Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Why you should date your best friend

<p>Being someone’s BFF is a big deal – you don’t hand over the other half of your “Best Friends” necklace to just anyone. Having a romantic partner who is also your best friend potentially sounds perfect. With your BFF as your romantic partner, you get the best of both worlds, someone with whom you can laugh, share your life and cuddle. When you look at seemingly happy celebrity couples like Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, or Leslie Mann and Judd Apatow, not only do they appear to be in love, but they also seem to genuinely enjoy hanging out together.</p> <p>How many people feel as though they have attained that type of ideal? And do psychologists confirm this new paradigm is a good one to strive for? I enlisted the help of <a href="https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/">Monmouth University Polling Institute</a> to investigate.</p> <p><strong>How many have two-in-one relationships?</strong></p> <p>To help figure out how many best-friend couples are out there, we asked 801 adults across the United States the <a href="https://www.monmouth.edu/polling-institute/reports/MonmouthPoll_US_020917/">following question</a>: “Do you consider your partner to be your best friend or do you call somebody else your best friend?”</p> <p><iframe src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/SCoCT/2/" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" width="100%" style="min-height: 415px;" height="400"></iframe></p> <p>Among adults currently in a romantic relationship, the vast majority (83 percent) considered their current partner to be their best friend. For those who are currently married, the rate was even higher. Men and women had similar rates, while younger respondents were slightly less likely than older respondents to view their partner as their best friend.</p> <p>The overall numbers from this recent poll <a href="http://doi.org/10.1177/0265407593103011">dwarf the earlier reported rate of best-friend romantic partners</a>. In a 1993 study, only 44 percent of college students indicated their romantic partner was also their best bud. The difference in best-friend/love rates – almost doubling over the past 20 years – could just be an artifact of the published research’s college student sample.</p> <p>But expectations for modern relationships have evolved in the intervening years. Compared to previous generations, today’s heterosexual men and women are more accustomed to thinking of each other as friends on equal footing, even outside of the romantic realm. Once a romantic couple forms, we’re more likely to look for more <a href="https://books.google.com/books?id=O9hBQ_GJ6XYC&amp;pg=PA64&amp;lpg=PA64#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">egalitarian splits of power and divisions of labor</a>. We hold <a href="http://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2014.863723">our relationships to higher standards</a> than we have in previous decades.</p> <p>In particular, couples now expect their relationships to promote personal growth and help individuals fulfill their own goals. For example, your partner should help you become a better person by teaching you new things like how to make the perfect creme brulee, taking you places like the cool new trampoline park and opening your eyes to new perspectives such as the benefits of eating a more vegetarian-based diet. Although this expectation for growth could conceivably place an unwieldy burden on your relationship, researchers believe that <a href="http://doi.org/10.1080/1047840X.2014.878683">modern relationships are up to the task</a>. In fact, the idea that a relationship can help an individual become a better person, <a href="https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=wUcGAQAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PA90&amp;dq=The+self+expansion+model+of+motivation+and+cognition+in+close+relationships.&amp;ots=Y9AFoA14oe&amp;sig=KEDm0E2v5GYma63XPgJ-bcdwiRw#v=onepage&amp;q=The%20self%20expansion%20model%20of%20motivation%20and%20cognition%20in%20close%20relationships.&amp;f=false">a phenomenon that researchers call self-expansion</a>, is a useful one; relationships that provide more expansion are also of higher quality.</p> <p>In order to hit all these self-improvement targets, you may need more from a spouse or romantic partner than was expected in years past – and a partner who is also your best friend may be a step in the right direction.</p> <p>To see if those who consider their partner their best friend also expect more from them, the Monmouth University Poll asked, “For an ideal relationship, how much should you expect your partner to help you grow and expand as a person?” Our poll results indicated generally high expectations overall, and individuals with best-friend romantic partners expected a bit more from them.</p> <p>Of course, while individuals can expect more, that won’t automatically translate into better results. Think of it this way: Simply because you want more from your job, it doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get what you want.</p> <p><strong>Are best-friend partners better partners?</strong></p> <p>We wanted to see if these best-friend romances were really better. To do that, we asked poll respondents, “How satisfied are you with your current relationship – extremely, very, somewhat, not too, or not at all satisfied?” We then compared those who said their partner was their best friend to those who responded it was someone else.</p> <p><iframe src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Haw47/1/" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" width="100%" height="225"></iframe></p> <p>Those who considered their partner their best friend were indeed much more satisfied in their relationship than those who didn’t. This finding is consistent with research showing that relationships with more companionate love – based on friendship, feelings of affection, comfort and shared interests – <a href="http://doi.org/10.1177/0265407513515618">last longer</a> and are <a href="http://doi.org/10.1177/0265407594111002">more satisfying</a>. In fact, companionate love is more closely associated with relationship satisfaction <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-682X.1998.tb00459.x">than is passionate love</a> – the type of romantic love based on intense feelings of attraction and preoccupation with one’s partner.</p> <p>Other research shows that those in <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.1994.tb00066.x">friendship-based love relationships</a> feel they have a highly likable partner, and that shared companionship is an important part of the love. A study of 622 married individuals revealed that those with higher scores on the friendship-based love scale also reported more relationship satisfaction, greater perceived importance of the relationship, greater respect for their spouse, and felt closer to their spouse. More recently, across two studies with nearly 400 participants in relationships, those who place <a href="http://doi.org/10.1177/0265407512453009">more value on the friendship aspect</a> of their relationship also report more commitment, more love and greater sexual gratification. In addition, valuing friendship also decreased the chances of the couple breaking up. Best-friend love is starting to sound better and better.</p> <p>All of these benefits are backed up by accounts from a special type of relationship expert: <a href="http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/49838503/marriages-made-last">couples who’ve been happily married for over 15 years</a>. When researchers asked over 350 of these couples about their secret to relationship success and longevity, what was the number one reason? Simple: their partner was their best friend. The second most common response was liking their spouse as a person, another key facet of friendship-based love.</p> <p><strong>Why are best-friend partners so beneficial?</strong></p> <p>These findings demonstrating the benefits of dating or marrying your best friend make perfect sense when you consider the <a href="http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00173.x">type of relationship best friends share</a>. Friends enjoy spending time together, share similar interests, take care of each other, trust each other and feel a lasting bond between them. It isn’t a coincidence that these all happen to be <a href="http://doi.org/10.1177/0265407507081451">qualities that also define successful intimate relationships</a>.</p> <p>By recognizing the parallels between best friends and romantic partners, you can benefit from holding both types of relationships to the same standards. All too often it seems individuals are overly forgiving of a relationship partner’s bad behavior, when they would never accept similar behaviors from a friend. For example, if your friend was mean, rude, perpetually grumpy, nagging, dishonest, argumentative, emotionally unstable, ignored your texts, called you names or didn’t want to have meaningful conversations with you, would you still want to be friends? If not, it’s fair to hold similar expectations for your romantic partner. Take the time to find a romantic partner who truly is your best friend.</p> <p>To be clear, the argument here isn’t that you should try to convert an existing best friend into a romantic partner. You may not want to run the risk of compromising that friendship, anyway. Rather, the data here point out the importance of your romantic partner also being one of your best friends.</p> <p>Ultimately, the best way to have true love forever may be to be best friends forever first.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/72784/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Gary W. Lewandowski Jr., Chair and Professor of Psychology, Monmouth University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-you-should-date-your-best-friend-72784"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Tying the knot again? Fergie sends fans into a frenzy with wedding post

<p>It’s the rumour that keeps making the rounds, and it’s back once again.</p> <p>After the Duchess of York, also known as “Fergie ”, took to Twitter to post a photo of herself standing alongside a beautiful lace wedding dress, fans began to speculate whether she was remarrying Prince Andrew.</p> <p>The caption read: “I visited the pop-up boutique of @brides_do_good @bicesterVillage and was moved by their mission.</p> <p>“Brides do Good is a social enterprise that sells designer wedding dresses and donates up to two thirds of the proceeds to projects that provide safe education for girls.</p> <p>“Their vision is a world without child marriage #bicestervillage.”</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr">I visited the pop-up boutique of <a href="https://twitter.com/BridesDoGood?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BridesDoGood</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/bicestervillage?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@bicestervillage</a> and was moved by their mission. Brides do Good is a social enterprise that sells designer wedding dresses and donates up to two thirds of the proceeds to projects that provide safe education for girls <a href="https://t.co/WhXuOHid9B">pic.twitter.com/WhXuOHid9B</a></p> — Sarah Ferguson (@SarahTheDuchess) <a href="https://twitter.com/SarahTheDuchess/status/1129657046415138816?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 18, 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Despite the post having a clear purpose, royal fans couldn’t help but question the true intention behind the tweet.</p> <p>“Thought you might be tying the knot again for a second,” said one user.</p> <p>“Andrew will love seeing you walking towards him again in that dress,” wrote another.</p> <p>“Wishing you and the Duke of York will remarry soon, you’re such a great couple to watch, still very close after being divorced for decades,” commented a fan.</p> <p>“Sarah get remarried to your Prince and then you can buy a dress,” said another.</p> <p>The former couple have remained extremely close to one another despite their divorce, and also attend many events together.</p> <p>Fergie once told the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/auhome/index.html" target="_blank"><em>Daily Mail</em></a><span> </span>that they are the “happiest divorced couple in the world.”</p> <p>After separating in 1992 and divorcing in 1996, the couple still remain living together.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Want to know if your partner's cheating on you? Just listen to their voice

<p>Picture Morgan Freeman, Donald Trump or Margaret Thatcher. Most likely you can hear their voices in your mind, and the characteristic inflections that they put on certain words, as well as their tone and pitch. Even without listening to the words, when you hear someone speak you can pick up important information about them from characteristics such as how loud or deep their voice is.</p> <p>At the most basic level, voices convey biological characteristics such as whether someone is <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/279/1728/601">male or female</a>, their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347204003987?via%3Dihub">body size</a> and <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1699/3509">physical strength</a>, <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15327027hc0803_2">age and sexual maturity</a>. For example, Donald Trump’s voice can signal to you that he is a man, and that he has passed middle age. But did you know that voices can also signal a person’s attractiveness, fertility and even the likelihood of them being unfaithful?</p> <p>A popular theory with evolutionary psychologists, known as <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12110-003-1008-y">“cads versus dads</a>”, suggests that more masculine, dominant men are not as paternal and generally invest less in their children and grandchildren than less masculine men. Yet research shows women generally prefer <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347204003987?via%3Dihub">deeper voiced, more masculine-sounding men</a>, especially when these women are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0018506X05001704">near ovulation</a>.</p> <p>This may be because partnering with deeper-voiced men could lead to genetically healthier children. Deeper voices have been linked to having more <a href="http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/3/6/682">surviving children and grandchildren</a>, <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/283/1829/20152830">higher testosterone and</a> lower stress hormones, and longer-term survival in men.</p> <p>On the other hand, deeper-voiced men are also rated by women as more likely to <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/147470491100900109">cheat on a partner</a> and as <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513816300368?via%3Dihub#f0005">less trustworthy</a> in general. Women who judge men with lower-pitched voices as more likely to cheat also <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886913012324?via%3Dihub">prefer those men for short-term</a> rather than long-term partners. Meanwhile, when women <a href="https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2008.1542">are breastfeeding</a> and so currently taking care of a child, they are more likely to prefer men with higher-pitched voices than at other times.</p> <p>This suggests women use something in men’s voices to try to assess how likely to cheat they are, as well as their general trustworthiness. This in turn can affect their attractiveness as a partner, depending on whether the women are drawn towards the paternal care of a potential long-term mate or just good genes.</p> <p><strong>Spotting a cheater</strong></p> <p>But can our voices really indicate whether we are likely to cheat? A <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1474704917711513">recent study</a> from researchers in the US suggests that they can. Participants were played recordings of people speaking and given no other background information about them, and successfully rated cheaters as “more likely to cheat” than non-cheaters. Interestingly, women were better at this task than men.</p> <p>The recordings were taken from people with voices of similar pitch and attractiveness, who were of similar size and shape, and had similar sexual histories (aside from cheating). This means that none of these factors affected the results. So we currently don’t know what cues the participants used to judge whether the voices came from cheaters.</p> <p>It is not only women who can pick up on men’s vocal cues of good genes and likelihood to cheat, and use it to their benefit. A woman’s voice changes during her menstrual cycle when she is not using contraceptive pills. Perhaps unsurprisingly, men find women’s voices most attractive when the women are <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513808000263?via%3Dihub">near ovulation</a> (most fertile), than at other times of the month. This information is important to pick up on, as women do not display very explicit signals that they are fertile (unlike baboon females whose bottoms turn red, or female deer who release scents to advertise their fertility).</p> <p>Voices can also signal whether someone is <a href="http://www.ehbonline.org/article/S1090-5138(14)00078-6/fulltext">interested in you</a>. In one clever study, participants were asked to judge the voices of individuals who spoke in a different language to attractive or unattractive potential partners or competitors.</p> <p>The researchers found that, when talking to attractive people, men’s voices tend to reach a deeper pitch, and both men and women increase how varied their pitch is so their voices sound more dynamic than monotonous. Practically speaking, picking up on these types of cues could allow someone to decide whether a person they are talking to might be attracted to them or not.</p> <p>In these ways, the non-verbal characteristics of voices can play a significant role in signalling health, fertility, attraction and potential infidelity, to name a few. Picking up on these cues, alongside the many other cues we receive when talking to someone, can help us make more informed and well-rounded choices about who to spend time with and who to avoid. But the next time you find yourself listening to and judging someone’s voice for these subtle cues, remember that they are judging yours, too.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/92387/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Viktoria Mileva, Postdoctoral Fellow in Psychology, University of Stirling and Juan David Leongómez, Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, El Bosque University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/want-to-know-if-your-partners-cheating-on-you-just-listen-to-their-voice-92387"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Princess Diana’s niece is dating a 60-year-old millionaire

<p>Lady Kitty Spencer is a well-known face, not just for her successful career as a high-fashion model, but for being the niece of the beloved Princess Diana.</p> <p>However, the model has come to attention again for her love life.</p> <p>The 28-year-old was seen leaving a hotel in Manhattan, New York with her 60-year-old millionaire “boyfriend” Michael Lewis who is the head of the high-end fashion brand, Whistles.</p> <p>The couple have managed to keep a pretty low profile since their relationship went public in August of 2018, and despite rumours of the couple’s 32-year age gap being the main reason for wanting to be unseen by paparazzi, others insist both Lewis and Spencer want to keep their matters together private.</p> <p>Spencer has managed to live a fairly low-profile life, except for her connections to royalty and her successful modelling career until last year when she attended one of the biggest events of 2018 – Prince Harry and Meghan's royal wedding. </p> <p>The princess look-alike blew royal fans away for her striking appearance, stealing the show in her emerald and floral Dolce &amp; Gabbana gown.</p> <p>Spencer signed on as an ambassador with Bulgari who also became aware of her stunning appearance after photos of Princess Di’s niece caused a storm online.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw6gQ6BBQvd/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw6gQ6BBQvd/" target="_blank">A post shared by Kitty Spencer (@kitty.spencer)</a> on May 1, 2019 at 2:01am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Kitty touched down in Australia this week, surprising her own fans down under.</p> <p>“I love you Sydney! So happy to be back,” she wrote to social media.</p> <p>“Australia is the best! Welcome back darling one,” a fan commented.</p> <p>Another added: “Your Aunt Diana loved Sydney, so I’m glad you do too!”</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Lady Kitty Spencer’s stunning outfit worn at the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Romance up in the air: How two travellers in their 70s found love on a flight

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Falling in love when you are travelling up in the air may sound like something out of a movie, but it may be more common than you thought. A recent </span><a href="https://www.businessinsider.com/one-in-50-passengers-meet-the-love-of-their-life-on-a-plane-2018-8?r=UK"><span style="font-weight: 400;">HSBC study</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which surveyed more than 5,000 travellers around the world, claims that one in 50 air passengers will meet the love of their life on a plane. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And that is exactly what happened for 70-year-old David Swann and 69-year-old Kathleen Foreman.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Through a flight to Fiji, multiple coincidences and decisions made in impulse, the two found love and are now happily married.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last May, Swann was slated to travel from Melbourne to Fiji when his flight was cancelled. As he waited for his rescheduled flight to be sorted out, he met Foreman, a fellow passenger who was looking to visit her brother. The two began chatting while they waited for the boarding time.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When they finally got to the aircraft, Swann found out that they were seated “one row apart from each other”. But that was not close enough for the bachelor, so he talked to a cabin crew to move his seat next to Freeman for the rest of the five-hour flight. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They “continued chatting and getting to know each other throughout the flight” before touching down in Fiji.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The two went on their separate ways as Swann headed for Matamanoa Island while Foreman proceeded to Suva, where her brother lives. However, before parting, they promised to get in touch upon their return to Australia.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He went back home after 12 days in Fiji, and she returned three weeks after that. Foreman then decided to take the leap. “Four days after arriving home in Mildura, Kath drove 740 kilometres to Apollo Bay to see me and to find out if the feelings she had were reciprocated,” Swann told </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-advice/flights/a-couple-in-their-70s-have-found-love-after-meeting-on-a-flight-from-melbourne-to-fiji/news-story/506b57d5f307417310c6d73016590cef"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>news.com.au</em></span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They were … after almost a month of dating, I asked Kath to marry me.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The couple wasted no time to express their commitment to each other, as they both had reached the later stage in life. “We were married on the 9</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> March 2019 on the beach near our home in Apollo Bay surrounded by family and friends,” said Swann.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They are set to fly to Fiji again this May to mark the anniversary of their fateful meeting. “Both Kath and I often look at each other and shake our heads and wonder that this whole, wonderful situation came about because of a cancelled flight!”</span></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Is it adultery if my spouse doesn't know who I am anymore?

<p>In Zoomer magazine’s September 2017 issue, there was an <a href="https://www.pressreader.com/canada/zoomer-magazine/20170904/281552290980041">enlightening article</a> written by <a href="http://siloamunitedchurch.org/meet-our-staff/">Rev. Dr. Sheila Macgregor</a> addressing contemporary issues that have emerged as a result of what’s become known as the longevity revolution.</p> <p>Advancements in health care and technology have resulted in longer lifespans. Milestone events now include encore careers, second and even third marriages, and birthday celebrations for 100-year-olds. In fact, in 2016, <a href="http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2016/as-sa/98-200-x/2016004/98-200-x2016004-eng.cfm">there were more than 8,000 100-year-olds alive in Canada,</a> according to the most recent Census data.</p> <p>While there is much to be celebrated, it’s also a good time to pause and re-examine old traditions in light of new realities. That was part of Rev. Macgregor’s powerful message. Macgregor draws upon the work of <a href="http://jewishsacredaging.com/about-us-2/rabbi-richard-f-address-d-min/">Rabbi Richard Address</a>, the director of <a href="http://jewishsacredaging.com/"><em>Jewish Sacred Aging</em></a>, a forum that enables the Jewish community to discuss modern-day issues relating to the aging Baby Boomer generation.</p> <p>For instance, Address asks, is it still adultery if you enter into a new relationship when your spouse doesn’t know who you are anymore?</p> <p>That’s an important question in an age in which <a href="http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs362/en/">47 million people</a> worldwide are living with dementia. But the figures don’t include family members who are directly affected by the disease.</p> <p>Rabbi Address’s question necessitates that we examine the day-to-day realities of those caring for spouses with dementia and Alzheimer’s.</p> <p><strong>Spouses care for most people with dementia</strong></p> <p>Research from the United States indicates that approximately <a href="https://www.alz.org/documents_custom/public-health/2009-2010-combined-caregiving.pdf">70 per cent of people suffering from Alzheimer’s</a> are cared for by their spouses. And while many report <a href="http://www.apa.org/pi/about/publications/caregivers/faq/positive-aspects.aspx">benefits</a> associated with the experience, such as greater meaning and purpose in life, and a closer bond and attachment with the cared for individual, this population also faces negative psycho-social consequences that include loneliness and isolation.</p> <p>And as Dr. <a href="http://www.johncacioppo.com/">John Cacioppo</a>, one of the world’s most eminent authorities on the topic, explains, humans do not fare well when they live solitary lives. In fact, <a href="https://theconversation.com/loneliness-could-kill-you-87217">loneliness can kill you</a>.</p> <p>The demands and responsibilities imposed by the caregiver role leave little time, if any at all, for social interaction. And the constant care and concern for one’s beloved can occupy prime real estate in the mind of the caregiver.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/75-006-x/2013001/article/11858-eng.htm">negative cognitive and physical consequences</a> are plentiful and include illness, injury, depression, anxiety, financial difficulties and disruptions in employment. Moreover, as cognitive and physical abilities diminish, the demands on the caregiver increase.</p> <p>Imagine for a moment that while a caregiver is attending to the needs of her loved one during a hospital visit, doctor’s office, or pharmacy run, she meets another person who is experiencing similar challenges.</p> <p>The two start to develop a relationship. When time permits, they share brief phone calls, text messages and an occasional meal. Their friendship provides refuge in a chaotic, isolating and lonely world. Their encounters, no matter how short, are reminiscent of a time when her husband recognized her, conversations were reciprocal and they enjoyed leisurely pursuits and pastimes together.</p> <p><strong>Mitigate loneliness</strong></p> <p>Extramarital affairs that begin during a partner’s debilitating illness or terminal disease are referred to as <a href="https://www.caring.com/blogs/fyi-daily/are-well-spouse-affairs-different-from-others">“well spouse affairs.”</a></p> <p>Relational expert <a href="http://www.michaelbatshaw.com/index.html">Dr. Michael Batshaw</a> believes that such affairs can mitigate the loneliness and isolation associated with caregiving, and thus prevent caregiver burnout.</p> <p>Batshaw explains that people who normally would not engage in infidelity may do so while a caregiver, because often what prevents us from being unfaithful is the hope that our relationship will change and improve. Under these circumstances, however, the caregivers know their relationships will never get better, and realize that their needs can no longer be fulfilled by their spouse.</p> <p>But such affairs are not without their costs.</p> <p>Infidelity by its very nature is replete with guilt, as is caregiving. Taking time off to exercise or see friends often ignites feelings of guilt for being away from a loved one. Add infidelity to the mix, and you’re likely to spend much of your time engaged in hellish emotional turmoil.</p> <p>Although you want to be the devoted and faithful spouse, motivated by obligation, love or societal norms, you are also physically and emotionally exhausted, feeling lonely and isolated and want out.</p> <p>Would a spouse really want his beloved to live such an existence? And what exactly does “until death do us part” mean? Is it when we physically take our last breath, or when we no longer exist as we have for decades in our marriages, recognize our partners or actively participate in our relationships?</p> <p>These questions are incredibly personal and, for some, deeply religious. However, it’s incumbent upon us to move beyond the ethical considerations of the issue and focus on the human struggles associated with the realities of living longer lives.</p> <p>I suspect that’s why Rabbi Address recommends that couples discuss this issue long before debilitating diseases strike. Such conversations are difficult, but they may in fact be the final act of love and kindness that you can bestow upon your loved one.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/87441/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Gillian Leithman, Assistant Professor, Department of Management, Aging, Retirement, and Knowledge Management Researcher, Concordia University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/is-it-adultery-if-my-spouse-doesnt-know-who-i-am-anymore-87441"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Why we are secretly attracted to people who look like our parents

<p>Have you ever thought there was an uncanny family resemblance between your friend and her partner? Or wondered for a fleeting moment whether the pair walking down the road were husband and wife, or brother and sister? You might not be imagining things. Animals of many species “learn” what a suitable mate looks like based on the appearance of their parents, and so, it seems, do humans.</p> <p>Scientists have long known that species including birds, mammals and fish <a href="http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v82/n4/full/6885270a.html">pick mates that look similar to their parents</a>. This is known as positive sexual imprinting. For example, if a goat mother looks after a sheep baby, or a sheep mother looks after a goat baby, then those babies grow up to <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v395/n6699/abs/395229a0.html">try to mate with the species of their foster mother</a>, instead of their own.</p> <p>It seems humans also “learn” from our parents in a similar way. When you ask people to judge the similarities between heterosexual couples and their parents from photos, a fascinating picture emerges. Women tend on average to pick partners <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/271/1544/1129.short">whose faces look a bit like their fathers’</a>, while men often choose partners who <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886901001829">slightly resemble their mothers</a>. Resemblance doesn’t stop at faces – you can also see subtle similarities on average between <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03014460.2011.635695">partner and parent height</a>, <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513802001198">hair colour, eye colour</a>, <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.1980.9924331">ethnicity</a> and even <a href="https://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/2/419.full">the degree of body hair</a>.</p> <p>But what’s really going on here? We tend to look like our parents, so how do we know that people aren’t just picking a partner who resembles themselves? We know that such <a href="http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2009/08/12/beheco.arp107.short">self-resemblance influences partner choice</a>. But a number of studies have suggested that this can’t be the whole story. One such study of adopted women found that <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/271/1544/1129.short">they tended to choose husbands who looked like their adoptive fathers</a>.</p> <p>We also know that, in general, heterosexuals are more attracted to <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513802001198">those who resemble their opposite-sex parent</a> than their same-sex parent. What’s more, research has shown that it’s not merely appearance that matters: it’s also about your relationship with that parent. People who report more <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/271/1544/1129.short">positive childhood relationships</a> with a parent are more likely to be <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886901001829">attracted to partners who resemble that parent</a>.</p> <p><strong>Aversion versus attraction</strong></p> <p>This isn’t <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/08/sigmund-freud-oedipal-complex">Freud’s Oedipus complex</a> revisited. Freud believed that children have a suppressed desire for their parents. But this branch of research doesn’t in any way show that we secretly desire our parents, just that we simply tend to be attracted to people who resemble them to some extent.</p> <p>If anything, we seem to find our immediate family members unattractive. For instance, people find the very idea of sexual relationships with their siblings deeply unappealing. This aversion <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v445/n7129/abs/nature05510.html">seems to develop automatically</a> through two distinct processes. One process turns off attraction to those that we spend a lot of time with during childhood. The other turns off attraction to any infants that our mother looks after a lot. Sexual aversion to siblings might be nature’s way of ensuring we don’t try to reproduce with someone who is too closely related to us and reproduction with close relatives is linked to an increased likelihood of genetic disorders in any resulting offspring. This aversion to close relatives is known as negative sexual imprinting. However, genetic sexual attraction <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2003/may/17/weekend7.weekend2">can occur between siblings</a> that have been separated and meet first as adults.</p> <p>But when do we develop these preferences? Perhaps we learn that our parents looks are attractive early in life, and then tuck that learning away – only to let it reemerge when we’re ready for adult relationships. Or perhaps more recent experiences override earlier learning? To test this, I asked heterosexual adult women about their relationships with their parents at different ages during their development, and I assessed how much their current preferences matched up with the appearance of their parents.</p> <p>I found that the women who reported a better relationship with their parents after puberty were more likely to be <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1090513815000598">attracted to partners with similar eye colour</a> to them. In contrast, if a woman was close to her parents earlier in life, she was actually less likely to prefer the eye colour of her parents in a partner. In science, we always like to see replications with <a href="http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7302/abs/466029a.html">different samples</a>, methodologies and research groups before we generalise findings too much. So far though, the intriguing pattern of this early study suggests that there may be complex developmental patterns underlying how we construct our idea of an ideal partner. Perhaps we are seeing the actions of both positive and negative sexual imprinting at work.</p> <p>But one question remains. If we’re finding preferences for parental resemblance across different populations, then what is the biological explanation for this behaviour? It turns out that coupling up with a distant family member seems to be the best bet, biologically, <a href="http://science.sciencemag.org/content/319/5864/813.short">to produce a large number of healthy children</a>. One possibility is that if you are attracted to people who look like your parents, then chances are you may get a crush on distant relatives. This might give you better chances of more healthy children, and so this behaviour persists.</p> <p>Despite this research, if you were to tell me that your partner doesn’t look anything like your parents, then I wouldn’t be surprised. Parental resemblance probably isn’t at the top of anyone’s wish list. <a href="http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&amp;aid=6734712&amp;fileId=S0140525X00023992">Like most people</a>, you probably want a partner who is kind, intelligent and attractive. But if all else is equal, then <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/9/2p2/1/">that comfortable feeling of familiarity</a> might be enough to get a relationship underway, or <a href="http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/269/1498/1307">to maintain feelings of trust in a relationship</a>.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/54590/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Tamsin Saxton, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Northumbria University, Newcastle</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-we-are-secretly-attracted-to-people-who-look-like-our-parents-54590"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

The secret to a happier marriage

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to a relationship, is it truly better to give than to receive? The answer seems to be a resounding “yes”, as a study found that doing something nice for your partner is rewarding in and of itself.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The research, published in the journal </span><a href="https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Femo0000281"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>Emotion</em></span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, discovered that being compassionate to your spouse can bring significant emotional benefits, even when the spouse is unaware of the act.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The psychologists studied 175 North American married couples, who were asked to keep a record of the compassionate acts either spouse performed – such as expressing gratitude, changing personal plans for partner, or other acts that showed the partner was valued – and their respective emotional states for two weeks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The results showed that as predicted, couples would reap the most emotional benefit when the act of kindness is acknowledged by both parties – but the givers can gain emotional boost from their compassionate act, even without conscious recognition from the receivers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Clearly, a recipient needs to notice a compassionate act in order to emotionally benefit from it,” said Harry Reis, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and the research team’s leader. “But recognition is much less a factor for the donor.” </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Based on the self-assessment records, the researchers found that the benefits for the givers’ mood were 45 per cent greater than those for the receivers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You could argue that being compassionate and not having it noticed would not be good at all,” Reis told </span><a href="http://time.com/4674982/kindness-compassion-marriage/"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>TIME</em></span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “If I go out of my way to do something nice and my spouse doesn’t acknowledge it, my reaction could certainly be, ‘Well thanks a whole hell of a lot.’”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the findings suggested that “acting compassionately may be its own reward”, said Reis. According to him, the gains people get from selfless acts may be explained from an evolutionary perspective.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Humans are wired to give,” he said. “We are a cooperative species, and there are mechanisms in us that promote social behaviour.”</span></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

NZ PM Jacinda Ardern reveals how Clarke Gayford proposed to her

<p>New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has revealed more details about her surprise proposal from long-term partner Clarke Gayford, as well as explaining why she doesn’t wear her engagement ring on her left hand.</p> <p>Despite her best attempts, a coy Ardern wasn’t able to dodge reporters’ questions about her recent proposal in a post-cabinet press conference in Wellington.</p> <p>Naturally, she was reluctant to spill too many details.</p> <p>“There are some things I don't mind keeping for ourselves,” Ms Ardern told reporters.</p> <p>“This is a very public job and I'm quite happy to put quite a bit of ourselves out there. But there are some things I wouldn't mind keeping to ourselves.”</p> <p>However, Ardern was more than happy to confirm where the proposal happened. It took place with a beautiful backdrop at the top of Mokotahi Hill in Mahia, which is on North Island’s east coast.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BhKwza3Fwta/" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BhKwza3Fwta/" target="_blank">A post shared by Jason Lau (@meetjasonlau)</a> on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:11pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Ardern revealed who was on site when the proposal took place.</p> <p>“It was Clarke, myself, a member of the DPS (Diplomatic Protection Squad), a couple of locals from Mahia and a dog which tried to eat the chocolate that Clarke bought me at the same time, so it was very romantic,” she explained.</p> <p>She also admitted her partner didn’t get down on one knee, so the DPS member wasn’t aware of what was happening.</p> <p>"The DPS had no idea what had happened so that should be a giveaway," she said.</p> <p>As for why she doesn’t wear her new engagement ring on her left hand's ring finger?</p> <p>“I have not been trying to hide our news from anyone," Ardern explained.</p> <p>“It simply doesn't fit on the right finger, so that's why it's sitting in the middle.”</p> <p>Ardern, who welcomed her daughter Eliza, 10 months with Clarke in 2018, has also said she has “absolutely no idea” when she will walk down the aisle.</p> <p>"I was surprised by the question and as with probably many other couples we haven't made any plans at all," she said.</p> <p>She was quick to end personal questions at the conference, saying “I think we’re done? Good."</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

How to turn your emotional baggage into dating success

<p>It may seem that new relationships are entirely fuelled by dreams and hopes for a perfect future. But the past can have a powerful influence too – often more so than we would like to admit. The <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Attraction-Explained-Viren-Swami/dp/1138937037/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1486381044&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=attraction+explained">“emotional baggage”</a> that we bring from the past can mean that we sometimes pick a partner who’s not quite right, make bad relationship decisions or find it difficult to fully devote ourselves to the person we are with.</p> <p>This idea has its roots in John Bowlby’s <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Attachment-One-Loss-Trilogy-Vol/dp/0712674713/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1486381145&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=attachment+and+loss">attachment theory</a>, which suggests that individuals differ in the way they approach and respond to the world. These different styles are thought to be based on past experiences of relating to important people in our lives, <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patterns-Attachment-Psychology-Routledge-Editions/dp/1848726821/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1486381220&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=patterns+of+attachment">particularly our parents</a>. The effects of childhood attachment become embedded in “working models” that influence how we form relationships in adulthood.</p> <p>Working models are the mental representations that we hold about ourselves and other people, and that develop through experiences with people we are attached to. A working model might include expectations about our self-worth, beliefs about how other people behave in relationships and ideas about what to expect from relationships.</p> <p>But it’s not just childhood relationships that shape us – adult relationship histories <a href="/psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/52/3/511/">can also influence relationships</a>. The psychologist Susan Andersen termed this process in which working models developed from past romantic relationships come to influence new relationships as “<a href="/onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1994.tb00306.x/full">transference</a>”.</p> <p>In her view, past experiences in romantic relationships can affect how we approach and relate to new partners, as well as our behaviours and motivations in new relationships. As a simple example, someone who had an unfaithful partner in the past <a href="/psycnet.apa.org/journals/psp/59/5/971/">may develop a working model</a> in which other people cannot be trusted. This may mean that he or she finds it more difficult to form stable, trusting relationships in the future.</p> <p>Working models of relationships may also explain why some people <a href="/psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2005-00319-012">recreate aspects of past relationships</a> with new partners. For example, if I did not receive much affection from an ex, I might still form new relationships that recreate those same patterns. Andersen believed we do this because we seek what was missing in past relationships – instead of running from someone who reminds me of an unaffectionate ex, I form a relationship with a new person hoping to gain what was <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298860701800092">what was missing</a>. But this only serves to confirm my existing working model of myself as unlovable and of potential partners as unaffectionate.</p> <p>Luckily, it’s not all bad news. There are ways to prevent this from happening.</p> <p><strong>How you can take charge</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, past negative experiences can sow the seeds for healthier future relationships. For example, the period following a breakup is important because it may lead to personal growth and development. This is known as “<a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=Bs6QAgAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=tedeschi+1998&amp;ots=CDcCyRi2Dt&amp;sig=3jig_iSBX_nGsPnMRSqqY85TJrc">stress-related growth</a>” and refers to the idea that people can respond to distressing life events by growing beyond their previous level of psychological functioning.</p> <p>In fact, some people may make the greatest changes in their lives following a period of stress or crisis after a breakup. This could change how reliant they are on themselves and other people, make them form closer bonds with family and friends, or even change life priorities. One study found that the experience of a recent breakup <a href="/onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1475-6811.00039/full">resulted in personal growth</a>, which the participants believed would help them form more positive relationships in the future.</p> <p>But you do not need to experience a breakup to begin forming healthier relationships. While there are no quick fixes, <a href="/psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/2005-00319-012">developing a clearer picture of your working models</a> and how these might be affecting your relationships is a good starting point. Take some time to think critically about your past relationships – put it down on paper if it’s useful or seek the help of a trained professional – and try to develop greater awareness of your transference patterns and when they occur.</p> <p>Once you have an idea of your transference patterns, the next step is to <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pst/49/3/370/">identify cues</a> observed in a new person or context that evoke those patterns. What traits, behaviours or experiences with an ex (or exes) act as triggering cues in new relationships? Recognising these <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pst/49/3/370/">triggering cues</a> is vital if you are to ultimately gain control and intentionally change your behaviours. With time and practice, you should become more aware of these cues the moment they occur and this provides an opportunity to respond differently.</p> <p>One piece of advice I have found useful is to use an <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/amp/54/7/493/">IF-THEN</a> plan. Once you are aware of your transference patterns and recognise triggering cues, make a plan that highlights these signals (the IF) and link it to a new way of behaving (the THEN). For example, “IF a new person is as unaffectionate as an ex was, THEN I will avoid this person”. By thinking and planning ahead of time, we can begin to master our behaviours in relationships.</p> <p>Beyond this, viewing yourself as worthy, accepted and decent is vital for forming and maintaining healthy relationships. Some therapists highlight the positive impact that <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15298868.2011.639548">self-compassion</a> – being kind, caring and understanding toward yourself – can play in promoting healthier relationships. People who are self-compassionate accept that they are imperfect human beings who experience hardship and difficulties, but are nevertheless worthy of compassion. New relationships can be <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Attraction-Explained-Viren-Swami/dp/1138937037/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1486381044&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=attraction+explained">stressful</a>, so be kind to yourself even when you do make errors of judgement.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/72696/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Viren Swami, Professor of Social Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-turn-your-emotional-baggage-into-dating-success-72696"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Why we all want the same things in a partner

<p>Whether it’s in reality TV or glossy magazines, sex appeal, fat bank accounts, kind eyes and cute smiles are often served up as the attributes that make for anyone’s dream partner. But these characteristics merely reflect gross exaggerations of important evolutionary qualities that we actually want in a long-term partner.</p> <p>Based on research from both <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8721.00070">evolutionary and social psychology</a>, researchers have categorised how we appraise potential partners into three broad features. These are: the degree to which a partner exudes reproductive capacity (“vitality and attractiveness”), a partner’s ability to provide (“status and resources”), and the partner’s “warmth and trustworthiness”.</p> <p>These features act as fundamental signals a potential partner has good genes and is a good investment.</p> <p><strong>1. Vitality and attractiveness</strong></p> <p>In pop culture, vitality and attractiveness can be represented as good looks or sex appeal. But it’s not completely accurate to reduce someone’s physical appearance to such characteristics when we’re considering them as a long-term partner. Yes, being attracted to a partner is fundamental to sexual desire and arousal, but when we take in a person’s physical appearance, we take in more than whether they’re good looking.</p> <p>We seek to determine if they take care of their health, if they exude energy, and the extent to which they demonstrate charisma and appear outgoing. That is, the vitality and health of a person is what really matters, whether we are conscious of it or not. These qualities, reflected in a person’s physical appearance, signal they have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11301543">some reproductive advantage</a>.</p> <p>There is some evidence to suggest men sometimes rate vitality and attractiveness higher than women, but the difference between the sexes is often small and extinguished when it comes to seeking a long-term partner. Various studies even find that men and women seeking long-term relationships <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-8721.00070">regard this quality as less important</a> than warmth and trustworthiness in particular.</p> <p><strong>2. Status and resources</strong></p> <p>What relationship science terms “status and resources” isn’t about the big bank account, luxurious house or car, or the high-paying job. We’re not all that materialistic, nor do we all deeply desire great wealth and social standing. In fact, studies show <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16489.short">most people don’t need</a> a large amount of money to be happy in life.</p> <p>So, status and resources is about the capacity to <em>provide</em> for one’s partner and family, not about a glamorous lifestyle. From this perspective, all we are really looking for is someone who has a decent job, appears financially secure and is willing to contribute to maintaining a family home.</p> <p>So this quality is really about food, shelter, and other essentials for our partners and children – both now and into the future.</p> <p><strong>3. Warmth and trustworthiness</strong></p> <p>Warmth and trustworthiness is <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9972554">rated as very important</a> in a potential partner by both men and women.</p> <p>From songs and movies, we might think having kind eyes and a nice smile are enough to reflect warmth and trustworthiness. But these qualities are indicators of how caring a person is and the extent to which a potential mate can meet our fundamental need for love, comfort and security. According to research into <a href="https://www.elsevier.com/books/adult-attachment/gillath/978-0-12-420020-3">adult attachment</a>, our desire to seek comfort in times of threat and distress means we look to potential mates for signals of their capacity to be considerate, loving, kind and understanding at such times.</p> <p>So, a person who seems to exude a warm persona is likely to encompass attributes that ensure our attachment needs are met. The more reliable they are in meeting our needs for love, comfort and security, the more trusting we become of them.</p> <p>Trustworthiness, in particular, is a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20565183">strong quality</a> when it comes to stability in relationships. This is because trust <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2001-07168-005">reduces uncertainty</a> about the faithfulness and commitment of one’s partner. People who feel more trusting of their partner report feeling more satisfied in one’s relationship than those who experience a lack of trust.</p> <p>Being warm and trustworthy not only signals a partner will take care of you emotionally, but that they will do the same with your children.</p> <p><strong>Keep to realistic standards</strong></p> <p>Studies suggest people who see their current romantic partner as falling short of the above characteristics tend to <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167201274006">evaluate their relationships</a> more negatively than those who see their partner as embodying these qualities.</p> <p>This finding is especially pronounced for people who set lofty ideals and aren’t willing to compromise, even when a partner doesn’t fall too short on these qualities. People who have some flexibility around the extent a partner embodies these qualities are likely to report greater relationship quality than those who show no sign of compromise.</p> <p>So the moral to the story is it’s fine to maintain standards, but if standards are too unrealistic or lofty, a partner who largely embodies all three qualities will still be seen as falling short of the ideal.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/88557/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Gery Karantzas, Associate professor in Social Psychology / Relationship Science, Deakin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/we-all-want-the-same-things-in-a-partner-but-why-88557"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

It's not just sex: Why people have affairs and how to deal with them

<p>Barnaby Joyce’s affair with his former staffer Vikki Campion, and his subsequent downfall from the position of Australia’s deputy prime minister and head of the National Party, made headlines for weeks. It’s not surprising. From politicians to actors and entertainers, stories of high profile individuals caught “cheating” on their partner often make front-page news.</p> <p>We believe a romantic partner is there to provide us with love, comfort and security. So people are quick to make judgements and lay blame on perpetrators of what they see as a significant violation of relationship norms and betrayal of trust. Infidelity highlights the potential fragility of our closest and most important of relationships.</p> <p>But despite the blunt belief infidelity is the result of immoral and over-sexed individuals wanting their cake and eating it too, the reality is far more nuanced. For instance, infidelity is rarely just about sex. In fact, when it comes to purely sexual infidelity, the average occurrence <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Foundations-for-Couples-Therapy-Research-for-the-Real-World/Fitzgerald/p/book/9781138909632">across studies</a> is around 20% of all couples. However, this rate increases to around a third of couples when you include emotional infidelity.</p> <p>An affair is generally a sign things aren’t right with someone’s relationship. Without the necessary skills to heal the issues, a partner may engage in an affair as an ill-equipped way of attempting to have their needs fulfilled – whether these be for intimacy, to feel valued, to experience more sex, and so on. So, the straying partner views an alternative relationship as a better way to meet these needs than their existing relationship.</p> <p><strong>Who has affairs, and why?</strong></p> <p>Studies into why people cheat are many and varied. Some find <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/per.520/full">people who lack</a> traits such as agreeableness and conscientiousness are more likely to be sexually promiscuous, as are those higher in neurotic and narcissistic traits. Other studies find infidelity is more likely to occur among people who hold <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224540903536162">less restrictive views</a> about sex, such as that you don’t have to limit yourself to one sexual partner.</p> <p>Other important factors relate to people’s commitment to their partner and relationship satisfaction. Those low on these measures appear more likely to have an affair. Recent work suggests one of the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X16300227">biggest predictors</a> of having an affair is having strayed before.</p> <p>A survey of <a href="https://www.relate.org.uk/policy-campaigns/publications/lets-talk-about-sex">5,000 people in the UK</a> found striking parallels between men and women’s reasons for infidelity, and neither prioritised sex. The top five reasons for women related to lack of emotional intimacy (84 per cent), lack of communication between partners (75 per cent), tiredness (32 per cent), a bad history with sex or abuse (26 per cent), and a lack of interest in sex with the current partner (23 per cent).</p> <p>For men the reasons were a lack of communication between partners (68 per cent), stress (63 per cent), sexual dysfunction with one’s current partner (44 per cent), lack of emotional intimacy (38 per cent) and fatigue or being chronically tired (31 per cent).</p> <p>So if we have difficulty genuinely communicating with our partner, or they don’t make us feel valued, we may be more likely to stray. People need to invest time and energy into their relationships. Experiencing chronic tiredness over many years means one’s capacity to put in the necessary work to keep a relationship strong is also compromised.</p> <p>While some couples report additional reasons, which can include a greater desire for sex, the majority speak to issues that reside either within the couple or outside the relationship. The latter can be stressors that challenge the couple’s ability to make the relationship work.</p> <p>If you’re experiencing relationship difficulties, getting help from a therapist may well short-circuit the risk factors that can lead to infidelity.</p> <p><strong>Disclosure and therapy</strong></p> <p>Some people choose to keep their affair secret because they may want it to continue, feel too much guilt or believe they’re protecting their partner’s feelings. But the secret only perpetuates the betrayal. If one is serious about mending their existing relationship, then disclosure is necessary, along with seeking professional guidance to support the couple through the turbulent period towards recovery.</p> <p>Most <a href="https://www.relate.org.uk/policy-campaigns/our-campaigns/way-we-are-now-2016">relationship therapists suggest</a> issues around infidelity can be improved through therapy. But they also report <a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1997-05658-009">infidelity as one of the most difficult </a> issues to work with when it comes to rebuilding a relationship.</p> <p>There are various evidence-based approaches to dealing with infidelity, but most acknowledge the act can be experienced as a form of trauma by the betrayed person, who has had their <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Foundations-for-Couples-Therapy-Research-for-the-Real-World/Fitzgerald/p/book/9781138909632">fundamental assumptions</a> about their partner violated. These include trust and the belief that the partner is there to provide love and security rather than inflict hurt.</p> <p>But it’s not only the betrayed person who can experience mental health issues. <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1093/clipsy.bpi014/full">Research</a> has found that, when the affair is revealed, both partners can experience mental health issues including anxiety, depression and thoughts of suicide. There can also be an increase in emotional and physical violence within the couple.</p> <p>So a couple should seek professional help to deal with the aftermaths of an affair, not only to possibly heal their relationship but also for their own psychological well-being.</p> <p>There are many approaches to counselling couples after an affair, but generally, it’s about addressing the issues that precipitated and perpetuated the infidelity. One of the most <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Foundations-for-Couples-Therapy-Research-for-the-Real-World/Fitzgerald/p/book/9781138909632">well researched methods</a> of helping a couple mend these issues involves addressing the initial impact of the affair, developing a shared understanding of the context of the affair, forgiveness, and moving on.</p> <p><strong>Choosing to stay or go</strong></p> <p>Overall, therapy seems to work for about <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Foundations-for-Couples-Therapy-Research-for-the-Real-World/Fitzgerald/p/book/9781138909632">two-thirds of couples</a> who have experienced infidelity. If a couple decides to stay together, they must identify areas of improvement and commit to working on them.</p> <p>It’s also vital to re-establish trust. The therapist can help the couple acknowledge the areas of the relationship in which trust has already been rebuilt. Then the betrayed partner can be progressively exposed to situations that provide further reassurance they can trust their partner without having to constantly check on them.</p> <p>But if therapy works for two thirds of couples, it leaves another one third who experience no improvement. What then? If the relationship is characterised by many unresolved conflicts, hostility, and a lack of concern for one another, it may be best to end it. Ultimately, relationships serve the function of meeting our attachment needs of love, comfort and security.</p> <p>Being in a relationship that doesn’t meet these needs is considered problematic and dysfunctional by anyone’s definition.</p> <p>But ending a relationship is never easy due to the <a href="https://www.elsevier.com/books/adult-attachment/gillath/978-0-12-420020-3">attachment we develop</a> with our romantic partner. Even though in some relationships, our attachment needs are less likely to be fulfilled, it doesn’t stop us wanting to believe our partner will (one day) meet our needs.</p> <p>The impending end of a relationship fills us with what is termed “separation distress”. Not only do we grieve the loss of the relationship (no matter how good or bad), but we grieve over whether we will find another who will fulfil our needs.</p> <p>The period of separation distress varies from person to person. Some may believe it’s worth celebrating the end of a toxic relationship, but they will still experience distress in one form or another. If the couple decides to end the relationship and are still in therapy, the therapist can help them work through their decision in a way that minimises feelings of hurt.</p> <p>So infidelity is less about sex and more about matters of the heart and a misguided quest to have one’s relationship needs met. The problem is that some people choose to seek their relationship needs in the arms of another rather than working on their existing relationship.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/92354/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Gery Karantzas, Associate professor in Social Psychology / Relationship Science, Deakin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/its-not-just-sex-why-people-have-affairs-and-how-to-deal-with-them-92354"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

How the power of a hug can help you cope with conflict

<p>Friends, children, romantic partners, family members – many of us exchange hugs with others on a regular basis. New research from the United States, <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203522">published in <em>PLOS</em></a>, now shows hugs can help us to cope with conflict in our daily life.</p> <p>Hugs are considered a form of <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1088868316650307">affectionate touch</a>. Hugs occur between social partners of all types, and sometimes even strangers.</p> <p>They often arise in positive contexts – while greeting, celebrating an achievement, or simply enjoying the presence of a loved one – but they can also occur in negative contexts when support is needed.</p> <p>Affectionate touch buffers anxiety associated with potential negative events. For instance, in one <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2006.01832.x">study</a>, brain activity among participants who held their romantic partner’s hand during a stressful situation reflected less intense threat responses compared to that of participants who held a stranger’s hand, or no hand at all.</p> <p><strong>Hugs and conflict</strong></p> <p>The <a href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203522">research</a>, led by Carnegie Mellon’s <a href="https://murphypsychology.com/about/">Michael Murphy</a>, reveals the important role that hugs can play in buffering against the negative impact of interpersonal conflict such as disagreements and arguments.</p> <p>This study used data from 404 generally healthy adults. They were interviewed via phone by a researcher at the end of the day, each day, for 14 days.</p> <p>Participants indicated whether or not they had experienced any interpersonal tension or conflict during their day, and whether anyone had hugged them in the past 24 hours. They also rated their experience of both positive affect (such as happy, calm, cheerful) and negative affect (for instance, unhappy, angry, tense) that day.</p> <p>Most participants (93 per cent) reported receiving a hug on at least one day of the interview period. The same was true for interpersonal conflict (69 per cent). Four per cent of total days of interview data involved conflict with no receipt of a hug. Ten per cent of days involved conflict and receipt of a hug.</p> <p>How did interpersonal conflict and hugs contribute to emotional experience? On days when individuals experienced conflict when they had had a hug, they experienced less negative affect and more positive affect than on days when they experienced conflict when they had had no hug. The pattern for negative affect even carried over to the next day.</p> <p>You might wonder how robust these results were. When the researchers examined participant sex, they found a few overall results (e.g., men reported both more conflict and more hug receipt than women), but the key finding above held for both sexes.</p> <p>Further, in all analyses, the researchers controlled for participants’ age, ethnicity, marital status, education, and the number of unique individuals participants had interacted with on a given day – thus ruling out many alternative explanations.</p> <p>What we don’t yet know is the causal order of this relationship. The study design only assessed whether a hug was received and whether interpersonal conflict had occurred. So, it’s unclear whether the hug preceded or followed from the conflict.</p> <p>We also don’t know whether the hug and the conflict involved the same person, nor do we know the type or severity of the conflict. So we should be careful about advocating “<a href="https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hug%20it%20out">hugging it out</a>”.</p> <p>Those caveats aside, this research fits within a broader <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763408001723">field of research</a> that points to the importance of affectionate touch – for both physical and social wellbeing. For instance, other <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614559284">findings</a> from this research team show that receiving hugs reduces the likelihood of catching the common cold, and reduces the severity of symptoms even if infected.</p> <p><strong>Why are hugs beneficial?</strong></p> <p>Why might hugs be beneficial? Being hugged leads to release of the hormone <a href="https://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2016-02-03/the-health-benefits-of-hugging">oxytocin</a>, setting off a range of downstream outcomes that could explain the benefits of hugging. Oxytocin is involved in a <a href="https://www.nature.com/news/neuroscience-the-hard-science-of-oxytocin-1.17813">complex range</a> of social processes, but has been implicated romantic bonding and trust.</p> <p>Other research suggests the benefits of hugs and affectionate touch more generally rest within the cardiovascular system. One <a href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/1802/c19b1e7fb2e3a61966e37101c9ed0b329c32.pdf">study</a> found lower systolic blood pressure in the husbands of couples asked to increase the frequency of affectionate touch with one another. Other <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301051104001632">research</a> documents lowered blood pressure and heart rate among women who receive frequent hugs.</p> <p>Psychologically, hugs and affectionate touch more generally communicate social support.</p> <p>We hug to convey that we care, that we’re grateful for a benefit received, that we share in an achievement. Receiving a hug therefore serves as a signal that the social relationship is characterised by closeness and concern. It’s no surprise then, that relationships characterised by frequent affectionate touch are <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167213497592">happier relationships</a>.</p> <p><strong>Hug specifics</strong></p> <p>Not all hugs are alike. Does variability in hug characteristics matter?</p> <p>Does giving hugs carry similar benefit as receiving hugs? Some <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938417301336">research</a> indicates that being on the receiving end of affectionate touch has the most benefit. Chances are, though, that fully reciprocal hugs are equally beneficial.</p> <p>Can the benefits of affectionate touch carry beyond humans? The answer is yes. Hugging and affectionate touch with <a href="https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/8172336">robots</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/therapy-dogs-can-help-reduce-student-stress-anxiety-and-improve-school-attendance-93073">therapy dogs</a> and <a href="http://time.com/4728315/science-says-pet-good-for-mental-health/">pets of all types</a> produce a range of positive outcomes, likely supported by the same underlying mechanisms as human to human touch, such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3408111/">oxytocin release</a>.</p> <p>Does the number of hugs and the number of people you hug matter? More hugs are better, at least among <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15740822">romantic couples</a>, but we don’t yet know if more frequent hugs with a larger number of people is important.</p> <p>Does the duration of the hug matter? Most hugs are <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2011/01/hugs-follow-3-second-rule">three seconds</a> long, but evidence suggests that hugs of <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/4131508.stm">20 seconds</a> are those that kick off the cardiovascular benefits mentioned above.</p> <p>So seek out a hug. Chances are, you’ll be better for it.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/104318/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Written by <span>Lisa A Williams, Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology, UNSW</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-power-of-a-hug-can-help-you-cope-with-conflict-104318"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

"Michelle would leave me": Barack Obama admits the one thing his wife won't put up with

<p>Barack Obama has joked about the one thing that would prompt his wife Michelle to leave him.</p> <p>The former US president was speaking to a crowd of young leaders in Berlin, Germany, for an event organised by his non-profit the Obama Foundation on Saturday.</p> <p>He explained that his organisation is non-partisan. “I’m not here to support any political party, I’ve held my last political office,” the 57-year-old told the town hall audience.</p> <p>“Michelle would leave me if I ever ran for office again.”</p> <p>Although the US constitution stated that “no person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice”, there are ways that he could gain a third term as President.</p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/jvdelong/2015/08/03/thinking-about-a-third-term/#7f9c81352f77" target="_blank"><em>Forbes</em></a>, he could seek presidency through a non-elected route, such as becoming elected vice president or running as a cabinet member and then ascending via the Presidential Succession Act.</p> <p>This is not the first time the 44th President of the United States has joked about Michelle leaving him. In 2017, he delivered the joke in his acceptance speech for the Profile in Courage Award.</p> <p>“I also want to thank Michelle Obama for, after the presidency, sticking with me,” he said at the event. “Because I think she felt an obligation to the country to stay on, but once her official duties were over, it wasn’t clear.”</p> <p>He added, “I love my wife, and I’m grateful for her, and I do believe that it was America’s great good fortune to have her as First Lady.”</p> <p>The pair first met when they were working together at a law firm in 1989. They tied the knot three years later and went on to have two daughters, Malia and Sasha.</p> <p>After leaving the White House in 2017, Michelle told <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/politics/michelle-obama-barack-marriage-rediscovering-romance-after-white-house/" target="_blank">PEOPLE</a></em> that she and her husband have been enjoying quality time that they did not have as much of during their days as the President and the First Lady.</p> <p>“We are finding each other again,” she said. “We have dinners alone and chunks of time where it’s just us – what we were when we started this thing: no kids, no publicity, no nothing. Just us and our dreams.”</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Are Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson “friends with benefits"?

<p>After rumours circulated around Fergie’s and her ex-husband’s relationship while on a trip together, the fiery red head was <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/just-friends-fergie-forced-to-deny-she-and-prince-andrew-have-reunited" target="_blank">forced to deny any of the rekindling allegations.</a></p> <p>However, new reports are claiming the pair are “friends with benefits,” and that the rollercoaster relationship – which has followed the two over the last 30 years – is back on, and it's here to stay.</p> <p>The couple divorced in 1996 while raising their two daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.</p> <p>Now on top of the rumours both Fergie and the prince are back together, follows the newest claim by <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/8802905/sarah-ferguson-prince-andrew-friends-benefits-charles-philip/" target="_blank"><em>The Sun</em></a>, which says they are back in a romantic relationship which friends claim makes them “friends with benefits.”</p> <p>Prince Philip no longer “cares” about the tumultuous relationship, while Prince Charles reportedly is still “not OK” with Fergie and still “can’t stand her.”</p> <p>“He thinks she’s brought embarrassment to the Royal Family in the past and his relationship with his brother has been strained as a result,” a royal insider told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/8802905/sarah-ferguson-prince-andrew-friends-benefits-charles-philip/" target="_blank"><em>The Sun</em>.</a></p> <p>“There’s so much baggage because he feels she sided with Diana over Camilla all those years ago.</p> <p>“The fear with her is that she will never stop promoting herself and looking for ways to make money off her royal position.”</p> <p>The Duchess of York’s official words are that she and her ex-husband remain “good friends as they have for many years, and nothing has changed.”</p> <p>While this seems to be the understanding, royal fans are constantly left confused by the two’s strange relationship.</p> <p>Last year, Fergie told an Australian radio show she and Prince Andrew had never “really left each other.”</p> <p>She also said they were the “happiest divorced couple in the world.”</p> <p>“He's still my handsome prince, he'll always be my handsome prince,” the 59-year-old royal member has also been quoted saying.</p> <p>The Duchess of York still appears to be in the Queen’s good graces, and has been invited to Balmoral for summer visits for the last three years.</p> <p>Along with being invited to the high-profile wedding between the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May of last year, Fergie is also said to have joined Her Majesty for tea at Ascot and Windsor Castle.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

King Edward's affair with "sweetheart" before marrying Wallis Simpson

<p>As the only British monarch to abdicate voluntarily, the story of King Edward VIII is not to be missed.</p> <p>In 1936, King Edward VIII – who was the brother of Queen Elizabeth's father – rocked the British monarchy after he expressed his wish of marrying twice-divorced American woman Wallis Simpson. As head of the Church of England, Edward was advised against tying the knot with a divorcee, and his proposal was met with opposition from the religious institution and most politicians in the Commonwealth.</p> <p>After failing to find a solution, Edward finally abdicated his throne in December – making Queen Elizabeth's father King George VI of England – and left for Europe to marry Simpson the following year. The couple, who became the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, stayed together until Edward’s death in 1972.</p> <p>However, before the marriage, Edward also had a series of affairs with married women. One of them was English socialite and textile heiress Freda Dudley Ward, who Simpson once described as “my husband’s <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1983/03/18/obituaries/marquesa-first-true-love-of-edward-viii-is-dead-at-88.html">first true love</a>”.</p> <p>Dudley Ward first met Edward, then the Prince of Wales, in 1918 during an air raid in London, when she had been married for five years to Liberal politician William Dudley Ward. The two soon became smitten with each other and began their relationship.</p> <p>In the letters to Dudley Ward, which were later sold at Sotheby’s New York, the prince repeatedly avowed his love. “'I love you love you so so madly &amp; desperately,” he wrote in one of the correspondences. “I worship &amp; adore you my sweetheart &amp; cant bear being away from you.”</p> <p>He called her his “Sweetheart &amp; Tormentor” and “my little Fredie” while signing himself as her “little slave” and “little parpee” (puppy). He would also phone her four to five times a night, and would reportedly become bereft when the line was busy or she was out of the house.</p> <p>Soon the affair became well-known among the high society, with Winston Churchill <a href="https://winstonchurchill.org/publications/churchill-bulletin/bulletin-082-apr-2015/winston-the-windsors/">once commenting</a>, “It is quite pathetic to see the Prince and Freda. His love is so obvious and undisguisable.”</p> <p>Dudley Ward’s marriage with her politician husband was dissolved in 1932. She enjoyed the prince’s company for a couple more years until their relationship was abruptly ended.</p> <p>In 1934, she called the St James’s Palace after a few weeks of not hearing from the prince. However, the operator informed her, “I have orders not to put you through.”</p> <p>Sotheby’s expert Marsha Malinowski said even though Dudley Ward was “admired by almost everyone in the prince’s circle”, she knew “their relationship wasn’t going anywhere and never would.”</p> <p>Since then, the two never spoke or wrote to each other again. According to the <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/08/style/fractured-fairy-tale-an-archive-of-a-royal-romance.html" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a>, the prince had become attached to Simpson, who did not favour any contact with old girlfriends.</p> <p>Dudley Ward went on to marry Pedro José Isidro Manuel Ricardo Monés in 1937, but they ultimately split up in 1954. She died in London in 1983 at the age of 88.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Best marriage tips from divorce lawyers

<p>When you want to know what can make a marriage last, turning to a divorce lawyer might seem like a strange decision – but as witness to the institution’s failures, they are the people who understand why relationships end and what factors could be at play.</p> <p>Here are some of the best advice on wedded life from attorneys across the world.</p> <p><strong>Voice your concerns the right way</strong></p> <p>Divorce trial lawyer James Sexton said relationship killers are usually not the big, dramatic problems such as cheating, but the small issues that add up throughout. “It’s always those tiny discourtesies – that annoyed look on your face, that time you ignored your partner when they needed you, all those times you couldn’t bother to give that person your full attention,” he told <span><a href="https://www.vox.com/2018/12/3/18075794/marriage-divorce-happiness-relationships-james-sexton"><em>Vox</em></a></span>. “These are the small things that become big things over time.”</p> <p>To address this, Sexton advised against bottling things up. Instead, call out what bothers you in the moment to avoid building up resentments.</p> <p>Stay respectful when airing your grievances. Family lawyer Franco Pomare said one of the most common complaints he saw in his 30 years of practice was “I can’t talk to my partner as all they do is yell and scream and then we don’t talk for days”.</p> <p>“There is no communication in yelling, screaming, name calling or the silent treatment,” said Pomare.</p> <p>“Sure, you will win the odd agreement by such behavior – but in the long run, you will lose out when your partner finally says enough is enough and just walks out.”</p> <p><strong>Secure your own oxygen mask first</strong></p> <p>When life gets hectic and your marriage is in turbulence, it can be hard to maintain a clear perspective due to stress and frustration. “Those emotions can lead to <span><a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/unconventional-pieces-of-marriage-advice-from-divorce-lawyers_n_5b23efdce4b0f9178a9cc22a">dysfunctional behaviors</a></span> that have a negative impact on your marriage,” said attorney Christopher S Hildebrand.</p> <p>According to attorney Vikki Ziegler, this is when you should start taking care of yourself. Dedicate some time just for yourself outside of work, relationship and family. Allow yourself to do the things you’ve always wanted to do, be it going to the salon, trying a class or going on a hike.</p> <p>“Don't forget that you are a person outside of this relationship with unique needs and desires that need to be fulfilled in order to keep you happy,” Ziegler wrote on <span><a href="https://www.popsugar.com.au/love/Marriage-Advice-From-Divorce-Attorney-45180358"><em>PopSugar</em></a></span>. “Don't make anyone else responsible for your individual happiness.”</p> <p><strong>Talk about the money</strong></p> <p>Discussing finances can be quite uncomfortable, and it is common to have one person end up making decisions and managing the money for both parties. However, this imbalance can turn relationships sour, according to family law specialist Sarah Bevan.</p> <p>“As family lawyers, one of the most common complaints we hear from our clients who are separating is that the other person is secretive or controlling about the couple’s finances,” Bevan told <em>Over 60</em>. “That person may not intend to be secretive or controlling, but it is very common for the other to feel out of the loop, and that their opinion or input is not valued.”</p> <p>Bevan warned those who are making the financial decisions in their relationships to still keep their partner in the know and run any proposed plans by them, even if they do not actively involve themselves in the day to day management.</p> <p>Do you have any tips on how to make a marriage last? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Why breakups are so hard and how to cope with them

<p>Despite populist writings that love lasts forever, the divorce statistics across various countries tell us that anywhere between <a href="https://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/dyb/dyb2011/Table23.pdf">one in 25 to two in three marriages end</a>. If these statistics were to take into account the number of nonmarital long-term relationships that end, then the statistics would be much higher.</p> <p>Most of us experience a relationship breakup at some point in our lives. For some of us, the experience may be most profound when we lose our first love. This is largely because our first loves are our first experience at learning what romantic love is, how to navigate the joys and challenges of love and what it’s like to <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163459">experience relationship loss</a>.</p> <p>For some, the loss of a first love is also the first time the physical and psychological <a href="https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.60.110707.163459">symptoms of grief and loss are experienced</a>.</p> <p>A romantic relationship that has spanned a considerable time (decades in some cases) also provokes <a href="http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195398694.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780195398694">intense feelings of loss</a>, even when people knew their relationship was problematic. They may have found their relationship dissatisfying and view their former partner as insensitive, selfish, argumentative – even unloving - and still mourn the loss of it.</p> <p><strong>Why do we experience feelings of loss after breakup?</strong></p> <p>During the adult years, our romantic partners hold a <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X18300095">special significance</a> – a significance that was once held by our parents or parent-like figures. Our romantic partners become the primary people we turn to for <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X18300095">love, comfort, and security</a>.</p> <p>Above anyone else, we turn to our partners for care and support in times of threat and distress. We <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/232603085_Interpersonal_Safe_Haven_and_Secure_Base_Caregiving_Processes_in_Adulthood">also turn to them for validation</a> and to share in our success during times of joy and achievement.</p> <p>The loss of the most significant person in our life causes us to experience distress, and in the early stages of relationship loss, this distress compounds. This is because our natural reaction when our partner isn’t physically or psychologically present to meet our needs is to “up” the distress. This increase in distress occurs for two reasons:</p> <ol> <li> <p>we feel more vulnerable when our partner is not there to meet our needs</p> </li> <li> <p>increasing our distress can alert our partner that we need their support</p> </li> </ol> <p>This is why breaking up is so hard: the key person in life that helps you deal with the good, the bad, and the ugly, is not there to help you deal with this highly distressing loss.</p> <p><strong>What are the typical emotions experienced?</strong></p> <p>The so called “normative” emotional response to relationship loss depends on whether you are doing the breaking up, or, your partner is breaking up with you.</p> <p>Breaking up with a long-term romantic partner is not something a person undertakes lightly. We generally only consider relationship <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Handbook-of-Divorce-and-Relationship-Dissolution/Fine-Harvey/p/book/9781315820880">breakup as a viable option if</a>:</p> <ul> <li> <p>our partner is consistently not meeting our needs</p> </li> <li> <p>we experience a relationship betrayal to the point trust cannot be restored</p> </li> <li> <p>stressors, challenges, and social disapproval outside the relationship are so chronic and intense the relationship breaks down to the point it cannot be revived.</p> </li> </ul> <p>The person doing the breaking up will often <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0265407598156005">experience</a> relief, mixed with feelings of guilt (because of the hurt they’re inflicting on their partner), anxiety (over how the breakup will be received) and sadness (especially if they still have love and fondness for their partner).</p> <p>For the person whose partner is breaking up with them, the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1350-4126.2005.00112.x">emotions experienced</a> often relate to the three phases of loss people undergo.</p> <p>In the first phase, a person protests the breakup and tries to re-establish closeness with their partner. In this phase, the dominant emotion experienced is one of anger, but the threat of loss brings about distress emotions such as panic and anxiety. These feelings of “separation protest” can sometimes be so strong that a person <a href="https://www.elsevier.com/books/adult-attachment/gillath/978-0-12-420020-3">works very hard to get back with their partner</a>.</p> <p>But if the relationship is truly at an end, then engaging in this kind of behaviour only makes it harder (and longer) to recover from the relationship loss. These powerful feelings that sit behind separation protest are why, even in toxic relationships, a person may wish to reunite with their partner.</p> <p>In the second phase, a person comes to the realisation that getting back together is not possible, and so, feelings of sadness dominate alongside feelings of lethargy and hopelessness.</p> <p>In the third phase, a person comes to terms with, and accepts, the loss. Time and energy is then devoted to other life tasks and goals (which can include seeking out a new partner).</p> <p>A question often asked when it comes to relationship breakups is “how long should I feel like this?”</p> <p>The experience of relationship loss is a very individual experience, and there’s great variability in how long it can take for people to recover from the loss.</p> <p>People’s circumstances can also complicate recovery. A relationship that ended (on good or bad terms), but still involves seeing one’s former partner (say, because they work at the same organisation or share custody of their children) can increase the process of recovery, and make it more challenging. This is because seeing one’s partner may reactivate feelings of hurt, anger or sadness, especially if a person didn’t want the relationship to end.</p> <p>We also know aspects of people’s personality can impact on their ability to recover from loss. People who experience <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352250X18300162">insecurity</a> about themselves and their relationships find it harder to deal with and recover from feelings of anger and sadness than people who feel secure within themselves and their relationships.</p> <p>In general, people tend to work through the various stages of loss to reach the recovery phase from anywhere between <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Handbook-of-Divorce-and-Relationship-Dissolution/Fine-Harvey/p/book/9781315820880">one month to six months</a> after the relationship has ended.</p> <p><strong>Recovering from relationship loss</strong></p> <p>People who recover from relationship loss tend not to <a href="https://www.elsevier.com/books/adult-attachment/gillath/978-0-12-420020-3">defend against the emotions they are experiencing</a>. That is, they try not to suppress or ignore their feelings, and in doing so, they give themselves the opportunity to process their emotions and to make sense of them. Some studies have suggested <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17439760802068480">writing about the loss</a>, much like journalling, can also help with recovery from relationship loss.</p> <p>On the other hand, <a href="https://www.elsevier.com/books/adult-attachment/gillath/978-0-12-420020-3">brooding over these emotions, not accepting the relationship loss</a>, and talking about the breakup with people who only increase your feelings of sadness and anger by reinforcing these negative feelings or further highlighting all you have lost, are not particularly constructive ways of dealing with the breakup.</p> <p>Seeking support from friends and family is important, but not only do people require emotional comfort, they also require encouragement that they can get through it, and reassurance that what they are experiencing is normal – and will pass.</p> <p>If a person is truly having a hard time dealing with the loss – they are in a constant state of sadness, feel chronically depressed, are unable to function on a daily basis – then seeking professional help from a counsellor or psychologist is highly advisable. Some people might just need a bit of extra help in learning how to process their emotions to reach recovery.</p> <p>Relationship breakups are never easy, and most of us will experience the pain of loss at some point in life. While the experience is painful and challenging, it can be a time where we learn a lot about ourselves, experience profound personal growth, and gain a greater appreciation of the kind of relationship we truly want.</p> <p><em>Written by <span>Gery Karantzas, Associate professor in Social Psychology / Relationship Science, Deakin University</span>. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-breakups-are-so-hard-and-how-to-cope-with-them-96339"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

Just friends! Fergie forced to deny she and Prince Andrew have reunited

<p>Sarah Ferguson has been forced to address speculation that she and Prince Andrew are back together, after they were spotted on a recent trip with one another.</p> <p>Rumours were rife after the Duchess of York and her former husband travelled to Bahrain with their daughter Princess Beatrice and her boyfriend Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi.</p> <p>The 59-year-old denied all claims of a rekindled romance after she shared a series of photos on Twitter and Instagram, saying she’s having a “wonderful time” with the Duke of York and her eldest daughter.</p> <p>She finished off the post with the hashtags #familytime and #luckyme.</p> <p>The former couple also attended a number of official engagements together in Bahrain and appeared at the Grand Prix.</p> <p>Questions arose after ITV’s Chris Ship tweeted: “royal relationship back on. Prince Andrew and Fergie back together more than 20 years after they divorced…”</p> <p>While many believed the tweet to be an April fools’ joke, Ferguson quickly addressed the rumours saying that despite the special bond the two share, they are not together.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the Duchess said: “The Duke and Duchess of York continue to be good friends, and nothing has changed in their relationship.”</p> <p>Speaking to the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/" target="_blank"><em>Mirror</em></a>,<span> </span>a senior Palace insider said: “While Duke and Duchess are not officially back together, it is fair to say their relationship is incredibly strong.</p> <p>“The two of them are not involved in relationships with anyone else, which of course likely to fuel rumours of an unlikely reunion.</p> <p>“They very much enjoy each other’s company and their public displays of affection for one another are becoming more frequent.</p> <p>“With one daughter happily married and the other in a serious relationship that could well end in marriage, maybe the focus will shift back to them.</p> <p>“But for now, they are enjoying spending time together and as a family.”</p> <p>Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew tied the knot in July 1986, making her the Duchess of York. The couple had two daughters together – Beatrice and Eugenie – before going their separate ways in 1996.</p> <p>Despite their marriage ending over 20 years ago, the two still live in the same house together and are known to share a close relationship.</p>

Relationships

Placeholder Content Image

3 key steps to a healthy argument

<p><span>Conflict is an inevitable part of being in a relationship. Studies have shown that having fights is normal and healthy, even for the happiest couples. “The biggest mistake that couples make is avoidance,” Joseph Grenny, co-author of <em>Crucial Conversations </em>told the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/13/couples-who-argue-together-stay-together-research-finds"><em>Guardian</em></a>. </span></p> <p><span>“We tend to avoid these conversations because we are conscious of the risks of speaking up, but unconscious of the risks of not speaking up … without considering the longer-term costs to intimacy, trust and connection.”</span></p> <p><span>So, if fights are necessary for a healthy, thriving relationship, how can we best proceed to fight without creating serious rifts? Here are three tips that experts recommend.</span></p> <p><strong><span>1. Avoid labels and accusations</span></strong></p> <p><span>In the heat of the fight, it can be tempting to resort to labels and sweeping statements like “you’re lazy” or “you always do this”. However, these fleeting words can cause lasting damage.</span></p> <p><span>“Usually we say these things because we think we are having <em>no</em> impact,” said Sue Johnson, <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hold-me-tight/201002/what-every-couple-needs-know-about-fighting?collection=1077717">clinical psychologist</a> and author of <em>Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love. </em>“The trouble is, this kind of label wounds your partner. In fact, our brain registers this kind of hostile criticism in the same area as it does physical pain. Your partner also becomes so busy dealing with this pain that he or she cannot listen to you at all.”</span></p> <p><span>When you’re on the receiving end of these unkind retorts, do not react. Recognise them as a bait that is designed to make you angry and tune it out. Clinical psychologist Deborah Grody told <a href="http://time.com/5402188/how-to-fight-healthy-partner/"><em>TIME</em></a> that when this occurs, the best thing couples can do is to take a timeout and return to the conversation once both parties have cooled down.</span></p> <p><strong><span>2. Listen and ask for clarification</span></strong></p> <p><span>It’s easier said than done but being curious and listening to your partner well when they voice their concerns can truly help nurture growth and connection. </span></p> <p><span>Grody advises against interrupting your partner mid-sentence – if there is something you don’t quite understand, wait until they finish speaking and then ask for a clarification afterwards. </span></p> <p><span>For example, asking “What makes you feel like I’m not doing my part around the house?” is a more respectful and empathetic thing to do for your partner rather than saying, “Well, I’ve already done my part, so you should acknowledge that.”</span></p> <p><span>Go into the discussion with the intention of understanding the other instead of being right and/or winning the argument.</span></p> <p><strong><span>3. Make requests</span></strong></p> <p><span>There are many ways to air your grievances, but some might be better than the others. Common methods, like complaints (“I’m the only one doing the housework around here”) and sarcastic statements (“That’s okay, I have <em>a lot of time </em>to clean the house anyway”) often only result in pent-up frustration and hostile environment. Meanwhile. threats or ultimatums might get you what you want in the short-term but will chip away the foundation of your relationship. </span></p> <p><span>Be proactive and express what you need from your loved one. Direct requests will give your partner some idea on the ways they can meet your needs.</span></p> <p><span>Do you have any tips on having “healthy” fights in a relationship? Share your thoughts in the comments.</span></p>

Relationships