The studies say it’s likely, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable.

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I cheated on my first husband. I could give you all of the excuses: I’d already filed for divorce. He kept screwing up after months and months of multiple chances. The affair was “only” emotional.

But the excuses don’t really matter.

It happened. I’m not glad it happened, but I’m also not not glad. That marriage needed to end, and if it took an affair to do it, so be it.

When my current husband and I were just dating, I went on a ten-day work trip with the man I’d cheated on my ex-husband with.

My partner was worried…

This reads easy, but it’s not. Healing never is.

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Elliott was toothpick-thin with strawberry blond hair to his shoulders. He showered at night and then slept with his head hanging over the edge of his bed, so his hair would be “perfect.”

I was 15. This was my first “love.” When we broke up, my appetite disappeared. I grew thinner and thinner. People complimented me by saying things like, “You look so great!” they told me. “I bet he’s so jealous!”

But he wasn’t. He’d started dating one of his female “friends” the day after we’d broken up. …

There’s a distinct difference between emotional affairs and friendships, and it has everything to do with boundaries.

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While my husband and I were in bed one night, I laughed aloud at something someone had texted me.

“Who are you talking to?” he asked.

“Oh, just Laura,” I said and tilted the phone so he could see the screen.

“Who’s Laura?” he asked.

“I work with her.”

Except “Laura” wasn’t a Laura at all. “Laura” was actually a Simon. To avoid my husband questioning me about why I was texting another man throughout the day, I’d put his name in my phone as one of a woman.

Sounds shady, right? Trying to keep a secret from my husband…

Couples counseling isn’t “just” for couples in trouble. It can help anyone!

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The room Beverly led us to was bright. Too bright. I blinked my eyes at the unexpected light spilling through the open blinds and onto the pristine couch and tastefully selected throw pillows.

The room we entered looked like a fancy person’s living room, not the place where my partner and I were supposed to sob our guts out. I eyed the fabric of the soft cream couch and wondered if tears stained.

When my partner selected Beverly as our couples therapist, I wasn’t expecting who we got. I was expecting someone matronly: drab mousy hair, glasses, lots of loose…

Conflict is inevitable in relationships, but how you and your partner re-connect afterwards is more important.

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Monday morning, my husband and I argued before I went to work.

The day before, after shopping for nearly five hours, he’d casually said in a conversation about one of his co-workers, “My ex-girlfriend has the same Minnesota accent.” He then went on to imitate the way she pronounced certain vowels.

“Ugh, I don’t want to talk about your ex-girlfriend,” I’d said.

We changed the topic, but then I grew more and more annoyed throughout the night over that one comment.

They only dated a few months, and they broke up two years ago. Why the fuck is he still…

A Non-Love Story

From on Wikicommons

The first time I noticed the look, Simon and I hadn’t been dating that long.

We were in Oxford, MS celebrating his birthday, and I watched the same exact look pass over the faces of the hotel clerk, the bookstore cashier, and the server at an upscale restaurant on the town square.

It was a look I can only describe as of pity or confusion, because what else could it be for someone to look at us: a beautiful young woman dating an ugly old man.

I was 33, recently separated. Having been neglected in my marriage by a man…

It made me question everything.

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“I need to tell you something,” my husband said as he walked into the kitchen.

I was standing in front of the fridge getting ice, but as soon as I heard him say that, I froze.

“What?” I said.

“You’ll need to sit down for this,” he said.

I ran my tongue across the roof of my mouth and swallowed.

There’s not much that can stun me silent, but this had. I was frightened.

I took a second to finish filling my cup with ice and then sat down at our kitchen island.

He didn’t speak immediately. Instead, I watched…

If we don’t learn, we’re bound to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

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By the time Mikah and I broke up, it’d been months of illusionary fantasy mixed with roller coaster drops of reality. We’re together! Everything is great! followed by Why isn’t he answering my texts? Is he dead?

Once I left that relationship, I did a lot of soul-searching. I knew I didn’t want to keep walking into one unhealthy relationship after another.

With the help of some support people and a therapist, here are the things I learned:

1. What a healthy relationship is not.

A healthy relationship must be comprised of love, respect, and trust.

I got addicted to their intermittent inconsistency.

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I’d been learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu for a few months when I started dating one of my fellow classmates, a handsome guy named Mikah.

Mikah was inconsistent from the outset. Sometimes he’d shower me with compliments and blow up my phone with requests to hang out. Other times, he’d ignore me for days, always coming back with some kind of, “Sorry, I was busy” or “I was going through some stuff.”

Despite being a rational and sane person who valued honesty and dependability, I hung on through his absent periods because I so loved when he was present.

I was addicted.

Why do we become addicted to toxic people?

Tara, Relationship Coach

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