Stop The Domestic Violence !

“Stop the domestic violence” is a message that worldwide campaigns try to convey, with the purpose of raising awareness as well as educating the public about specific negative consequences of abusive behavior.

Unfortunately, the message is not well understood by everyone. Global statistics present dramatic figures: 35% of women have experienced physical/emotional/sexual abuse by a non-partner at least once in their lives, whereas 70% of women experience more than once a form of abuse either from their partner or family members. Certainly, these percentages are only a collection of the reported cases as it is estimated that the number of domestic abuses is higher than the official data.

Causes of Domestic Violence

I would assume that we could all agree that a lack of common sense, humanity, and respect are the main reasons that lead an individual to physically, emotionally or sexually abuse another person.

But understanding the issue from different perspectives,  one can identify alternative causes:

  • Culture: Sadly, in the 21st century, there are still cultures that do not see a problem with abusing a woman and in fact, such behaviors are socially accepted. Due to the cultural norms, violence is promoted and encouraged as a form of resolving conflicts or as a usual form of emotional expression. Consequently, such acceptance and tolerance of violence is transmitted to the next generations, who are prone to adopt the same form of “communication”
  • Conformism: Most of the cases of domestic violence remain unknown as a result of women’s conformism to their cultural norms. Thus, they feel that by reporting the abuse, they may actually violate the norms. Nevertheless, conformism is not always related to the fear of breaking the norms, but also a result of external and internal pressures. The fear that one could be socially rejected or stigmatized, lead many women to accept violence as part of the tradition.
  • Toxic Personality or Psychological Disorders:  Low-self esteem, extreme and unjustified jealousy, a desire for control and domination are few of the traits that abusers hold. Either they have been a victim of abuse in the past, they witnessed or lived in an environment that promoted violence or they have an undiagnosed psychological disorder, domestic violence is practiced as a consequence of individual factors.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: A constant misuse of toxic substances can significantly affect judgment and neurological activity. As such, a person under the effect of alcohol/drugs has poor control on his/her violent impulses and awareness of his/her unpredictable behavior.

Effects of Domestic Violence

The ultimate effect of domestic violence is death. The statistic data is as worrying as the above-mentioned ones, suggesting that half of the global deaths amongst women in the half-decade were a result of domestic violence.

Yet, the long-term effects of domestic violence are as disastrous as death.

  • Depression & Anxiety are directly linked to the severity of the abuse. Often a woman who experiences abuse does not openly discuss the conflict. Thus, she isolates herself mostly due to the fear of what may successively happen if she reports it.                                                                                                                                    The second factor that triggers depression is the inability of seeing a solution and accepting abuse as the only way of living. Most abused women do not receive support from families or community, especially in a culture where women are expected to obey their husbands. Nevertheless, even when support is available, women do not report the abuse as they live in denial. They tend to blame themselves for being the cause of the conflict between them and the partner, refusing to see the gravity of their situation. It often happens when the victim is emotionally controlled and feels that a possible breakup would only worsen her situation.
  • Low self-esteem, Self-doubt: Generally abusers tend to minimalize victim’s qualities through threats and verbal abuse, which makes the victim feel vulnerable and fearful. As mentioned above, the victim sees no solution or way out of the situation as her confidence in her ability to live separately and independently from the abuser, diminishes.
  • Physical Changes: Besides bruises, an abuse can have a great impact on body’s functions. Thus, insomnia or constant fatigue, poor cognitive and memory functions, shortness of breath, uncontrollable shaking and menstrual dysfunction are only the main and perhaps, the common physical effects of domestic abuse.

Preventing Domestic Violence


It is essential that the governments work closely and effectively with organizations that specialize in preventing abusive behaviors. By implementing stricter laws, creating more supportive centers, women would perhaps have more courage to leave a toxic relationship sooner.

Additionally, schools play an important role in forming future adults by shaping students’ intrapersonal skills since education can be a powerful organization that could challenge harmful beliefs, and motivate individuals to form healthy relationships or recognize the abusive ones.

A second influential mean that could address domestic violence is media. Radio, television, and booklets accompanied by informational programmes could promote safe dating and prevention of violence to a larger population.

Last, but not least, domestic violence is a matter that regards us all. No human being deserves being mistreated, deprived of freedom or offended in any possible way. If you identify any of the above signs as being a result of domestic abuse, report it! Remember that victims of abuse are afraid or in denial and therefore, they may have been abused longer than you may be aware.

If you think that you can approach the person and discuss their concerns, give your support and guide them to local professionals that will further investigate the case.

Be part of the campaign, even if you do not sign up with any organization, by talking to others about domestic violence. Every shared information can save someone from abuse.


How to Heal a Broken Heart

Loving and being loved is one of the most precious emotions that we can experience as romantic relationships are a great source of inspiration, purpose and fulfilment. We invest in relationships with the aim to make it stronger and durable, so we build expectations, make plans and dedicate our heart to it.

But what happens when our dream turns into dust? When all we knew we had is about to become a memory? Undoubtedly the first feelings that invade our mind and soul are desperation and shock. It feels unreal and all we think of is how we can prevent the separation from happening.

And yet, with all our efforts to heal the wounds and cover the gaps that caused the breakup, the inevitable occurs. S/he is gone and you are left with confused thoughts and a broken heart. In those moments all we wish to do is to wake up and realise that it was only a nightmare.

It would be so easy if we had a switch button to turn off the love we once felt and start from 0, but unfortunately we have to learn how to deal with the pain and heal ourselves.

1. Acceptance

The first and most important step in the healing process is acceptance. Your partner has decided to walk out of the relationship even though for you there was no real reason for why s/he would have left. Accept the fact that it happened, just like all the other situations in your life .

2. Relax

While you must experience a hundred mixed feelings, you need to find activities that help you relax. Living in denial, anger or sadness will only feed your confused thoughts, which will increase your sensation of desperation and fear. Although everything must have happened as quick as a lightning strike, you need to take advantage of solitude to find yourself amongt pain, love, regret and sadness. Go hiking, read, paint, travel for a while, meditate or invest in your previous hobbies.

3. Cut the ombilical cord

In other words, disconnect/distance yourself from anything that could remind you of your partner. Photos, books, songs, places or any object that could remind you of the moments you shared, must not be around you or in your life. Rewatching or visiting places that you two frequented together will keep the wound open. Through separation you have entered a new unwanted chapter in your life, which is why you need to visit new places, listen to new music etc.

However, do not make the mistake of entering a new relationship. 80% of the relationships initiated as a result of a breakup are prone to end in their early stages. Both women and men feel the urge to begin a new relationship out of fear of being alone or because they think that a new love will erase the pain. It is absolutely wrong. You risk to engage in an union where you barely know the other person and consequently you do not start nurturing sincere feelings for him/her. While it is not fair on the new person you meet, you also risk to deepen your pain by meeting someone who is not your right match.

Therefore, psychologists estimate that on average we need 17 months to get over a breakup. While it may not be a standard rule, take your time to rediscover yourself in this period of loneliness and once you regained your confidence, seek for a new partner.

4. Keep a diary

Certainly there are so many things left unsaid, emotions unexpressed and plans that vanished in a blink of an eye. So, ideally would be to write down or record all your thoughts. Express things just the way they feel inside, but at the same time, strive to improve your emotions. For instance, if today you felt bitter and sad, tomorrow try to feel less sad and more positive. If today you saw your future in black, tomorrow try to think of where you see yourself by the end of the year. The key is to always work on your feelings and put efforts into change them from negative to positive.

If you feel that you cannot do it on your own, seek support from friends or professionals who are ready to offer tailored therapies with the aim to improve your emotional life.

5. Reflect 

Your relationship/marriage and the separation are full of lessons that will shape the person you will become tomorrow. In order to heal and grow, reflect on yourself. What did your relationship/marriage teach you? Is there anything you wish you could have done/said better? What qualities did you find in your period of loneliness? How do you wish your next relationship to be and how you hope to achieve that?

When we go through a breakup we tend to go from one extreme to another: one day we blame ourselves for the failure and the next day we blame our ex partner, when in reality we both are guilty along with the destiny. It is important to remember that some unions are not meant to last as they only have the role of changing us in the person we are meant to be.

6. See it as a blessing

It broke you, but it has not destroyed you. It shaped you and gave you a pack of new ideas about love and life. It challenged you and transformed you into a strong person. No need to hold grudges, no need to regret. You are a new person who can and will find a new love.


SoulMate Versus Life-Partner Relationships

Humans are not only intelligent, but also emotional creatures who crave affection and spiritual connection.

When seeking our half or initiate a relationship, we actually seek for the one who completes us in each and every way; the one who can make us shine and be a better version of ourselves. Often individuals settle in relationships that create a sensation of comfort, mostly because of the fear of being alone or simply because they think that personality differences can be worked out. As such, the comfort of being together and accepting each others flaws lead many couples to believe that they are married or in a relationship with their soul mate.

However, there are 4 unmistakable differences between a soul mate and a life partner:

 1. You finally discover yourself

“A soulmate is the one person whose love is powerful enough to motivate you to meet your soul, to do the emotional work of self-discovery, of awakening.”
Kenny Loggins

You must have always known or had an idea of what you want to do, you have always been aware of your skills and hobbies, but at the same time, you always felt that there is something missing out. The spiritual connection with your destined soul mate enlightens you. You discover things you never thought that could make you happy; your skills become sharper, you are more positive, optimistic and keen on taking challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. You feel and see life differently through him/her.

On the other side, with a life-partner you experience a sense of settlement. You are satisfied with the lifestyle you have, who you are and how the relationship is.

2. Sense of Peace

Contradictory discussions are inevitable as each individual has personal perspectives on situations. However, the connection between two soulmates transforms the difference of opinions into an opportunity of exploring each other’s thinking, opinions through a mature conversation without sensing any negative vibe.

Similarly, external problems do not seem to have any effect on the relationship, but you two rather work together as a team in solving and overcoming challenges.

In a life-partner relationship, personality differences can either approach or distance two partners. There is a sense of discomfort in discussing sensitive subjects while creating the sense of a void space. Additionally, life-partners are easily affected by daily stressors like career, usually dealing with responsibilities individually rather than as a team.

3. Two Hearts, One Soul

Soulmates or Twin Flames think alike and feel alike. This doesn’t mean they are 100% the same, but each other’s differences are complementary; whatever one of them misses, the other half will cover the gap and vice versa. The combination of the personality traits are more likely to supplement and create a balance in the relationship as opposed to life-partner relationships where differences can actually be a source of discord.

4. Emotional Stability

Since soulmates beautifully blend their similarities and differences, they naturally create an emotional stability. Uncertainty and lack of communication is rarely seen in soulmate relationships as the loving bond is built on openness, peaceful conversation, self-care and motivation, dedication and attention.

Opposite this connection, life-partner relationships tend to experience highs and lows of emotions, compromises mostly due to the differences in the perspectives on the fundamental principles of life.

If you sense that routine and comfort are constants in your relationship, it would be worth checking and discovering whether you are with a soulmate or with a life-partner.

Image: ABC News





Does Love Makes Us Think Irrationally?

To some point in our lives, we all hopelessly fall in love or feel uncontrollably attracted to somebody to the point of where we no longer have a control of our feelings or of our body’s reactions. Daydreaming, sweaty hands, increased heartbeat, flushed red cheeks and heavy breathing are few of the signs that we are in love.

Although science cannot explain how the phenomenon of falling in love occurs, it attempts to describe the effects of the process on our brain and behaviors.

As a result of extensive neurophysiological research, scientists have identified that the human brain experiences a various chemical reactions when individuals fall in love. Neurochemicals associated with the hormone of pleasure like dopamine or serotonin, the hormone responsible with the emotional balance, seem to affect how we think or behave in the first stages of love. Hence, in love individuals may experience a higher level of dopamine, a stimulant chemical released during pleasurable situations, which may influence lovers to seek pleasant activities such as sex, conversations or behaviors that could cause an euphoric sensation. Moreover, a high level of dopamine is also linked to addiction, meaning that if an individual experiences a pleasant feeling with their partner, they are more likely to become addicted to the relationship.

And if a high level of dopamine makes us addicted to our partner, a low level of serotonin level appears to transform us into obsessive creatures. Brain scans indicate that the precipitated level of the hormone is responsible for the obsessive-compulsory behaviors and preoccupying thoughts, usually associated with infatuation.

But this is not all. The center of our reasoning, impulse control and organization of emotional reactions in the prefrontal cortex is affected too by the touch of love. Apparently, in love individuals have a high tendency of taking risks or express feelings without thinking about the consequences

Nevertheless, the neurological results only suggest a consequence of our brain’s reactions to love, but not the actual effect of it on our behavior. The common belief that love makes us behave or think irrationally is false. In fact, the feelings of love or attraction do not affect our judgement, but rather our ability to control the emotions and the perception we have on the subject of love may be the main factors that influence the stability of our reason.

Psychologists describe the process of falling in love in 5 stages: 1)Infatuation, 2) Becoming a Couple, 3)Disillusionment, 4)Creating Real/Lasting Love and 5)Using the Power of Two to Change the World. Undoubtedly, the roller coaster of emotions are more present in the first stage than in the others, which may explain much. It is a stage of uncertainty, where partners are ecstatic of what the other person may be like, of how the relationship will evolve and what experiences they may share together. Moreover, the stage of infatuation also triggers a high attention on the physical attraction. Individuals are likely to become more worried about their appearances or gestures in the first stage of love with the aim to attract and be liked. Such emotional pressure can cause sensations of anxiety, increased heart rate and obsessive-compulsive behaviors (i.e. desperate need to spend much time with the partner, psychological control and attention-seeking from the object of love).

Therefore, it could be concluded that it is not love that affects our thinking or behavior. Instead our self-perception and the views on how the relationship should evolve play an imperative role in how we react. As such, it is essential that we remain in control of our emotions in order to develop a healthy relationship, while continue functioning socially and mentally at a normal rate. A poor judgement may limit our ability to engage in daily activities to the point of seriously affecting our mental well-being.

 If you are interested in how to keep a balanced attitude and control your emotions, Leslie Becker-Phelps will guide you throughout the stages of love!

The Secret “Weapon” of Attraction

Have you ever looked at somebody who effortlessly seems to attract admiration and you wonder what is the secret behind his/her attraction? Well, believe it or not, each individual is attractive and holds a secret “weapon” that can successfully work, but the key to its success does not exist in its existence, but rather in the mentality of the possessor.

We are often led to believe that physical appearances, a tolerant attitude and tender gestures are few of the secrets that will make us appear more attractive. In fact, if you search online you will find hundreds of articles (including this one) and books that aim to preach how to become attractive. The truth is that the so-called secret weapon is not a skill or an attitude that will bring you success; it is not your hairstyle, clothing or gestures that will draw the attention of the one you love. The secret hides in the naturalness of your personality.

Following steps that are considered to be successful in the art of seduction may actually be your failure as those suggestions may have matched the personality and the situation of the story-teller. Instead of trying to imitate someone else’s path, try to discover yourself and become confident in expressing who you are. The naturalness you adopt while you talk, walk, in the way you dress, think and speak is 100% your key to reaching your crush’s heart.

Frequently, individuals hide their true personality behind attraction codes as a result of their strong desire of being wanted and liked. Unfortunately, such behaviour does not pass unnoticed. As human beings, we also function based on intuition and senses and we can easily tell when someone’s spiritual vibration does not match their actions or words. Therefore, adopting a style that is not yours will actually ruin your chances of being attractive. How? First and foremost, you will send a sign of low self-esteem and low level of confidence. An individual without a personal style may often come across as somebody who is willing to lower their standards in order to gain attention or affection. Both women and men seek a confident partner capable of being an inspiration through their determination, authenticity and personal “flavour”. It is important though not to mistake confidence for arrogance and stubbornness. Acting bossy during a conversation may send the wrong message and make you look as a person with little to zero tolerance.

Having confidence means that you have a healthy level of self-respect, you know what you can offer and what you can accept. Such attitude will certainly make people have a better understanding of who you are rather than have them guessing.

…but what if my naturalness does not seem to work out?

Firstly, no relationship is guaranteed and using tricks or just being yourself does not mean that you will win your crush’s heart. Attracting somebody is not a game. It is a natural experience, based on the chemistry between two individuals which happens without any effort. All you can do is to be yourself and the right one will sincerely fall for you.

Secondly, do not think that your naturalness does not work. It may only be that you still need to discover yourself and learn how to make your physical and soul qualities shine.

What Happy Couples Do To Remain Happy?

In the past few years we have heard of married couples who lasted together for over 40 years, leaving us in awe especially when nowadays couples barely last 10 years together.

But still, we can notice happy couples who seem to effortlessly get along as if there is no trouble in paradise. Contrary to this belief, each couple has contradictory discussions and personality differences. Nevertheless, the key to their success relies on 5 simple “ingredients” that they daily add in their relationship/marriage:

      1.“Thank you” 

Saying thank you for the help you receive is not only a sign of politeness, but also a recognition and gratitude towards the efforts that your loved one has put into supporting you. Often individuals tend to get comfortable in a relationship and as a result, they take for granted the actions of love. The absence of validation and appreciation tend to lead to a distant relationship between the partners. In fact, sociological data indicates that participants who reported to feel more appreciated by their partners tended to feel happier and more involved in the relationship.

       2. “It is about US”

When a relationship begins, it is no longer just about your personal desires or plans, but also about your partner’s. Happy couples make plans together in order to benefit the needs and wishes of both sides. This is a sign of selflessness, appreciation, and validation.

3. “We will be ok”

As mentioned above, contradictory discussions occur, personality differences will appear now and again especially when there are important decisions to be made. When the results of actions do not coincide with the plan, happy couples do not criticise each other, nor say “I told you that this was going to happen!”. Instead, they assure one another that things will be fine and they will find the way out together.

4. “I love you”

Expressing emotions can strengthen the bond of the couple. While some love declarations may sound cheesy, they actually have a significant role in keeping the flame burning. When two individuals are in love, they do not hesitate to declare their emotions and do not forget to remind each other of the reasons why they are passionately in love.

5. “You are so funny”

Life can be stressful and as modern individuals, we are constantly working and searching ways to get promoted at work or give our life a purpose. Nothing wrong with that, but concentrating excessively much on career and forgetting your personal life can build up a space between you and your partner. One of the essential aspects of a happy couple is the way they have fun together as if there are no problems. Acting silly, dancing, traveling, or joking are few of the things that keep partners attracted to one another.





Single Fathers: The Untold Stories

Throughout the past generations, we have been taught that men are strong, humans led by their rational and not by emotions, who can easily become ruthless and powerful at any given time in any situation.

Although there is a small truth in this stereotype if we were to compare a man’s emotional and physical strength to a woman’s, it would be worth to realise that men experience emotions as much as women; they have their own insecurities about themselves, about their future, even if they do not necessarily express them as openly and freely as women do.

Due to gender stereotypes, we are often led to believe that men are less likely to suffer or face major challenges after a divorce and as such, the main concern is channelled on mothers and children.

Nevertheless, more efforts should be put into supporting fathers during and after a divorce as they are equally exposed to negative effects and emotions.

It is reported that approximately 2 million American men are single fathers whereas there is no certain data of single fathers across the globe. If little is known about their existence, you can imagine the poor knowledge we have about the struggles they go through.

Regardless of the scarce attention single fathers receive, some of them decided to share their stories with the hope that society will understand that if they are no longer married to their former spouse, they can continue loving their children:

“Parenting is already hard, but being a single parent is worse! Sometimes you get frustrated, tired as you do not know what else to do. You want the best for your child, but then you have your ex who is eager to point out your flaws, digging the knife in the wound by telling your child “daddy is so mean, but do not worry, mommy is here”.


“As men, we are not taught to nurture, but we are told that our role is to protect. I dearly love my children and while I may fail sometimes to cook the best meal, I try my hardest to show them that I will always have their backs no matter what”


“The main issue is dividing your time between a full-time job and your children. If you do not work enough, you cannot financially support them; if you do not support them, the society will portrait you like a bad father; if you are not by their side….same. There is no way to win”


Acknowledging the fact that a divorce can affect both partners is crucial. Nobody would get married if they knew how the story ends. When we decide to get married we all hope for the best and wish that our marriage will last through thin and thick. For whatever circumstance a marriage ends, the effects of it are felt by everyone involved, especially if there are children as well. Parenting already requires intense parental involvement and the separation of the parents can be incredibly difficult for the education and the emotional well-being of the offspring. This is why it is essential that partners put aside resentments, hatred or pain, learn from the mistakes and work out plans that could promote a healthy upbringing of the children.

Speaking of children, they should not be involved in the process of divorce by any means. Instead, they should be allowed to develop relations with both parents and grow to receive equal love in order to diminish the impact of a separated family.

No matter the amount of pain or hate you feel towards your spouse, do not influence child’s perception or opinion on their parent. Remember that the issue is between you and your ex partner. If father’s behaviour puts the children at risk, then it is indeed necessary to remove any negative example from your child’s life. Otherwise, do not project your feelings of anger or fear onto your children. It will not only harm their emotional stability, but also the relation with their father. A failed marriage does not translate into a poor relationship father-child.


Image: Huffington Post 




Infidelity: A Social Taboo of the 21st Century

Starting off this topic with some statistics on divorce rates across Europe and U.S, we surprisingly discover that the 21st century faces the highest numbers of divorces:

Belgium: 70%

Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg, Hungary and the Czech Republic: 60%

U.S.A: 53% 

If we think of the causes that lead a couple to divorce, we could say that there are numerous such as different personalities, arguments over parenting styles or financial situations and of course, infidelity. However, the most common cause of divorce is the latest.

Do Men Cheat More Than Women?

Cheating is undoubtedly an action that, believe it or not, affects both partners. Infidelity has been superficially discussed and condemned throughout all the past centuries without truly understanding what makes individuals have extra marital affairs. It is indeed true that however we look at this subject, cheating is inexcusable and whatever the reason behind it, one of the partners has been taken for granted, hurt and abandoned. Usually, the “victims” in such scenario are women since men and considered to be more prone to infidelity.  That could be a result of the differential illustration of women’s and men’s behaviours and weaknesses since over 80% of public opinions attribute infidelity to men. It is certainly a wrong perception as recent studies suggest that women and men cheat at the same rate. Whether we talk about emotional, sexual, passive or active infidelity, both genders are likely to cheat on their partners.


Are we genetically programmed to be unfaithful? No.

Are we taught to be monogamous? No

Is it our choice to cheat? Yes.

Contrary to the social belief that we are born to have more than one relationship or that religions and institutions taught the humankind to create marriage, faithfulness towards one partner is a choice.

Who is To Blame? Both Partners!

When infidelity is discovered, all the blame falls on the shoulders of the cheater. In the end s/he consciously accepted to begin two relationships and may as well be profoundly aware of the consequences. However, the journey to infidelity starts silently, yet loud enough to make both partners aware of the signals:

  1. Routine-this may be the primary signal that indicates some weak points of the relationship. After few years of relationship/marriage, couples begin to put less effort in attracting each other. The days begin and end the same, the conversations are more or less about the same subjects on a regular basis. Random discussions, trips, gifts, romantic dinners are no longer part of the courtship. The routine does not only settle at this level, but also in the physical appearances and….bed sheets!
  2. Selfishness-in a relationship/marriage, one of the partners has a tendency of being more malleable, while the other may be more dominant. While a combination of different personality traits will spice up the relationship, it can also tear it apart. Selfish partners who demand or expect the other half to regularly fulfill their desires, often value the benefits of the relationship more than the person by their side. When a partner feels ignored or that their wishes or personal plans come second best are more likely to find approval and appreciation elsewhere.
  3. Lack of communication-in the hectic modern world we live in today, we are more preoccupied with building a career or chase our goals than with our personal life. It is absolutely fine to be determined in pursuing your wishes, but it is not alright to forget about each other. A relationship does not solely survive on the statement “…until death do us part“. Couples often forget that they never know each other enough, no matter how many years they have been together. Spending quality time together talking, debating and sharing opinions is what reduces the barriers and builds trust.
  4. Incompatibility-most of the times, the person who has been cheated on tends to say that they “have given all they had” to keep the relationship/marriage alive. Undeniably, when we dearly love, we commit and invest in the union with the purpose of making it solid. But is “everything we have” equal to “everything our partner wants”? Your goals, approaches or methods in dealing with life, hobbies etc., may not be the same as hers/his. And these aspects are discovered in time. A relationship begins based on attraction and is build on discovery. No matter how much you wish s/he could be the one and only, do not be temped to overlook the differences between you two. If they are workable, it is great, but if you feel that there is a constant disconnection between you two, do not lie to yourself thinking that “you are fine”. If you sense the disconnection, the chances are that s/he feels it too and ideally would be to discuss it rather than hiding it under the rug.

So What? Should We Accept Infidelity?

No, but it is important to know that infidelity can be avoided if both partners are open about their feelings long before the space between them appears. Infidelity occurs when a void space has been allowed to develop. No matter how much people say “I did not see this coming”, they actually deny the fact that the relationship has been on the rocks for a while. One side has completely ignored the flame turning off while the other one allowed emotions of frustration or unhappiness to build up for too long without discussing them with their partner.

Commitment is not only made of loyalty, but also awareness and involvement in each other’s life.

Rather than playing the blame game, couples should learn to communicate more and deal with their difference long before they decide whether they are better off with somebody else or not.

Image: Huffington Post

What Makes A Relationship Work?

As humans, we are born with the instinct of nurturing, protecting and with the desire of creating our “nest” (whether it is made of two or more members). We also actively or passively seek attention, acceptance and appreciation from others, hoping that it will validate who we are or what we offer. It could be said that relationships are a give-and-take deal, where we offer a part of ourselves and receive in return a part of our partner.

However, relationships do not always function on this unwritten rule. There are experiences where we give more than we receive and we receive more than we give. The discrepancies appear due to the lack of communication.

Before digging into this topic further, it is important to remember that there is no standard recipe for the perfect relationship, but there are certain aspects of personality or behaviour that could help two adults adjust their relationship. And communication is one of them; perhaps the only standard rule.

Being able to openly communicate your feelings, desires or ideas to your partner will go a long way to remove doubts and clarify what you intend to convey. One of the major pitfalls in relationship interactions is the assumption that your other half is certain to guess at and unravel the exact meaning of what you expect from him/her by mere verbal innuendos or body language expressions. Nobody is born a mind reader and assumptions may create unnecessary discussions. With patience and clarity, always express your feelings (i.e. anger, frustration, joy, etc.) if you wish to be fully understood. Even after years of marriage or relationship, do not assume that only because you have been together for so long, your partner will know what you think.

Communication is not only essential throughout the relationship, but I would say that it is highly important even at the beginning of it. When two individuals decide to start a relationship, they may tend to think that some plans or emotions will disappear or appear in time. Take as an example marriage or having children. Of course that discussing these two important subjects may be too sensitive to bring them up at the beginning of the relationship when you barely know each other’s date of birth or hobbies. But it would be helpful to discuss about what you two expect from each other or at least from your future. I have heard and seen couples whose relationship/marriage ended up due to the fact that they have not been fully open about their desires.

You cannot assume that s/he wants to get married only because you have a wonderful relationship; you cannot assume that s/he does not want children only because their immediate plan is to build a career. Especially women. You must have heard about the biological clock ticking and you cannot know when she will realise that you two have never discussed about having children.

Now, communication is not only about expressing your wishes or plans, but also listen to your partner’s feelings. As mentioned above, a relationship is a give-and-take art and your partner’s plans should be as important as yours, which is why you must actively listen. As such, you do not allow the creation of a possible space between you two.

Speaking of active engagement, attention is another important key in a relationship. Attention to small details may reveal so much about your partner’s personality, hobbies or mood. Understanding that your partner is different than you can save useless quarrels. You may be more calm, while your partner is a little bit more impulsive. When you know each other’s differences, you can communicate and adjust your behaviour rather than battle to change it.

One of the major issues in relationships or marriages is individuals’ desire to change their partner. Once that you have decided to start a relationship with somebody, you love them for how they are and not for what you think they may become. If you feel that the person beside you is not the type of person who completes or mentally/physically attracts you, do not continue the relationship. It will not benefit any side of the relationship and it is more likely that somebody will be brokenhearted. Do not make compromises and do not expect your other half to make them for you.

Compromises in relationships are usually translated as the acceptance or the reduction of personal demands in order to reach an agreement. A compromise will lead to another compromise and to another one until building up frustration overtime. Whether we talk about career or personal plans, the role of relationships is to individually grow together and not to hinder each other’s light. In other words, both partners must have the freedom of expressing and developing themselves within the relationship while also supporting each other in doing so.

Last, but not least, two souls that are meant to be together will not need rules or support to last. Destiny is in their favour and their differences will be the similarities that will complete each other.

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