Monthly Archives: November 2016
My boyfriend and I moved to New York with only each other. We were 3,000 miles from home and knew no one else in this big city. I don’t think either of us anticipated just how homesick we’d be, but at 19 years old, we were sure that all we needed was each other to take on this brand new world, so starkly different from our Southern California roots. Our naiveté didn’t last long.
I hardly remember that fall, our first couple months learning and forgetting subway routes, me dutifully buried in schoolwork and him working 50+ hours a week just for an excuse to leave the house. But before I knew it, winter was upon us and we trudged through slush and snow, feeling perpetually frozen in a way that even my time in Colorado and London couldn’t have prepared me for. Poor California boy, he’d never experienced anything like it.
By January, less than six months into our New York new life, hairline fractures of fear and homesickness had evolved into cracks of exhaustion, depression, and irreparable loneliness. Relying solely on one another for comfort, friendship, love, and support had made him needy and me resentful.
Frustrated by the imposed restrictedness on any social life and simultaneous monotony of our relationship, I sought out the attentions and affections of other men, former flings, and subway strangers, craving some kind of social interaction other than the repetitive banter and routine we had established at home. But my attempts to divert my domestic displeasures only made them that much more pronounced — we spent our evenings sitting opposite one other, Netflix on the TV but our fingers and eyes glued to our phones in a silent, self-induced boozy haze.
It was unfair of me to assume that he wasn’t perceptive enough to notice. I kept my phone close at hand at all times, especially after his semi-successful attempts to learn my passcode and read my texts. We both felt the gap between us — mentally, emotionally, physically — widening, but were too scared of the potential loneliness to bring it up.
Our relationship ebbed further into distrust and resentment. Sensing something was going on, he would try going into my texts, Facebook messages, and email looking for something concrete to confirm his suspicions, and I would respond by strengthening my passwords and carrying my laptop with me when I left the house. But there weren’t any sexts or dirty photos or evidence of infidelity that he was searching for in any of the messages with these other men. It wasn’t the physical temptations leading me astray, but the search for emotional understanding from anyone to feel less alone.
One guy in particular, Sam, an old high school fling who was back in California, escalated our increasing trust issues to an unsalvageable level. Already (and quite reasonably) threatened by our history, my boyfriend was far from OK with my ongoing communication with Sam, especially as I became more secretive with my phone. So I would make excuses to leave the house while I called Sam for reassurance and comfort. I complained about my boyfriend and he responded with sympathetic encouragement for me to end things, that things could be so much better without him, that Sam and I had a “real” future together, until I was so worked up that I stormed home, icing out my boyfriend for no particular reason.
Being cheated on is the worst. You feel rejected but also pissed. You don’t know who you can trust. Well, scientific studies have narrowed down some traits that are statistically more common in guys who cheat, so here are some signs (not confirmation, obviously) that your guy will never stray.
1. You bring home the same amount of money. A recent study from the American Sociological review showed that partners were less likely to cheat if they were in the same (or similar) income brackets. Men were more likely to cheat if they made a lot more money than their partner, and they were most likely to cheat if they made a lot less. So if you two have similar paychecks, you’ve got statistics on your side.
2. He’s from the Midwest. According to this poll, Midwesterners are just too well-mannered to cheat on their partners.
4. He feels loved and trusted. According to a study conducted by Newman, most men don’t cheat because they’re not satisfied sexually. They cheat because they’re seeking emotional satisfaction.
5. He’s an extrovert. Extroverts are less likely to go along with the influence of others.Research shows that introverts are actually more likely to cheat because they’re more likely to agree to someone propositioning them. So even if he’s always out there meeting new people, you actually might be safer.
6. He just seems like the kind of guy who wouldn’t cheat. According to a real study that people spent time on, researchers found that you can trust your gut when it comes to guys who look like they’d cheat. If your gut is telling you “no,” then it’s a good idea to listen to that gut.
7. He’s really into Pantera. Yeah, according to this survey conducted by the Mirror (so, questionable), heavy metal listeners are apparently the least likely to cheat.
8. He comes from a big family. A survey from adult meet-up site Seeking Arrangements shows that cheaters are usually only children. Ask if he has a sister.
We’ve all swooned at the adorable stories of couples who spend their whole lives together, and are just as much in love with each other in old age as they were right at beginning. But what is their secret? How do they manage to maintain, and strengthen, their love through the years?
Well, psychiatrist Mark Goulston has published his advice. Read on to discover his 10 tips for lasting relationships:
1. Go to bed together. This doesn’t mean go have sex every single night, but rather go to bed at the same time. Dr. Goulston reckons that “happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times” even if one gets back up shortly after. There’s nothing like a bedtime cuddle!
2. Work out your common interests. It’s fine if he loves rugby while you’re into painting, and you shouldn’t even worry if the thing you find most boring is what really gets him going. But Dr. Goulston reminds us that the initial passion won’t last forever, so you need to make sure there’s some substance behind your relationship.
“If common interests aren’t present, happy couples develop them,” he says. “Don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting and prevent you from appearing too dependent.” Got it.
3. Hold hands. Next time you’re out together, make sure you’re in sync by holding one another’s hand. A public sign of affection, Dr. Goulston advises that it’s a sign of real comfort. “It’s more important to be with your partner than to see the sights along the way,” he tells us.
4. Always trust and try to forgive. Obviously this depends on the severity of your disagreement, but as a general rule Dr. Goulston thinks it’s key to make “trusting and forgiving, rather than distrusting and begrudging” your default setting after an argument.
5. Focus on what they do right, not what they do wrong. Positive reinforcement is an age-old concept used with children and even the training of animals. But it’s still important for fully grown adults too. So compliment your partner when they deserve it and try not to look for things they do wrong. “You can always find something,” Dr. Goulston says.
But that works both ways; “If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.”
6. Don’t forget to hug. Dr. Goulston urges us to hug our partner every single day (if circumstance allows). “Our skin has a memory of ‘good touch’ (loved), ‘bad touch’ (abused), and ‘no touch’ (neglected),” he explains. “Couples who say hello with a hug keep their skin bathed in the ‘good touch,’ which can inoculate your spirit against anonymity in the world.”
7. Say “I love you” and “have a good day” every morning. Seems obvious, but it’s an important one. Saying something caring like that first thing will set the other up for their day. “It’s a great way to buy some patience and tolerance as each partner sets out each day to battle traffic jams, long lines, and other annoyances.”