like that in my life.

But I’m also aware that their supportive nature can backfire on them … particularly in romantic relationships.

Men don’t always appreciate motivational speeches. They don’t necessarily want help to feel better. But that doesn’t mean they don’t need a woman’s support.

In a minute, I’ll share with you an extremely effective way to help the man in your life when he’s going through a tough time.

But first, let’s look at why men and women respond to support so differently.

We live in a world where everyone is supposed to be happy and having fun all the time. Social media captures the highlights of people’s lives.  Which makes us feel bad when we compare our lives to their seemingly exciting lives, full of funny and interesting posts.

Things do get hard at times. But, because it’s not necessarily socially appropriate to share those things, most people don’t advertise what they’re going through.

As a woman, you want to know what your friends are going through so you can be there for them. You don’t want them to hide it from you. It would feel as if they’re shutting you out.

But, if your friend is a man, think twice.

Men and women have very different ways of dealing with stress.

Researchers have found that men are more likely to fight or flee. This can mean getting argumentative with you just because things are going bad at work, or withdrawing to his man cave and communicating only with grunts.

Women are more likely to tend and befriend. Talking it through and engaging in healthy self-care activities (yes, shopping counts) can get a woman through most things.

The stage is set for trouble when a woman assumes that “tend and befriend” is the best stress-management strategy for everyone, including her man.

She knows something is wrong, but he won’t talk to her. He keeps finding excuses to avoid spending time with her.

When she reaches out to help, only to be met by a wall of male resistance, she feels hurt. And then she starts getting mad.

how to help your man when he's stressed outWho does he think he is? Why get into a relationship in the first place if you’re not going to talk to each other? She knows he’s withholding something, and that’s not okay. Honesty is the foundation of a good relationship.

Fair enough. Now let’s see what he’s thinking.

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