Photo by Scott Webb
Secrets are INCREDIBLY common in relationships.
During our day to day lives, it’s as though everything is in order.
But I’ve had COUNTLESS conversations with people, who confide in keeping MANY SECRETS from their partner.
It’s a pity because I often get the sense that they really WANT TO tell their secrets.
But they just don’t know how to tell the person they SHOULD BE TELLING.
Because keeping secrets will likely kill your relationship in the long run.
#1 Having Secrets Becomes A Daily Routine
Secrets may not seem like much of a big deal at first.
In fact, they really might not be.
It may simply seem more convenient to not tell a partner certain things.
Like that you watched that next Netflix episode without them.
Or they secretly made a small purchase that you’d agreed against.
These are still harmless. But when secrets become normal and a partner is used to getting away with it …
They can start to GROW in scope.
- Secretly smoking while claiming never to
- Contacting and texting with an ex
- Losing money on some online gambling
And on and one it can go.
Until keeping more serious secrets is just a daily routine.
They become so NORMAL that they become a part of the fabric of your relationship and WEAVE themselves IN.
This is best prevented or undone as soon as possible.
#2 Secrets Make Building Trust Almost Impossible
Trust is a crucial component in creating stability and safety in a relationship.
When there are secrets in the way though, it’s very difficult to build any trust.
Because secrets are like an INVISIBLE WALL between the two of you.
You may not see it, but you can sense it.
So although you might partake in activities together, go to social events and keep your relationship running generally smoothly.
The secrets will prevent you from truly growing closer and trusting each other.
Because you can feel when someone is being distant, not telling the entire truth or keeping secrets.
On some level, you feel all of these things.
And unfortunately, it can contribute to the deterioration of a relationship.
#3 Maintaining Secrets is Exhausting
Like A LOT.
Secrets often require covering up truths or lying.
For example, lying about smoking the occasional cigarette, might require lying about with whom that happened, which in turn might require lying about where it happened, etc.
The lies become hard to keep track of and get straight.
A work colleague of mine who had quit smoking years ago confessed to caving in and having the occasional cigarette when she was extremely stressed.
She also mentioned that she kept it a secret from her boyfriend.
Because he would get really upset since he was an adamant non-smoker.
I asked how long she’d been keeping this from him.
She said it had already been for many years, but that she actually couldn’t do it anymore.
That the stress and guilt of lying to him was eating her up inside and was absolutely EXHAUSTING HER.
Soon after that, she told him.
He was very upset and felt betrayed.
BUT he mentioned he had his suspicions and was glad that she told him BEFORE he confronted her about it.
They now openly talk about it and he’s supporting her in finding alternative ways to deal with high-stress situations.
#4 All Secrets Come Out Eventually
In the story just told, the partner keeping the secret told the truth by her own choice.
In the next story, the partner DIDN’T TELL and was caught cheating…
I once knew a guy who was only recently married and started an affair with a co-worker at a hotel.
One day he mentioned the affair to me.
He wasn’t proud of it but he felt like he couldn’t help himself.
I urged him to tell his wife the truth and put an end to the affair. Maybe his marriage could still be salvaged.
But he chose not to and kept it secret.
Not even a month later, I heard that his wife found text messages on his phone and filed for divorce shortly after.
Apparently, she had had her suspicions and caught on pretty fast.
All secrets come out eventually.
And they can absolutely KILL a relationship. Which is why we recommend to not let them pile up or become more serious.
Build trust with your partner and TALK to them.
This way you can create solid foundations for your relationship that you can RELY on.
Got any questions about this topic? What are your experiences with secrets in relationships? Let me know in the comments below.
We’d love to help out.
Photo by Andrew Ly
Building trust is very crucial in long term relationships and marriage. Having trust for one another is what gives people that feeling of safety and stability we all crave so much.
Unfortunately, trust is not something you can control or force.
You can’t make your partner trust you. Neither can you make yourself trust your partner.
You either feel it or don’t.
There are certain behaviors though, that are INCREDIBLY TRUST INDUCING.
Here is my list of the 4 best ways to build trust in your relationship.
1. Being Reliable
This is probably the easiest and most straightforward way to build trust in relationships.
Being reliable is about keeping your word.
When you say you’ll do something, you do it.
When you say you’ll spend time together, you show up and give your partner your full attention.
This way your partner learns that they can rely on you.
It’s extremely important that both of you make an effort to build trust with one another.
It’s not enough for one person to be reliable in a relationship.
Trust in relationships is a two-way street. In order to build it both of you have to learn that you can rely on one another.
Only mutual trust can trigger that sense of safety and stability we all crave so much.
2. Being Supportive Of Each Other
Showing your partner your support in their personal endeavors is bound to make them trust you way more.
And vice versa.
Them supporting you in striving towards your own goals, will make you feel safe and appreciated.
That’s because nothing is more trust inducing than knowing that you have someone in your corner.
Being on the same page and having each other’s backs feels really great for both parties.
Being supportive of one another is a great way to build trust in relationships.
3. Helping Each Other Out
They say a friend in need is a friend indeed.
I had a herniated disk a couple of months ago. I was in constant pain.
And could barely move for a couple of weeks.
Having Gabriel help me out throughout that time, made me trust him SO MUCH MORE.
Experiencing someone being there for you in your moment of need creates a lot of trust.
You don’t need to go through any major health trouble in order to build trust with your partner though.
Everybody feels down from time to time.
We’re all only human after all. We feel sad, get sick, have small injuries, etc.
There are countless opportunities to build trust by being caring and helping each other out on a daily basis:
- Letting your partner sleep in on the weekend
- Helping them out with chores
- Listening to them complain about a stressful day at work, etc.
These kinds of little acts of service will make your partner feel much more relaxed and taken care of.
Moreover, they can learn from you and reciprocate the favor.
This kind of back and forth of endless little ways in which we’re constantly helping each other out, helped us build an immense amount of trust in our relationship.
4. Bringing Up Problems In Your Relationship
You might be thinking: “Whaaat? How is bringing up problems is supposed to build trust?!”
I used to think that talking about relationship issues causes arguments and only complicates things.
But the truth is, it actually can do the opposite.
No relationship is perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect match.
Every couple has issues.
Pretending that everything is great can be very destructive and emotionally draining because it requires both of you to repress all your negative feelings.
This kind of situation can never last very long.
Repressed feelings always eventually come to the surface. Often in a form of hurtful heated arguments.
Or worse sudden unexpected breakups.
That’s why bringing up problems and even fighting about them in a healthy way can be very trust-inducing.
Talking about your relationship issues creates room for both parties to get in touch and share where they’re really at.
In our relationship, we’ve had countless of these kinds of conversations.
Even though it was difficult at times, it definitely brought us closer together and allowed us to trust each other more.
Building trust in relationships is not something you can forcefully make happen.
It takes time to learn to trust one another.
However, being reliable and supportive, helping each other out, as well as making room for relationship problems can speed up this process a lot.
Do you have questions about this post? What are your experiences with building trust in relationships? Let me know in the comments sections!
Photo by Kyle Bearden
They say that your partner can’t be your everything.
That they can’t possibly be there for all of your needs.
That wanting them to be your partner in life, friend and lover… is simply too much to ask and even unhealthy.
Well, I’m here to claim the opposite.
The seemingly exaggerated romances we see on the big screen are POSSIBLE.
- He can be your most reliable companion
- He can definitely be your ultimate lover
- Your partner can be your closest friend
- And even your primary shoulder to cry on
And the truth is, getting there in your relationship can happen naturally.
You Shouldn’t Feel Like You Have To Be Their Everything
To clarify, you should never feel like it’s “your job” to be fulfilling certain roles in your relationship.
If you feel internal or external pressure to be their one and only and meet every single need they have, with thoughts like:
- “I have to be ready to sacrifice what I want”
- “I always have to say “yes” to sex, even if I’m not in the mood”
- “I have to let him feel like he’s intellectually superior”
- “I have to put his needs above mine”
Then we’re not coming from the right place.
You can’t endlessly give. You’ll burn out and either blame yourself or come to resent your partner.
Sure, relationships are work.
But it’s important to not relate to them as checklists that need completing.
When You Deeply Care About Each Other, It’ll Happen Naturally
What this means, is it’ll happen ON IT’S OWN.
You DON’T NEED to force yourself to do anything.
Karolina and I always did our level best to NEVER PUSH ourselves in our relationship.
If something felt off, we didn’t do it!
And we’ve become big advocates of this.
When we’re asked, we tell other couples that they can TRUST THEMSELVES to want to care. It doesn’t need to be forced or related to a task to fulfill.
It can take time to think this way about it.
But the more room you make for it, the easier it’ll come.
You’ll find yourself WANTING to be their shoulder to cry on, their lover and most trusted friend.
And your actions will follow suit.
Love And Trust Compound In Relationships
The wonderful thing about this process is that as your relationship develops, you begin to grow closer in ALL AREAS!
And it COMPOUNDS.
Because as you prove yourselves to each other as trustworthy and loving, you’ll allow for access to other, more vulnerable areas of yourselves.
For example, men can often be distant for secret reasons.
I was always afraid of trusting Karolina and remained unavailable because I had been taught that needing love is a weakness.
But as my trust towards her grew, I found myself relating to her not just as a lover and companion.
But as a true friend.
These kinds of developments change the game in your relationship.
Externally imposed roles and rules on how you should think about- or relate to each other go out the window!
Once that happens, you’re both free to define your relationship and its rules AS YOU SEE FIT.
In our relationship, this leads to an increased bond of trust, friendship, romance and stability.
You might find that you’re suddenly prioritizing each other and talking for hours on end every day as though you had just started dating again.
Your love life can snap out of routines and become spontaneous and exciting!
You’ll be able to take your relationship to the next level and can feel even more valued, connected and safe.
If you have any thoughts or questions about this process, share them with us in the comments section and we’ll get back to you!
Photo by Colin Maynard
If there was ONE THING couples should do to improve their relationship …
In fact, if you had to choose ONLY ONE thing to maximize the quality of your relationship.
What do you think it might be?
It’s learning to work WITH EACH OTHER.
What does this mean exactly?
It means you need to:
- DEPRIORITIZE maintaining control over each other or winning arguments
- PRIORITIZE working and finding solutions together
These are two sides of the same coin. Let’s start with the behaviors you’d need to deprioritize.
Deprioritizing Behaviors That Create Conflict Will Dramatically Reduce Your Stress
It is commonly accepted that conflict is an inherent component of any relationship.
So much so, that it’s not only portrayed as a major aspect of romantic relationships in movies.
But it’s even suggested that it’s a necessary component to improve relationships.
I couldn’t disagree more.
Imagine coming to terms with that!
It means you just have to accept that your relationship comes with a lifelong inclusive package of endless drama, fights, conflict!
How is that supposed to make you feel loved, stable and safe in your relationship?
It obviously cannot.
So first off, I’d like to dispel that myth.
If you’ve fallen victim to this misconception, know this:
Fighting, conflict and domination games cannot contribute to improving your relationship.
On the contrary, you need to do whatever you can to reduce any of the following behaviors:
- Trying to establish superiority or dominance over each other
- Insisting on being right all the time
- Playing the blame game
- Bending the truth (aka lying)
- Picking fights or seeking conflict
- Looking for faults or wrong-doing in each other
This is important.
Because doing this will FREE UP mental and emotional ROOM for what comes next.
Prioritizing Working Together Will Increase Stability & Safety
We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again.
You need to try and work TOGETHER as a couple.
Think of each other as a team. You work as a unit and put your well being and your relationship FIRST.
Over time, you’ll get better and better at it.
Karolina and I used to have PLENTY of conflicts and fights in the past.
But overall we kept the majority of our focus and attention on seeking to cooperate and work together on the problems we had in our relationship.
This is what allowed for steady and continuous improvement.
If you don’t do this, you’re leaving your relationship to continue at random.
And who knows where it might end up.
It’s tough to see couples argue about the same topics time and time again without putting their heads together to solve the issue.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Relationships don’t have to wander aimlessly and be centered around conflict and control.
They can IMPROVE and be FUN!
So working together means the following:
- When you have a conflict, actively work together to solve it
- Be as honest as possible with each other
- Work on building trust together
- Seek to cooperate and encourage
- Build real trust over time
In other words, work on BUILDING your relationship together.
Much like you would a castle. It’s stone by stone to build the walls.
Even if it doesn’t look like much at the beginning, you’re setting SOLID foundations, that will be able to withstand the curve balls life will throw at you as a couple.
Things will never be perfect overnight and you’ll still fight about things.
So you’ve removed a stone or two. Big deal.
You can put them and more back up tomorrow.
When you can count on gradual and steady improvement, it will give you an ever-increasing feeling of stability and safety in your relationship.
So keep working on reducing behaviors that lead to conflict.
And investing in ones that increase your team spirit and the sky will be your only limit.
If you have any questions about working together or having difficulty doing so, let us know in the comments and we’ll get back to you.
We’d love to help out.
Photo by Ian Schneider
I don’t believe in overwhelming yourself with a dozens of new year’s resolutions to change your whole life around at the turn of the year.
It’s always too much and you’ll be disappointed that you couldn’t commit to all of them.
Instead, here are five and if these seem too much, you can always just pick 1 or 2.
This way they’re easy to focus on and implement in the long run.
Cometh next year you’ll anyway be able to take on a few more and they COMPOUND!
#1 Put Your Relationship First
Doing this is no easy feat.
There is a lot of pressure from all sides (family, work & friends) to prioritize them, not your relationship.
And of course there is, everybody wants to feel important to others.
But we’ve found that putting your relationship first is an essential component of building a happy and lasting relationship.
If you don’t make that a clear resolution, you’re leaving room for others to intervene.
Now there may be some judgement around this, that you’re being selfish and not spending enough time with friends or family.
Karolina and I had this problem, but we stayed vigilant and it’s paid off immensely!
Because now we have an extremely strong bond of trust and know that we can rely on one another.
So we had to become comfortable with saying “No” to others, and prioritize each other and our relationship.
Put your relationship first and it’ll create significantly more trust and stability.
#2 Improve Communication Skills
This might sound cliche but it’s not as dull and boring as it’s often made out to be.
Karolina and I found that the more we improved our communication, the more we understood each other and the less we fought.
And there’s no better feeling than a year of feeling like you’re consistently making improvements towards understanding each other more!
This means figuring out how to better express where you’re at so that your partner can receive you, as well as truly listening to them.
We’ve created 3 communication hacks that can get you started, as well as a post on how to make him listen. If you want additional resources, we’ve compiled what we consider to be the best relationship books, some of which we’ve highlighted as a great help for our communication skills.
#3 Try To Work Better As A Team
It’s sad, but we very frequently see couples quickly turn against each other.
Especially when they’re out on a social event or with family.
A friend makes a remark about one of them and the other partner immediately jumps on the bandwagon and joins in.
“Yeah, it’s true, you’re always waiting and never make decisions yourself! Why?”
I can promise you, this does not end with the person pondering their indecisiveness and making a sudden decision to turn their life around.
If anything, they will shut down, become defensive and possibly counter attack.
So it’s important that you work and think as A TEAM.
Have each others backs, stand in for one another and don’t tolerate others trying to interject.
This is YOUR relationship and the two of you can figure things out TOGETHER.
When you start developing this attitude, it’ll build more trust and safety between the two of you.
And problems like indecision or others can be addressed constructively in the private safety of your home.
#4 Have Fewer Arguments This Year
Imagine a year where you spend most of your time with your partner enjoying each other’s company.
Laughing, talking and frolicking in the fields, you name it – you’re doing it and having a blast!
We believe it’s crucial that a relationship should be overall MORE FUN than work.
A big part of what contributes towards this is having fewer arguments.
And In order to achieve this, it’s good to always talk about things that are bothering either of you.
Bottling things up is a big no no, because this is what can lead to very heated or frequent arguments.
You want to make sure you’re keeping an open communication channel and tackling hot topics one at a time.
We covered how to stop fighting at length which might be a helpful resource to you.
Setting this new year’s resolution will remove tension, build trust and create mountains of room for enjoying your lives together.
# 5 Make Time For Your Relationship
We’re all busy, there are hundreds of things that need doing and the sporadic jumble of thoughts in our minds doesn’t help matters either.
But in the midst of all of this, it’s important to still make time for your relationship.
Because your relationship can be a rock, a foundation and a fortress.
And when you have that in your life, it makes taking care of things and untangling your mind a whole lot easier!
In other words, don’t try to sort out everything on the outside first and then get to your relationship.
Make TIME for your relationship FIRST and then take care of the rest.
This is important because the tendency is that people DON’T get around to their relationship!
Instead they become overrun by all the things demanding their attention in their lives.
So the foundation gradually shows cracks and crumbles. Eventually leaving nothing to go back to and it needs to build from scratch again.
If you put your relationship first for the coming year, you’ll avoid losing your fortress and can dominate your life from the safety of your keep together!
That concludes my suggested new year’s resolutions. Don’t forget NOT to overwhelm yourself.
Also, let us know what your resolutions are in the comments below. We’d love to hear your ideas.
Good luck and all the best in the new year for you and your relationship!
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez
We ALL do things that drive people away without even REALIZING IT.
Men have their own set of unique sensitivities and certain things send them running for the hills.
Here are the top #5 behaviors you want to avoid and alternatives that will get you what you want.
1. Controlling Behavior Drives Men Away
Just like any creature on this planet, men enjoy their sense of freedom.
I’m not referring to sexual escapades or endlessly flirting with strangers.
I mean the freedom to BE HIMSELF.
In my previous relationship, I had a controlling girlfriend.
She believed it to be okay to impose and manage me, my behavior, my activities, what I said and did not say, the way I wrote my texts when I should pick her up and drop her off, etc.
It was WAY too much.
And ultimately I just felt suffocated. I couldn’t take it anymore, so we ended it.
We’re all unique and have our own ways of ‘doing life’.
So be sure to give your partner a lot of breathing space and room for self-expression.
If there are things that bother you or you have unmet needs, communicate them to him.
Don’t be tempted to subtly manipulate and control him.
This will only create resentment and drive him away in the long run.
2. Nagging Behavior Makes Men Keep Distance
If there’s one thing men cannot handle, it’s nagging.
Nagging is the behavior of repeatedly complaining or finding faults without the intention of actually finding solutions.
Don’t be like his mother.
This is one of THE MOST surefire ways of driving him away from you.
What’s more, it’ll become increasingly unlikely that you’ll achieve the change you desire!
It’s OKAY and perfectly natural to want things from your man.
But don’t succumb to nagging behavior.
Instead, be sure to get him to listen to you, so that you can communicate what about his behavior (or lack thereof) is bothering you.
3. Seeming Perfect Will Shut Men Down
This is something Karolina and I struggled with for a LONG TIME!
As we talked through this problem, it became clear that Karolina felt an IMMENSE unspoken pressure as a woman.
“You have to be flawless, you cannot make mistakes, you always have to be perfect.”
And we BOTH suffered because of this.
Think about it, if she has to be flawless and can’t admit to mistakes, who’s left to blame?
This leads to a series of serious conflicts and it wasn’t until we resolved this issue, that the tension finally dissolved.
So it’s important to note that if you can’t admit to – or take responsibility for mistakes, they’re automatically unloaded onto him.
This, of course, will drive him away.
Instead, have a serious conversation about WHY it’s so difficult to admit to mistakes and the pressure of having to be perfect all of the time.
When you can do this, you’ll gain an IMMENSE amount of respect and TRUST from your man.
4. Attacking Behavior Will Put Men On The Run
We like to mention this one from time to time because we see how damned common it is (On both sides).
If there’s something between the two of you that isn’t working, don’t go straight for the kill.
Don’t attack, seek to work WITH each other.
Attacking will only escalate the situation and he’ll become increasingly defensive.
Besides this isn’t a fight for domination on who’s right or wrong.
It’s a situation with something that is emotionally upsetting. Maybe certain needs haven’t been met for a while.
So be sure to work with him and focus on finding a solution to the problem.
This way he’s bound to be more understanding and stay close to you.
5. Enmeshment Makes Men Withdraw
This is especially true in the early stages of a relationship.
The honeymoon phase is a very exciting time, but it’s still important to let it grow organically.
Don’t get attached too soon or try to steer and control things.
He’ll be scared off this way.
Even further down the line this principle still applies.
Karolina and I have grown together as a couple, but we still enjoy our alone time.
Treating each other as individuals rather than solely sharing a couple identity gives us a great sense of freedom.
Like we’re choosing to be together, not building on enmeshment.
So don’t assume automatic rights to each other or force the relationship along.
Keep it cool, go easy and enjoy the ride.
How do you feel about behaviors that drive men running away? Do you have any questions or a different perspective on the matter?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!