Are we giving up on our relationships or finally getting real?

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Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

The year 2020 has brought challenges no one expected. The global pandemic and its effects on our finances, our family life and our health has rocked our world. Those of us lucky enough to skate through without getting sick (yet) have been faced with a new and radically altered reality.

Divorce rates have skyrocketed during this year. In the months of March through June, couples have filed at a rate 34% higher than the same period last year. Just three weeks into the lockdown, there was a 57% spike in divorce filings.

So did the pandemic kill the relationship? …


The most important conversation right now is the one you have with yourself.

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Photo by DDP on Unsplash

Trusting yourself means living out what you already know to be true.

Cheryl Strayed

Overcomplicating is something I am very good at. I can rationalize with the best of them. But at the end of the day I know I am a seeker of truth. I don’t ever want to be scared to look away.

Relationships are one of the hardest places to experience clarity. It is nearly impossible to have a clear perspective when you are inside one. So often, it is after we get out that we see how unhappy we were.

Choosing to open your eyes, to see clearly and to make decisions based in truth is a journey most simply do not undertake. The blinders go on and they don’t come off. …


“You are going to fall, you are going to fail, you are going to know heartbreak.” -Brene Brown

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Photo by Oliver Cole on Unsplash

Brené Brown didn’t plan to become this famous. In fact, she resisted anything that would bring her further into the spotlight. She feared the potential repercussions that could come with going big.

After 20 years as a graduate professor and researcher specializing in the study of shame she suddenly found herself on the world stage.

As a specialist studying shame and vulnerability, she knew she had the skills to handle the onslaught of attention from her viral Ted Talk. But the cruelty of the comments on social media challenged even her expertise.

While she was experiencing success on a level most people dream of, her internal feeling was one of panic. Exposure. The pain of her own vulnerability. The spotlight pointed right in her eyes and she flinched. …


A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short. – Andre Marois

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Photo by Andreas Rønningen on Unsplash

Have you wondered what it means to have a good marriage?

There are entire industries built around creating the perfect wedding. Look no further than the endless racks of magazines on a newsstand. Flash forward a few years and you will find entire industries built around understanding what is wrong with your relationship. Look no further than the self-help section of the book store. Or most of my articles.

But I am in my 40’s. When I got married, I followed the script. Dated for two years, got engaged, dutifully planned the perfect wedding for our families. I yielded want I wanted to the pressure of what was expected. It was all bridesmaids and flowers, invitations and thank you notes. …


Don’t confuse “familiar” with “acceptable”. Toxic relationships can fool you like that. -Steve Maraboli

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Photo by Yaoqi LAI on Unsplash

People use terms like “toxic” and “narcissist” and “gaslighting” these days. Practically every article you read refers to relationship terms that aren’t well defined.

You can google for days searching signs of a bad relationship. You may fit a few of the criteria. And then you rationalize that it might be ok because you don’t fit them all. I know, because I do it too.

If you find yourself asking any question along the lines of is my relationship toxic? then you are experiencing a pretty bad situation.

The problem is, when you find yourself in a bad situation, it is nearly impossible to see clearly. It isn’t just that your partner is toxic, it is that the entire environment in which you exist has become toxic. It affects your ability to think clearly, it affects your self-esteem and your life begins to shrink as you hide the truth from friends and family out of sheer embarrassment over the truth of your relationship. …


The difference between a healthy fight and a doomed relationship.

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

When asked if it is good or bad for a couple to have a fight, relationship expert Esther Perel becomes animated her answer. “It’s a must. It’s obligatory. But the question is not so much the fighting, the question is really the repair.”

How we fight, what we actually fight about and how we repair the relationship are key indicators of how a couple is actually connecting. While having disagreements within any relationship is normal, there are unhealthy behaviors that can predict the breakdown of a partnership.

Where We Go Wrong

It is easy to be your best self on the good days…but how do you behave when things get hard? Your character is revealed in the most challenging moments, not the best. …


6 unmistakable signs you found the love of your life.

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Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

People love to say when you meet the one you will just know.

But will you?

The beginning is all butterflies and anticipation…and you really feel like it is the real thing. And then the initial attraction fades into the crushing realization that the reality of your relationship doesn’t quite match up.

If you find yourself in that moment where you are wondering if you are in or out…

“…that is probably a bad sign in itself.”

When you are in a great relationship, one that provides an environment where you feel you can be your most authentic self, you just know it. …


“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

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Photo by Adam Kontor on Unsplash

But it feels so good.

First kisses, romantic dates, that feeling of being desired deeply. And when it fades the loss is depressing. And there is a desperation to get it back.

Falling in love comes in stages. They are normal, and they are healthy. You pass through them on your way to lifetime companionship. But when we are obsessed with one phase, the one that causes those intense feelings of wanting and attraction, we miss out on the benefits of all the others.

Stage 1: Instant Chemistry

What it looks like

There is some magic formula we will never understand that causes one person to be attracted to another. You are nervous, awkward…does he like me or not? It is a bumbling first date as you try to get to know one another and look for signs. …


Is Social Media Designed to Hurt Your Mental Health?

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Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

A few years ago, a girlfriend of mine deleted all of her social media accounts. I was shocked. She was on there all of the time.

She was the last person I expected to delete her account.

Her reason? She said she felt like it was turning her into a worse version of herself. She felt jealous, obsessed. She couldn’t stop looking at her phone. Like a trained animal, she responded to the buzz and dutifully performed. Without thinking.

Sound familiar?

Buzz. Wait, did you just click off my article to look at your notifications?

Enter the new documentary, The Social Dilemma on Netflix. The response to its content has been absolute shock. Listening to top-level social media execs reveal how algorithms are designed to keep us obsessed with our social media accounts was news to many. …


“Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.”
Cheryl Strayed

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

A relationship is a living, breathing thing. It expands and contracts, changes and grows as we move through our lives. Change is inevitable. And with those changes come ups and downs. Couples fight. We hurt each others feelings. That is normal.

Some relationships have serious and obvious problems. Physical abuse, endless repetitive disagreements, constant criticism…dealbreakers. These are the worst relationship behaviors.

But there is another tier of misery. The one where you say things like, it’s not like he hits me. He isn’t out drinking every night. We don’t fight every day. You find yourself wondering if it’s really bad enough to leave. …

About

Colleen Murphy

Writing about the beautiful journey of life and love. We are all figuring this out together

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