Why we end up hating the things we used to love about someone

Image credit: © weerapat1003 (via Adobe Stock)

Like a moth to a flame, individuals are drawn to the very aspects of another individual that they will eventually dislike.

— Diane Felmlee in The Dark Side of Relationships

After we break up with someone, we usually have an explanation as to why the relationship didn’t work out.

“Our values were too different,” we might say, for example.

Or: “my ex was just too arrogant.”

However, if these explanations are accurate, what could have driven us to get with such an incompatible mate in the first place?

Were we previously blind to their arrogance, or oblivious to differences in…


The short answer is yes, according to relationship experts

Image credit: © deagreez (via Adobe Stock)

Here’s a common romantic myth: in a satisfying relationship with the right person, you should never feel attracted to anyone else.

But according to Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support, it’s perfectly natural — and inevitable — to find people other than your partner attractive from time to time.

In fact, it’s much more common than you might expect.

In one study published in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, almost 70% of participants said they’d experienced some kind of attraction toward someone other than their partner while in a long-term relationship.

The researchers noted that even in…


Relationship experts explain the psychology behind infidelity

A distraught woman looks through a restaurant window. She has spotted her partner on a date with someone else.
A distraught woman looks through a restaurant window. She has spotted her partner on a date with someone else.
Image credit: © Antonioguillem (via Adobe Stock)

Many of us like to believe we’re not the ‘type’ of person who would ever cheat on a partner.

But according to psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel, many straying partners don’t fit the stereotypical ‘cheater’ profile.

Not all people who cheat do so out of a grandiose sense of entitlement, an inability to empathize with others, or a narcissism that puts their own needs at the forefront.

This may be true of some cheaters, but it’s not universally the case, Perel says.

She’s worked with numerous clients who were sexually exclusive for more than a decade…


Everyday compassionate acts can boost relationship satisfaction

Image credit: ©Halfpoint (via Adobe Stock)

Falling in love can be an incredible experience. Many of us start relationships on a hopeful, optimistic note, high on the euphoria that accompanies newfound love.

But according to positive psychology expert and well-being consultant Suzann Pileggi, mere feelings aren’t enough to keep a couple happy together over years and decades.

“Love is not just a feeling; it’s an action verb,” Pileggi says. Investing energy in healthy relationship habits is what helps us sustain love over the long haul.

“Relationships work better when you focus not on what you can get out of them, but on what you can put…


Does your new partner need to know about your guilty secrets?

Image credit: ©Wayhome Studio (via Adobe Stock)

Is it possible that someone could love the real me?

— Lillian B. Rubin, Intimate Strangers

So you’re in a new relationship.

You haven’t been together long, but things are going pretty well.

Except… there’s a persistent worry in the back of your mind about something your new partner doesn’t know.

There’s a reason you haven’t brought up this topic. It’s not an aspect of your history you’re proud of.

It pertains to a past mistake you don’t want to repeat.

It involves a painful lesson, learned bitterly.

Examples of possible guilty secrets

  • Maybe your last relationship ended after you cheated on your ex.
  • Or…


Signs you’re more than ‘just friends’ with someone outside your relationship

Image credit: ©StockPhotoPro (via Adobe Stock)

Is there such a thing as ‘emotional cheating’?

How does it differ from a physical affair?

And what are the warning signs you’re becoming more than ‘just friends’ with someone other than your partner?

What is an emotional affair?

“An emotional affair is an intense, secret relationship that competes with and undermines your primary relationship,” writes Dr. Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, psychiatrist, addiction specialist, and author of Infidelity: Why Men and Women Cheat.

Emotional affairs generally involve an element of unacknowledged sexual attraction. …


The crucial conversation many couples neglect

A woman gazes into the camera. Her partner’s back is turned.
A woman gazes into the camera. Her partner’s back is turned.
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

In a committed relationship, what is considered ‘cheating’?

Are all transgressions easy to define? Or, when it comes to acceptable behavior, are there gray areas that vary from couple to couple?

For insight, I turned to the work of psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel.

A well-known trainer and lecturer, Perel is widely recognized as an international expert on relationships and sexuality.

In 2017, she published The State of Affairs after spending 6 years of psychotherapy practice helping couples deal with infidelity.

Defining infidelity isn’t always simple

In some ways, technology and the internet have made infidelity more ambiguous.

We see numerous…


As well as 5 “love languages”, there are 5 “apology languages”

Photo by Bato Budaev on Reshot

So you messed up. You made a mistake. Inadvertently, you ended up hurting the person you love.

Slip-ups are human. What’s done is done. Now, you’ve got a choice about how to act next.

What’s the best way to apologize, and show your loved one you’re genuinely sorry?

The words “I’m sorry” aren’t always enough

When one individual feels wronged by another, it isn’t just the words “I’m sorry” they need to hear, says Beverly Engel, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of The Power of Apology.

She writes that apologies need to be meaningful in order to be effective. They have to demonstrate that the…


Simple, inexpensive, yet effective ways to connect

Photo by Aleksandr Skrypko on Reshot

What are some great ways to say “I love you”, without using those specific words?

Though candle-lit dinners and flowers may automatically spring to mind, relationship experts believe that small, day-to-day shows of affection may actually be more impactful.

Expressions of love don’t have to be “grand, over-the-top gestures”, says Saeideh Heshmati, postdoctoral research scholar at Penn State University’s College of Health and Human Development.

Similarly, Ellie Lisitsa, staff writer at The Gottman Institute, explains that although moonlit walks, picnics, soft music, and drives in the country may sound very romantic, research suggests “none of these things alone will make…


Tips to help long-term couples maintain an erotic connection

Image by rawpixel on Pixabay

How do successful long-term couples maintain a satisfying sex life?

For some tips, tricks and strategies, I turned to the work of pioneering sex therapist and author Jack Morin, Ph.D.

By the time he died in 2013, Morin was a nationally recognized expert on the psychology of desire and arousal.

In his Sexual Excitement Survey, he questioned hundreds of adults of different ages, races, and sexual orientations about their most unforgettable real-life sexual encounters. Respondents to the survey also disclosed their most stimulating private fantasies.

Along with his other research and professional experiences, this provided Morin with groundbreaking insights into…

Zara Zareen

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store