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Monday, November 24, 2008

10 Signs You're About To Split

Sometimes, two people can hae radically different ideas about where a relationship is going. One can be positive it's over and plannin the break-up spech, while the other is lissfully unaware that there's a problem. Here's how to tell if you're heading for a fall.

Sometimes, the writing's so obviously on the wall, it might as well be in neon. In other relationhsips, one person's planning the wedding menu while the other is planning to leave. According to couples' counsellors, there are vulnerable points in any partnership - and classic, telltale signs you're about to split. How does your love affair measure up?

You Or Your Partner Experience A Major Life Change
A new job, move to a new country, the death of a parent or a best friend - any major life change pushes the strongest relationship into a vulnerable position. Change gives us a new perspective: we're forced to step outside of the same old routine - and even a short break from normality can make us question how happy we really are. Taking a new job or moving town exposes us to new people: it's easy to stay in a so-so relationship if the only males you mix with are the ancient accounts clerk in the family business where you work. Since more than 65 percent of people meet their future spouse at work, changing jobs can turn up more dates than a disco. Even if you are happy, you're battling the boring old partner syndrome when you meet new men. Someone new is always more interesting and if the two of you have chemistry and work closely together, watch out!

Your Relationship Is At A Turning Point
You've been going out for two years now and everyone's asking when you're getting engaged or married. Secretly, you're both wondering the same thing: is it time to move on or move out? If you're comfortable with commitment and each other, this can open the lines to some much-needed discussion. But if one partner needs more time and feels pressure to make a decision immediately, leaving may seem the best solution.

You Don't Make Love As Often As Before
That touch-me-and-I-melt feeling wanes with time in the healthiest relationship - but there's a huge difference between a natural cooling-off period, and the signals that you're about to split. The telltale sign is "the cringe factor": when you do make love, do you enjoy it - or shrink away? If you're simply caught up with the pressures of life, when both of you finally do make love, it's great and you wonder why you don't make the effort more often. But if either of you go into cringe factor, you're in trouble! Your skin crawls, you close your eyes, shut down your senses - it's a horrible feeling, you can't wait for sex to be over! Partners who are in cringe mode will do just about anything to avoid the bedroom. They'll get drunk, pick a fight, invent exotic illnesses, often be the life of the party simply to avoid going home. Usually, affectionate gestures will also vanish.

One Of You Has Sex With Someone Else
Whether it's a night with an ex-boyfriend or a one-night stand on a business trip, having sexual contact with someone other than your partner means major trouble. For a start, you've broken the pact the two of you had to stay faithful to each other; the relationship loses its "specialness" and you feel less committed. You could also find yourself getting addicted to the risk-taking. If you don't get caught, it's a way of satisfying that 'naughty' side of us. Other people start playing around because they're not sure how they feel, so they start "testing" their feelings. Some people just don't have the guts to say 'I don't love you anymore' so they start cheating. They find it a lot easier to break up by confessing they've been unfaithful. Once a partner strays, the relationship is in dire straits. The theory is that there are three things that hold relationships together; play, passion and company. When we meet someone, we react like children and think 'Wow! Someone I can play with'. When you start seeing other people it means the play has ceased - you're looking around the recapture that feeling with someone else.

The Blinkers Come Off
The blinkers eventually come off in any relationship and flirting with a guy whose pecs rival Arnie's need not mean you're not happily attached. Flirting makes us feel refreshed and desired, and boosts our ego - it's only when you want to take things further that problems start. Occasionally testing your sexual attractiveness for a bit of a laugh is normal; finding yourself constantly fantasising about different men isn't.

You Send Out Signals That Others Act On
If you're happily involved, people ask you out even if you do flirt with them. Subliminally, you're sending out an "I'm attached" signal even if you are flicking your hair and sliding your fingers along the stem of your wine glass. Start thinking about splitting, however, and it's a different story. I'm not sure if it's a chemical thing or not, though it's certainly said that people give off pheromones. Either way, I do think we advertise your availability. You may have a ring on your finger and appear to be settled in a relationship but from the moment you decide you want an affair, you give off an unconscious 'I'm available' message that people respond to. Sometimes, our signals are quite deliberate. If you're thinking of leaving, you become more aware of your attractiveness and may start flaunting your sex appeal to see how you'd fare if you were single. Same goes for him. If he's skipping bonding with the boys for a lengthy discussion about fashion with a blushing brunette, consider the danger light on and blinking.

You Stop Talking
Once, you called him five times in as many hours, eager to fill him in on everything that happened in your day. Now, you've won that longed-for promotion and find yourself picking up the phone to call someone else first. The nurturing element, the ability to care for each other, is part of the glue that holds us together. If you're not getting the nurturing from him - or feel you're giving too much - you'll turn to others who do it better. Couples who are disenchanted with each other often stop communicating effectively. Conversations fade to a bored "How was work?" thrown over your shoulder as you're chopping up the vegetables. Not talking about the little things stops you feeling in tune with each other. It's a fact of life; the person who knows most about us is often the person we feel closest to. We naturally move closer to the person we share our secrets with.

You Stop Arguing
In a university study, researchers asked a group of single men and woman to name the opposite to love. Their answer, predictably was hate. When the same question was posed to married couples, they answered "indifference" - a far more realistic and accurate response, at least according to psychologists. While you're arguing, the chances are there's still a relationship there that's functioning. It's when you give up on arguing that spells the end. You've got to the stage where you're indifferent: you despair that you'll ever get your needs met and stop trying.

You Start Seeing Faults
That cute little habit she has of distractedly smoothing hair now seems neurotic; his gregarious personality starts to grate. Your rose-colored glasses have been replaced by magnifying glasses and faults you never noticed before now seem glaringly magnified. Sometimes, our partners do change physically or emotionally into someone who doesn't attract us anymore. But more often than not, it's our perceptions that have altered. When you fall out of love, your tolerance level isn't the same. What was endearing becomes annoying. Finding fault also helps us justify wanting to leave. We gather as many faults as possible as a reason for leaving someone. We try to justify why we're about to be mean and nasty.

You Avoid Spending Time Together
Couples who can't even go to the dentist alone are nauseating, but pay attention if you find yourself preferring to do just about everything solo. You're leaving him out because you feel less restricted and more comfortable on your own. Another clincher: when people stop asking you out as a couple. If the tension between you is so obvious that others notice it, your future together is definitely growing less and less certain. It's one of the tail-end signs that you've drifted apart. If you're no longer spending time together, you're no longer communicating or sharing. And of course, it also means you're free to spend time with someone else.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Parent Trap

Living with your parents is tough when you're 25 and still being treated like a child.

It's 11am, Sunday morning. Bang... bang... bang... goes my door, followed by the piercing pitch of my mother's voice yelling "Wake up! Come on, wake up! Look at the time!" How many times have I been startled from slumber in that manner after a late night out? How many times have mother and daughter descended into the same old Sunday morning wrangles? To be honest, I've lost count. I'm already 25, single and earning my keep as an account co-ordinator with an advertising agency. But finding my own place is still a pipe-dream, as I struggle rather miserably with my personal finances. I know there's that old saying "beggars can't be choosers", but beggars have a right to privacy and are allowed certain liberties at home aren't they? I keep trying to impress the fact on my parents, but they just don't seem to listen.

Take my mother, for instance. She still hasn't recognised that I am no longer 12 years old. I'm guessing she finds it hard to let go. I could never broach the subject of moving out, having my own space or even making my own decisions. The very suggestion of me leaving home would be absolute sacrilege to her. to impose such a though would have catastrophic consequences. God forbid such unpleasantries, I want none of that. So I hold my tongue and grumble to friends instead. And then there are my father's etched-in-stone house rules:

» No boys allowed home (which has caused many nerve-wrecking episodes when I've to attempt to sneak boyfriends out in broad daylight).

» No friends allowed in the family home without prior permissions.

» Home by 7:30pm for dinner every night.

» No smoking or drinking in the house.

» No vacation plans to be made without consulting my parents first. And, definitely no vacations with boyfrends.

»No loud music.

» Home by 3am after clubbing.

» No phone calls after 11:30pm because I should be asleep by then.

I know I sound like a complete ingrate, but I'll remind you again that I'm a working woman in her mid-20s, and all I want after a hard day at the office is to head back to my very own little sanctuary for some peace and quiet. I don't hate living with my parents, but I wush they'd ease up just a little. Of course, I realise it's not always the parents who are at fault. There are always two sides to every story - I'll admit that I'm a total pain to live with sometimes. After all, none of us are perfect, we're all only human.

Eventually, I will pack my bags and fly from my parents' nest. And that's both a desirable and scary prospect. I'll finally consider myself brave enough to face the social responsibilities and unknown realities of living in the adult world, all the stuff my parents have been shielding and gingerly guiding me through for the past 25 years. When that day comes, I'm sure they'll be nothing but incredilby supportive and proud of me.

Made by Grumpy Cow