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The latest news on Relationships from Business Insider
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    • Being cheated on can feel like the worst thing that ever happened to you.
    • But according to research, it probably benefits you in the long run.
    • While you grow from the experience, the real loser is the person your ex ran off with.

    A break-up never feels good. In fact, some research has shown that psychologically, the trauma can feel like physical pain.

    It's even worse when your relationship ends because you were cheated on. People cheat for a whole range of reasons— maybe they're not getting what they want from the relationship and seek it elsewhere, or maybe they're just insecure. Whatever the reason, if you're the one who's been cheated on, it can be hard to see the bright side.

    But according to one study, there might actually be a benefit. An unfaithful partner probably feels like the worst thing ever at the time, but after a while, those who were scorned are probably the winners.

    The researchers surveyed 5,705 people from 96 countries about the dynamics of their break-ups. They were asked to rate how painful their break-ups felt, on a scale of 0-10, zero being not painful at all, and 10 being unbearable.

    Results showed that overall, women take the break-up harder, but they get over it in a much healthier way. They tend to cry, dwell on it, and talk about it to their friends, but then they move on. Men, on the other hand, have a habit of sweeping things under the carpet, and not actually dealing with the negative emotions properly.

    The results also showed that when someone's partner went off with someone else, they go through a period of growth, and end up benefitting more from the break-up.

    For starters, they are no longer with someone who didn't treat them properly, but they also gain a better perspective when entering future relationships. In fact, after six months, women who were cheated on had higher emotional intelligence and higher self-confidence, while men who had been cheated on developed "stronger personalities."

    The real loser in the situation, the authors wrote, is the "other woman."

    "Evolutionarily, sexual promiscuity is often a short-term strategy, for while at that moment a woman may have 'won the battle' by accessing additional resources, building future intersexual alliances, or successfully poaching a mate, she could be 'losing the war' by engaging in reputation-damaging behavior that will reduce her ability to acquire a long-term mate of high quality in the future," the researchers said in the study.

    In other words, the woman who the man cheated with may have won him in the short term, but in the long run, she did you a favour.

    So although it may hurt at the time, it's important to focus on the fact being cheated on is probably a blessing in disguise. Not only did your partner show their true colours, but you'll benefit psychologically, too.

    SEE ALSO: You might be able to tell if someone is a cheater just by listening to their voice

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: FACEBOOK COFOUNDER: How I negotiated with Mark Zuckerberg for a $500 million stake

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    Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend

    Dating is hard.

    While normies around the globe are charged with acclimating to modern dating rituals (swipe right, swipe left, add guacamole to your dating profile) in the hopes of meeting the one, there's solace in the knowledge that celebrity couples have to put in significant work to find their better halves, too.

    From Michelle and Barack Obama's lawful beginnings to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's first blind date, read below to learn the origin stories behind some of the world's favorite famous pairs.

    Prince William and Kate Middleton went to college together, but that's not where they met.

    Kate and William both enrolled at St. Andrews University in 2001 — and lived in the same residence hall— but according to royal biographer Katie Nicholl, the two met before college.

    "This was really fascinating for me," Nicholl told Katie Couric in 2013. "I was speaking to some of her friends at Marlborough School, which was where she went before St. Andrews, and they said, 'Uh uh, she didn't meet him at St. Andrews. She met him before she got there... through some of her friends. They knew Prince William and Prince Harry.' So there was an early meeting, and that for me changed everything."

    Prince William and Kate married in April 2011. They have two kids and a third on the way.

    Beyoncé and Jay Z don't really agree on when they first met.

    While the actual date of Beyoncés first fateful meeting with Jay Z is in dispute — she claims they met when she was 18, in 1999/2000, while he said he met her 10 years ago in a 2007 interview— we can safely allege that they hit it off somewhere between 1997 and 2000.

    Bey and Jay spent years solidifying a friendship over the phone before beginning to date in 2001.

    The two married in 2008 and have three children together.

    Michelle Obama was Barack's mentor at a law firm.

    The former first lady met the former president when the two were working at a law firm together. Michelle Robinson, then 25, was assigned to be then-28-year-old Barack Obama's mentor.

    "Because I went to Harvard and he went to Harvard, and the firm thought, 'Oh, we'll hook these two people up,'" Michelle told ABC News.

    When Michelle brought Obama home to meet the Robinson's, they initially thought that even though he was "not a bad-looking guy," he didn't stand a chance.

    "She'll eat him alive," Michelle's father, Fraser Robinson, guessed.

    The two married in 1992 and have two daughters.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • As you embark on a new relationship, there are warnings signs you should be on the look for.
    • It's a definite red flag if your significant other starts to remind you of your ex, because that could mean you have a "type."
    • Being overly jealous and possessive can be an indicator of future physical abuse.

    If you knew someone you were dating was going to break your heart eventually, would you keep dating them? Save yourself some potentially significant pain and anguish by keeping an eagle eye out for the types of behaviors that indicate they’re the type of person who will hurt their S.O. Keep in mind that taken individually, these things might not seem hugely problematic, but altogether, they point to something deeper. And if these things are happening at the start of a relationship, they’re almost guaranteed to get worse later on.

    The behaviors below are dead giveaways that the person you’re seeing now will likely let you down in a major way one day.

    You’re always trying to read their mind

    Instead of a dialogue about issues, your partner acts pissed or gives you the silent treatment in an effort to have you guess what they want. “This passive-aggressive behavior locks you out and raises your anxiety, making you feel like a failure for not guessing correctly or forcing you to wonder ‘what you did wrong.’ It is a way of controlling the other person as a precursor to abuse,” says relationship psychotherapist Dr. Fran Walfish.

    You’re opposites in every major way

    There are times when you might be attracted to someone because you’re fascinated by how different you are, says relationship expert and author Kevin Darné. “Early on this may seem like an exciting pairing, but as time goes on power struggles are likely to develop as each seeks to change the other.” Find someone who shares your values, wants the same things for the relationship, and agrees with you (at least on most counts) about how to pursue and live out these goals.

    They don't prioritize you

    guys drinking beer

    Work, friends, the gym, whatever — if these things derail your plans or come before you regularly, proceed with caution. “If they aren’t interested in integrating into your life or getting to know the people who make up your support network, it’s a sign they’re not invested in your future together,” says couples therapist Tracy K. Ross.

    They’re jealous or possessive

    Often these behaviors may be considered cute or flattering in the beginning of a relationship. “However, over time, these actions can become extremely controlling and possibly include threats and physical violence,” says Darné. Bottom line: Spotting stuff like this in the first weeks or months of dating almost never bodes well for a stable, secure, loving relationship later on.

    You question their honesty

    A clear sign you’re falling for someone who will eventually hurt you is if you can never be sure if they’re forthcoming with the whole truth, says Walfish. And while you may not be sure, you try really hard to convince yourself that they’re being honest — even if your gut and other facts indicate otherwise. That’s never a fun feeling, so you’d be wise to take a hard look at whether it’s worth continuing to see someone who you can’t be sure is being transparent with you.

    You always take the blame

    couple sitting at table restaurant eating

    If you find yourself shouldering responsibility for issues that really aren’t your fault, it’s a sign you’re falling for someone who will treat you worse later on. “It is an extremely manipulative behavior on the part of the abuser, which stimulates fear, anxiety, guilt, or shame in the vulnerable victim,” says Walfish.

    You’re not yourself around them

    If you have a tough time relaxing and being yourself whenever you’re with this person, that’s a sure sign a toxic relationship is on the horizon. “It’s virtually impossible to experience long-term happiness when someone is not able to be themselves in a relationship,” says Darné. You can only tiptoe, walk on eggshells, or go along to get along to avoid conflict for so long without becoming pretty depressed.

    You always initiate contact and planning

    “Whenever you find yourself in a relationship where you’re always the one initiating contact and coming up with ideas for keeping the romance alive, eventually you’ll give up,” says Darné. Once you realize you’re truly alone when it comes to making the effort to maintain the relationship, it’s bound to become painful.

    You haven't met their friends

    guys friends drinking at bar pub

    If you’ve been dating for a couple of months and haven’t been introduced to their best friends, family, or coworkers, they’re probably not very serious about you and will likely hurt you later. “It’s even worse if you never spend any time together during the day or engage in activities in public places. Staying in and ordering pizza or other takeout whenever you’re together most likely means you’re considered a booty call,” says Darné.

    You feel distant from friends and family

    “Anytime you become completely dependent on one person for love, companionship, and socializing, there’s potential for suffering devastating heartache if and when you lose that one person,” says Darné. “If your mate has forced you to distance yourself from loved ones for the sake of your relationship, you’re being set up for a major fall.” Everyone needs an emotional support network that includes friends and family outside of their primary relationship.

    They remind you of your ex

    If the person you’re seeing seems eerily similar to past lovers, that’s a red flag. If you constantly date men/women who let you down, find someone who breaks your “type.” If the phrase “same person, different face” defines your love life, it’s time to reevaluate your choices.

    They seem too good to be true

    Everyone has flaws and imperfections. But be wary of someone who seems a little too perfect, especially if you have a gut feeling that he/she is just telling you what you want to hear, rather than an honest answer that could present complications you’d have to deal with as a couple.

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    NOW WATCH: I quit cable for DirecTV Now and it's saving me over $1,000 a year — here's how I did it

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    • I'm a self-confessed online dating addict, using apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble almost constantly.
    • I decided to give up all of my apps for a week and just try something totally new for me: meeting people and dating the old-fashioned way.
    • Here's what I learned in the end, including how I've been using apps wrong this whole, entire time.

    Sometimes it feels as though
    Tinder is my phantom limb. Without the help of the millennial dating app on the subway or waiting on a friend who's in the bathroom, I'm kind of at a loss. I'm always kind of reaching for it, even when my phone isn't there or my Wifi is spotty. For me, dating apps like Tinder, Grindr, and Bumble have become a high-stakes version of Angry Birds, but with the added bonus of compliments from occasionally… often, even, attractive guys and actual dates.

    That's the thing about my whole self-admitted dating app addiction.

    As vapid or inconsequential as dating apps may sound in theory, they are actually pretty meaningful tools for establishing human connections, particularly for people like myself, who don't have the heterosexual privilege of meeting just about anyone in just about any bar in just about any city. It's an addiction that's rooted in the need for survival.

    I've been on the gay dating app Grindr since I was 18, but even before that, I was a young gay kid.

    I was one of very, very few LGBT people in a small town who was open about their sexuality, chatting with other potential romantic partners – OK, this was before "Catfish" and I was naive.

    No, I never met anyone as a kid, but I was using the internet as a substitutional lifeline for the normal teenage milestones that I just didn't have the privilege of partaking in. After years and years, it's become second nature to me, and though I now live in New York City and often meet plenty of men in bars and get hit on in real life, I still find myself reverting back to reaching for my phone and those good old dating apps out of comfort, familiarity, and of course, boredom.

    guy on phone

    Luckily, I'm not the only one doing this.

    All in all, Tinder users swipe over a billion times a day and 63% of Tinder users report going on dates 1-2 times per week, where the same can be said of only 52% of offline daters. Not to mention, over 2 million people are using Grindr a day in over 196 countries and 69% of them say they don't even exaggerate their height (liars!).

    Here's the problem: I feel as though sometimes I'm a little too reliant on these forms of technology for something as important to me as dating.

    For one thing, I'm aware that they often provide a platform for things like racism and body-shaming, which I've seen first-hand. I've also experienced that digital communication can lead to miscommunications about things like relationships as opposed to simple hookups or one-night stands, which I'm not necessarily looking for as time goes on.

    Also, I sometimes feel myself getting a little too much validation from compliments or getting hit on by faceless, nameless, or unfamiliar people on apps. It feels as though I'm not living in the moment when real, actual guys could be hitting on me or approaching me. And I've always secretly dreamed of just meeting someone face to face, the old fashioned way. I blame romantic comedies.  

    I decided to give up all of my most used apps, try out this old fashioned dating style of yore, and hopefully ultimately break my addiction to staring nose-deep in my iPhone, ignoring the impending arrival of the love of my life.

    Day one played out exactly as I expected it to. In those more mundane moments, I reached for my phone and to quote Taylor Swift, a blank space greeted me. What would I do now as a substitute? This was particularly difficult before bed, when I check apps kind of as a winding down procedure before going to sleep, sweet dreams of "hey what's up" and "you're cute" playing in my head. I stared at the ceiling. Counting sheep just wasn't as fun.

    After that, I realized that this was proof how ultimately unhealthy my relationship to dating apps really could be. This wasn't what these things were even intended for, yet here I was using them as a social crutch or retreat during times of monotony as well as some sort of strange bedtime story.

    guy bar

    In their stead, I decided to try a meditation app before bed every night.

    And actually, I ended up feeling much more relaxed and refreshed before setting my alarm and turning my phone over on my nightstand for the night.

    But I also noticed two things after a few days: I was thirsty for compliments, feeling disconnected from that sense of male validation. I was also feeling very detached from the dating scene because if I didn't have these handy mini-matchmaking tools at my fingertips, how would I meet men?

    Turns out old-fashioned dating is actually a whole lot of work. In my head, I just assumed people met on the street, but not through things like catcalling or harassment. It was a fabled moment of mutual, clearly consensual eye contact – or something? It sounds ridiculous, but immediately, I realized people usually met at places. Groundbreaking stuff, I know.

    So, I took it to the streets and then into bars, bookstores, and coffee shops. And, especially at bars, I did notice other people noticing me and striking up conversations. I was more present and probably more approachable. I challenged myself to at least try asking for a number or two. It felt a bit brave and I was successful, which was a fun confidence-booster.

    All in all, it was rewarding, but it meant making dating a priority, actually delegating time and energy beyond swiping right.

    It took engaged conversation and attraction as well as plenty of clear communication. Did I meet my future husband? No, I don't think so, but at least I kept my eyes peeled.

    And there was the other glaring issue: why was I so starved for attention? I mean, yes, we all love a compliment, but those can't be the morsels that provide sustenance to get through the day or feel attractive.

    Without dating apps, I had to know I was attractive, and in fact, I had to retain even more confidence in order to tackle dating face-to-face as opposed to faking it from behind a screen. Going out a limb requires being self-assured enough not to look down for too long. Eventually, I learned that, though obviously that isn't too say I'm not still insecure or that I'm superhuman. Not at all.

    After a week, I happily re-downloaded my dating apps and got back into the game. But instead of treating them as my phantom limb or a mindless video game, I reminded myself of just how useful they could be in aiding my desire to date the old-fashioned way, combining what I'd learned with what I already knew. Old school meets new school.

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    NOW WATCH: How to pick the perfect dating profile picture, according to research

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    • Hormones are a driving force into why women are attracted to certain types of men, especially "bad boys."
    • When women are ovulating, they're more likely to be drawn to sexually attractive qualities, such as specific facial features and dominant behaviors. 
    • Women tend to be drawn toward men who possess traits that are considered "fit" to pass on to their offspring.

    “I should like him, but…” If you’ve ever uttered this phrase (raises both hands and a foot), particularly when followed by a lamentation of why you prefer this other, decidedly less-great guy instead, it might be time to tune into the ways your hormones are driving your dating decisions.

    No, it’s not just teenage boys who try to make mating choices based on “raging” hormones, and the new book "Hormonal" deep dives into how we can better understand our behaviors (romantic and otherwise) once we know how our hormones may be influencing them.

    Research has shown, for example, that women are more interested in a specific type of man — what you might call an alpha — during ovulation than we are at other points in our monthly cycle. “There’s a suite of sexually attractive qualities,” like symmetrical faces and dominant behaviors, author Martie Haselton, PhD, tells me, “that women prefer more during their fertile days.”

    sons of anarchy jax tara

    This supports the “good genes” theory of mate selection, which suggests that women (and female animals) are drawn to “males with traits associated with fit genes that they can pass on to their offspring,” Dr. Haselton explains in the book. She calls this type of guy “Sexy Cad.” He’s sexy for obvious reasons; he’s a cad (see also: player) because his rarity — not everyone can be alpha, after all — puts him in high demand. With such an abundance of options, why would he settle down?

    The other three weeks of the month, Dr. Haselton says, women are much better judges of character: We’re attracted to men we deem caring, responsible, and nurturing. And in the long run, this desire to find a partner who will likely make a good father usually wins out — even though we may still desire, say, Colin Farrell when we’re most fertile. “Given the high demand for alpha males with a sweet and caring side, it seems that women learned … to exchange sexy for stable, picking the reliable male who would help at the nest,” Dr. Haselton says. This choice, then, has less to do with hormones than it does with availability. (Romantic, right?)

    But it is a choice, one that we can better control once we understand its driving forces, Dr. Haselton believes. And in this way, hormone education is a tool for female empowerment. “We can say, ‘I know this [desire] was designed to help ancestral females solve certain kinds of problems that don’t afflict me in the modern environment, so I can ignore it,” she explains.

    Buffy and Angel in

    What’s more, Dr. Haselton says, attempting to avoid talk of the hormonal differences between men and women can be detrimental to the cause of women’s health. “We don’t know enough about women and their hormones,” she says. “There are a lot of topics that need to be studied more” — [e.g. the consequences of using the contraceptive pill, whether or not we should do hormone replacement therapy, what happens in the postpartum period and how we can help women better adjust, etc.] — ”and some of them, I think, have been avoided because people were concerned about the [negative] ‘hormonal’ stereotype.” You know the one: Where a “hormonal” woman is a crying, yelling, ice-cream-eating mess.

    Given that I live in Los Angeles, where the dating market certainly seems to favor male choice, I most certainly find the knowledge that I’m actually the one being selective empowering. The next time a bad boy calls, I’ll know I’m choosing him for the biological cues his good looks and dominant behaviors offer and, as it turns out, not much else of substance. Meanwhile, that good guy I should like? Well, it looks like my intuition is right: I really should give him a chance.

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    NOW WATCH: I quit cable for DirecTV Now and it's saving me over $1,000 a year — here's how I did it

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    • I'm an American who's dating a French man.
    • I've learned a lot about his culture, my culture, and myself by dating him.
    • We introduce each other to new food, music, customs, and expressions.
    • I've also done a lot of traveling as a result of our relationship.

    They say you can't help who you fall in love with, and in my case, I fell in love with a tall, shy French guy who thinks cream and butter should be added to every dish.

    (I'm a short, outspoken, lactose intolerant American, by the way.)

    And although we have our issues like every normal relationship, being with someone from a different culture has taught me so much.

    When an outsider examines the minutiae of your everyday life, you begin to see your daily grind in a whole different light. The things you've always done without question sometimes become more than just an afterthought.

    I'm discovering so much about myself, my culture, and about the world around me.

    Here are some of my favorite things about falling in love with someone from a different culture

    I've learned to appreciate accents and different ways of speaking.

    Not to reinforce stereotypes (we'll get to that later), but everything does actually sound more beautiful when it comes from a foreign tongue. Sure, there are moments where we get lost in translation  —i.e. the French don't pronounce hard "r" or "t" at the end of words, so the city of Detroit becomes… DE-TWA in French — but everyday errands like creating a grocery list has a bit more pizzazz to it when an accent is thrown in.

    And although there are moments of frustration, I try and remember that learning to speak and communicate in another language is no easy task, and accents are part of someone else's culture.

    I get to enjoy all the foods — and booze.

    Dating someone from a different culture means getting to try out all the delicious delicacies from wherever they're from, and vice versa. Although French cuisine, and wine, are renowned worldwide, it's been fun to eat lesser-known dishes from my boyfriend's particular region in Northern France (all the seafood).

    It's also been amazing to share traditional Indonesian foods —my background — with him, which are often spicy and have a complex combination of sweet, salty, sour and bitter all in one dish. And while our palettes may be different, we can always appreciate delicious food made with love.

    I've picked up new expressions.

    There are some inexplicable emotions that no English word can describe, but luckily, other languages can. For example, "Flâner" in French is the art of wandering a city's streets with no goal or final destination but for the pleasure of soaking up the ambiance.

    "Saudade" refers to a melancholic longing or yearning in Portuguese.  Gezellig is a Dutch wordthat literally means cozy, quaint, or nice, but can also connote time spent with loved ones, seeing a friend after a long absence, or general togetherness. It's nice to finally have a word to describe these emotions.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    hug woman friendship women friends

    • Best friends (and close family members) are all-important for health and happiness.
    • Research by evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar suggests most people can only maintain five intimate relationships at once. It's a question of how much time and energy you can invest.
    • That said, quality matters more than quantity as you get older — so even if you only have two intimate relationships, that's OK.

    Yesterday I found myself looking through the call log on my iPhone in an effort to figure out who are my Five — that is, the five people I have the closest relationships with.

    The University of Oxford evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar and his colleagues used a similar technique when they reviewed the mobile call logs of 27,000 European people in 2007.

    Among their findings: If you use the frequency of calls between people as a measure of the strength of their relationship, then people have, on average, 4.1 intimate relationships.

    The team's findings supported an idea Dunbar had initially proposed in the early 1990s: Humans' social networks are layered, starting with five intimate relationships (they can be friends or family members), and moving outward to less intimate circles of about 15, 50, and 150.

    These numbers function as limits — as in, most adults simply can't juggle more than five super close relationships at once.

    "The more [intimate relationships] you have the better for happiness," Dunbar told me in an email. "The limit is set by your capacity to invest time and mental effort in them."

    That's why, Dunbar continued, people who are in love typically have four other intimate relationships, since they're already investing a lot of time and effort in the object of their affection.

    One high-quality relationship is better than five low-quality relationships

    It's not that having five intimate relationships automatically makes you happy. 

    Kelly Campbell, an associate professor at California State University, San Bernadino, who studies interpersonal relationships, told me the quality of your relationships generally matters much more than the quantity. One person could report having one close friend or family member and be just as happy as someone who reports having five or 10, Campbell said.

    The size of your inner circles depends on a lot of factors — including your personality (extroverts tend to maintain more intimate relationships), your gender (women tend to maintain more), and your age.

    Campbell explained that, as you get married and start a family, what often happens is "your network size is drastically reduced." Consciously or not, you starting cutting out so-so relationships from your life to focus on the most fulfilling ones instead.

    Indeed, Business Insider previously reported that a 2015 study published in the journal Psychology and Aging found that quantity of relationships was more important for people in their 20s, but quality of relationships was more important once people hit their 30s.

    Social isolation is increasing — sort of

    I asked Dunbar what he made of social scientists' claims that people have fewer close friends today than they did years ago. He wasn't buying it. "These numbers are very constant," he wrote.

    Campbell suspects that what's really going on is that people are starting to rely more on their spouse for the kinds of things they used to rely on outside friends for. 

    In his book "The All-or-Nothing Marriage," Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern University and a professor at the Kellogg School of Management, made a similar argument: Modern spouses look to each other for friendship, sexual fulfillment, intellectual growth — not just financial stability, like they did in years past.

    That's not to say that you shouldn't be friends with your spouse — but it's important to be aware that placing all (or almost all) your expectations on one person in your life is risky.

    While it's true that quality generally trumps quantity, it might be worth evaluating your own social network to make sure it doesn't look lopsided.

    SEE ALSO: A Harvard psychiatrist says 3 things are the secret to real happiness

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Happiness expert shares the one key both philosophers and scientists agree is necessary to be happy

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    • It's easy to believe that your relationship is different from everyone else's. It's probably not.
    • Relationships take effort to maintain, and you won't always be happy with your partner.
    • Even if you love each other, if you have fundamentally different values, a breakup may be the best option.

    Everyone knows relationships are hard, and take effort to maintain, and sometimes disappoint you.

    Except, of course, your relationship. That's different. Or so everyone likes to believe.

    Below, we've listed some of the truest but hardest-to-accept insights about modern romance. If you can get past these somewhat unsettling ideas, you'll be more likely to have a happy and fulfilling partnership.

    SEE ALSO: Dr. Ruth has interviewed thousands of people about their sex lives — and she's found the biggest threat to a relationship happens outside the bedroom

    We're often attracted to people who will later drive us crazy

    While researching habits and personality for her book "The Four Tendencies," Gretchen Rubin noticed a curious phenomenon. People she'd labeled "rebels" often paired up romantically with people she'd labeled "obligers."

    Rebels resist both inner and outer expectations; if you ask a rebel to do something, they'll likely resist. Obligers meet outer expectations but don't always meet inner ones; they usually need some form of external accountability.

    Rubin told Business Insider:

    "If you're an upholder, you live life according to a schedule. [For example] you never miss your daily run, and you always eat fewer than 30 grams of carbs a day, and you always go to bed by 11. It could be exciting be swept off your feet by somebody who feels very free and not confined."

    But over time, the novelty may wear off and these two different approaches can come into conflict. To be sure, rebels and obligers — and any two types of people — can be happy together. But it's worth keeping this pattern in mind.

    There's probably no such thing as 'the one'

    Out of the thousands of eligible singles just waiting for a swipe right, how do you know who's the right one for you?

    Trick question: There isn't a right one.

    That's according to Esther Perel, who is a couples therapist as well as the author of "Mating in Captivity" and "The State of Affairs." Perel previously told Business Insider: "There is a one that you choose and with whom you decide that you want to build something. But in my opinion, there could also have been others — you just chose this one."

    Once you've chosen someone, you work to make that person a better fit.

    You may be less likely to break up with your partner if you have a pet or a joint bank account

    Psychologists call them "material constraints": Think a house you co-own, a joint bank account, or a pet you both take care of.

    Research suggests that material constraints make a breakup a lot less likely. In fact, according to a 2011 study of unmarried men and women in heterosexual relationships, adding just one additional material constraint is linked to a 10% increase in a couple's chances of staying together.

    Presumably, that's because it's harder to disentangle yourself from the relationship when it's not just the two of you. So it's wise — if slightly uncomfortable — to think in advance about what you'd do if the relationship dissolved.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    red hair twins

    • About 80% of people believe that "opposites attract."
    • In fact, if science is anything to go by, this probably isn't the case.
    • Research points to us being attracted to people who are similar to us — both physically and in personality.

    If you're on the hunt for love, chances are you've heard the phrase "opposites attract."

    Despite romantic comedies hinging on the idea we're likely to fall in love with someone with completely different qualities to ourselves — and the fact that about 80% of people believe this is the case — there is very little scientific evidence to suggest it's true.

    In fact, we are more likely to be attracted to someone who is physically similar to ourselves. According to research from St Andrews, we are attracted to the features that our parents had when we were born, such as eye colour. This could be because we see them as our first caregiver, and associate positive feelings with their features.

    Also, an article published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that if someone looks similar to ourselves, we are more likely to trust them.

    We might even be able to sense someone is genetically similar to ourselves. Research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that spouses tend to be more genetically similar than two individuals chosen at random. A more recent study has found the same for close adult friends, too.

    But it's not just about appearance. Back in 1962, psychologist Donn Byrne was one of the first people to study similarities between people in relationships. In his research, published in the Journal of Personality, he asked participants to complete a questionnaire about their attitudes to topics such as nuclear weapons. Then, they had to evaluate the answers of another person (who didn't actually exist).

    The results showed that people felt more drawn to those who held similar attitudes, and the greater the similarity, the greater the attraction.

    In later research, such as one study from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and the University of Kansas, like-minded people have been found to spend more time together than those with opposing views.

    Researchers recruited 1,523 couples — defined as people sitting together and interacting, not necessarily romantically — and asked them to fill out a survey about their personality traits. Results showed that the couples had a similarity rate of 86%.

    A follow-up study used pairs who had just met. After the study, 23% of the pairs remained in contact, and these pairs had a lot in common too.

    Last year, a study published in Psychological Science looked at how people behave online, and found more evidence that people who have similar personalities, based on likes and the words they used, were more likely to be friends. Those with the highest levels of similarities tended to be romantic partners.

    However, research has shown that couples can start to align their beliefs to be more like each other's the longer they are together. This could be why couples have similar views and opinions on paper.

    Overall, searching for your exact opposite probably isn't the most effective way of finding a partner. The scientific evidence points to opposites barely ever attracting. Besides, if the research is correct, you're probably already attracting all the right people anyway.

    SEE ALSO: 9 facial traits that make someone more attractive, according to science

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    it's complicated

    No one can say with 100% certainty that a couple is heading for disaster.

    But social scientists have gotten pretty good at predicting who's most likely to wind up there. These couples share certain commonalities — in the way they fight and the way they describe their relationship, but also in their education level and employment status.

    Below, we've rounded up seven factors that predict divorce.

    SEE ALSO: 13 facts about divorce every couple should know before getting married

    Getting married in your teens or after age 32

    The best time to get married is when you feel ready, and when you've found someone you think you can spend a lifetime with. Don't force anything — or put it off — because a study told you to do so.

    That said, research does suggest that couples who marry in their teens and couples who marry in their mid-30s or later are at greater risk for divorce than couples in their late 20s and early 30s. The risk is especially high for teenage couples.

    That's according to research led by Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor at the University of Utah. After age 32, Wolfinger found, your odds of divorce increase by about 5% every year.

    As Wolfinger wrote in a blog post for the conservative-leaning Institute for Family Studies, "For almost everyone, the late twenties seems to be the best time to tie the knot."

    Other research, published in 2015 in the journal Economic Inquiry, found that the odds of divorce among heterosexual couples increase with the age gap between spouses.

    As Megan Garber reported at The Atlantic:

    "A one-year discrepancy in a couple's ages, the study found, makes them 3% more likely to divorce (when compared to their same-aged counterparts); a 5-year difference, however, makes them 18% more likely to split up. And a 10-year difference makes them 39% more likely."

    Having a husband who doesn't work full-time

    A 2016 Harvard study, published in the American Sociological Review, suggests that it's not a couple's finances that affect their chances of divorce, but rather the division of labor.

    When the researcher, Alexandra Killewald, looked at heterosexual marriages that began after 1975, she learned that couples in which the husband didn't have a full-time job had a 3.3% chance of divorcing the following year, compared to 2.5% among couples in which the husband did have a full-time job.

    Wives' employment status, however, didn't much affect the couple's chances of divorce.

    The researcher concludes that the male breadwinner stereotype is still very much alive, and can affect marital stability.

    Not finishing high school

    It doesn't seem fair that couples who spend more time in school are less likely to get divorced. But that's what the research suggests.

    A post on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website highlights a result from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979), which looked at the marriage and divorce patterns of a group of young baby boomers. The post reads:

    "The chance of a marriage ending in divorce was lower for people with more education, with over half of marriages of those who did not complete high school having ended in divorce compared with approximately 30 percent of marriages of college graduates."

    It may have to do with the fact that lower educational attainment predicts lower income — which in turn predicts a more stressful life. As psychologist Eli Finkel previously told Business Insider:

    "What I think is going on is it's really difficult to have a productive, happy marriage when your life circumstances are so stressful and when your day-to-day life involves, say three or four bus routes in order to get to your job."


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Paris Hilton Chris

    Every day seems to bring news of yet another celebrity couple breaking up. But there's good news, too: There are just as many celebs getting together, getting engaged, and planning their weddings. Although the royal wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will undoubtedly be a wedding for the ages (their romance is even being turned into a Lifetime movie!), all these engagements and upcoming celebrity weddings are sure to warm your heart just as much.

    Mandy Moore and Taylor Goldsmith

    News of Mandy Moore's engagement to Dawes musician Taylor Goldsmith broke in September when fans spotted her engagement ring and then one of her "This Is Us" co-stars confirmed it, according to US Weekly. She told the publication that, since this is her second wedding (she married musician Ryan Adams in 2009), she wants to keep things small and quiet.

    Although an official date hasn't been announced, we imagine it'll be sooner rather than later considering that Moore told Entertainment Weekly that she's eager to have children with Goldsmith.

    Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

    We'd be remiss not to start with the upcoming nuptials of Markle and Prince Harry — probably the most anticipated wedding of the year worldwide. Set for May 19, according to The Daily Mirror, it will take place at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, where Prince Harry was christened.

    The ceremony is slated to be performed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and American actress Markle will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England before the big day, according to The Daily Mirror. No matter the time difference, we'll definitely be tuning in for this one.

    Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk

    After “consciously uncoupling” from Coldplay's Chris Martin in 2016, it appears that actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow is ready for another go at marriage. Although she and director Brad Falchuk have been engaged for a year, the duo just officially announced it this month, according to “People”— which leads us to believe that the wedding might happen in 2018.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    checking phone in bed cheating

    • Social media often projects a fantasy rather than reality, which creates unrealistic standards.
    • Constantly comparing your relationship to other relationships that you see online can cause unnecessary discontent and anxiety
    • Marriage and family therapist Bianca Rodriguez has some tips for combating this common relationship pitfall.

    Social media can be pretty awesome. It's home to support groups, food blogs, and Mindy Kaling's Instagram account. Being exposed to different images, places, ideas, and people through the lens of apps such as Facebook and Snapchat can inspire us and broaden our worldviews, but social media can be a double-edged sword. The cost of inspiration and entertainment is often the curse of comparison; social networking apps can create unrealistic standards and make us feel less confident in ourselves. That trend can hold true when it comes to our relationships too. We chatted with Bianca Rodriguez, a licensed marriage and family therapist, about ways to curb the habit.

    "The most important thing to remember when you are scrolling through social media is that it is fiction loosely tied to real events," Rodriguez says. "It's a highlight reel of socially acceptable activities and achievements with a sprinkle of fairy dust and Photoshop."

    A picture might be worth a thousand words, but even a thousand words don't make up an entire story. Most of us know that social media isn't reality, but Rodriguez encourages her clients to consider just how unrealistic social media can be at times.

    "No matter how perfect that family portrait looks online, there is a messy story behind it," Rodriguez reminds us. "And what's ironic is that it's the mess that makes it so valuable because we have to fight for our relationships and work through the challenges."

    Moments ⏮⏸

    A post shared by JAY ALVARREZ (@jayalvarrez) on Apr 13, 2016 at 5:17pm PDT on

    Therein lies the key: Most of the time, the mess behind the picture is beautiful too. We can't possibly expect ourselves (or anyone else, for that matter) to air their dirty laundry and insecurities on public platforms. There's a reason people choose to put their best foot forward online, so it makes sense that our online personas (and relationships) are a shinier, more perfect version than the real thing. The trouble comes when we stop assuming the same of others.

    If you feel caught in this cycle of comparison, Rodriguez recommends looking inward at your own insecurities and desires. More specifically, she recommends that "you investigate what feelings are surfacing, allow yourself to experience them, and then devise a solution that supports your well-being."

    In this process, it might be helpful to consult a good friend or even your partner. For example, if looking at pictures of couples who travel the world together makes your relationship feel boring in comparison, your feelings might be telling you that you crave more spontaneity and adventure in your relationship. No matter what social media makes you feel about you and your partner, unpacking your feelings together might help you both take steps toward an even better relationship.

    In addition to some reflection, Rodriguez recommends a social media hiatus — even if it's only for a day. Taking a step back from those triggers will deepen your understanding of your own insecurities and desires about your own relationship, and will allow you to focus solely on your connection.

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    master of none lena waithe

    • It's not so hard to make someone dislike you, whether you're interacting online or in real life.
    • If you share something overly personal too soon or hide your emotions, for example, you may unwittingly repel people.
    • Even the smell of your sweat or a hard-to-pronounce last name — things that are out of your control — can be turn-offs.

    Generally speaking, you've only got a few seconds to make someone want to spend more time with you.

    And in those precious few seconds, everything matters — from your last name to the smell of your sweat (unfair and gross, we know).

    Below, Business Insider rounded up various scientific findings on the traits and behaviors that make people dislike you, both online and in person.

    SEE ALSO: 16 psychological tricks to make people like you immediately

    Sharing too many photos on Facebook

    If you're the kind of person who shares snapshots of your honeymoon, cousin's graduation, and dog dressed in a Halloween costume all in the same day, you might want to stop.

    A 2013 study found that posting too many photos on Facebook can hurt your real-life relationships.

    "This is because people, other than very close friends and relatives, don't seem to relate well to those who constantly share photos of themselves," lead study author David Houghton, of Birmingham Business School, said in a release.

    Specifically, friends don't like it when you've got too many photos of family, and relatives don't like it when you've got too many photos of friends.

    Ben Marder, of the University of Edinburgh, also worked on the study, and warned: "Be cautious when sharing and think how it will be perceived by all the others who may see it. Although sharing is a great way to better relationships, it can also damage them."

    Having too many, or too few, Facebook friends

    In a 2008 study, Michigan State University researchers asked college students to look at fictional Facebook profiles and decide how much they liked the profiles' owners. 

    Results showed that the "sweet spot" for likability was about 300 friends. Likability ratings were lowest when a profile owner had only about 100 friends, and almost as low when they had more than 300 friends.

    As for why 300-plus friends could be a turn-off, the study authors write, "Individuals with too many friends may appear to be focusing too much on Facebook, friending out of desperation rather than popularity."

    On the other hand, the college students doing the evaluation each had about 300 Facebook friends themselves. So the researchers acknowledge that in a population where the most common number of Facebook friends is 1,000, the sweet spot for likability could be 1,000.

    Keep in mind, though, that a 2014 survey found that the average number of Facebook friends among adult users was 338.

    Interestingly, the study also suggested that participants weren't consciously aware that they liked people less when they had too many or too few Facebook friends.

    Disclosing something extremely personal early on in a relationship

    In general, people like each other more after they've traded confidences. Self-disclosure is one of the best ways to make friends as an adult.

    But psychologists say that disclosing something too intimate— say, that your sister is having an extramarital affair — while you're still getting to know someone can make you seem insecure and decrease your likability.

    The key is to get just the right amount of personal. As a 2013 study led by Susan Sprecher at Illinois State University suggests, simply sharing details about your hobbies and your favorite childhood memories can make you seem warmer and more likable.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    kendall jenner

    • Kendall Jenner recently addressed the rumors that she's gay in an interview with Vogue.
    • "I don't think I have a bisexual or gay bone in my body, but I don't know!" she said. "Who knows?! I'm all down for experience — not against it whatsoever — but I've never been there before."
    • Fans responses ranged from confusion and disbelief to criticism about her tone deaf response.

    Kendall Jenner addressed rumors about her sexuality in her latest Vogue interview, but not everyone was thrilled with the model's wording.

    People have questioned Jenner's sexuality in the past, and she's been romantically linked to a number of her fellow supermodels, including Bella Hadid and Cara Delevingne.

    But when pressed about these rumors in a recent interview for Vogue's April cover story, the 22-year-old supermodel shut them down — chalking it up to being more "low-key with guys" than her sisters.

    "I don't think I have a bisexual or gay bone in my body, but I don't know! Who knows?! I'm all down for experience — not against it whatsoever — but I've never been there before," she told Vogue.

    The "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star went on to reference her tomboyish style and "male energy."

    "I don't want to say that wrong, because I'm not transgender or anything. But I have a tough energy. I move differently," she said. "But to answer your question: I'm not gay. I have literally nothing to hide. I would never hide something like that."

    Although Jenner is currently rumored to be dating basketball player Blake Griffin, she did not confirm her relationship in the interview. 

    Many people expressed confusion about Jenner's wording — particularly about her comment that she's "down for experience." 

    Madison Malone Kircher, an associate editor at New York Magazine's Select All, pointed out that Jenner's response seemed to vacillate between clear denial and vague indecision.

    BuzzFeed celebrity reporter Ellie Bate expressed similar skepticism.

    The Cut's senior culture writer Anna Silman punctuated her tweet with sarcasm.

    Others mocked the article itself as well as Jenner's tone-deaf response, including People reporter Dave Quinn, who sarcastically called the interview "brave." 

    Ian David Monroe, the Executive Digital Editor for L'Officiel USA, derided Jenner's need to clarify her lack of queerness.

    Some, however, took no offense to the wording and came to Jenner's defense.

    It's not the only controversy Jenner addressed in the interview. The model once again discussed the backlash she faced over a controversial Pepsi ad she starred in last year.

    Read her full interview on Vogue.

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    long distance relationship couple

    • Long-distance relationships aren't for everyone, writes author Steven John, who spent the first three years of his relationship with his now-wife living in a different state.
    • He notes that long-distance relationships aren't for everyone, but there are ways to make things run more smoothly.
    • Communication and planning for a future where you'll be physically together are key.


    My wife and I never spent more than two weeks of uninterrupted time together before we got married.

    We met when I was visiting LA on a break from college and she had recently moved to the area. She and I spent every possible moment together until I had to head back to school on the East Coast and we officially began a long-distance relationship.

    As months turned into years, we constantly traveled back and forth between coasts, cities, and countries to see each other. Then we got married and now we’re expecting our second kid!

    The point is that for the first three and some years of what has now been a 16-year relationship, we lived far apart, and often quite far at that, but we made it work.

    Here's how we did it:

    SEE ALSO: 9 things I wish I knew before I got married

    We put an emphasis on good communication

    While living apart, in any given week my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I spent a lot of time talking on the phone. This involved planned calls during which we knew we would both be available and distraction free as well as quick calls to ask a little question, tell a stupid joke, or just say something sweet.

    In any relationship, communication is key. In a long-distance relationship especially, all you and your partner have when it comes to communicating are your actual words. I recommend only saying what you really mean and verbalizing everything you want your partner to know. Little rifts or confusions that could be patched with a kiss or a hand laid on an arm can grow needlessly in long-distance relationships, and they take much more time and effort to heal from afar.


    We didn't waste any time when we were physically together

    When I visited my girlfriend after weeks or even months of being apart, we didn’t go on bar crawls, go to concerts, schedule ski trips, or whatever else people do when friends are visiting. We spent our time working on our romantic relationship. I'm not just talking about sex; romance, cuddling, and intimacy are all just as vital to a healthy relationship. We took advantage of being together whenever we had the chance.

    At the very least, we found it's good to make sure you and your partner can enjoy each other in total comfort when you finally see each other. Whether a relationship is long distance or involves a shared bed, bathroom, and Netflix queue, the same components have to be in place for it to work — communication, patience, affection, and trust.

    We kept a close eye on our travel expenses

    While we were in college, my wife and I knew we would always be near enough to drive to each other around the holidays and summer vacations at home since we grew up in New York and Washington, DC, respectively. We always planned car trips during these periods, but during the gaps when we were at school or traveling, we would trawl the web for cheap flights.

    Travel isn't cheap these days, and that's especially true if you and your partner live far enough apart that flights are the only logical way to meet up. As often as possible, we planned our visits in advance and were flexible with the dates. We even set up flight alerts for low-cost travel options in hopes of finding reasonable flights. Just because you and your SO are deeply in love and committed and such, doesn't mean you need to spend a small fortune to be together.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    You've been dating for what feels like forever, but still, your partner just won't commit. In fact, when you even mention things like labels, exclusivity, or taking the next step, they practically tune you out or run. You might be hoping for an engagement or just wanting to be Instagram official, but either way, they're not into it. Will your partner ever be ready to commit?

    It's frustrating to be in relationship limbo, especially because sometimes, even your partner doesn't know why they're so afraid to take the leap of faith. Luckily, there are some pretty clear red flags that prove your significant other might never be ready to move forward and it's probably time for you to move on.

    They have an "avoidant" attachment style.

    A person whose attachment style is avoidant may be sabotaging your relationship or setting you both up for failure without even knowing it.

    Usually, this kind of defense mechanism comes from a childhood trauma of abandonment and it means that relationships are unpredictable and temporary. An avoidant partner won't be able to commit in the long run because they simply can't maintain relationships for that long.

    "This is an unconscious attempt to make sure that they never again go through anything like they went through with their original caregiver," psychotherapist Alison Abrams told Business Insider. "The irony is that by engaging in these defenses that we've learned we are actually recreating the very thing we were trying to avoid."

    They constantly criticize or want to change you.

    In relationships, it's important that both parties are able to be genuinely, truly themselves. This could mean small things as silly as being able to hang out without makeup on or bigger things like being able to express your religious views and future plans or ambitions. After all, how could someone commit to a person that they inevitably want to modify, suppress, or control?

    According to YouTube relationship expert Tracy Malone, a partner expressing their desire to change you is a sign that the person you're with just isn't right for you and that they're not seeking to commit, or at least to commit to you as your very best self.

    "If that happens, run," Malone told INSIDER. "That is a sign of a controlling person and he/she will never treat you properly."

    They don't listen to you or ask about you.

    Conversations help couples establish connections and get to know each other in lasting ways. This could mean deep talks about the meaning of life or chatting briefly about your favorite foods. Either way, these things help you and your partner to not only get to know each other, but to establish a bond that lasts beyond the duration of a conversation.

    "If the person that you are dating nearly always monopolizes the conversation, does not ask you about yourself or your day, and then tunes you out when you start speaking, these are clear signals that your date is not really very interested in you as a person except as an audience for them," psychologist and author Elinor Greenberg told INSIDER. "If they are not interested now at the beginning of the relationship, they are likely to be even less interested later on."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pretty woman

    There are a lot of things that come to mind when you think of sugar babies. It might mean picturing attractive, young women with the keys to new cars or steady streams of impressive gifts. But in reality, a lot of what we picture are myths and things we tend to get wrong about sugar dating.

    We asked two sugar babies about some of the things people get wrong most often about their profession. INSIDER independently verified their identities, but they will be kept anonymous. These are some of the most common myths and misconceptions about sugar babies and their work.

    They often work "regular" jobs.

    Though people might assume that sugar babies are lazy or looking for ways to circumvent finding and maintaining a regular job, that's not often the case.

    In conversations with INSIDER, the sugar babies disclosed that they worked as servers (one at a restaurant and the other as a cocktail waitress in a strip club) while also pursuing a sugar lifestyle. Though some sugar babies don't necessarily need the extra money, it's about the reliability and dependability of paychecks.

    They're not always interfering in unhappy or loveless marriages.

    Another common trope about sugar babies is that they're enabling infidelity and breaking up marriages. Many assume that sugar daddies are in unhappy or unfulfilled relationships.

    One anonymous sugar baby told us about his own experience with a sugar daddy, who he said loved and adored his wife.

    "Martin was married, had children ... He was [polyamorous] with his wife," he said. "His wife and I had dinners, we would vacation in Vermont together, all three of us, and from my understanding, they both had ongoing same-sex partners in addition to their healthy marriage."

    It's not just about flashy cars, new clothes, or expensive beauty treatments.

    Yes, the luxurious $22,000 worth of annual beauty treatments sound extremely nice, but it's not always about the gifts and the fun stuff. In fact, for an increasing amount of people, it's about things like student loans.

    For some sugar babies, it's about paying rent or bills. As one sugar baby told INSIDER, his sugar daddy would pay for his art school supplies as well as his housing and other essentials, which helped him survive throughout college.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    friends blind date

    Whether you've been together for years or just met a few minutes ago, planning the perfect date can be very, very difficult. Not only is there the issue of finding the right place to go, there's also the way you interact as a couple because, let's face it, dates can be a little bit awkward, especially when personalities are revealed.

    The zodiac can be a fun way to look into someone's personality type and dating style, as well as whether or not you're a match in the first place. If anything, looking into your partner's sign can help provide some new and unusual ideas for when you've run out of date spots as well as insight into what you can expect on a date.

    This is just for fun, but we rounded up all the ways going on a date with each sign is different.

    Aries (March 21 - April 19) are fun and spontaneous.

    Aries are known for being fun, energetic, and easily bored, so they usually avoiding having a specific type or dating one particular kind of person. If you’re an Aries, none of your exes look or act the same and you’re not afraid to meet someone new and different.

    An Aries will be happiest when going on adventurous, spontaneous dates, so if your significant other or potential lover is an Aries, think outside the box. Think rock climbing or a helicopter tour. No time for roses/chocolate/teddy bears here.

    Tauruses (April 20 - May 20) love a flashy date.

    Though there’s not much logical about falling in love, Taurus tends to be the most level-headed and thoughtful when it comes to dating. Don’t count on a Taurus rushing into anything or having a long list of exes. They’re not that easy to commit.

    That said, if you’re a Taurus, you know your weakness tends to be flashiness. Though many people want to have heart-eyes for their partner, you probably prefer dollar signs. Tauruses love going on expensive, lavish dates, so skip the cheap burger joint or movie night. Wine tastings and candlelit dinners are more of a Taurus’ speed.

    Geminis (May 21 - June 20) love to flirt.

    At some point or another, a Gemini has probably flirted with you – hard. And if you are a Gemini, you know you’ve been guilty of it. Geminis might be flirty one moment and then seem cold or aloof the next, so beware of their ever-changing moods.

    Wherever you go or whichever place you choose to take a Gemini on a date, they’ll usually bring the fun. As long as they’re in a good mood, you’ll have a great time. If a Gemini is the one planning the date, expect something unusual, entertaining, and unique.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Academy, Kasia Urbaniak and Ruben Flores

    • Kasia Urbaniak, a former dominatrix, has been teaching both women and men ways to communicate more powerfully and effectively for the past five years.
    • It's based on what she knows about power dynamics, and is backed by social science, too.
    • She told Business Insider her top tips for improving relationships.

    Kasia Urbaniak is wrapping her arm gently around mine. “I want to reach 50,000 women,” she tells me, and I sense I might be one of them. Her quest: to put more women in positions of power, and re-shape the ways people interact.

    The former dominatrix, dressed in a soft black sweater and leather, metal-studded boots, is comfortable commanding a room. But she also knows when it's OK to be quiet, kick off her shoes, pause and ask questions, or roll up her sleeves and inch closer to her colleagues to make a point.

    For Urbaniak, learning how to become more "dom" and less "sub" is really just about learning what people need, and meeting them where they are. She says this keen ability to "read a room" and engage with a client or a colleague is an essential human skill — and something we can take from her dominatrix power playbook into the streets.

    Urbaniak has utilized her skills to create a new kind of communication school called "The Academy." At the New York City school, she coaches women (and men, too) to change how they communicate, and learn her jujitsu style for "verbal self-defense."

    But the class isn't just about shutting down creeps. Urbaniak wants to completely transform the way we talk to each other in all our relationships.

    The number one relationship-crusher

    Urbaniak says one of the biggest issues we face in all kinds of relationships is what she often refers to as "speechlessness"— the idea of being frozen or stuck in a moment, and feeling like you don't have the agency to speak up. It can be crippling when you're dealing with a predator or a bully. But it's also a problem in relationships with people who we're close to, like a partner or co-worker. 

    "The idea of being good, by being low maintenance, is an absolute falsehood," Urbaniak says. She argues it's often what people don't say in conversations that's most dangerous to their future.

    This speechlessness can be a learned habit, but the easiest way to break out of it, she says, is by saying something in the moment. Bringing up an awkward comment, or giving immediate feedback about something that makes you uncomfortable, is the easiest way to change the situation.

    Open communication can be crippled by social rules about perfection and politeness

    small new study of doctors and residents at Harvard's Brigham and Women's teaching hospital in Boston backs Urbaniak up, finding that feedback is crucial for good work, and when politeness and excellence are prized above moment-to-moment constructive criticism in a hospital setting, a dangerous culture of silence reigns. doctor patient hospital healthcare

    To change this, Ubraniak gives her students tips on ways to practice breaking out of speechlessness. If what someone is saying is unclear, phrasing a response like, "It seems like what you're saying is..." might help. Or if you're frustrated someone just took credit for an idea, note what's happening right as it happens, like an athlete catching a pass: "Quickly pick up the ball," she says. "And go, 'Exactly what I was saying, thank you!'"

    She says if you let an uncomfortable situation like this fester, it makes things worse. 

    "With added time, there's a sense of betrayal," she says. "It also impacts all of the interaction in between, so there's just a lot more to clean up."

    Throwing out dated gender scripts

    Social scientists know that as we age, our brains change to respond to more social cues. By the time we're adults, our communication pathways are set up, and we develop habits about how to interact with each other. Some studies suggests that ways men and women respond to negative feedback can be quite different: women more often (quite literally) turn their gaze inward, while men look out. man talking to woman

    But Urbaniak believes it's time for those old habitual ways to morph into something new. She says the social reasons for some of those behaviors are fading, and it's time to change up the gendered script. 

    In her classes, she encourages students to ask more questions, and expose what's not being said. Urbaniak says one of the simplest ways to shift a gaze outward is to start asking simple, probing questions, ones that don't involve any "I's." Like, "is that true?" or "why do you think that?" 

    "Up until not very long ago, the best thing a woman could do for herself and her status and her future was to marry well," she says. "This is all new. We have to have a lot of compassion right now, for women and for men."

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    couple smiling at each other

    • Chores can cause a lot of conflict in a relationship, especially if one person feels they're doing more than their share.
    • Many couples are addressing this problem with a simple tool: a digital spreadsheet.
    • A spreadsheet (or a task-management app) can make it easier to divide chores so that it's convenient for both partners.
    • The goal isn't to achieve a 50/50 split, but for both partners to be happy.

    In a recent interview with The Cut, Japanese lifestyle guru Marie Kondo dished on how she and her husband divide household labor.

    Kondo is the author of multiple bestselling books on organization — in the 2014 "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up," she invites readers to get rid of all their possessions except those that "spark joy" in their bodies.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kondo applies similar rigor to organization in her marriage. She told The Cut that when she and her husband got married (they now have two daughters), they discussed "the kind of home life we wanted and what it would take to achieve that." Then they put all that on a shared Google spreadsheet.

    Kondo said, "When one of us completed a task we'd mark it as done and then the other one might leave a message saying 'Thank you,' or something like that. It was all very systematic." 

    Nowadays, they don't really need the spreadsheet. Kondo added, "By doing this we got a very clear sense of what needed to be done. And from this we developed a natural division of labor and now we have a good rhythm in place."

    To be sure, Kondo's general approach to organization veers toward the extreme. But using a shared document to keep track of who's responsible for what around the house is relatively common among modern couples.

    Recording what each person does around the house can make you realize you're not actually doing everything

    In her 2017 book "Drop the Ball," Tiffany Dufu mentions MEL, i.e. the Management Excel List she shares with her husband. The list helped them negotiate (and renegotiate) who was best equipped to do which tasks. For example, if one of them knew they'd be traveling or bogged down at work, the other would take care of school drop-offs.

    Using MEL also helped Dufu realized that her husband was pulling more of his weight around the house than she'd previously believed. Dufu writes:

    "If you had asked me before this exercise what percentage of household and child-rearing work my husband did, I would have smiled and said, 'Oh, he's fantastic,' but in my head, I would have been rolling my eyes and thinking, 'Five percent on a good day.'

    "After I tallied all the items I had added that I knew Kojo did, then combined it with his new rows, it was more like 30 percent, a staggeringly high number given my belief that he did hardly anything around the house. Talk about an eye-opener."

    Today's couples are hardly the first faced with figuring out how to divvy up chores and parenting tasks. But digital technology has arguably made the process easier.

    A 2017 article in The Guardian highlights how couples are using task-management apps (like Trello, Wunderlist, or Evernote) to streamline their joint lives. The article notes that these apps make it easier to share the "mental load," and not just the tasks themselves.

    In other words, since both partners have a to-do list with a recurring item called "pick up milk," it's no longer one person's responsibility to remember every single week to buy more milk.

    The goal isn't to go perfectly 'splitsies' with your partner on household tasks

    All that said, the way you approach your spreadsheet or task-management app matters a lot. The goal shouldn't be for each person to do exactly 50% of the tasks on the list. Instead, it's about each person feeling happy with what they're currently doing— even if the split winds up looking more like 70/30.

    Lori Gottlieb, a popular couples therapist, is quoted saying as much in Jo Piazza's 2017 book "How to Be Married." According to Gottlieb, too many couples insist on treating marital teamwork like work teamwork.

    Gottlieb said: "You can't treat a relationship like a spreadsheet. It has to be more organic than that. Each couple needs to find their own rhythm, where each person is participating in a way that makes you both feel like you're getting a good deal."

    Kondo, for example, said her husband is a good cook, so he's in charge of the cooking while she's in charge of the cleaning. "My husband will do breakfast and I'll put the dishes in the dishwasher, put things away, set and clear the table," she said.

    Still, the best part about using a spreadsheet to divide household tasks isn't necessarily the accountability piece. A Harvard PhD student in sociology told The Guardian that keeping shared lists online allows couples to save in-person time for talking about the really meaningful stuff — not logistics.

    That is to say, it gives you a chance to remember why you love each other — which, I'm guessing, isn't how well you scrub the kitchen floor.

    SEE ALSO: I've spent the last 3 months recommending the same book to everyone I speak with — and I'm convinced anyone can use its insights

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