There are a ton of relationship articles out there telling you the warning signs of toxic relationships, often pointing the finger at the men (we're all guilty of it). So at this point some of us are experts at picking out the red flags and have become quite guarded...maybe a little too guarded.
It's easy to feel the need to protect ourselves but sometimes in doing so we lose sight of the good parts of the relationships and miss out on them altogether. Sometimes men do things that might come off toxic but are actually quite healthy relationship habits. So let's cut the men some slack by pointing these out.
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Success Predicted At 91% Rate
What if we told you that there was a formula to successful relationships? John Gottman, a relationship research expert, studied intimate relationships for more than 40 years and found a science to it.
Among his discoveries was the process of "thin-slicing" relationships, a technique where he hooks couples up to a series of biometric devices and then records them having short conversations. Examining body language, tonality, and specific words chosen, he could predict whether their marriage would last or not.
Signs In Numbers
Gottman's "thin-slicing" process had a 91% success rate in predicting whether newly-wed couples will divorce within 10 years. Luckily he also found a 50% higher success rate of saving troubled marriages than traditional marriage counseling. Part of the success is in becoming aware of what to look for and expect in these relationships. Here are some of the signs.
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Persistent Unresolved Conflicts
One first thing Gottman says in almost all of his books is that the idea that couples must communicate and resolve all of their problems is a myth. Yes, communication is important but it has limits. In his research, he found that most successful couples have persistent unresolved issues.
On the other hand, couples that tried to resolve every little issue were unsuccessful. It's okay to have some disagreement, it's even healthy. After all, you're both two-minded individuals. Conflict is inevitable and sometimes you just have to live with it. A man who doesn't want to be nagged about the small things over and over isn't to be reprimanded for choosing his battles. They have just learned to let things go and move on.
Hurting Your Feelings
Set a standard and stick to it. If you believe that honesty is the best policy, which you should as it is the foundation of any relationship, then don't make exceptions. If your man tells you that yes your skirt does make you look a little pregnant, then thank him for being honest even if it hurts.
His highest priority shouldn't be to make you feel good but to be honest with you that you can depend on him even if it's the cost of hurting your feelings sometimes. You should have enough self-confidence to have your own opinion and preferences rather than depend on your man to make you feel good or have your entire mood shift based on him. He shouldn't feel the need to censor himself around you.
Finding Other Women Attractive
They're human with eyes, feelings, and preferences. To promise to never find anyone else attractive is a setup for failure. The difference is in making the choice to be loyal to you and to put you first. They're choosing you over these other women and that's what matters. The truth is we as humans are very much capable of finding multiple people attractive at once, it's even biologically inevitable.
What isn't inevitable is whether we act on it. Attraction can just pass through but suppressing it gives it power and leads to worse outcomes. A man who looks at other women is just human, what matters is how he looks at you.
Spending Time Alone
It's not healthy to become so intertwined in a partner than you never are apart. You should have your own friends, hobbies and lives. When we fall in love we develop irrational beliefs that consume us with the illusion that we need to be around the object of our affection at all times. This is due to a brain chemical reaction that mimicks the intoxication of drugs like cocaine.
We literally risk becoming obsessed with our partner if we don't set boundaries and take time to recharge and maintain our identities during alone time. When you're always together you become co-dependant on each other and lose yourselves. The relationship becomes toxic.
Not Wanting To Work On Flaws
If they don't work to on themselves then that should be fine. If you're only with them for their potential then you shouldn't be with them at all. In reality, we all have our flaws and we're never going to be flaw-free.
Not only can you not force a person to change but before you even get into the relationship you should be aware of what your partner's flaws are and be at peace living with them. You should even be able to appreciate some of them. They say that the most accurate metric for your love of somebody is how you feel about their flaws
Breaking Up With You
A man ending a relationship with you doesn't automatically make him a bad guy or prove that he was just leading you on. While it may feel therapeutic to trash talk him with your girlfriends, think of the ways he did you a service. Leaving someone when you no longer feel like you're fulfilling each other's needs and meeting standards is a form of respect.
In fact, no matter his reason for the breakup, if there was any doubt keeping him from being sure about you and treating you in the way you deserve then thank him for doing something about it. Despite the romanticized idea that you should always fight for relationships, you should never give your energy to something that doesn't make you feel good.
Learn The Difference
Relationships can be complicated and difficult. But luckily there are some pretty clear signals to know if a relationship is going to work or not.
In any relationship, always look at how you feel and ask yourself: does this person make you love yourself more? Do you want to grow old with them?
Love is more than just kisses and butterflies, it's much more than that. If you want to know more on what your birth chart reveals about how you love and what you need out of a partner, check out this personalized report based on date of birth.