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12 Ways To Combat Insecurity In An Open Relationship

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So, you’ve decided to have (or are considering) an open relationship. Many people, myself included, prefer CNM (consensual non-monogamy) over more conventional ways of dating. For varying reasons, this can be the healthiest and most productive way to govern your relationship. But with an open relationship, there are lots of insecurities that are bound to come up. Jealousy is a hell of an emotion. Thankfully, with some effort from both you and your partner, there are ways to handle this insecurity when it sneaks up on you. Here’s how to deal with this arrangement.

Set firm boundaries.

The only way to successfully navigate an open relationship is by setting rules and boundaries that are unique to your relationship. What are you comfortable with and what’s crossing a line? What needs to be disclosed and what do you prefer to keep private? Agree upon some rules that need to be adhered to. Setting boundaries allows you to feel more at ease with how your relationship is going to operate. Neither of you wants to misrepresent yourselves, so make sure that you’re clear and firm with your wants and needs.

Avoid social media “stalking.”
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Social media can breed insecurities within us regardless of relationship status. We often compare ourselves to others. When we hear about someone that our partner is talking to or hooking up with, it is incredibly tempting to hop onto social media and check them out. I, myself, am way too guilty of this one – but try your best to resist this urge. No good comes out of social media stalking other people like this. Though I try to validate my impulse to do this as curiosity or nosiness, I know the outcome will always be comparisons. “Does he think she’s prettier than me?” “Do think she’s prettier than me?” “What exactly does he like about her?” “Why does he like every single one of her pictures?” Questioning yourself and your partner like this is toxic and unproductive. 

Don’t make assumptions.
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Especially when we feel anxious or insecure, it can be easy to assume the worst in any situation. However, these assumptions aren’t always accurate. Don’t jump to conclusions about what your partner may be doing or how they’re conducting themselves with others. This will only lead to fear and distrust. If you’re feeling uneasy about something, or wonder what your partner may be doing, just ask them! It’s the easiest way to minimize your worries.

Communicate exactly what you need.
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In any kind of relationship, good communication is essential. Talk about the difficult things, the taboo things, and the things you might not even think are important. If you find yourself feeling crappy about something, make sure you’re telling your partner exactly what you need. Insecurity inevitably creeps in when your needs aren’t being met. Talk to your partner about what makes you feel better. Some people want their relationship shown off to feel valid. Others prefer to meet their S.O.’s other sexual partners to feel more comfortable. Don’t be ashamed of these things! Let your partner know what helps you feel solid. 

Be open to talking about your exes and your traumas.
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Discussing your past informs your partner of what may be triggering for you. If your S.O. gets familiar with your insecurities and where they stem from, they can be sensitive to them. You don’t want to use your past traumas to excuse poor behavior or justify toxic reactions – but rather to explain your trigger responses so that your partner can avoid inciting them. Additionally, being open about your previous relationships will make both you and your partner feel okay and comfortable about being honest and forthcoming.

Be mindful of hypocrisy.
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If there’s something you know that you wouldn’t be happy with your partner doing, make sure you’re holding yourself to the same standard. Conduct yourself in the way that you expect your partner to conduct themselves. Often in open relationships, both partners are kind of figuring things out as they go. Thus, your partner is going to take into consideration what they see you doing and mimic those actions because they’ll assume it’s how it’s supposed to be done. However, don’t assume what your partner needs or feels comfortable with based solely on your own values. Even if there’s something that you may feel okay with, your partner could feel differently. Make sure you talk to them about what they need from you and what they feel okay with so that you’re not crossing any lines that you didn’t even know existed.

Respect, respect, respect.
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Respect yourself, respect your partner, and respect your relationship. One of the key elements necessary for a healthy open relationship is respect on all fronts – and this includes self-respect. Any and all interactions inside and outside of your relationship must hold space for respect. As long as you are maintaining this practice, know that it needs to be reciprocated. A key component of respect is equality. Both parties must feel equally respected. Power imbalances can aggravate jealousy. The comfort of knowing that you’re being respected by both your partner and by anyone that they may be in communication with brings confidence to your relationship.

Establish and uphold a strong bond of trust.
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Open relationships require a heavy level of trust. As long as your partner hasn’t done anything untrusting, you need to stay confident that they are abiding by your boundaries and staying true to their word. If you’re having issues maintaining that confidence, it helps if you both start small. Ensure each other that there are no secrets in any facet of your relationship. Stay open and honest about everything. Even the littlest of white lies can waver your foundation of trust. Follow through with the things you say, even if it’s as simple as showing up at the time you say you’ll be somewhere.

Reframe your narrative of jealousy.
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What we call “jealousy” is usually just another emotion in disguise (or a whole bundle of them). Jealousy arises as a reaction to a perceived threat. Our “fight-or-flight” response can make us have both mental and somatic reactions (like feeling your body get hot). The nasty thoughts and impulses that pop into your brain when you experience jealousy are your messed-up, learned survival tactics against these unpleasant feelings. These impulsive thoughts or behaviors (rage, resentment, disdain, revenge), are inappropriate in this kind (or any kind) of relationship. To change the way you experience jealousy, you have to reframe the way you think about it. Unlearning old thought patterns and instilling new ones is a process, and it requires practice. But, when we re-evaluate our jealous compulsions, the discomfort created by envy can result, instead, in self-awareness and compassion.

Honor your emotions.
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It’s easy to feel like just because you’ve agreed to open up your relationship, that means you aren’t allowed to feel jealous or upset at times. This is not true. When a negative feeling arises, it’s important to recognize it instead of repressing it. You are entitled to your feelings regardless of how your relationship operates. Perhaps you need a little extra attention and you’d like to be the only focus of your partner for a bit. Maybe you’re feeling like you need something extra. Admit your emotions to yourself and express them to your S.O. As long as your feelings are expressed healthily and constructively, you and your partner can find out how to rectify what’s happening as a unit.

Revisit your reasons for opening your relationship.
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Especially when choosing an unconventional way of dating, it can be easy to lose sight of why we opted for it in the first place. Because we typically grow up with and are surrounded by more conventional monogamy, the old paradigm beliefs about love and relationships are so deeply ingrained in our consciousness. You may be prone to think things like, “If my partner really loved me, they wouldn’t have the desire to sleep with other people,” or “Since my partner has other interests, I must not be good enough.” These thoughts, in many ways, are dated, and they stem purely from insecurity. We go to them as a safety blanket because we’ve been so familiar with them throughout our lives. If we ever hope to enjoy relationships free of jealousy, we have to challenge these thoughts and beliefs whenever they start to come up. 

Check-in regularly.
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Regular check-ins are crucial in remaining confident in your open relationship. When you routinely check in with one another, you can ensure that you’re both still feeling comfortable, respected, and valued. Checking in can give both you and your partner a chance to express any insecurities or concerns that you might be having. Have discussions and make adjustments when necessary to make sure you both stay happy, satisfied, and secure going forward.

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How To Write A Dating Profile That Will Attract The Best Partners

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No one enjoys writing their dating profile. Trying to encapsulate your entire self into a few sentences which could be the deciding factor in whether or not you meet the love of your life is nerve-wracking to say the least, but luckily, there are a few hacks you try. Here’s how to write a profile that will attract the partner you’re looking for:

Let go of your “ideal partner.”

Apps can make dating feel like a salad bar: you want someone with brown eyes, a sense of humor, a love of 80s music, and a solid gym regimen. But those characteristics, however attractive, do not comprise the essence of a person. That is much harder to describe. The person you click with will probably bear no resemblance to the person you think will be your soulmate. When writing your profile, don’t get too focused on listing the attributes you think you’re looking for. Leave the door open for something better.

Focus on what you’re looking for rather than what you’re not looking for.
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A common mistake is trying to discourage certain people from matching with you by saying what you don’t want. Saying, “no hookups” will probably have the intended consequence of turning away people who are looking to get laid, but it may also turn away people who simply find negativity unattractive. The more you can detail what you are looking for, the more the people who fit that description will be likely to match with you.

Embrace sincerity.
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Everyone loves a funny profile, but when was the last time you got more than good banter and a few chuckles out of a guy whose profile drips with sarcasm? Sincerity has a bad rap because a lot of people associate it with humorlessness. But too much humor can indicate fear of intimacy, or even reluctance to connect with others. Finding a person who is serious about the dating process is no easy task when it comes to online dating. Being earnest about your intentions is a good place to start.

Avoid generic hobbies.
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Most people like traveling and trying new restaurants. What actually sets you apart? Are you super into nail art or know the lyrics to every Disney film? Maybe you’re obsessed with The Sims or vegetable gardening, or maybe you’re a closeted geology nerd. What do you love to do that makes you a little weird? Online dating is not a police lineup. You want to stand out, not blend in.

Choose your photos carefully.
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Seductive selfies might get you attention, but they probably won’t be the comprehensive representation of your personality that you want to convey. Research from the dating app Hinge found that bathroom selfies are 90% less likely to receive likes than other photos. In contrast, photos of you by yourself are 69% more likely to receive likes than group photos, and black and white photos are a whopping 106% more likely to receive likes than color photos. When it comes to choosing pictures, being strategic pays off.

Don’t try to outsmart the system.
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In contrast, being overly strategic in your written profile can backfire. There are plenty of studies that break down the content of successful bios into graphs and numbers, but consider what you want out of your online dating experience. Are you looking for the most matches or the most promising matches? You’d probably rather match with fewer people who are better candidates than lots of people whom you have no interest in. Avoid looking at the numbers and focus instead on specificity: who you are and what you’re looking for.

Run it past your friends.
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You want your profile to capture the essence of who you are. Your friends will keep you honest, and notice if you’re underselling yourself or missing some crucial quirkiness that sets you apart. And if you’re too self-conscious to show your profile to your friends, it may be an indication that you’re pitching yourself as someone you’re not. If this is the case, you probably won’t end up matching with people you’re compatible with.

Make a list!
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Staring at an empty profile page has the inconvenient tendency to wipe your mind blank. You’ll find yourself thinking, “What do I do with my free time?” “How would I describe myself?” To take the anxiety out of the process, get a paper and pencil and start jotting down things that come to mind when you think about yourself. You’ll end up with a list of seemingly random words that you can then incorporate into your profile. Instead of trying to answer specific profile prompts, come armed with an overabundance of descriptors that capture who you are.

Be honest about what kind of relationship you’re looking for.
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You don’t have to say: “I am looking for someone who is ready to get married in 2.5 years and doesn’t want children.” But being candid about what you’re doing on the app will help filter out dead-end relationships. Are you looking for a long-term partner? A travel companion? Are you ready to meet the love of your life? Or maybe you’re just looking for some fun after ending a long-term relationship. Be honest about what kind of partnership you’re after, and like-minded people will respond.

Don’t be afraid to change it.
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Your profile should reflect your present self. It should adapt just as much as you adapt. If you read your profile a few months after you painstakingly created it and feel like you no longer recognize the person you’re describing, change it! The more you mold your profile to fit your current self, the more truthful and natural it will come across.

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10 Signs Of A Platonic Soulmate And How To Recognize Them

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We talk a lot about finding our romantic counterparts. We obsess over finding our one true love and getting our happily ever after. It’s hard not to let the search for “The One” take over your entire life, but there are other connections that are just as valuable. Here are some signs you’ve found a platonic soulmate and you should never let them go.

You’re 100% yourself around them. 

It’s pretty amazing when you can find a friend that makes you feel completely comfortable and at home in your own skin. Often times we feel pressure to act, think, dress, etc. a certain way in order to impress friends or have things in common with them but a platonic soulmate will love you just the way you are even if the two of you happen to be total opposites.

You can trust them with your secrets. 
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Being able to trust your friends is so important in order to have strong relationships with them. If you find a person that you know will keep all of your deepest, most personal secrets safe and you feel comfortable sharing everything with them no matter what it is, it’s possible that you’ve found your platonic soulmate.

They showed up at the perfect time. 
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People often think that a platonic soulmate has to be a friend that you’ve known your whole life but that isn’t always the case. Unfortunately, not everyone gets to hold on to their childhood friends but friends we make as adults can be just as special and sacred to us. If this person came into your life at a time when you really needed someone like them, there’s a chance it was all destiny and they really are your platonic soulmate.

They don’t pressure you in anything. 
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Peer pressure is real and unfortunately, it’s not something we always leave in high school. Our adult friends can also put pressure on us to do things we may not want to or to be a certain way. Your platonic soulmate will never pressure you to do anything that you’re not comfortable with or to be anyone that you aren’t. They’ll respect and understand that you are who you are and they’ll love and accept you no matter what.

They motivate you to keep going. 
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We all go through slumps where things get difficult and we don’t feel motivated to keep going. It could be in work. It could be with a particular goal we’re trying to achieve. Whatever it is that’s keeping you down, your platonic soulmate will always be the one to push you to not give up. They’ll be your biggest cheerleader and your hype person to get you invigorated and excited about it again.

They never feel threatened by you. 
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There can be a lot of insecurity and jealousy within friends groups and unfortunately, even our close friends might rejoice in our downfalls because it makes them feel better about themselves. Your platonic soulmate will ALWAYS celebrate your successes. They will always be genuinely happy and excited for you when good things happen in your life. They won’t ever be threatened or jealous of you.

They check in on you. 
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We all get busy in life and things like family, kids, and work have a tendency to take over every spare minute of our time. It can be hard to remember to check in on everyone in your life but your true platonic soulmate will always remember and check up on you to make sure you’re good. In return, you’ll always remember to check on them too.

You have fun no matter what you’re doing. 
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Platonic soulmates don’t need a specific plan to have fun. They don’t a huge event to attend or a ton of money to spend on a dope vacation. Platonic soulmates can have fun just hanging around, lying on the couch, taking a drive to nowhere, or talking about life. A true, platonic soulmate is someone that makes you feel good just by being present. There doesn’t have to be a lot involved in it.

You tell each other like it is. 
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As much as a true, platonic soulmate will love you and accept you no matter what, they’ll also be the one to call you out when you need to be. They’ll be the one to be honest with you and give it to you straight. It won’t be their intention to ever hurt you or make you feel bad but they’ll want to give you the truth in order to help you.

They understand you like no one else can. 
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One of the biggest signs of a platonic soulmate is if they just “get you”. They understand you in a way that no one else can. They know why you are the way that you are and they love you for it. They understand all the deepest dreams of your heart and want everything good in the world for you. If you find a friend who understands you like no one else can and loves and accepts you, that is definitely a soulmate worth fighting for.

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Signs He Secretly Likes You As More Than A Friend

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When you get close to a guy, it’s normal to question if he’s starting to develop feelings. You may start trying to observe his choice of words and body language when the two of are together to see if there’s any truth to your suspicions. Of course, the easiest way to know if he’s interested in being more than friends is to ask him directly. However, if you don’t want to do that, keep your eye out for these signs he secretly likes you as more than a friend.

He Responds To Your Messages Quickly.

If he replies to you in a timely manner, never leaves you on read, and messages you pretty often, then it’s likely caught feelings. It’s a sign that you’re on the top of his mind and he enjoys communicating with you. Of course, this could also be a sign that he values the friendship. But it’s possible it can blossom into more if he enjoys talking to you this much.

He Always Comments On Your Photos And Posts.
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Not only is this a sign he likes interacting with you, but that he always wants to get your attention. He’s trying to let you know he likes your photos and is interested in what you’re doing and what you have to say. If he’s commenting publicly, it also means he’s not afraid to let others know of his interest in you.

He Wants To Spend Alone Time With You.
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This is one of the biggest signs he secretly likes you as more than a friend. If the two of you spend one-on-one time together, it’s a sure-fire sign that he likes your company. Especially if you do things that could be considered dates (like watch movies or grab a bite to eat), he’s probably thought about what it would be like if the two of you did formally start dating. If he continues doing things alone, it means he wants to get to know you and see what direction your friendship (or, should we say, potential relationship) can go.

 
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He Compliments You Frequently. Whether he says something nice about your appearance, accomplishments, or talents, giving you frequent compliments is a sign that he thinks highly of you and wants you to know that’s how he feels. Consider whether he’s the type to be honest or blunt about his feelings. If the answer is yes, then is compliments are an even stronger sign that he’s digging you.

He Pays Attention To You In A Group.
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Whether you’re at a party, attending class, or hanging out with mutual friends, if he seems to pay more attention to you than anyone else, it’s a sign you’re special to him. He can’t get enough of you – which is why his attention always directs back to you. If you want to see where things could go, try suggesting the two of you do something one-on-one. If he’s down, especially if he seems really excited, it’s likely he’s developing feelings.

He Doesn’t Like Hearing About Your Love Life.
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Think of it this way – if you’re interested in a guy, you’re not going to want to hear him go on and on about the girl he’s dating or has a crush on. So, why would he feel any different if he likes you? If he seems uninterested, tries to change the topic, or his body language seems awkward, it’s a sign he doesn’t want to hear you talk about your love life – and the reason is probably that he’s secretly crushing on you.

He Doesn’t Discuss Other Girls In Front Of You.
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If a guy wants to be more than friends, then the object of his affection is going to be you and not another girl. He’ll likely avoid discussing his love life in front of you because he doesn’t want to make you jealous (or he doesn’t have one). Of course, some guys may brag about the women they’re dating to the girl they actually like jealous. This is a sign of immaturity, so proceed with caution if this is the case.

He Likes Making Physical Contact With You.
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Body language says a lot about a person’s feelings. So, if he’s constantly trying to make physical contact with you, it’s a strong sign he’s hoping your friendship will turn into more. Compare how often he hugs you, puts his arm around you, or simply gets close when you’re sitting together. If his actions appear to express interest, then his heart is likely doing the same. This is another one of those major signs he secretly likes you as more than a friend.

He Remembers The Details Of What You Say.
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When someone remembers the little things, it means you’re important to them. He likes hearing what you have to say, and he wants to convey that. If he follows up with you or asks how something went – like if you’re struggling with anxiety or had a big exam – then it’s a clear sign he cares.

He Does Acts Of Service For You.
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If he goes out of his way to help you out (especially if he does it without being asked), then he truly cares for you. This is especially true if he has to go way out of his way or if you don’t think he’d do the same for the other friends in his life. It’s another sign that he cares about your well-being.

Once you figure out if a guy is interested in more than being friends, it’s important to identify where you want things to go – if you just want to stay friends or if you want something more, too. The sooner you let him know the better, so he can either move on or move forward with you.

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