How Your Relationship With Your Friends & Family Can Lead To Coercive Romantic Relationships Later On In Life

When we think about people who behave in toxic ways over the course of a romantic relationship, we often think that they’re carrying some baggage from a previous one. But new research shows that, at least when it comes to coercive behaviors in romantic relationships, like controlling a partner, the roots go back far further than other romantic relationships. In fact, there seems to be a clear link between coercive behaviors — like being overly controlling, isolating a partner from their friends and family, and even pressuring or forcing a partner to have sex — and influences from our peers at a much younger age, as well as our parents.

A study published in Developmental Psychology looked at the long-term effects of family and friends during childhood on adult behaviors, by studying a group of 230 adults over an almost 20-year period. Researchers from the Arizona State University Psychology Department started studying participants around the age of 11 or 12 until they were 28-30, and there was something that happened during their teenage years that stood out.

Participants were asked to bring in a friend of the same sex and were videotaped while talking about different topics like friends, dating, drug use, and life goals. The researchers found that both boys and girls would engage in “deviancy training”, where friends reinforce antisocial ideas or inappropriate behaviors — like talking together and laughing about underage drinking or objectifying people they knew.

Interestingly, those who engaged in more deviancy training at age 16-17 were more likely to behave in a coercive or controlling way in their adult relationships when the researchers looked at the participants when they were in the 28-30 range. This was true of both the male and female participants.

“This has not been found using observational research before and also not across this long time period,” Thao Ha, assistant professor of psychology at ASU and first author on the paper, tells Bustle. “Also, the fact that this happens for males and females. Often we only think about the effects of male coercion and deviancy.”

One of the most important things the study found was that the participants’ relationships with their parents also played a crucial role. When the parents were absent or there was a disrupted relationship — a “parental vacuum” — it was easier for deviancy training to take hold and it was more common to see signs of antisocial behavior in their adult relationships. So although there may not be a way to prevent deviancy training from happening, having a stronger parental influence was shown to help keep these from leading to coercive, controlling, and abusive behavior in romantic relationships later in life.

“You learn how to communicate and resolve conflicts within early relationships with parents,” Ha says. “If coercion or disrupted parenting is the norm within a family then it is more likely that this will transfer to other relationships in life. In other words, it becomes normative to resolve conflicts coercively with anger, manipulation, and control, as we found prediction from early disruptive parenting to later romantic relationships.” When parents are present and have a strong, positive influence, there’s less of an opportunity for negative influences to take hold.

While there’s not one single thing that will lead someone down a path of coercion or abuse, it’s only through researching and understanding how these behaviors grow that we may be able to curb them. As this research shows, strong, positive parental role models can make a difference, when it comes to combatting negative influences — and maybe even stopping toxic and abusive behaviors later in life. Communication about sex and relationships is so important, especially during those formative years.

 

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When Your Boyfriend Ignores You: Why He Does It and How to Respond

If you’re in a relationship, you know it’s normal for couples to argue. But when your boyfriend ignores you after, do you wonder why?

We’ll talk about what to do when your boyfriend ignores you, but what’s important is to look at why they ignore you first. That way, you kind of see where their behavior originates. This doesn’t mean you should excuse the fact that he’s ignoring you, don’t let it slide. But knowing the root cause helps you decide which angle to approach this from.

Again, this doesn’t excuse his behavior, but it gives you a better idea of what’s going on in his head. Since ignoring you is his go-to move, you should be the bigger person and approach the subject. It’s clear that he won’t.

5 reasons why he’s ignoring you

Whoever said relationships were easy has never been in a relationship—or not a normal one. Of course, when you’re in a relationship, it’s normal for people to disagree and argue sometimes. You may not like it, but it happens in any relationship. But the way you come out of a fight is what matters.

Everyone argues, but how does the argument end? Are you talking about what happened or is someone ignoring the other for days on end? Now, no one is perfect but ignoring someone is a sign of immaturity. It isn’t cool.

And men say women are complicated—yeah, right.

#1 He’s angry at you. If you just had an argument with him and he’s been ignoring you, well, then you have your answer. Obviously, he’s upset with you. Now, him ignoring you could be one of two things.

He could be so angry that he just needs some space from you. Or, secondly, he’s using this as a way to manipulate you into admitting fault. It really depends on the fight you had and your role in it.

#2 He feels suffocated. When your boyfriend ignores you, this could be another reason too. You’re not necessarily clingy for wanting to spend time with him, everyone has their own personal space and amount of alone time they need to recharge. But this doesn’t mean he should ignore you, instead, he could tell you that he needs space instead.

#3 He’s cheating on you. Okay, before I say anything, remember, just because they’re ignoring you, doesn’t mean they’re cheating. This is possibly the most drastic reason behind why he’s ignoring you, so don’t freak out. If you feel he’s cheating on you, you need to look at other behaviors as well.

#4 He’s thinking about breaking up. When we’re thinking about breaking up with someone, we distance ourselves from the person in order to make the breakup easier for ourselves. I know, we’re selfish but that’s just human for ya. He’s making his decision and while doing so, he’s pushing you away.

#5 He has other things going on in his life. Whether it’s work or school, he could be really stressed in other areas of his life and as a result, he ignores you. Now, this may not be intentional, but he’s not keeping your feelings in check either.

The things you need to do when your boyfriend ignores you

No one likes being ignored. So, it’s time to take action and stand up for yourself when your boyfriend ignores you without any explanation. Don’t let him behave like this towards you.

#1 Don’t “pay him back.” I know that you’re probably giving him a taste of his own medicine. In some cases, it can work but let’s be honest, is that really showing him that you don’t appreciate his behavior? The only way for him to understand that his behavior is wrong is if you talk to him. Don’t try to do the whole “he needs a taste of his own medicine” because that won’t solve the problem.

#2 Communicate with him. If you don’t communicate with him, it’s only going to get worse. Communication is key, and it can solve a lot of issues that you’re experiencing as a couple and on your own. So, if it’s bothering you that he ignores you, I recommend that you just sit down with him and talk about it.

You may find out things that you didn’t know before. Make sure you talk about how this makes you feel.

#3 Spend time with family and friends. Well, you can’t change his behavior, but you can change yours. Don’t sit at home twiddling your fingers, instead, go out and spend time with the people that care about you. He’ll come around but don’t wait for him in the meantime.

#4 Don’t chase him around. When we feel that we’re going to lose something, we try to grab onto it even harder, but it never works. If he’s ignoring you, don’t panic and start texting and phoning him twenty times. Instead, back off and give him the time he needs. When he’s ready, he’ll come to you and that’s when you sit down and talk about it.

#5 Set boundaries. He can’t keep ignoring you every time something doesn’t please him. You need to set firm personal boundaries in order to protect yourself. He needs to know that you won’t be putting up with this behavior any further. If he continues to use this strategy as a way to deal with his problems, you don’t need this.

#6 Wait for him to connect with you. He needs to make the first move and reach out to you. If not, you’re just going to be chasing him like a lost puppy and that doesn’t look as cute as it does on Instagram. Only time will tell what will happen and if he continues to ghost you, you’ll have to end it yourself.

#7 Don’t let it absorb all your thoughts. This is going to bother you, but refocus your attention and do not let it ruin your day. This is his behavior and you can only control your own behavior. I know that you have many unanswered questions but having it consume all your thoughts won’t change the fact that he’s ignoring you.

#8 Practice self-care. No one likes being ignored, and in fact, it’s extremely hurtful. If your boyfriend has done this a couple of times, each time is like a knife to the heart. So, rather than getting sucked in, focus on yourself and practicing self-care. Think about your emotions and how they affect you. Write your feelings down, go for walks, and be around supportive people.

#9 Talk about finding a solution with him. After figuring out why he’s behaving this way, then you can figure out how to solve it. Of course, at the end of the day, he’s going to need to work on this, but you may have played a larger role in this than you originally thought. This obviously goes deep, so, by knowing the root problem, this behavior can be changed.

Ignoring people isn’t going to help any situation. When your boyfriend ignores you, it hurts even more. But now you know exactly what to do when he starts with this behavior.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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This Is the Only Real Way to Know If Your Partner Is Micro-Cheating

Is micro-cheating a real thing?

What is micro cheating? How do you define it? Is it just as bad as “normal” cheating in relationships?

Plus, how can you communicate relationship boundaries when it comes to this kind of emotional infidelity?

Micro cheating can be defined in many ways:

Cosmopolitan says that it’s the “small things you do that could have whispers of infidelity, without actually being unfaithful.”

Time magazine defines it as “a set of behaviors that flirts with the line between faithfulness and unfaithfulness.”

And Urban Dictionary says that it’s “small acts considered disloyal within a relationship. Nothing too serious, but not innocent either.”

Because there are so many definitions of micro-cheating, a whole lot of behaviors may or may not even qualify — a raised eyebrow, a furtive smile, lightly touching someone on the arm, browsing profiles on hookup apps but not actually hooking up, chatting with an ex on social media, checking out a little porn here and there, sexting, webcamming with strangers, going to a strip club with the guys (or gals), or getting a massage when away on business.

What is considered cheating? Where do we draw between micro-cheating and actually being unfaithful?

Here’s a thought: Maybe there’s no line to draw. Maybe cheating is cheating.

Maybe calling a behavior that violates one’s relationship boundaries micro-cheating is simply a way of justifying that behavior.

Or maybe there is a meaningful difference between micro-cheating and emotional cheating.

Cheating is “the breaking of trust that occurs when you keep intimate, meaningful secrets from your partner.”

Notice that this definition of infidelity does not name specific sexual or romantic behaviors.

Instead, it focuses on what matters most in romantic relationships — mutual trust.

If you’ve engaged in sexual or romantic behaviors that violate the trust in your relationship, you’ve cheated.

My definition also suggests that a list of behaviors that do and don’t qualify as cheating depends on the couple.

If you and your partner have mutually agreed that looking at porn is not an issue, so be it. And who cares what your grandmother thinks about it? This is your relationship to define, not hers.

If, however, you and your significant other have mutually agreed that porn is not OK, then plugging in that flash drive filled with your favorite videos is cheating.

Interestingly, for betrayed partners, it’s usually not the specifics of what you’ve done that causes the most pain.

What hurts the most is the lying, the manipulation, and the keeping of secrets from the cheating spouse — the lies of omission.

When you engage in sexual and romantic behaviors that violate relationship boundaries (including marriage vows), you’ve cheated. Period.

And when you lie about that behavior and keep it secret, you’re compounding the damage.

That said, maybe micro-cheating really is a thing — a less-damaging form of cheating.

My definition of micro-cheating centers not on the specifics of the “sextracurricular” act, but on how deeply that behavior and any lies and secrets surrounding that behavior impacts the betrayed partner when the behavior comes to light.

In other words, how profoundly is relationship trust affected by the act and by covering up the act?

If you find yourself now wondering what constitutes cheating (micro or full-blown) in your relationship, initiate a discussion with your partner about what behaviors are and are not acceptable.

When you both can mutually define your relationship boundaries in this way, cheating is much less likely.

Moreover, by being open and honest with one another about your sexual desires and limits, you can develop a deeper sense of emotional intimacy and relationship trust.

In short, you strengthen your intimate connection.

The more open and honest you and your partner are with each other, the more intimacy you will have. So give this conversation a go.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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5 Ways To End Drama In Your Relationship

Every human relationship has the potential for drama from time to time.

Everyone has wound up in an argument that’s spiraled out of control at one time or another. But a couple that experiences a drama-free relationship isn’t due to their innately chill nature, or not entirely at least.

Being drama-free takes a bit of practice. Here are 5 ways to end unnecessary drama in your relationship.

1. Communicate openly and freely

This is the first point on our list because it is easily the most important. If there’s anyone you should be able to communicate anything to, it’s your partner. Communicating your needs can leave you exposed and vulnerable, but the alternative is uncertainty, which carries with it the potential for even worse outcomes.

Without communication, small nuisances can fester into resentment. Resentment can lead you to do and say things that you otherwise probably wouldn’t. Things like passive-aggressive remarks, careless behavior, and talking behind your partner’s back. All of these things can lead to drama in your relationship. Open communication is one of your best defenses against drama.

2. Practice active listening

Communication is only 50% of what it takes to avoid drama in your relationship. The other half of the equation is active listening.

It is not uncommon for arguments to devolve into two people just waiting for their turn to yell. You should feel like there is space in your relationship to speak your truth, but active listening is important for anyone wanting to avoid drama in their relationship. When communicating with your partner, let them speak, listen to their words, and take into consideration what that means. And expect the same of them as well.

3. Walk a mile in their shoes

Drama inherently stems from a lack of empathy. We are at our most dramatic when we are hyper-focused on ourselves – our feelings, our needs, our wants – and not thinking at all about the other person.

Empathy is the ability to feel and understand another person’s feelings and experiences. It’s what causes you to feel creeped out when you see a spider crawling up someone else’s arm. The spider isn’t on your arm, but you know how it would make you feel, and that’s what gives you the creeped out feeling.

But empathy is something that we can block out or not take into consideration, which is dangerous when you’re in a relationship. Before you do something or say something that you know could cause drama in your relationship, stop and think: how would this feel if my partner did this to me?

4. Don’t vent to mutual friends

I could probably break down each dramatic behavior one by one and talk about why you shouldn’t do them, but probably the most important thing to avoid is venting to mutual friends about your relationship. It doesn’t matter if you were friends with them first, if you share a friendship with another person, they need to be off the table when discussing problems in your relationship with others. To vent to a mutual friend is equivalent to talking behind your partner’s back.

It can be a good thing to have a trusted confidant when talking about relationship issues. But communicating with your partner is the most important kind of communication. So before you vent to others, ask yourself: should I just communicate my feelings to my partner? Doing so will likely yield more favorable results.

5. Leave a relationship with grace

Relationships can be dynamic and changing. A person you are friends with today could be your lover someday, and a lover today could be your best friend tomorrow. If the decision has been made to end a romantic relationship in favor of a platonic relationship, leave that relationship with dignity and grace. Even if you’re on your way out, consider the things we’ve discussed so far in this article.

Communicate freely with your partner, even if they’re no longer your lover, be an active listener, empathize with them, and don’t vent to mutual friends.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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10 Ways to Shake Things up in Your Relationship

Monotony is defined as the lack of variety and interest. Sooner or later, there comes a point in our lives where life becomes routine. It feels like there’s no fun or excitement left. Whenever someone asks you what’s new, the answer is always, “Routine: same old, same old.” Sometimes, when you wake up in the morning, you feel as if there’s nothing to look forward to. You know exactly how your day is going to pan out from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.

That’s when you know you’re stuck in a monotonous rut.

There is nothing wrong with having a predictable, disciplined, and stable life. However, sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone and do something to keep the spark alive. We get so involved in our lives and comfort zones that we don’t make time for any adventures. Remember, adventure may hurt you, but monotony will kill you. The worst type of monotony we can experience occurs in our personal relationships, especially romantic ones. It’s often hard to break away from it, but there are options to try.

Here are 10 ways to shake things up in your relationship to break from the everyday monotony.

1. Communicate

It doesn’t always happen that both parties in the relationship feel the monotony. One person may be very involved in their own routine to even realize how the other person is feeling. Therefore, it is crucial to let the other party know how you’re feeling about the stagnancy in order to work towards making it better.

2. Take Time Out For Each Other

If the monotony has set in, it is important to set time aside for one another. You can spend that time at home or go out, whatever floats your boat. It is essential to break away from the routine and spend time with your significant other without any distractions.

3. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

We get so tied up in our everyday life that we can’t imagine what it would be like to get out of our comfort zones to do something. Take up an adventure or something you normally wouldn’t do, get that adrenaline rush that will help bind your relationship together and leave you wanting more.

4. Try A New Activity Together

The world is full of choices. In fact, one is spoilt for choice. Rather than being in the normal work-home rut, try a new activity that your partner and you both enjoy. It could be a new sport, a class, or a hobby. Whatever it is, it will help you look forward to your time with each other.

5. Take A Trip Together

I cannot emphasize how important it is to travel as a couple. From the planning to execution, it will only bring you closer, and more importantly, it will help in getting to know each others’ likes and dislikes a lot better.

6. Surprise Each Other

It is such a wonderful feeling to get a surprise from another person. It doesn’t have to be some grand gesture, but just the thought counts. Rather than always agreeing to what your partner wants or saying “whatever you want” to everything, plan something from start to finish and surprise them. This will bring back the lost spark in your relationship.

7. Spend Time Apart

A happy and successful relationship doesn’t involve two people being joint at the hip. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Having your own set of things to do and then coming back to your partner will help you feel more fulfilled in your relationship. Being in a relationship shouldn’t involve a person losing their identity to become one. In fact, two people need to maintain their separate identities and realize how much they miss each other while spending time apart.

8. Discuss Old Memories

As time goes on, two people who are in a long-term relationship may end up having very few things to talk about. Silence can be troubling to some people and if you are one of them, the best way to talk about new things is by reminiscing about old memories. Sure there must be a lot you would’ve experienced together and talking about it will only bring you closer.

9. Make Deliberate Changes

No two people are perfect and, there have to be things and habits you don’t like about your partner and vice versa. Rather than letting it be as it is, it is a very thoughtful gesture to try and work deliberately towards correcting them. It will make your partner know how much you love and appreciate them.

10. Research

The moment you realize you’re getting stuck in any kind of routine, research things that your partner and you will enjoy together. Try something new every week. It doesn’t need to be something big, just some small thing or activity that will keep you on your toes. It will help you look forward to something and keep things moving.

When monotony strikes in, life becomes complacent. We lose the drive and want to do things differently. We get so stuck in our ways and routine that it becomes hard to break free. However, if we don’t make a change, our relationship will suffer. We will be resentful towards our partner and our relationship for becoming the way it is.

The sooner you can address this issue, the better it will be in the long run. See what works for you. Each person is different, and different things can help break life’s monotony. It’s not fair to let the relationship suffer just become you don’t want to put time and effort to make both your lives better. Remember, it is crucial to prevent a relationship from getting boring.

Put as much effort into keeping your significant other as you did to get them.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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