Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

10 Signs of Relationship Trouble

posted by Linda Mintle

Robert and Sarah had been together for five years. They had their share of fights, but one night, Sarah looked at Robert and said, “I’m done here. It is over!”

Shocked, Robert knew things were a little rocky in the relationship for the past few years, but end the relationship? Honestly, he didn’t see it coming.

Did he miss the signs?

Yes, here is what he overlooked:

1) Sarah had checked out emotionally.

2) Sarah and Robert spent a lot of time distracting themselves from each other versus spending time together.

3) When conflict came up, they didn’t discuss it.

4) They didn’t address the lost love they were feeling until it was too late.

5) They never considered going to a couple therapist to see if they could work on the emotional bond.

6) One partner was completely unaware of how deeply upset the other was–they were out of touch with their emotional lives.

7) They never talked about the future.

8) Needs were not communicated and not being met.

9) Fighting led to bad feelings that never were repaired.

10) Both felt emotionally distant but didn’t address it.

Don’t overlook the signs of relationship trouble. Talk to your partner and ask how things are going. If you need help, seek couple therapy. It works when people are willing to address their issues.

 

Are You Too Happy?

posted by Linda Mintle

Happiness is a good thing, right?

Sometimes, not so much! A Yale researcher compares too much happiness to too much food. When you overdo it, problems erupt! Too much happiness makes you a high risk taker. And with high risk can come excessive alcohol  and drug use, binge eating and ignoring threats.

Happiness researcher Edward Diener looked at lots of people over the years who reported being very happy. He and his colleagues found these people to have lower incomes and drop out of school earlier than those who were moderately happy in their younger years. Dierner thinks that when people don’t experience sadness or anxiety often, they aren’t motivated to do better. The emotion of feeling sad actually helps us think in more systematic ways.

In other studies, very happy people have been shown to engage in stereotypic thinking. And trying to make yourself happy doesn’t seem to work either. Psychologist Iris Mauss tells us the more you pursue happiness, the more disappointed you could be.

The bottom line here is don’t make pursuing happiness your life goal all the time. A balance of three positive emotions for every one is what is needed according to those studying happiness.

So don’t worry, be happy, at least in moderation!

Does Your Personality Make You Ripe for an Affair?

posted by Linda Mintle

Ricky knew his behavior would probably ruin his marriage, but he continued in an on-line relationship with a woman he met in a chat room several months ago. Although Ricky represents a growing number of people who have affairs on-line, is there something about Ricky’s personality that makes him more susceptible to an affair?

The answer is YES!

*Researchers studied the personalities of of 214 newlyweds (107 couples) to see if there were traits that made them more likely to be unfaithful. They found that a person’s personality matters.

Specifically, spouses who have partners who are not agreeable and not dependable, have lower marital satisfaction that can lead to an affair. And these two characteristics also share another trait–impulsivity. The thinking is that the impulsivity then translates to sexual affairs. So if a partner is not reliable, not dependable and impulsive, the risk of acting out is higher when it comes to sexual encounters.

Additionally, the researchers wondered if highly impulsive partners do more to elicit sexual responses from other people.

So when you are looking for a mate, you might want to consider these aspects of his or her personality when dating. And if you are married to someone with these personality traits, it might help to work on these behaviors and boost marital satisfaction. And certainly, a person of strong faith always has the power of the Holy Spirit to help overcome any temptation.

 

*Shackelford, T. K., Besser, A. and Goeta. A. Personality, marital satisfaction and probability of marital infidelity, Journal of Individual Differences research, Vol, 6, No.1, pp. 13-25, 2008

Depression Is Not Just in Your Head!

posted by Linda Mintle

Could it be that depression is an obvious symptom of deeper problems within the physical body?

Researchers are asking this question as they look at stress and depression in new ways.

Long-term depression, it appears, changes chromosomes the same way that aging does! So researchers are study the cellular changes of people who have suffered long-term depression.

This look at cellular changes is important because long-term depression seems to bring on more serious forms of physical illness that are often seen in older people (e.g., dementia, stroke, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc). The phenomena is known as “accelerated aging” and is now being studied at Duke University, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and other academic institutions.

The idea is that as we age, the end of our chromosomes (called “telomeres”) shrink. Research suggests that depression also shrinks this part of the chromosome. In other words, depression makes the cells age prematurely, putting people at risk for diseases usually associated with aging.

Important questions are: 1) How much of a person’s life experience versus genetics is involved in age-related diseases? 2) Can the physical impact of depression be reversed? 3) Why do some people do worse than others when it comes to physical problems and depression? 4) Are there factors that protect certain people?

One study at UCSF found the personality trait of pessimism related to changes at the cellular level.

Now before you become more stressed thinking about the damage you could be doing to your physical body if you are depressed, researchers believe it takes years for these physical changes to occur.

So get help now in order to prevent more physical problems later. And be optimistic, depression is treatable!

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