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The latest news on Relationships from Business Insider
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    Divorce season 2

    • January is typically the month when divorce filings begin to spike.
    • 2018 may be an especially popular year for divorce because of impending changes to US tax policy.
    • We spoke to a divorce lawyer and a psychotherapist about the top signs that a marriage is heading for disaster. Those signs include: You've stopped talking, you're fighting over money, and your expectations for marriage aren't being met.

    It's divorce season. 

    The opposite of December's engagement season, divorce filings begin to spike in January, peaking in February and March.

    It's not the gloomy weather that does couples in. Typically, it's the post-holiday jolt back to reality that has them questioning their future together.

    "What I find is that most people in December want to get through the holidays. Nobody wants a divorce summons put into their stocking," Jacqueline Newman, a managing partner at a top New York City divorce law firm, told Business Insider.

    For couples with kids, it can be especially important to "hold things together" during the holidays, Kathryn Smerling, a New York City-based psychotherapist who helps couples going through divorce, told Business Insider. That's true, Smerling said, even if kids are well aware that something's going on between Mom and Dad.

    But once the holiday glow has waned and spouses settle back into old habits, many people flock to Newman's office to get a better idea of what a divorce would look like. She calls it "keeping your options open" month.

    "They want to be able to be in a position to make an educated decision," Newman said. "They come in and they say, 'What would happen with my kids? What would it look like financially?' It's the information-gathering stage."

    From there, clients are able to digest the practical sides of a split, and many return in February and March ready to commit to the decision. But not every person who consults an attorney ends up actually filing for divorce.

    "One of the first questions I ask clients is, 'Are you sure you want to get divorced?'" Newman said. "Because I suggest trying everything you can before you come into my office because you never want to look back. Divorce is financially expensive, emotionally expensive, and you have to make sure that this is exactly the choice that you want to make."

    The numbers look different for every couple, but Newman said a typical divorce in Manhattan might cost between $20,000 and hundreds of thousands.

    Across the US, the next 12 months may be a more popular time than ever for couples to get divorced.

    That's because under the new tax plan recently passed by Congress, alimony payments are no longer tax-deductible. That particular change takes effect January 2019, so couples may rush to get their divorce finalized before then.

    It's unclear exactly how this change in the tax policy will affect every divorcing couple. But Newman said that ultimately, there may be "less money in the pot to split" between ex-spouses.

    So how can you tell if you and your partner are on the precipice of a permanent split?

    While there are no hard and fast rules — by no means do any of these indicators guarantee you're destined for divorce — there are a few signs that could indicate you're in troubled waters.

    SEE ALSO: 7 things science says predict divorce

    You stop talking

    Newman often sees clients who have experienced a complete breakdown in communication. Spouses stop sharing their issues, let alone talk them through.

    "It gets to a point where you're not speaking anymore, and then you start to not care that you're not speaking anymore," she said. "Or one person cares and they get angry about it and the other person doesn't want to deal with the anger because they're exhausted or they have their own anger issues. That will ultimately lead to indifference."

    Smerling added that couples approaching a divorce are often "not engaged with each other" and wind up living "parallel lives," even if they're living under the same roof.

    Your partner has no interest in listening to you — or vice versa

    Smerling talked about "stonewalling," which happens when one partner completely shuts down and displays no empathy for the other. For example, the person might "sit there and roll their eyes while the other is talking."

    (Interestingly, leading relationship psychologist John Gottman cites stonewalling as one of the key predictors of divorce.)

    You've become a 'pursuer' and a 'distancer'

    Smerling often sees one partner trying to make a connection with the other, who keeps retreating further away because they've lost trust in their partner.

    "Nothing the partner says resonates," Smerling said. "You can see a roadblock in communication."

    Typically, the more the pursuer tries to rekindle the connection, the more the distancer withdraws, which only prompts the pursuer to work harder. Smerling described it as a destructive "cycle" that's hard to break.

    Alternatively, both partners might withdraw from conflict, which can be an equally unhealthy dynamic. "Those are the people that quietly divorced and surprised everyone in the neighborhood," Smerling said.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    couple smiling at each other

    • The VIA survey measures you on 24 character strengths.
    • In their forthcoming book "Happy Together," a husband-and-wife team recommend having both partners in a couple take the survey.
    • Once you do, you can discuss what each person brings to the relationship and work on using those traits more often.

    The VIA survey isn't specifically geared toward couples looking to improve their relationship. It's a 120-question assessment that measures you on 24 "character strengths," including creativity, honesty, and leadership.

    Yet in their forthcoming book, "Happy Together," Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and James Pawelski, PhD suggest that learning more about your character strengths — and your partner's — can change the way you view your relationship, for the better.

    In "Happy Together," the authors (who are married to each other) apply the science of positive psychology to romantic relationships. Pileggi Pawelski has a master's degree from the positive psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania; Pawelski is a philosopher who teaches at the program.

    Positive psychology focuses on learning what helps people flourish, and the VIA survey — or the VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtues — is based on the research of pioneering positive psychologists Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman.

    The survey assesses 24 character strengths, which are categorized into six virtues:

    1. Wisdom

    • Creativity
    • Curiosity
    • Judgment
    • Love of learning
    • Perspective

    2. Courage

    • Bravery
    • Honesty
    • Perseverance
    • Zest

    3. Humanity

    • Kindness
    • Love
    • Social intelligence

    4. Justice

    • Fairness
    • Leadership
    • Teamwork

    5. Temperance

    • Forgiveness
    • Humility
    • Prudence
    • Self regulation

    6. Transcendence

    • Appreciation of beauty
    • Gratitude
    • Hope
    • Humor
    • Spirituality

    The strengths you score highest on are what positive psychologists call your "signature strengths"— the character strengths "that are most essential to who [you] are," according to the VIA website.

    The survey takes about 15 minutes to complete: You indicate how closely each statement describes you.

    Once you finish the survey, you choose which report you'd like. I selected the free survey results, which shows how you rank on all 24 strengths. (A snapshot is below — apparently my top character strength is fairness.) For $20 or $40, you can purchase more in-depth information about your strengths.

    via results color

    You can use these results to help strengthen your relationship

    In "Happy Together," Pileggi Pawelski and Pawelski outline a number of ways to draw on your survey results to improve your relationship. One is an exercise in which you tell "strengths stories" about your partner.

    Each partner tells a story about when they observed the other using one of their signature strengths successfully. The authors write: "It can be incredibly powerful to hear your partner tell you a story of you at your best. It can help you feel clearly seen, deeply understood, and profoundly loved."

    Another exercise is to plan and experience a "strengths date." The goal is to create one event in which both partners get to use one of their signature strengths.

    Pileggi and Pawelski, for example, ate at a restaurant that features food from Peruvian and Cantonese cuisines. Pileggi Pawelski printed out information about the restaurant's culinary influences and brought it to dinner to discuss with her husband. That's because Pawelski loves to learn, while Pileggi Pawelski loves trying new things.

    The important thing to remember about the VIA survey is that it's based on self-report. No one's observing you objectively and deciding you're a loving, curious person — that's determined solely by your responses to the questions. When I took the survey, I found I answered "like me" to most of the questions, possibly because I aspired to those traits and behaviors.

    That said, the benefit of having two people in a relationship take the survey is twofold.

    One, instead of seeing your partner's tendency to, say, stop and snap a photo every five minutes while you're walking together, you might realize that "appreciation of beauty and excellence" is one of his top strengths. Two, it shifts the conversation away from each person's deficits and toward what each person can potentially bring to the partnership.

    It's hardly the only way to revitalize your relationship, but it's a great opportunity to see your partner with new eyes.

    SEE ALSO: How to have a successful marriage that lasts, according to relationship experts who married each other

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A relationship psychologist explains why marriage seems harder now than ever before

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    woman mirror

    • Being in a relationship with a narcissist is hard work.
    • They are very insecure and sensitive people, which means they can take offence very easily.
    • This can end up in couples having the same arguments over and over again.
    • Sometimes they are unaware of being abusive to their partners, but other times they will genuinely want to cause them harm.
    • Ultimately, as their partner, you have to decide whether the hard work is worth it for you in the long run.

    If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you will have been through a roller-coaster of ups and downs.

    At the beginning, everything would have been wonderful. You might have even thought you'd found your soul mate. But after a while, things started to go sour.

    This is because after a few weeks, months, or even years, the narcissist will no longer see any value in you. As soon as they realise you are a real human being, and thus flawed, they struggle to see the use of you any more. They'll start blaming you for things, shouting at you, or even break up with you, leaving you to try and work out what went wrong.

    But for many reasons, it is hard to answer the question: "Do narcissists mean to hurt people?"

    Narcissists get offended very easily

    Elinor Greenberg, a therapist and author of the book "Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration and Safety," told Business Insider that narcissists are ultra-sensitive by definition.

    "Narcissists are self-protective, and they have their antenna out for disrespect, or for someone taking something from them, and underneath they're very insecure," she said. "You have a whole range of people who are hyper-sensitive, lack empathy, for one reason or another, they don't feel bad when you feel bad, so they can hurt you without realising it."

    Despite this, a narcissist's own feelings can be hurt very easily. Because of their high sensitivity, any small thing their partner does can be seen as an attack, and any situation where they are not their partner's focus is very difficult for them.

    "For whatever reason, you're seeing a person who is wildly insecure, and has no real inner confidence that they can depend on," Greenberg said. "They depend on external validation."

    Without this constant validation by their partner, the narcissist isn't getting what they want, and they end up seeking it elsewhere. This is why many narcissists often end up cheating.

    In the heat of a moment, narcissists can come across incredibly cruel. They say things that many people would really struggle to say to someone they supposedly love. Greenberg said this is because of something called "object constancy."

    "Object constancy refers to the ability, if someone does something that disappoints you, to put that in the context of the whole relationship," Greenberg said. "I may feel hurt and disappointed but I don't hate you. You're still the person who's my dear friend, and it's in context. If you don't have object constancy, there is no context."

    In other words, the when the narcissist is shouting at you for whatever they think you did, there are no memories of the good times in their head. They are totally living in the single moment of being furious with you. In that moment, they truly hate you.

    "There's nothing holding it in context that limits it," Greenberg explained. "So it goes from you were all good and a good person, to I hate you, you want to hurt me. You have hurt me, I must hurt you back."

    Even the smallest rows spiral out of control

    Relationships are hard, even if you are with a non-narcissist. All couples have rows and have to navigate the various difficulties of living with another person. But those everyday spats become all the more serious and devastating to a relationship when the person you have them with always sees themselves as the victim. This makes even the tiniest disagreements escalate into full-blown rows, which can be incredibly exhausting for the narcissist's partner.

    "I see women, a number in my practice, who became extremely anxious and depressed, and their capacity to function diminished," Greenberg said. "They had mental breakdowns, and one was delusional and paranoid, because the person just kept at them and at them, and they didn't have the defences."

    Sometimes, the narcissist doesn't mean to hurt you. Being sensitive to everything is just how their brains work. And if they are — by their own logic — being attacked, they will bite back even harder.

    However, by their nature, they may also want to hurt you too, because it makes them feel superior.

    Whether the relationship is worth it is up to you

    In some ways, it isn't worth working out what their intentions are because the results are the same. People in relationships with narcissists find themselves wrapped up in the same arguments time and time again. This is often followed by the punishment which could be an explosive confrontation, or cold silent treatment, depending on the type of narcissist they are with.

    Greenberg has written an article that lays out the best way to approach a narcissist if you are in an argument with them. They think a completely different way, and so arguments have to be de-escalated differently too.

    "Don't expect an apology directly," she explained. "Use 'we' language, and don't ever ask them to process what happened — they can't do that."

    Ultimately, it is draining to be in a relationship with a narcissist, and you have to accept the fact they will never empathise with your feelings, no matter how long you are together. Some may learn to be self-aware in time, and learn to notice when they are hurting you. But this still doesn't guarantee they will care.

    "Narcissists are primed to be abusive because they're so hypersensitive, and they don't have empathy, and they don't have object constancy," Greenberg said. "So they are primed to take offence and be abusive and not really understand... It's a lot of work for the non-narcissistic mate."

    SEE ALSO: The biggest excuses narcissists spin to keep you hooked — and why this makes them dangerous

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Those little bags found with new shoes and electronics are more useful than you think

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    couple unhappy argue

    • Some of the most common beliefs people hold about relationships aren't actually true.
    • Repeating the same mistakes can destroy a relationship.
    • A couples therapist breaks down what's wrong with the conventional wisdom.

    Can I tell you one of the saddest, most frustrating things for a couple therapist?

    It's seeing so many people making the same destructive mistakes in their relationships. Fact is, there are some common relationship beliefs that most people think are true, that actually damage relationships. I regularly see the same unhelpful mindsets leading to pain and disconnection for couples because these unhelpful ideas are so pervasive.

    So, it's time for some myth busting in the hope I can save you and a lot of other people from a relationship world of pain.

    Belief: It's good for couples to fight to get it out of their systems

    Nope. There are many things on which couples simply won't agree, but research shows that one of the greatest secrets to a successful relationship is how well you disagree.

    It's essential for couples to talk and help each other manage stress and differences of opinion. So it's vital to learn how to stay present and engaged in a loving way so disagreements lead to greater understanding of one another's points of view. Only then can you look for shared solutions and feel closer.

    Fights generally lead to feeling more disconnected, isolated and defensive. Learning how to disagree without fighting — which means saying no to raised voices, name-calling and defensiveness, is possibly the most important of all relationship skills.

    Copious research shows that the behaviours most likely to lead to divorce are criticism and contempt, shutting-down emotionally and defensiveness. If you don't know how to disagree without slipping into those habits — get help now!

    What to do instead:

    Listen instead of talking, take turns to speak and ask yourself this one simple question before you say something you're likely to regret in a disagreement:

    Is what I'm about to say or do helpful?

    (Meaning, is it going to bring us closer together, or is it going to lead to greater distance between us and growing resentment?)

    Let the answer to that question (which should be pretty easy to guess at!) guide you in whether you're on track in your communication, or whether you're likely to do damage through harsh words or a hostile attitude.

    Think of your couple as a team. A successful team doesn't waste time and resources scoring points against its own team mates — that would be crazy, right? And you would likely lose the match altogether.

    It's got to be the two of you facing the world united.

    In-fighting hurts everyone.

    And one last thing...

    Withdrawing, by which I mean refusing to engage or ‘shutting down' when you're annoyed or disagree with your partner, can be just as hurtful and damaging as being openly aggressive.

    If you tend to get overwhelmed in disagreements, breathe, take a friendly time-out, slow the conversation down and tell your partner how you're feeling.

    Staying engaged and emotionally present shows that you're committed to finding a solution, even if you don't know exactly how you're going to get there.

    Staying warm and connected even when you see things differently deepens trust in each other that you're there for the hard times as well as the easy. That's where lasting love and intimacy really begin.

    Belief: All you need is love (to live happily ever after)

    OK, in a perfect world the Beatles would be right and love would be all you need, but unfortunately even Sir Paul McCartney learned the hard way that it takes more.

    I see too many couples who said well-meaning marriage vows about ‘good times and bad' but settled into a life of complacency and resentment towards each other.

    Love is supposed to just happen, and keep happening, right?

    What to do instead:

    Love isn't hard work, but it doesn't thrive without attention, emotional awareness and engagement.

    Resentment and complacency are the enemies of love.

    Keeping your relationship connected and passionate takes desire from both partners to stay emotionally present, good humored acceptance (in spades), loads of compassion and flexibility, and a big willingness to apologise when you inevitably screw up.

    As much as possible, you need to behave towards one another as you did in the early part of your relationship. Rather than taking one another for granted, behave as you did when you wanted to attract your partner at the start. You seduced them by giving them the best of you — why would you take that away and expect things to remain as good?

    The best way to keep your love alive and the passion smoking is to be the most caring, mindful presence in one another's lives 24/7 even in the subtlest of ways.

    Keep talking, stay engaged, never criticise, and let compliments and encouragement flow at every opportunity.

    For more on creating the relationship you most desire and rising out of challenges and inevitable mistakes, grab a copy of Lovelands.

    SEE ALSO: Science says the happiest couples have 13 characteristics

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals the exercise regime that will burn the most fat

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    couple on bench

    • Sometimes it can be tricky to work out everything about someone on a first date.
    • According to a marriage counsellor, how they answer one simple question can tell you whether you should stick around or not.

    First impressions are very important. That's why a first date with someone is so nerve-racking — you have to put your best self out there and hope for an instant spark.

    But it's not all on you. You want to actually fancy the person sitting opposite you too. Dating is a way of sussing out whether you want this person to be around all the time or none of the time. Unfortunately, this is made even more difficult by game playing, emotional barriers, and the fact Tinder exists.

    According to marriage counsellor Robert Maurer, author of "One Small Step Can Change Your Life," the essential predictor for a successful relationship isn't shared interests, the same job, or sense of humour. No, it's cutting to the chase with one simple question:

    "So how come someone as wonderful as you is still single?"

    In a blog post on Psychology Today, he explained: "Your date will hopefully hear this question as a compliment but their answer is usually revealing. Everyone makes mistakes in dating and that is not the issue.

    "As they relate the stories of their last relationship(s) are they taking any responsibility for choosing poorly or not having the right skills at that point in their lives? Are they taking any responsibility for the last relationship not working?"

    If their answer portrays them as the victim, then Maurer says you should run. Relationships are a two-way street, and unless you're dating a narcissist, you are both likely to have played some part in your previous break-ups.

    But some people always blame others for relationships not working out, which is a major red flag.

    "All relationships run into stumbling blocks," Maurer wrote. "When you hit the inevitable rough patches, will they look for ways to help or wait for you to take the blame, the whole blame, and nothing but the blame?"

    He added that two renowned marriage researchers, John and Julie Gottman, have found that the key skill for a successful relationship is being able to "repair" and resolve issues together.

    "It is hard to make an effort to repair if every problem is the other person's fault," he wrote. "So look for someone who is willing to look inside for the source of the problem and for solutions, nothing is more vital for a relationship to thrive."

    SEE ALSO: You've heard of 'ghosting' — here are the 14 modern dating terms you need to know

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch Tony Robbins bring someone to tears in a one-on-one motivational session

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    Zayn Malik Gigi Hadid

    • Gigi Hadid recently posted a video on Instagram of her boyfriend, Zayn Malik, dancing shirtless. 
    • Fans noticed that Malik had a new tattoo: a pair of eyes that look similar to those of Hadid. 
    • Reactions over the new body art were mixed. 

    Zayn Malik is known for expressing himself through his collection of body art. The former One Direction singer infamously got a tattoo of the word "love" while rumors were swirling that he was engaged to his girlfriend, Gigi Hadid. Now, Malik may have declared his affection for Hadid in a similar — yet somehow more intimate — way. 

    The supermodel recently posted a video on Instagram featuring her boyfriend's killer dance moves. Malik was sporting a long jacket without a shirt underneath, giving fans a clear look at his midsection's ink. 

    birthday boogie 🕺🏻😍🤣 @zayn

    A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on Jan 12, 2018 at 1:30pm PST on

    Some eagle-eyed fans noticed that a new tattoo, a pair of eyes in the middle of his chest, looks suspiciously similar to Hadid's own pair. 

    Zayn Malik tattoo Gigi Hadid eyes

    Here's a closer look at the tattoo:


    Naturally, fans went wild in the comments section of Hadid's post. Some were supportive, while others were skeptical.

    "He got your eyes tattooed in his chest," one fan commented. "So cute 😍😍😍."

    "This guy does not get it. Another tattoo for another girlfriend," another wrote, referencing Malik’s arm tattoo of ex-fiancé Perrie Edwards, which he appears to have covered up since their split in 2015.

    Twitter users were similarly preoccupied with the theory.

    Many fans used memes to express their concern over the ex-boy band member's decision. 

    Still, many fans stand by Malik, and are glad that he seems happy in his relationship. 

    Until either Malik or Hadid confirm the inspiration for this new ink, this is all speculation. Although, if the theory is true, it certainly does add another layer to the phrase "I've got my eyes on you."

    Sign up here to get INSIDER's favorite stories straight to your inbox.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: An exercise scientist reveals exactly how long you need to work out to get in great shape

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    cheating myths to stop believing

    Think you can spot a cheater? You may be surprised to find you know way less than you think.

    1. The cheater knows what they’re doing is wrong.

    It's easier to point the finger at the cheater and blame them for betraying your trust. But, believe it or not, you may have set yourself up for heartbreak by not clearly communicating your expectations with your partner from the beginning. "One of the main predictors of cheating has to do with not having the uncomfortable monogamy conversation early on," says Sadie Leder Elder, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at High Point University in North Carolina.

    "People are too scared to say, 'I like you and don't want you to be with anyone else.'" It's important to be upfront with your partner about what you want, need, and expect from them. If they can't give you the type of relationship you're looking for, then your best bet is to move on before you get hurt.

    Watch out for these 12 signs your partner is cheating on you.

    2. Cheaters are narcissistic and manipulative.

    Cheaters come in all shape, sizes, and personalities, which means they're not always the relationship villains we portray them to be. "Some cheaters have a more deeply ingrained unconscious, self-sabotaging style," says Anthony Tasso, PhD, ABPP, clinical psychologist in Whippany, New Jersey. "At the core, they don't feel worthy of a healthy relationship so the affair becomes an avenue to undermine and possibly destroy their partnership." (Here are 17 signs you're the toxic one in the relationship.) 

    3. Affairs only occur in unhappy relationships.

    Perfectly healthy, happy relationships are just as susceptible to infidelity as troubled ones. There are many motives for cheating, but affairs aren't always a symptom of a relationship gone awry. Sometimes, people use affairs as a subconscious device to find their true identity or live a life they've never known. "A relationship can become familiar and mundane so someone may need challenges in life," says Foojan Zeine, PsyD, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Tarzana, California. "They need some kind of impulsivity to create aliveness." (Here's why happy relationships are the key to a fulfilling life.)

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    sad couple

    • Michael McNulty, PhD, studied why marriages fail and found that when one or both partners have checked out of a relationship, it could mean a breakup is near.
    • That stage is typically preceded by negativity, contempt, and emotional overwhelm.
    • You have the best chance of saving your relationship if you address problems sooner than later.

    I recently read a novel that's partly about the dissolution of a marriage.

    Years after the split, the ex-husband asks his wife, "What do you tell people when they ask why we got divorced?"

    The ex-wife hedges for a bit, and admits she had "a hard time explaining it."

    I'd been somewhat confused, too, about why the characters chose to divorce — or maybe I was just disappointed. After all, there was only one screaming-fight scene — mostly the ex-wife lamented that her husband wasn't really emotionally present anymore, at least not in the way she needed him to be.

    This is the story arc I kept mentally revisiting after my conversation with Michael McNulty, PhD, a master trainer at the Gottman Institute and the founder of the Chicago Relationship Center. McNulty was telling me about the "distance and isolation cascade," the clinical term for the slow and steady march toward the dissolution of a marriage.

    There are four stages in the cascade — a pattern labeled by John Gottman, PhD and Julie Gottman, PhD, the husband-and-wife cofounders of the Gottman Institute. The fourth and final stage (I outline the first three below) is the most deceptive because it's when the relationship is least volatile, when the conversations are least heated.

    "Marriages often die more by ice than by fire," McNulty had told me in a previous conversation. In other words, disaster often strikes when one or both people in the couple check out.

    Here are the four steps, according to McNulty:

    1. More negativity than positivity

    Partners express more negativity — in their verbal statements and their body language — than positivity during conflicts. "Even slightly more negativity" is a predictor of divorce, he said.

    2. The four horsemen of the apocalypse

    Business Insider's Erin Brodwin has covered the four horseman before: contempt, criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (blocking off conversation during conflict).

    The worst behavior is contempt, which is when one partner acts superior to or disgusted with the other. Think eye rolls, or curling your upper lip while the person is speaking.

    3. Flooding

    Here's where anger comes in. The partners in the couple are overcome with emotion and with the physiological response to stress — think sweating and an accelerated heartbeat. Their bodies go into a fight-or-flight state when talking about the conflict, McNulty said.

    4. Emotional disengagement

    This is the stage where it's "too hard to work things out," McNulty said. Overwhelmed, one or both partners may disconnect from the relationship. McNulty said they may live "more like roommates than lovers or partners."

    In their 1999 bestseller "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work," John Gottman and Nan Silver write that "some people leave a marriage literally, by divorcing. Others do so by staying together but leading parallel lives."

    The "death knell" for these couples is also characterized by four final stages:

    1. The couple see their marital problems as severe.

    2. Taking things over seems useless. Partners try to solve problems on their own.

    3. The couple lead parallel lives.

    4. Loneliness sets in.

    Gottman and Silver write: "When a couple get to the last stage, one or both partners may have an affair. But this betrayal is usually a symptom of a dying marriage, not the cause."

    Gottman and Silver recommend that couples seek help for their marriage before they hit this final stage. For sure, it's easier for an objective person to say than it is for someone inside the relationship to do. But it's worth taking a step back if and when you can.

    I started to get a glimpse into why the couple in the novel, who'd been together for 16 years and had three children together before the divorce, opted out of trying to resuscitate their marriage. In a way, it might have been too late. The ex-wife, and maybe the ex-husband, too, had resigned themselves to a lifetime of loneliness and misery if they stayed together.

    There's no saying whether they — or any real-life divorced couple — could have "made it work" if they'd addressed their problems sooner. But if Gottman's research and McNulty's experience are any indication, they would have had a better shot.

    SEE ALSO: Couples think they go to counseling because of money, sex, and parenting — but therapists know the real problem is usually lurking underneath

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: One type of marriage that's most likely to end in divorce — according to a relationship scientist

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    taylor nick

    • Talking about race can be difficult, especially when you're dating someone of a different race than you are. 
    • INSIDER asked three different couples how they discuss race within themselves and with others. 
    • They stressed how important it is to have an open dialogue. 

    In regards to race, this past year has been a nearly-unprecedented catalyst for conversation, especially when it comes to the roles that race plays in personal and romantic relationships. For every positive, empowering moment of progress, it also feels as though there’s another tragic moment of loss or discrimination.

    The movie "Get Out" created many of those new conversations, leaving audiences in awe and opening new opportunities for black filmmakers and actors in horror movies. Despite its success, though, the film has been the subject of controversy when it comes to awards show season and largely-white film critics’ interpretation of its genre.

    Recently, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made royal history with their engagement. Despite the happy occasion, there were the inevitable trolls and the prince and his bride-to-be were forced to open up about the "disheartening" criticism of their interracial romance. Early in their relationship, Harry was even forced to defend Meghan from those who were making racist remarks towards her.

    As of 2017, interracial marriages were at an all-time high, according to NewsWeek.

    What does it look to be an interracial couple in 2017? How do couples navigate generations of complex and sensitive topics?

    For me, it meant seeing "Get Out" in a heartwarmingly diverse and incredibly-welcoming theater with a boyfriend, only for us to be referred to as "O.J. and Nicole" at a bar a week or two later. Though no two relationships are the same, some of the microaggressions, the experiences, and the conversations mirror each other for interracial couples.

    Three different interracial couples spoke candidly to INSIDER about their own journeys in their relationships, including the first time they discussed race and how they make their time together work in an often-tumultuous social and political climate. Each story and couple is different, but if they share one thing, it’s the desire to remain honest and informed.

    Keenan Bell and Ryan Quinlan

    Keenan Bell and Ryan Quinlan have been together for four years. They attended college together at Ohio University. Before they were even officially dating, Bell said that they discussed race openly, but one specific conversation left them asking deeper questions.

    "When I met his family, they were talking about how Tea Party members are idiots and they stopped and were like, 'Are you a member of the Tea Party?'" Bell recalled. "Later on, I was talking to Ryan and I was like, 'That was so weird that your parents even had to ask if I was a Tea Party member. I'm black.'"

    "Well, they wouldn't just assume that about you," Quinlan replied.

    According to the Pew Research Center, nearly four-in-ten adults say that that the growing number of interracial marriages is actually good for society. This figure is a significant growth from those of previous years.

    In Bell's experience though, it doesn't always feel that way on an everyday level.

    "I don't know if it's something people assume or if it's just my own anxiety and paranoia. Probably both," Bell told INSIDER. "But I always worry that when black people see me with Ryan that they automatically think the worst of me like I'm just another light-skinned girl who thinks she's better than darker [people of color] or that I'm not concerned about social justice issues."

    Though this sense of dissonance is a common phenomenon, Bell wants people to know that it's possible for her to be both active in fighting racism and in an interracial relationship with a white man.

    She said she's also prepared for the future, already aware of the fact that she will likely have children of mixed race one day.

    "I don't think [Ryan] would be prepared [to have a child that looked black] because I don't know how as a white person you can be fully prepared to raise a child who will grow up with problems you've never faced before," Bell said. "He would definitely embrace having a kid that looked black. It adds a layer of difficulty, but Ryan tries really hard and I love him so it's just something I've chosen to live with."

    Taylor Durbin and Nick Jones

    After almost a year together, Taylor Durbin and Nick Jones say that they talk about race often and are comfortable discussing their viewpoints as a couple.

    "You need to be understanding and care about how the other person feels towards different subjects," Jones told INSIDER. "It doesn't hurt to talk about [race] and honestly, talking about sensitive topics is one of the biggest parts of being in a relationship and understanding another person."

    "We talk about [race] often, actually," Durbin agreed.

    Jones said that their first discussion about race began with a simple question.

    "She asked me if I had ever dated anyone that wasn't white, which I hadn't," Jones said.

    "That's a conversation I try to have as soon as possible so that I can determine if we'll be compatible," Durbin told INSIDER. "I asked how he felt about police brutality and the [Black Lives Matter] movement because that stuff is important to me, so I wanted to be sure that we were on the same page before we continued developing our relationship."

    And the discussion doesn't stop simply within the confines of the partnership. There are other people involved in relationships as well.

    "I ask the questions about family," Durbin said. "How his parents would feel about him bringing home a black girl. When I asked about his family, he was like 'of course they don't care,' so that was a relief. His family really likes me."

    In any relationship, family can play a role in how two significant others function together as a successful unit.

    In 2013, about one-in-eight marriages or 12% of new marriages in the United States were interracial, according to the Pew Research Center. Despite the growing numbers, the same study stated that two-in-10 biracial black and white adults reported a family member treating them badly because of their multiracial status.

    The impact of a family's attitude can make or break the status of many relationships, but for Durbin and Jones, it's not on their list of concerns.

    In fact, Durbin said that her list of concerns actually shrank as she began a relationship with Jones, giving her faith in the strength of their bond.

    "What kind of made me love Nick, even more, was that he never made me feel uncomfortable in my blackness," Durbin said. "When I change my hairstyle, he loves it no matter what ... He's never made me feel like the 'angry black woman,' which I feel happens to me a lot … He's never sexualized my blackness or made inappropriate jokes about it. He truly loves me no matter what and that, to me, is so important, especially in an interracial relationship because sometimes lines can get crossed that don't exist in same-race relationships."

    Asia Harris and Cory Wasmer

    Cory Wasmer and Asia Harris have been together for about eight months, but Harris' awareness of Wasmer's relationship to her race came early on.

    "It was definitely within the first few weeks, maybe month, of us talking," Harris said. "I was appreciative that he never used any of the 'compliments.' 'You're pretty for a black girl,' or 'I was never into black girls before you.' I'd heard it all before."

    When Harris expressed this to Wasmer, she was even more impressed by his reaction.

    "He said he was surprised and saddened to hear that I have heard that so much," Harris said. "I think that conversation led to us talking about whether or not we'd dated outside of our races before. I told him that I had a handful of times and he stated that he never had until me … I walked away feeling good about him."

    Harris and Wasmer said they don't make racism a major talking point, but it's not because it's something they don't care about.

    "Because the general consensus surrounding the relationship regarding the interracial aspect has been positive thus far, it isn't a primary topic of discussion, honestly," Harris said.

    "I am definitely the one who will bring it up if it ever really is a conversation," Harris said. "A black woman with a white man isn't necessarily what people see every single day in Ohio."

    Harris' sentiments echoed Durbin's earlier comments about the importance of making sure that everyone, including family, is informed.

    Harris was especially touched when Wasmer's family seemed to have their own moment of concern regarding how the couple would navigate a trip to the South given that, according to the 2017 National Crime Victims' Rights Week Resource Guide, hate crime victimization rose 7% from 2014 to 2015. 

    52% of these reported hate crimes were anti-black, which is particularly troubling.

    "We were traveling to the south to watch the solar eclipse. I was worried," Harris said. "I don't know of what or why but you just never know in this day and age. I remember expressing those concerns to him. He was 100% understanding of my concerns. We borrowed his mom's car to go to Tennessee, so we went to his parents' house before our trip and she kind of sat us down and let us know like to be aware of our surroundings and she even mentioned the fact that we could be a target, being that we are an interracial couple. I think her conversation and concern with our well being made me appreciative of the fact that it seems like this family is rather 'woke' to what is going on in the world."

    Harris and Wasmer said the importance of familial acceptance, and protection is so important. If their families didn't have their backs, it could have a major impact — or even end — a relationship.

    "Based on my interactions with his family and everyone that I have met in his life thus far, they are all welcoming, accepting of me and us, and I honestly don't ever feel like I am treated differently," Harris said. "I think if it were otherwise like if his family didn't agree with us or had a problem with me, I don't want to say I wouldn't be with him, but it would definitely be harder for me."

    In this case, despite the negatives and the risks, the positives feel like major wins. In the face of such a deeply unfortunate paradox, healthy, open, genuine conversation feels like an answer to the problem, and to watch love unfold with each new discussion feels like even more of a remedy.

    The resilience of love trumps ignorance and hatred. That ability to love despite the challenges is what tips the balance all the way in favor of what is right. To quote Durbin, "I've never been happier with anyone else." And that's what matters.

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    • People who are very receptive to the emotions of others are known as empaths.
    • They are also very sensitive to noise, smell, and being around people.
    • This means they are overwhelmed in crowds, and get exhausted in social situations.
    • Psychiatrist Judith Orloff, an empath herself, works with others to help them with the challenges.

    Empathy is the ability most humans have to understand the way someone else is feeling. Unless you are a psychopath, narcissist, or sociopath, you will have the ability to feel empathy for others on some level.

    How much empathy we feel is on a scale, and some people feel it more intensely than others. People very high up on the scale are known as empaths, and they take it to the next level.

    "An empath is an emotional sponge," Judith Orloff, psychiatrist and author of "The Empath's Survival Guide," told Business Insider. "[They are] somebody who absorbs the stress and also the positive emotions into their own bodies from other people."

    They don't have the filters other people do

    Being an empath doesn't just mean having a lot of compassion. In many ways, empaths don't have the normal filters other people do. They take in a lot of what's going on around them, and are very sensitive to noise, smell, and excessive talking. This means they are easily overwhelmed in crowds, and can be exhausted after just short periods of time in social situations.

    "They have gifts of intuition, of depth, of really caring for others, and having deep compassion," Orloff explained, who is an empath herself. "They often give too much. They sometimes take on their loved ones' pain in their bodies, so they actually feel it."

    They need time alone

    To unwind, empaths often need time alone. Sometimes they need to sleep alone, which can be a tricky conversation to have with a partner. Things you expect in a relationship like being close can be draining to an empath, even if their partner's intentions are good.

    "I've known empaths who like sleeping alone, but they can't tell their partner that. They just can't go to sleep easily with someone in the bed," Orloff said. "They toss and turn, or get in uncomfortable positions. One of my patients called it the 'snuggle hold,' where their partner liked to snuggle, and she felt she was trapped."

    It may be hard for some people to comprehend the idea of needing alone time in a happy relationship. This is one of the reasons empaths are often misdiagnosed as having depression or anxiety. They might be anxious and depressed, but this could be a result of the way they are being forced to live their lives.

    After years of being told they are "over-sensitive," many empaths grow up thinking there is something wrong with them, when really they have a gift, Orloff said. If empaths aren't aware of who they are, everyday interactions that others find normal could be causing them damage.

    Setting boundaries can be difficult

    Boundaries are a real struggle for empaths, one reason being because they always want to please others, and not disappoint anyone.

    Unfortunately, this means they can be taken advantage of by manipulative people. Narcissists and empaths attract each other, as narcissists see someone they can use, and the empaths see someone they can help and fix. Orloff helps her clients out with learning to stand up for themselves, and realising what is best for them.

    "What I always tell them is 'no' is a complete sentence," Orloff said. "Learn how to say 'no,' but don't get into a big discussion about it. Just say 'no, I'm sorry I can't do this tonight, I'd rather stay home.'"

    Orloff has self-assessment test at the beginning of her book where empaths can diagnose themselves. Once they have the answers, she says, they can start trying out some of the techniques, such as meditation.

    "Empaths need to know that what they have is beautiful and much needed in our world today," Orloff said. "And so my job as a psychiatrist is to help them with the challenges so that they can embrace and enjoy their gift."

    SEE ALSO: The way a narcissist's brain works can help unravel whether they mean to hurt their partners or not

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    Cardi B Offset

    • Cardi B and Migos rapper Offset got engaged in October. 
    • Since then, photos have surfaced that allegedly show Offset in bed with another woman.
    • Break-up rumors followed, but the "Bodak Yellow" rapper shut them down in a series of now-deleted tweets.
    • The couple was recently spotted cuddling and smooching in a 7/11 snack aisle.

    Since bursting onto the scene with "Bodak Yellow," Cardi B has hardly shied away from the spotlight. But the rapper's love life has likely created more negative attention than she would have liked. Ever since photos surfaced in December that reportedly show her fianceé — fellow rapper Offset — in bed with another woman, Cardi B has been battling critics of their relationship.

    Despite breakup rumors, however, the couple's engagement seems to be going strong. South West News Service (SWNS) reports that the couple was spotted smooching and snuggling in a 7/11 snack aisle yesterday.

    Cardi B and Offset 7/11

    A bystander told SWNS that the young couple looked "very much in love."

    "They were just doing what I thought were typical things that engaged people do, they were kissing and cuddling," the source said. 

    Cardi B 7/11

    The photos surface a week after Cardi B defended her relationship status in a series of now-deleted tweets: "Why do I have to explain myself?" she wrote. "I don't ask ya why you still with that man that lives with his mom, that don't pay your bills … Since when you guys had perfect relationships?"

    The "Bartier Cardi" rapper also addressed the cheating scandal in a comment on Instagram.

    "No it's not right for a [n----] to cheat. But what you want me to do?" she wrote. "Start all over again and get cheated on again? This s--- happens to everyone ... People handle [their] relationships differently."

    Although Cardi B seems intent on following her own instincts, regardless of rumors and public opinion, Offset is reportedly making a huge effort to win back her trust. He evengot her name tattooed on his neck.

    #TSRTattz - Y’all feelin’ #offset ‘s new #CardiB tatt?

    A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Jan 14, 2018 at 8:02am PST on

    Cheating is never a good look, but Cardi B is right in that nobody knows the nature of a relationship other than the two people involved.

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    michelle williams

    • Michelle Williams is reportedly engaged to financier Andrew Youmans, several unnamed sources confirmed to Us Weekly.
    • Williams' representatives told INSIDER they neither confirm nor deny this report.
    • Reports that the pair were dating first surfaced while Williams was shooting "All The Money In The World" in Rome.
    • Williams, an intensely private person, has been wearing a heart-shaped diamond ring on her ring finger for some time. This led many to speculate about a possible engagement.

    Actor Michelle Williams is reportedly engaged to financier Andrew Youmans, Us Weekly reported. 

    Williams has been wearing a heart-shaped diamond ring on her left hand ring finger for some time now. But a source close to Williams told E! News back on January 9, "It is very important to Michelle to keep her private life private and out of the press. She has been wearing a heart-shaped diamond ring for awhile but doesn't want to confirm or deny whether they are engaged."

    Us Weekly cited multiple unnamed sources for the news. INSIDER reached out to Williams' representatives, who said that they have neither confirmed nor denied this story for any publication.

    Reports first surfaced that Williams and Youmans were a couple when they were spotted in Rome together while Williams was filming "All the Money in the World," according to Us Weekly. The two have yet to make an official public appearance together. 

    michelle williams ring skitch

    Youmans has built a successful life for himself in the business world. He studied the Toyota Production System extensively and had research on TPS published by the Harvard School of Business. He founded the firm Yomo Consulting to help other companies utilize TPS methodologies before leaving the company in 2011. According to People magazine, Youmans is currently a business investor.

    Williams and has kept a pretty low profile when it comes to her dating life. She was previously linked to actor Jason Segel, director Spike Jonze, and, of course, the late actor Heath Ledger, with whom she had her 12-year-old daughter Matilda. Williams is often spotted with her best friend and fellow actress Busy Phillips on the red carpet and has called her "the love of my life," according to Us Weekly. 

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    Michelle Williams

    • Michelle Williams is reportedly engaged to Andrew Youmans.
    • The two were first linked in July 2017, when they were photographed together in Rome during the filming of Williams' newest film, "All the Money in the World."
    • Youmans is a successful businessman and entrepreneur. 

    Michelle Williams wore a heart-shaped diamond ring on her wedding finger to the 2018 Golden Globes. At the time, the actress told People it was simply "beautiful jewelry," but Williams has also donned the mysterious ring during a tropical getaway on New Year's Day and at the premiere of her highly publicized film, "All the Money in the World."

    Although she has been famously private when it comes to her love life, the actress reportedly started dating financial consultant Andrew Youmans last summer. Now, Us Weekly reports that the two are engaged

    "She wants a good guy and a stable family life," a source told the publication.

    michelle williams engagement ring

    A representative for Williams told INSIDER that she is "neither confirming or denying" the engagement. 

    There may be plenty of uncertainty surrounding Williams' new leading man, but here is everything we know about Youmans right now.

    Youmans was first spotted with Williams in July 2017.

    According to People, the couple made their first public appearance strolling the streets of Rome while Williams was filming "All the Money in the World."

    Though they have never attended an event together, the pair was recently photographed again in the Bahamas, where they rang in the new year with Williams' 12-year-old daughter Matilda. 

    The financier has built a successful career in the business world.

    Youmans graduated from two Ivy League universities — Dartmouth College and Harvard Business School — according to his profile on Handel Group. The profile labels him as an "Investor and Operations Management-Consultant."

    In 1996, Youmans left his family's business, the manufacturing company Connecticut Spring. He founded his own firm, Yomo Consulting, and acted as the firm's president for 15 years before stepping down in 2011. 

    More recently, Youmans has delved into entrepreneurial endeavors, according to his Handel Group profile.

    He has teaching experience.

    People reports that Youmans co-created and taught a class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business from 2015-2016. The second-year course focused on the Toyota Production System (TPS), which is a socio-technical system that combines Toyota's management philosophy and practices.

    His post-grad research on TPS was eventually published by the Harvard School of Business.

    Neither Youmans nor Williams have commented publicly on their relationship.

    Until now, a source told Us Weekly that "Michelle was totally focused on giving Matilda the best upbringing possible."

    "It took her a long time to get over Heath," another added.

    Williams began dating actor Heath Ledger in 2005 and gave birth to their daughter later that year. Following Ledger's death from an accidental overdose in 2008, the "Brokeback Mountain" actress has kept her romantic and familial lives extremely private.

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    Amanda Oleander Couple Art Star Gazing Romantic

    Los Angeles-based fine artist Amanda Oleander captures the intimate moments of everyday life in her drawings — from the ordinary to the embarrassing to the truly special.

    Oleander, who has been drawing and painting since she was about four or five years old, rose to fame in 2015 as Periscope's first real star. That year, she racked up over 200,000 followers on the live streaming platform. Today, she has over 581,000 and counting, not to mention the 249,000 who follow her on Instagram.

     The 28-year-old artist told INSIDER that she is drawn to the moments "we never get to see," the moments that "can't really be documented because if they were, it would alter" how we act. "I'm enthralled by the way people behave behind closed doors," she said.

    Take a closer look at some of Oleander's drawings below.

    Sometimes, the most romantic milestones in a relationship come when you let your guard down around your partner.

    These are the instances that stand out to Oleander, who frequently draws inspiration from her own relationship with her boyfriend, Joey Rudman.

    Her artwork captures all the intimate moments that bring a couple closer together, like when you take care of a sick partner, even if you'll get sick, too.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    nick jonas selena gomez

    • Nick Jonas recently appeared on a radio show segment that measured his heart rate while he answered questions.
    • His ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez appeared in a video message and made his heart rate rise when she reminded him of a bad date they had 10 years ago. 
    • Watch the "Close" singer try to keep his cool in the video below.

    Nick Jonas and Selena Gomez have proven that it's possible to remain friends with an ex. The former Disney icons have gone on record praising each other as "incredibly smart,""amazing and inspiring," all the while confirming their enduring, platonic love

    In a playful test of their friendship, Gomez showed up during Jonas' appearance on a British radio show to remind him of a particularly awkward date they went on 10 years ago.

    The "Close" singer participated in a recurring segment on Nick Grimshaw's popular BBC radio show, in which celebrities are attached to a heart rate monitor. Grimshaw then asks the subject about events from their past — or enlists surprise guests to do so — and measures their heart rate. 

    Gomez appeared in a video recording to tease her ex-beau about the first time she went to Central Park with him.

    "Hello Nicholas, it's Selena Gomez," she began. "I would like to remind you of a time where we all went to Central Park together. It was definitely over 10 years ago. I was wondering if that brought up anything for you." 

    While watching the video, Jonas' heart rate shot from 76 beats per minute (BPM) — a normal, resting rate — to 90 BPM. 

    "This was at a time where my brothers and I were a boy band," he clarified, referring to the Jonas Brothers. "And we were very private about our relationship, and she was unhappy that her Central Park experience was ruined by the fact that I walked about 20 feet away from her. Even though they were taking pictures of us and obviously we were there together, I was like, 'It'd be better if we stood about 25 feet apart.' So it ruined her Central Park experience."

    Jonas went on to explain that they visited the park with Gomez's best friend Taylor Swift and his brother Joe Jonas, who ended their relationship with an infamous phone call. Gomez and Swift walked together while the brothers blazed the trail far ahead.

    selena gomez nick jonas

    Jonas was also visited during the segment by the likes of his "Jumanji" co-star Jack Black, as well as his brother Joe via video recording.

    Grimshaw also had the singer watch Miley Cyrus' "7 Things" music video from 2008, which was allegedly written about her relationship with Jonas.

    "[Cyrus is] wearing a dog tag in this thing that I gave her when I was 14," Jonas said of the rumor. "I was actually kind of flattered, to be honest. It's there forever. And I know it's about me."

    In fact, Demi Lovato confirmed on a "Carpool Karaoke" segment that her fellow tour mate bounced back and forth between Cyrus and Gomez when he was younger. 

    It's nice to know that embarrassing memories from past relationships are painful for everybody, even celebrities.

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    khloe kardashian 6 months

    • Khloe Kardashian is expecting a baby in early April with boyfriend Tristan Thompson, but hid her pregnancy from the public for nearly six months.
    • The reality star recently took to her app to discuss her "stealth secrets" and reveal how she told Thompson about her pregnancy.
    • "I can't even believe I hid my bump for as long as I did."

    The Kardashian family is known being open with fans, but Khloe Kardashian took a different approach during the first six months of her pregnancy. Rather than flaunt the news, she went to great lengths to hide her bump until making a pregnancy announcement via Instagram in December.

    The "Revenge Body" creator recently took to her app to share some "stealth secrets" from her first two trimesters and tips for hiding a baby belly. 

    "I can't even believe I hid my bump for as long as I did," she wrote. "It took a few styling sessions, serious strategy and a s---ton of courage, but it worked." 

    Kardashian revealed that she wore billowy coats and held strategically placed accessories, like purses in front of her stomach, when going out in public. She also noted that "nothing is more distracting than a chic pattern" and a cinched waist with a flared, A-line hem is perfect for "hiding a small bulge."

    "I went super girly for Kim's baby shower. Little did everyone know I'm expecting, too," she wrote. "[My dress] flows loosely at the exact right spot."

    💜 Cherry Blossoms and Tea for baby number three 💜 #KKW

    A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on Nov 11, 2017 at 7:41pm PST on

    The reality star addressed why she kept her pregnancy hidden for so long, saying that the worst part was keeping a "major secret" from her family.

    "I'm with my sisters pretty much every single day, so it was hard to not be able to say why I was so sick or couldn't do certain things," she wrote. "[Tristan and I] wanted to tell everybody at one time, which made things even more tricky — how do you get all those people together in one room?! — but it was so amazing when we finally did!"

    When it came to the public, however, Kardashian did not think hiding her pregnancy was, "as big of a deal."

    "I believe there are certain things that need to be held private and for yourself," she wrote. "It was beautiful to have something that was just ours."

    For a family whose life has been filmed for over a decade, it's understandable why Kardashian would want to keep such a personal, intimate experience private for as long as possible. However, now that the "Strong Looks Better Naked" author is officially in her third trimester, her bump would probably be difficult to hide.

    ❥ Officially 6 months ❥

    A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on Jan 2, 2018 at 12:31pm PST on

    Kardashian's boyfriend, NBA star Tristan Thompson, has been "reassuring and confident about everything" throughout the pregnancy, according to a separate post. In fact, Kardashian wrote that Thompson intuitively knew she was pregnant before she even took a test.

    "I actually had to FaceTime him to tell him. I was nervous and he was so excited," Kardashian wrote. "Of course, it's such a blessing and such an exciting thing — but I do believe your initial reaction is always nerves. I'm so blessed that Tristan has been beyond supportive!"

    Kardashian said having an excited partner to act as a support system is "crucial," praising her boyfriend as an "angel."

    ❥ Mom and Dad ❥

    A post shared by Khloé (@khloekardashian) on Jan 2, 2018 at 12:44pm PST on

    "This process is trying — physically and mentally — but Tristan has made everything as easy and beautiful as it can be! More than I could have imagined," she wrote. 

    Fans of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" will know that having a baby is a longstanding dream for the future mom, so it's heartwarming to know that she is enjoying both her pregnancy and relationship.

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    two eye

    • Narcissistic personality disorder is one diagnosis, but there are three distinct types of narcissists.
    • People with the disorder are categorized based on how they act and treat others.
    • Some experts say that identifying a person's type of narcissism can make relationships with them possible, but others say it's best to stay well clear.

    To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, someone needs to express five of nine specific traits. People with the disorder are often characterized as having a lack of empathy, a grandiose view of themselves, and a need for admiration.

    Though many follow similar patterns, such as love bombing their partners, gaslighting people, and discarding those they no longer have a use for, they can also behave very differently.

    Many psychiatrists and therapists separate narcissists into three categories based on their actions: exhibitionist, closet, and toxic.

    According to Elinor Greenberg, a therapist who wrote the book "Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety," a person's form of narcissism can depend on their upbringing.

    Exhibitionist narcissists represent the stereotype

    For example, exhibitionist — or grandiose — narcissists have the "look at me" mindset children often have.

    Children generally can't conceive of their parents' problems, "so they don't have empathy that way," Greenberg said. "If you go through the stage with sufficient attention, then you grow out of it and get satisfied, and it's over."

    But some people, she said, grow up in homes where children are encouraged to be narcissistic — for example, they may be told their family name makes them special and that they deserve success because it's "in your blood."

    The exhibitionist is the stereotypical idea of a narcissist, said Shannon Thomas, a licensed clinical social worker who wrote "Healing from Hidden Abuse."

    "They think they're amazing — they think themselves to be smarter, better-looking, more powerful than other people, and they pretty much believe it," she told Business Insider. "Even with their friends and peers, they believe themselves to be one step up."

    Exhibitionist narcissists don't tend to be insecure, Thomas said. When they aren't bragging about themselves, they're putting down everyone else. They are often carelessly rude and cruel about people and tend to ignore or not even notice how others react to it.

    Closet narcissists have different personas

    Some people with narcissistic personality disorder may have grown up with another narcissist in the family competing with or discouraging them, Greenberg said, and they may give approval only when they are worshipped.

    Closet — or covert — narcissists want to be special but are conflicted about it. Like exhibitionists, closet narcissists also feel incredibly entitled, but they are also much more insecure.

    "A closet narcissist doesn't say, 'I am special,'" Greenberg said. "They point to something else — a person, a religion, a book, a dress designer — and they are special, so they feel special by association."

    She added: "When someone feels special because they have a designer thing on and other people can tell, that's special by association. For closet narcissists, they usually have self-doubt, and they are looking for the person they can idealize."

    They also tend to behave in a much more passive-aggressive way. For instance, they are likely to set their romantic partners up for frustration all the time. They may say they will do something but not do it, then get a kick out of other people's reactions.

    "They do what they want to do when they want to do it," Thomas said. "And then they make themselves look like the victim."

    Constantly saying one thing and doing another can make people close to a closet narcissist feel gaslighted, where they start to question reality and feel as if they're going crazy. The closet narcissist may start blaming their partner for things they didn't do, but the partner can end up believing it because their sense of the world has become so warped.

    Whereas exhibitionist narcissists' behavior is fairly consistent, closet narcissists have different personas. They tend to act differently in certain situations — they may be charismatic and kind in public but abusive and cruel when they are with just their partner, who may feel even more confused.

    Toxic narcissists crave chaos and destruction

    Toxic — or malignant — narcissists take it a step further. Not only do they want the attention, but they also want everyone else to feel inferior. They tend to be sadistic and enjoy hurting other people, thriving on their fear.

    "The toxic narcissist is like the evil queen in 'Snow White,'" Greenberg said. "When the mirror says Snow White is prettier than her, she decides to kill Snow White and keep her heart in a box."

    Toxic narcissists find it entertaining to set people up and watch them fall, something Thomas calls an extra layer of sadistic behavior.

    "It's bordering on that antisocial personality disorder coming out of narcissistic personality," she said. "Folks who are perfectly fine destroying careers of other people, basically fine with just imploding people emotionally, physically, and spiritually."

    There tends to be a lot of chaos around a toxic narcissist, Thomas said, because they enjoy it and thrive on feeling that they have created havoc for someone else.

    "Harmony is not their goal," she said. "We're worn out by it, but they actually gain energy through it. That's why we see them spinning different issues and different dramas with people. They always say, 'I hate drama,' but they're in the center of it every time."

    Relationships with narcissists can be risky

    People with narcissistic personality disorder lack object constancy, meaning that, for example, when they are angry with a partner, they can't see that in the context of the relationship and tend to display only hatred or a desire to hurt the partner.

    This can make relationships with narcissists — whether romantic, familial, or professional — very draining.

    Greenberg says it may be possible to maintain a relationship with a narcissist if you identify their type and how they function. Many relationship experts, however, say it's best to stay away altogether.

    In the long run, it's your decision, but it's worth reading beforehand about what you may be getting yourself into.

    SEE ALSO: The opposite of a narcissist is called an 'empath'— here are the signs you could be one

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    couple bed sex love

    Think back to your teenage years and all of the wild and just-not-true things you used to believe about sex. 

    There seems to be an endless amount of myths and urban legends when it comes to sex. Unfortunately, these fabrications are what muddies up the water when it comes to helping couples with intimacy issues and they can stay with us into adulthood.

    That’s why INSIDER reached out to a few experts to help debunk some of the more common sex myths.  


    Myth: All orgasms feel the same — and they should be explosive.

    Truth: Kait Scalisi, MPH, intimacy educator and founder, told INSIDER that orgasms exist on a spectrum from whisper quiet to mind-blowing. "No sensation feels the same all the time," she said. Lots of factors play into how your body processes sensation, whether that's pleasure, pain, or anything else.

    Myth: What you do during sex determines how good your sex life is.

    Truth: "Most of what matters for sex has nothing to do with sex itself," Scalisi told INSIDER. Instead, she explained that it's about creating the right context for intimate, exciting, and fulfilling sex.

    For most people, Scalisi said that context is high trust, low stress, and high affection. "By reducing the things in your life that turn you off, you're generally more easily able to enjoy the moment and find freedom in pleasure."

    Myth: If you're aroused, you shouldn't need lubricant.

    Truth: Needing more lubrication than your body produces doesn't mean you're not aroused.Dr. Ava Cadell, clinical sexologist and AASECT certified sex counselor, told INSIDER that a lot of people equate wetness with how turned on they are, but that’s not necessarily an accurate barometer.

    "Your monthly cycle, pregnancy, illness, menopause, medications (such antihistamines and decongestants) can affect lubrication, no matter how much water you drink," she shared. Cadell even suggests lube when using condoms since latex doesn’t slide well even if you're naturally lubricated.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • Unmarried couples who have children are becoming a national trend.
    • My partner and I have chosen not to get married, though we're going to be parents.
    • Plenty of celebrity couples do it all the time.
    • Marriage does not guarantee a happy family.

    I met my partner David on March 17, 2017, and we officially began dating in May. Our relationship can only be described as a ride that you never you want to get off of, thrilling, new, and unexpectedly addicting. We are both college graduates, and at that time we started dating I was starting graduate school at Columbia College in Chicago.

    When in September, I started passing out, throwing up and having insatiable cravings. I knew it wasn’t just stress — something was off.

    I went to Planned Parenthood and found out that I was pregnant. I told David that night and his response was, to me, unforeseen. He was ecstatic. This is another one of those moments in our relationship that I knew that I made the right choice by falling in love with him.

    Following that conversation, before telling his parents, I had to tell my sister. She responded with "Are you going to tell mom?" I come from a single parent household. It's traditional — loving, but very traditional.  My mother just wanted what was best for us. I was very nervous to tell my mother because I knew her first response would be something about "marriage."

    Since I come from a single parent household, marriage is really something that terrifies me. But I am also cognizant of society’s gaze when you have a child without having a husband. 

    Despite that, we are not planning on getting married anytime soon.

    It took us a long time to finally sit down and talk about it, but we just realized it's not for us right now. 

    David and I love each other, we do. In our relationship, the subject of marriage has come up. But we talked about it happening down the line after I finished grad school and he finished grad school as well. We both want our first marriage to be our last marriage.


    The fact is that marriage is just not for everybody.

    Marriage does not make people better parents. Moreover, marriage does not mean you are more of a responsible adult. It is something that people can choose to do. It should not be forced.

    More and more people are choosing to agree with me. According to the census, the number of couples 50 and older who have chosen to live together without being married rose from 1.2 million in 2000 to 2.8 million in 2010.

    Times have changed. We can all admit it: sex is great. A bunch of us are having sex — casual, committed, "50 Shades of Grey" sex, or just quickies — without being married. Why are we still shaming those who choose to have children out of wedlock when we know this to be true? Everyone has a right to choose, and some of us are choosing to be parents.

    The pressure to marry is real, especially if you have a child together. But the pressure is slowly erasing as society learns that it is apart of the norm. 

    We are not the only couple who are not married and are parents to beautiful children.

    According to a PEW research study, millennials rated being a good parent as a top priority in 2010. In fact, 52% said it was one of the most important goals in their lives, even more than a successful marriage.

    Moreover, in 2015 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40% of births in 2015 were to unmarried mothers.

    Plus, we all know a few celebrity couples that have children together who are not married. Kourtney Kardashian has had three children with ex-partner Scott Disick, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes have two daughters together, and Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have been together since 1983, they have a son together but never tied the knot. Though they don't have a child, Oprah and Stedman have been together for decades and have no intention of being married.

    There is no right way to be a parent — there is the only way that you want to do it.

    You can be in a long-term relationship with someone and never get married. Yes, you can still be happy in a relationship without being married. Similarly, there are couples who are married who choose to never have kids or who choose to adopt their children. People can plan to never have kids and then suddenly have them. Happiness is your choice.

    I do not believe there are perfect people, therefore, there is no perfect marriage or relationship. There is only love, that I know for sure exists. This is what we, David and I, plan to give to our son — love.

    David and I plan to spend the rest of our lives together and loving our son. We both know that getting married right now, to satisfy society and family, would not make us happy. Plus financially, it really is not the best move to make.

    Either way, we will welcome our son into our lives together, promise to be in his life forever with our love for each other.

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    Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle

    It's hard not to compare Meghan Markle— Prince Harry's new fianceé — to Prince William's wife Kate Middleton.

    At least on the surface, the two royal courtships couldn't appear more different. Most notably, Markle and Prince Harry met in 2016, when they were both in their 30s. Just about a year later, they announced their engagement.

    Middleton and Prince William, on the other hand, met in college. They didn't get engaged until 2010, five years after they graduated.

    What's more, while Middleton is British, Prince Harry broke with tradition in some ways by choosing to spend his life with an American.

    We asked two relationship experts to explain what these differences might mean for the two marriages, and for the two women's lives. Andrea Syrtash is the author of "He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing): How to Find Love Where You Least Expect It" and the founder of Rachel Sussman is a relationship therapist in New York City.

    There's no saying what will transpire over the course of either relationship. But as Sussman said, "When you're aware of potential pitfalls, you can really work on the relationship and try to make sure that those don't happen."

    SEE ALSO: Meghan Markle has proved her dominance over the 'Kate effect' — and it's worth $677 million

    Prince William and Middleton have built a life together, having known each other since college. 'What's wonderful is that they have a history,' Syrtash said.

    'They know so much about each other,' Sussman said of couples who met when they were young. 'They have a lot of the same friends. They have shared cultural references and memories.'

    Prince Harry and Markle, on the other hand, met in their 30s, meaning they brought more wisdom and self-knowledge to their relationship. In fact, Markle has been married before.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider