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Marriage Therapists Say These 6 Things Can Slowly Kill A Marriage

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Watch out for these silent relationship threats.

Forget about infidelity or lying to your spouse about your finances: there are other, less-talked behaviors that are just as destructive to a marriage ― and you and your partner are probably guilty of some of them.

Below, marriage therapists share six behaviors that can silently kill a marriage.

Spending time together as a couple is important, but don’t let your friendships fall to the wayside in favor of yet another night of takeout and Netflix. It’s unrealistic to depend on your S.O. to fulfill all your socialization needs; giving each other space by heading out for girl’s night out or a meetup with the guys could do your marriage some good, said Ryan Howes, a psychologist in Pasadena, California.

“It’s so important for both of you to build and sustain friendships with others,” he said. “Through your friends, you can gain other experiences, perspectives and support that may actually enhance your relationship. You have to have confidants outside the relationship.”

If you rarely reach out and touch each other ― or have reached the point where you only have “special occasion sex” (birthdays, anniversaries and vacations) ―it may be time to address the elephant in the bedroom: You’re well on your way to asexless, passionless marriage, said Debra Campbell, a psychologist and couple’s therapist in Melbourne, Australia.

“You don’t have to be having sex every day, but some kind of near-daily sexual or erotic acknowledgement is important in relationships,” she said. “It might be the slightest touch; it’s not always about orgasms and getting hot and sweaty.”

In a long-time relationship, Campbell said, partners need to remind each other that they’re still wanted.

“You need to know that nobody else in your partner’s life is their chosen lover or compares to you.”

While it’s important to maintain close friendships, surrounding yourself with thewrong type of friends could negatively affect the health of your relationship, saidLaura Heck, a marriage and family therapist in Salt Lake City, Utah and the creator of the online couples therapy series forBetter.

“Your friend’s actions are actively influencing your marriage, whether you realize it or not,” she said. “In private, do your friends complain or vent their frustrations about their partner? Do your friends flirt or hit on others behind their partner’s back? Bad relationships and boundaries are toxic and are actively at play in changing your own habits.”

On the other hand, surrounding yourself with married people who practice healthy boundaries can benefit you and your partner, Heck said.

“You need to take inventory of the relationships in your inner circle and be intentional about how you choose to allow these relationships to influence your mindset, for better or for worse,” she said.

When your spouse is responsible for the lion’s share of the laundry and cleaning, it’s bound to create resentment and hinder your connection. In fact, a 2015 study from the University of Alberta found that couples who didn’t split chores had less relationship satisfaction and less sex than couples who divvied up their chores.

As Howes has seen firsthand, the question of who’s tidying up may not be a big issue at the start of a relationship but it tends to become a major point of contention later on.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re the clean one or the messy one, what matters is whether or not the clean partner can flex and the messy partner can clean up once in a while,” he said. “Resentments can build over time so it pays to have an honest discussion about your priorities regarding the orderliness of your home.”

Thoughtful, engaging communication ― not just “how was your day, babe?” and “what are our plans this weekend”? ― is essential for love to last, said Liz Higgins, a Dallas, Texas-based couples therapist who works primarily with millennials.

“Having intentional conversations about your relationship means asking deeper, more open-ended questions: ‘What did we do well at as a couple today?’ ‘What is something I did today to contribute to our relationship?’ ‘What is something I can do for you?’ ‘When did you feel the most connected with or loved by me today?’” Higgins explained.

Broaching these kinds of conversations may feel a little awkward at first, but over time, you’ll see the value.

“I encourage the couples I work with to implement time once a week to come together and talk solely about their relationship,” she said. “Once you start, you’ll notice it often bypasses the need to get defensive, angry or disconnected with one another.”

Roommate syndrome is a silent but common relationship killer, Heck said. When you’ve reached roommate status, you feel like you’re living parallel lives, connected only through your shared space, bank accounts and kids.

“When you’ve fallen into the lock-step of living as roommates, you must be very intentional about shaking up your routine and bringing back the fire and passion to the relationship,” Heck said.

To inject some novelty into the relationship, Heck recommends couples make a concerted effort to spend time together by working on a passion project as a team.

“It needs to be something both partners have energy and excitement around,” she said. “Maybe it’s flipping and remodeling a home, starting Crossfit together, finally take that RV out on the weekends or learning to cook vegan. Figure out what works for the two of you and then do it.”

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10 changes you make in your 30’s.

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Many people spend their 20s getting some unhealthy behaviours out of their system — like sleeping until 2pm on Saturdays and spending all their disposable cash on new kicks.

But your 30s are an ideal time to cement the habits that will help you achieve personal and professional fulfilment for the rest of your life.

To give you a head start, we sifted through recent Quora threads on this critical life transition and highlighted the most compelling responses.  TOP ARTICLES1/5READ MOREWoman with dementia punched in the facewhile wearing badge saying ‘I have Alzheimer’s please be patient’

Here are 10 lifestyle tweaks you can make in your 30s to lay the foundation for lifelong success:

1. Stop smoking.

If you’ve started smoking, stop immediately, suggests Quora user Cyndi Perlman Fink.

While you can’t undo the damage you may have already incurred from smoking, research suggests that those who quit before age 40 have a 90% lower mortality risk than those who continue.

2. Start going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.

It might be tempting to use the weekends to recoup your sleep debt, but Nan Waldman recommends you hit the hay and wake up around the same time every single day.

If you oversleep for even a few days, experts say you risk resetting your body clock to a different cycle, so you’ll start getting tired later in the day. Avoid a lifetime of sleep issues by sticking to bedtime and wakeup routines whenever you can.

3. Start exercising regularly.

“Try to move yourself as much as possible,” says Alistair Longman. “It doesn’t matter if it’s walking, cycling, running, weightlifting, hiking, swimming — as long as it involves some movement.”

In the later half of your 30s, you start losing muscle mass, so it’s especially important to exercise at this time. But remember to choose physical activities you really love, since you’re less likely to continue exercising if you dislike your workouts.

4. Start keeping a journal.

“Journal your life! Your written records will entertain and endear in your future,” writes Mark Crawley.

Even if you’d prefer to keep your musings to yourself, putting your thoughts and feelings on paper can help you deal with stressful events.

(Getty)

5. Start saving money.

“Building the habit of saving early means you’ll continue it further down the line,” says Cliff Gilley.

It might seem like your golden years are a lifetime away, but the earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to accrue interest.

6. Start pursuing a life dream.

“Don’t delay pursuing your life goals,” writes Bill Karwin. “Want to buy a house? Have kids? Write a book? Pick one of those life goals and get started. What can you do between now and the end of the year to embark on one of them?”

7. Start learning to be happy with what you have.

“If you are content with what you have, you will have a happier life,” says Robert Walker.

It’s really about gratitude: Research suggests that appreciating what you have can increase happiness and decrease negative feelings. Perhaps that’s why Oprah Winfrey kept a daily gratitude journal for years.

8. Stop thinking you need to satisfy everyone.

“After I reached 30, I stopped feeling the need to please everyone. You can choose your friends and contacts more carefully,” says Kevin Teo. In particular, Teo realised he wasn’t obligated to be nice to people who were unfriendly toward him.

Whether you decide to whittle down your Facebook friends to a mere 500 or simply hang out more with the people who make you happy, it’s important to invest your time and energy wisely.

9. Stop comparing yourself to others.

“If you are unable to do some things in life compared to your siblings and friends, then please be at peace with yourself,” advises Mahesh Kay. “Don’t be harsh on yourself.”

As one psychotherapist writes, constantly peering over your shoulder to see what others are doing doesn’t help you accomplish your goals. You’d be better off spending time thinking about what you want to achieve and evaluating your progress on those fronts.

10. Start forgiving yourself for your mistakes.

“Forgive yourself your mistakes. We all make plenty of them. Don’t dwell on the errors of the past — learn from them, let them go, and move ahead,” writes Liz Palmer.

One social psychologist says that self-compassion (the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes) is the key driver of success. That’s likely because people who practice self-compassion see their weaknesses as changeable and try to avoid making the same errors in the future.

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Sobering Up: In An Alcohol-Soaked Nation, More Seek Booze-Free Social Spaces

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A national trend of boozeless bars is cropping up nationwide to create social spaces without the hangovers, DUIs and alcoholism culture. It’s part of a new push for sober options.

ST. LOUIS — Not far from the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Joshua Grigaitis fills a cooler with bottles and cans in one of the city’s oldest bars.

It’s Saturday night, and the lights are low. Frank Sinatra’s crooning voice fills the air, along with the aroma of incense. The place has all the makings of a swank boozy hangout.

Except for the booze.

Pop’s Blue Moon bar, a fixture of this beer-loving city since 1908, has joined an emerging national trend: alcohol-free spaces offering social connections without peer pressure to drink, hangovers or DUIs. From boozeless bars to substance-free zones at concerts marked by yellow balloons, sober spots are popping up across the nation in reaction to America’s alcohol-soaked culture, promising a healthy alternative for people in recovery and those who simply want to drink less.

Joshua Grigaitis puts out nonalcoholic drinks on a Saturday night. From boozeless bars to substance-free zones at concerts marked by yellow balloons, sober spots are popping up across the nation, promising a healthy alternative for people in recovery and those who simply want to drink less.

A cooler is filled with bottles and cans at Pop’s Blue Moon bar, which hosted boozeless Saturday nights in January, offering hop water, nonalcoholic beers and drinks infused with cannabis-derived CBD. (LAURA UNGAR/KHN)

“We evolved as social creatures. This is a good trend if you want the experience of companionship and social culture but don’t want the negatives,” said William Stoops, a University of Kentucky professor who studies drug and alcohol addiction. “It can help people make better choices.”

A federal survey shows nearly 67 million Americans binge drink at least monthly, meaning women down four drinks during a single occasion, men five. Midwestern states have some of the highest binge-drinking rates in terms of both prevalence and intensity, putting millions of people at risk.

Research links excessive alcohol use to fatty liver, cirrhosis and cancers of the breast, liver, colon, mouth and throat as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, dementia, anxiety and depression. Nearly half of murders involve alcohol, according to studies. Drinking kills about 88,000 people annually, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Such diseases and social ills cost the nation an estimated $249 billion a year.

Even one drink a day is unhealthy, said Dr. Sarah Hartz, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. “If you’re going to drink, know it’s not good for you.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with issues mentioned in this story and you would like to connect with others online, join USA TODAY’s “I Survived It” Facebook support group. For help with a drinking problem, check Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s helpline at 800-662-HELP.JOIN THE GROUP

For Grigaitis, 41, who also goes by Joshua Loyal and is co-owner of the bar, tying all his fortunes to alcohol was “weighing on my soul” after 20 years in the business. He cut way back on his own drinking and began holding boozeless Saturday nights in January, offering hop water, nonalcoholic beers and drinks infused with cannabis-derived CBD.

“I love everything about the bar business — except the alcohol,” he said. “The nonalcoholic beverage movement is a growing group. I’m making a decision to choose this and I’m proud of it.”

Chris Marshall, who founded Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, in 2015, got sober in 2007 and was working as a counselor when a client shared how difficult it was to navigate the social world without alcohol. The client’s relapse and subsequent death was his call to action.

Sans Bar held a national tour this year with pop-up events in St. Louis, Portland, Ore., and Anchorage, Alaska, and opened a permanent location in Austin. It draws a largely female crowd all along the sobriety spectrum, from those in recovery to the “sober curious.” People gather for hours to sip handmade mocktails, talk, dance and listen to speakers and sober musicians.

“If you closed your eyes on a Friday night, you’d think you were in a regular bar,” he said. “This is not about being sober forever. This is about being sober for the night.”

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