The Alpha Woman Guide to Happy Relationships

The Alpha Woman Guide to Happy Relationships

For an alpha woman, finding a happy relationship can be one of the biggest challenges of your life. You’re drawn to alpha men because they’re most like you, but then you find yourself in one power struggle after another and the whole thing ends badly.

How does an alpha woman find happy relationships? She does one of two things: she finds beta men to date or learns how to date alpha men.

But there’s a caveat. Studies indicate that while alpha men will date alpha women, they don’t usually marry them.

Still, don’t give up! Today, I have some tips for you on enjoying dating again and finding yourself in a happy relationship! But first, I want to clarify what an alpha woman is. As I’ve been sending some emails about alphas, I’m finding a little bit of a misunderstanding.

Who is the Alpha Woman?

Maybe I should start with what an alpha woman is not. I recently received an email from a woman who proclaims herself an alpha woman because she’s bossy. Bossiness is not a trait of an alpha woman. It’s often a sign of lower confidence – a my way or the highway attitude that denotes someone who can’t handle being wrong.

Alpha Women are Confident

So, of course, the first trait of an alpha woman is that she’s confident. Confident does not equal bossy. Confident means you can handle being wrong and you use those opportunities to learn and improve, not bully someone into submission.

Of course, the thing about confidence is that it not only varies from person to person, but within one person, it can vary from one area of life to another. For example, you can be very confident in your job, but you’ve had a few bad relationships and your dating confidence has dropped.

Confidence is also something you can build back up with effort and patience with yourself.

The Alpha Woman is Ambitious

The alpha woman has goals and she goes after them with gusto! This woman has a plan and she keeps it in front of her every day! She lives a very intentional life that helps her focus on reaching those goals with few distractions.

Alpha Women are Learners

The alpha woman is never happy to stay just as she is. Instead, she’s always trying to learn something new to propel her to new heights or help her achieve a goal. She may focus on learning a new hobby or a new skill for her job. It doesn’t matter. She loves to learn and she’s always learning something!

The Alpha Woman Loves to Encourage Others

You’ll find that the alpha woman is one of the biggest cheerleaders you know, especially when it comes to people she works with or those she cares for.

If you’ve got a big presentation, the alpha will be there, ready to help in any way she can and to give you that boost of confidence you need.

She’s supportive of others and helps keep her friends and coworkers motivated and energized. You want an alpha on your side!

There are several other traits of an alpha woman, and you can find them in my book, The Alpha Female: Who is She? Who Should She Date? How do You Become One?

Are You an Alpha Female Who Can't Find a Happy Relationship?

For alpha women, finding a relationship that isn’t challenging or frustrating can be a real problem. You’re drawn to alpha men, but science tells us that alpha men don’t want to marry alpha women, they only want to date them. Then there’s the beta man, often misunderstood by both alpha men and women, but often a great choice for the alpha woman. Learn more about how you can develop a happy relationship with either type of man by checking out The Alpha Female: Who is She? Who Should She Date? How do You Become One?

Why Not Try Dating Beta Men?

There is no more misunderstood category of person than the beta man. You may search the internet for articles on the beta man after reading this. I encourage you to read cautiously, especially if the article is written by an alpha man.


My personal opinion is that alpha men feel threatened by beta men, which is why they use phrases like detrimental to society.

The truth is that the beta man is a wonderful man to date. Let me share a few reasons why.

Beta Men Don’t do Power Struggles

The beta man is fine being second in command in your relationship. In fact, he prefers it. He really doesn’t have any desire to be in charge. It may be that he has a very high-power job at work and wants to relax when he gets home.

Being a beta doesn’t mean he isn’t strong or that he doesn’t have a good job. It just means that when he’s with the woman he adores, he’s fine letting her call the shots.

He’s Comfortable Being Himself

While alpha males tend to preen a lot and thrive on competition, the beta man is fine with himself just as he is.

He’s competitive, like an alpha, but he has a confidence an alpha doesn’t usually possess. He doesn’t need to competite or win to feel better about himself.

The beta man doesn’t have the same need to impress others as an alpha has either. He knows what his uniqueness is and he’s okay with it. He doesn’t need to pretend to be someone he isn’t, just to gain the attention of others.

The Beta Male is Altruistic

The beta man is very comfortable doing something for someone else, just for the sake of helping someone. He requires no accolades or props for doing something good.

Men show their love through their actions, and this is especially true of beta men. If you ask your beta man to do something for you, he’s on it. You don’t need to ask twice.

He’s Detail-Oriented

Wouldn’t you love to date just one guy who caught on to the important stuff? You want the guy who notices your new hair color, cut, or style. You’re looking for someone who notices when you go the extra mile and appreciates it.

The beta man will remember your favorite coffee flavor, how many teaspoons of sugar or honey in your tea, and even which specialty bread you like at the bakery.

alpha woman

He’s More Likely to be a Cuddler

If you’re looking for a guy who enjoys binge-watching Outlander as much as he enjoys an evening out, the beta is your guy.

Alphas need to be out so they can be noticed. Betas are fine going out, but they’re just as likely to want to stay home and snuggle in front of a fire with you.

He’ll do what you want to do.

He Cares About Your Needs in Bed and is Sensitive

What woman wouldn’t want a guy like this?

Of course, the beta man wants to enjoy sex, but his main goal is for you to enjoy the experience. He’s sensitive to your needs both in and out of bed.

If you’ve dated a few alphas or narcissists, this can take some getting used to, but once you do, you’ll appreciate his attention and sensitivity.

What the Beta Man Isn’t

As I mentioned previously, the beta man is misunderstood. Many of the traits you just read, as well as others that betas possess make them seem weak. The truth is that a beta man may be the CEO of a major corporation from nine to five, but from five to nine, he wants someone else to take control.

Some sites will describe beta men as small and scrawny, but I know of one beta man who is 6’4” and very muscular. He works in an emergency room and rehabs vintage cars for a hobby. He’s perfectly fine with his wife being in charge when he’s home. I know another beta who is very athletic and earned upwards of $500K a year. He wishes every day for a woman to be in control in his life.

Other sites describe betas as unattractive, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so who’s to say that a man you find attractive will be attractive to everyone or vice versa? Again, this is someone who truly does not understand the beta.

A final myth I’ll dispel about betas right now is that they have feminine characteristics. They most certainly do not. Neither of the men I described above have any feminine characteristics. Alphas who feel threatened by the beta man’s sensitivity and attention to detail will use these types of phrases to demean the beta.

Just remember that everyone is different. Not all beta men are alike, just like not all alpha men are alike. These generalizations merely help you know which type of man may be best for you.

Speaking of which, let’s take a look at the alpha man.

alpha woman

Alpha Men

Alpha men have good and bad traits. Sometimes one trait can be both, depending on how a particular man uses that trait.

First, let’s examine the positive traits of an alpha man.

He’s a Strong Leader

The alpha man is a strong leader who leads by example. This is one of those traits that can fall into both positive and negative categories, especially as far as relationships with alpha women are concerned.

If you’re willing to give up your leadership role in the relationship, you’ll find your alpha will always steer you in the right direction. This strength makes him a great role model for children, as long as the negatives of this personality trait don’t rear their ugly heads.

The problem with this trait is that an alpha doesn’t see all voices as equal in his relationships. His voice matters. Period.

He Has Emotional Intelligence

Not all alphas have this trait, but many do. Emotional intelligence is knowing what you’re feeling and knowing how to manage those feelings. When a man has high emotional intelligence, it also means he can better manage your emotions, which is something many men cannot do.

Again, though, not all alphas have this trait, so you want to make sure yours does.

He’s Confident

Alphas and betas are both confident types of men. Confidence is a very sexy trait to possess, for both men and women, so you’ll notice this about your guy right away. Of course, confidence can be a negative if he’s overconfident, but really, what comes off as overconfidence is really a lack of confidence, so be aware!

If he’s truly confident, he will make great decisions for your relationship. You can trust this guy!

He’s Growth-Oriented

Many alpha men are focused on personal growth, which means he’ll be interested in his and yours. If you decide you want to go back to college or learn something new, he’ll be right there helping in any way he can.

And Now for Some Problematic Traits

While alphas have many positive traits, a few of which you just read about, they also have some that can cause a relationship to take a turn for the worse.

Alphas are Fiercely Loyal and Protective

Seems like a good trait, right? And it can be for sure, until that protectiveness turns into overprotectiveness. He might consider you to be his property or territory.

Hey, don’t shoot the messenger…anyway, under his protectiveness, you may feel smothered, which quickly becomes a bad thing, especially since you’re an alpha too.

Watch for the fine line between his being protective and controlling. Protective is fine if he’s installing an alarm system to keep you safe while he’s out of town or walking on the street side when you’re out. It’s not okay when he’s got surveillance cameras all over the house and a tracker on your car.

He’s Decisive

How can this be a problem? Decisiveness can be a problem if he believes that either he’s the only one who can make decisions for your relationship or that he thinks his decisions are right and everyone else’s are wrong.

When two alphas are in a relationship and this problem raises itself, your knee-jerk response is to argue with him, but your better tactic is to retreat and let him stew in it for a while.

He heard your objections and statements contrary to his decision and he’s now mulling it over in the calm. If you give him time, he might come to the conclusion that you were right and he can see the wisdom of your opposing thoughts. This doesn’t mean he’ll give in to them, but he might. Your best path may be to gently remind him of your key points when things are going well. This allows him to consider it for a while longer and maybe see your point.

It will be difficult for him to admit he’s wrong, so if he does acquiesce, be sure not to gloat or make a big deal about it. Accept his change in decision and move forward.

He’s Honest

Again, how can this be bad? Well, it’s like the old joke, “Honey do these slacks make my butt look bigger?” The alpha male might not be wise to the idea that a little white lie never hurt anything and he’ll say yes, believing that honesty is the best policy. A smart man knows the answer is no, of course, but nobody said alphas were always smart 😊

What you must understand is that if he says something that comes off as a negative, the truth is that he does want you to look great, if for no other reason than it helps him look great. His honesty is what he considers to be constructive criticism. He’s not trying to hurt your feelings but to help you look better. He just has a poor way of going about it.

So Which Shall it Be?

The truth is that I can’t tell you which type of man to date. All I can do is present you with the two types of men that you’re most likely to come across and help you understand how you can enjoy a happy relationship with either type.

For the beta man, the happiness for him comes when you take control and let him be himself. Guide him in whatever you want him to do.

This doesn’t mean you’re bossy over him, but you have conversations that focus on getting to know what you each want out of your lives together and then you work out a plan for getting there. He will follow your lead, but he will do well if you let him have input as well.

Being in any type of relationship requires you to discuss things of importance, which eventually includes who will control what. Remain honest and open with him and truly listen to what he’s telling you.

Odds are, he’s been waiting for a very long time for a woman who will accept the control he’s willing to surrender.

For the alpha man, you’ll need to resign yourself to giving up control of many, if not all things. You can try to discuss it with him and he might give up some control, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Regardless of which type of man you choose, understand that there is give and take. How much you give and take will depend a lot on which type of man you decide to be with.

Are You an Alpha Female Who Can't Find a Happy Relationship?

For alpha women, finding a relationship that isn’t challenging or frustrating can be a real problem. You’re drawn to alpha men, but science tells us that alpha men don’t want to marry alpha women, they only want to date them. Then there’s the beta man, often misunderstood by both alpha men and women, but often a great choice for the alpha woman. Learn more about how you can develop a happy relationship with either type of man by checking out The Alpha Female: Who is She? Who Should She Date? How do You Become One?

Stages of a Relationship

Stages of a Relationship

Everyone who’s happily attached goes through stages of a relationship, but you might mistake those stages as being linear. You find someone with whom you share incredible chemistry, but then who he really is starts to shine through and you enter into a more uncertain stage. Some relationships end here, others don’t.

If you make it through the uncertainty stage (we’ll give them more formal names shortly), you enter into an adjustment phase when the differences between you seem to stand out and you feel like you’re constantly negotiating something.

If you can survive the adjustment stage, you’ll find yourself ready to commit. You’re accepting one another for who you are and willing to hang in there. The next stage is acceptance. You’ve gone through a lot to get where you are, and you feel closer than ever.

The challenge is that you won’t stay in that acceptance stage because you’re both always growing and changing. You’ll cycle through these stages multiple times throughout a long-term relationship, regardless of what Hollywood tries to tell us.

stages of a relationship

Stages of a Relationship: Stage 1 – Early Dating

This stage is called the infatuation stage, the euphoria stage, the merge stage, and probably a dozen other names, but they all mean the same thing. It’s that first phase of a relationship when you feel the chemistry and you’re drawn to one another so strongly that common sense and reason often fly out the door. During this stage, your emotions are strong, often overriding any rational thinking you might normally do. You feel he’s your perfect match, a guy who’s very similar to you and someone you want to spend all your time with. According to scientific research, during this phase of a relationship, your brain shows decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is the part responsible for the negative judgment of people. This means your brain has just handed you a pair of rose-colored glasses. While this can feel like a bad thing, research also says that couples in the study who stayed together for three or more years had the most decreased activity in this part of their brains. While you each have faults and you see them, they don’t matter enough to cause you to end the relationship. In other words, you look past them.

The Dangers of Stage 1

While this is all well and good, there are some pitfalls to this chemical reaction your brain is having.

Ignoring Red Flags

First, you may ignore true red flags. You’re so in love with him that you see the red flags, but you don’t pay attention to them. Some flaws are no big deal and the ability to overlook them is fine, but sometimes there are bigger red flags that you should notice. He may be financially irresponsible, physically or emotionally abusive, controlling, or have any of a host of other negative behaviors. One or both of you explain these poor behaviors away and move forward. Of course, all of those I just listed are not good for a healthy relationship, so ignoring them is leading you down a bad path. To avoid this, ask your friends to meet him and give you their honest assessment. Listen to them because they have one goal – to protect you from yourself. They want you to be happy, so when they tell you something you don’t want to hear, remember that! Take off those rose-colored glasses for a few moments and ask yourself if what they’re seeing is true. Date with your head, not with your heart

Giving Up Your Outside Live

Another problem that can occur in stage one is that you spend more time with this new love instead of on your hobbies and outside friendships. You begin to spend so much time together that your friends finally just give up on you coming to girls’ night ever again. While this seems okay, it’s not. He fell for a woman who was active and engaged with the outside world. He fell for you because you were busy and confident. A guy will enjoy this for a little while, but then he’ll begin to feel smothered. He wants to spend time with his friends, alone, but you’re always there. He can’t catch an evening to himself, and he may begin to feel smothered. A relationship can’t survive with the two of you slobbering all over one another all the time. The two of you need time apart so you can appreciate your time together. He needs to be away from you sometimes in order to be excited to be with you again. Avoid this by maintaining the activities you had before you met him. If you had Yoga on Tuesday nights, keep going. He’ll be okay, I promise. If you and your girlfriends did a girls’ night twice a month, keep going. Keep working on your hobbies and volunteering or doing other things that occupied your time before you met him. Of course, don’t spend every evening doing something. Make time for a date night with him too, but don’t plan to spend every day, from the end of work one day until you wake up to go to work the next together.

Not Being Fully Honest with One Another

I often equate dating, especially early on, as a marketing activity. You’re putting your best foot forward so you can impress this guy. If you met through an online dating site, you put up your best photos, maybe photos that were a year or five old. You only listed your good qualities because who wants to put up the bad ones? But this isn’t really you. We’re all flawed, and we all have baggage. We’re all afraid of being too vulnerable with someone we don’t really know, so we keep those parts of ourselves hidden. Of course, if you feel you’ve hidden your true self for too long, you wage a war with yourself over when is a good time to bring up some of those vulnerabilities and pieces of baggage. So, here’s what you do. Try to be as close to your true self as you can be on your first date. Don’t wear an outfit that doesn’t represent your taste just because you think it makes you look sexier. Wear something you feel comfortable in that doesn’t show off too much of your body but still leaves him appreciating you. Instead of hiding your baggage, unpack it slowly, in little pieces first. Always remember that just because you think something is negative in your life doesn’t mean he will. Baggage is different for everyone. You may have dated a few men who bolted and ran when they found out you have a three-year-old son, but that doesn’t mean the next guy will.

Having Unreasonable Expectations

When you have low confidence and self-esteem, you may set unreasonable expectations in the early phase of a relationship. For example, you may seek a commitment from him way before he’s ready to make one. Guys take longer to fall in love In reality, you’re probably scared to death that he might see through you to your pain and vulnerability, so you make sure to dump him first. That’ll teach him for being too perfect! Some women meet a new guy and within a few weeks, they’re reading The Knot and dreaming about wedding dresses. Every time he does something that they feel is a milestone, they add to this vision of a lifetime relationship with him. If you find yourself doing this, it’s time to stop dating for a while. Take a relationship break and work on yourself. If your confidence is low, you’re attracting a type of man you don’t want and who may not be able to commit to you in the way you envision. Confident men don’t date women who lack confidence. They date confident women, so to attract a great man, you must first build your own confidence and self-esteem. I want to change my life!
stages of a relationship

You Have Sex With Him Too Soon

Sex too early in a relationship can kill whatever you have between you. Yes, a guy will ask to have sex, but that doesn’t mean you must say yes.

Have a boundary that says you won’t have sex with a guy until he’s proven himself worthy of you. Of course, if your beliefs say not to have sex until you’re married, let him know that. If he respects you and likes you enough at this stage, he’ll respect your boundaries.

How many dates before we have sex?

Sex and a new relationship | When is the right time?

When you have sex too soon, it is a low-confidence signal. It’s your way of saying you think you can’t keep him if you don’t have sex. That sex is all you have to offer.

This is not true. You are a wonderful woman, whether you see it or not. A good man will respect your boundaries and not try to crash through them.

We slept together. Now what?

How Long Does This First of the Stages of a Relationship Last?

Most believe that this first stage lasts about six months, some estimate it could last up to two years, but I don’t think that’s true. Really, it depends on the two of you. Nobody can predict how long any couple experiences one stage or another.

Your relationship is different from any other because you’re at different stages of your life than other couples. Another factor is how your relationship started, your personality traits, and how long it took you to fall in love.

I have neighbors who began dating during COVID. The man lives next door to me, and his girlfriend lives across the street from me. To add to the situation, his ex-wife lives about five doors down from his girlfriend. They all get along well, thankfully, so it all works.

When the man and his wife were married, they lived in the same school district as his current girlfriend. They knew one another. Their kids went to school together, so when they ended up being neighbors, they weren’t strangers. I would estimate it was about a year after she moved in that they started formally dating.

I don’t honestly know how long they stayed in this stage. They were very quiet about their relationship for quite some time, for obvious reasons. We have a close-knit neighborhood with quite a few busybodies. My point is that for them, this stage may have lasted a shorter period of time because they knew one another already. Some of the secrets were already out.

If you’re in this stage of a relationship, enjoy it. This is the fun stage when you’re learning about one another. Do fun things together. Enjoy getting to know one another. Don’t put the pressure of commitment on yourselves just yet. It’s too soon.

How to Get This Phase Back Later

Remember above, I said you’ll cycle through these stages of a relationship. How can you bring back this phase?

Continue to Show One Another Your Love

Never stop giving compliments or appreciating one another. Keep surprising him with his favorite coffee once in a while. Put a note in his laptop bag to remind him of something special you have planned.

Keep making deposits in the emotional bank every day. Just because you may move out of this phase doesn’t mean you get to stop being nice to one another. In fact, as the challenges of the other phases kick in, it will be even more important to do these things.

Keep a Regular Date Night Routine

Date nights are crucial to happy relationships. I’m convinced of this. They provide you with an opportunity to reconnect after a busy week of other stuff.

They also give you the chance to discuss your relationship and your shared vision for where it’s going. How do you see your relationship advancing? What kinds of things do you want to do together? How do you see this playing out in the future?

Date night also gives you time to just be a couple. If you both have outside responsibilities, like kids, it helps you reconnect as a couple without those outside distractions.

I recommend a technology-free rule for date nights unless you have a job that requires you to be on call or you have kids with a babysitter. But you don’t sit there and read emails, look to see who liked your latest Facebook post or how many new followers you have on Instagram. Save that for later. This is your time to be together.

Spend Time Apart

I mentioned this before. It’s important for you both to have time apart, as well as time together. If you stay glued to one another all the time, it will get old fast and one or both of you will feel smothered.

This time apart allows you to maintain friendships, hobbies, and other activities you were doing before you met him. It also allows you to be apart so you can miss one another, which helps you remember why you’re together in the first place.

Practice Partner-Based Gratitude

There are reasons why you love having him in your life. Share them with him. This doesn’t need to be a daily practice, but you should strive for a few times a week. You can do it in different ways. You could write him a love letter and mail it to him, or you could write it in lipstick or dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror. I suggested earlier sticking a note in his computer bag or in his lunch.

All of these pieces of appreciation are important and help maintain the bond between you.

Become an Active Listener

Many people think communication is all about how you speak to one another, but one person can’t be heard if the other isn’t listening.

Listening is perhaps more important than speaking because then your partner feels appreciated and heard. Many problems in relationships arise when someone feels unheard. He’s been trying to tell you for weeks that he needs more time to himself, but you just keep scheduling things to do together, ignoring his request.

Listening involves sitting quietly while your partner speaks. Don’t work on what your response will be. Ask questions where they fit. Nod your head to show you’re paying attention. Keep your eyes focused on him, although not to the point of being creepy.

Only after he’s done speaking do you consider what you’ll say. Don’t try to make it something to top his story. Maybe all you say is, “Wow, Gregg! That’s amazing,” or “Gee Joe, I’m so sorry about your dog.” It shows you were paying attention and that what he said mattered.

Don’t Let Your Sex Life Fall Off

The kids are young, and you have a puppy. You just got a promotion and he’s just started his own business. You’re both so exhausted by the end of the day that you just want to drop into bed and fall asleep.

Instead, I encourage you to relight the fire. Buy some new sexy lingerie or his favorite perfume. Find some couples’ games and have some fun. I know your life is exhausting, but sex is a powerful thing in a relationship. When it slows down, it’s a red flag.

Touch alone is a very powerful tool in a loving relationship. Just lying together in bed and caressing one another is a very deep and caring activity.

Do Things Together

There are many ways to do things together. You can do something as basic as preparing a meal together, or you can do something riskier like rock climbing, bungee jumping, and so on. You can also plan a vacation together or even go grocery shopping. Some couples find a hobby to share or they’re able to combine their individual hobbies into one they can do together.

These activities are outside of your regular date nights. They can be planned or impromptu. The point is to do something together.


The most effective way to deepen your relationship is to communicate. Ask your partner what he would like out of your relationship at this point. Does he want to experience something with you, or without you? Are there things he’s always wanted to do? Is there something he feels is missing from your relationship?

Relationship failure can often be traced back to poor communication skills for both partners. You don’t really know how to ask for what you want or need, either because you’re afraid to be vulnerable or because you’re afraid of being told no.

If you care for one another, you’ll work hard to make sure you’re both happy and your needs are being met.

stages of a relationship

Stages of a Relationship: Stage 2 – The Love Hangover

This is a difficult stage for many couples, and some divorces and breakups occur in this second of the five stages of a relationship.

The Dangers of Stage 2

You Focus on the Differences Now

During this stage, the rose-colored glasses come off. You finally see the differences between you, instead of just the things that make you great together. It can feel like it’s hitting you hard, like an ugly wake-up call. Those same qualities that he has that you once thought were cute are now just annoying you. Maybe he’s an adventurous type, and that attracted you to him early on, but now it feels like he’s taking too many risks. Perhaps he first came off as generous, but now you feel he’s a spendthrift.

You May Engage in Power Struggles

As these differences come to light, there’s more friction in the relationship. You may experience power struggles and feel dismayed at the differences you’re now observing. Sometimes you feel like you love him and at other times, you feel so irritated that you can’t stand to be around him. You must be careful during this stage not to fall into that my way or the highway mindset. Relationships are about compromise. There’s give and take, and the same person can’t always be the one giving or taking. The conflicts you’re experiencing aren’t about huge issues because you don’t yet have that deep commitment or know that much about one another, but they’re disagreements, nonetheless.

Life Becomes Too Stressful – Fight or Flee?

If this becomes too stressful for you, your fight-or-flight instincts might kick in, causing you to either engage in arguments or want to flee the relationship. You might want to fight to defend your values or your point of view, which may translate into wanting everything to be your way.

Are You in Stage 2?

One way to know for sure that you’re in this second stage is that you’re able to sleep easier. You aren’t thinking about him 24/7. You feel more comfortable doing your outside activities and hanging out with your friends now. Another signal is that while one of you is withdrawing from the relationship, seemingly shutting down your heart and pulling away so you can get some space, the other is pursuing harder. The pursuing partner wants more attention because she feels the growing distance. This partner might feel emotionally abandoned by the other partner.

How to Survive Stage 2

Stage two is certainly survivable, or there wouldn’t be three more stages to follow. The challenge, of course, is to get the person who’s withdrawing to recognize the emotional abandonment their partner is feeling. And for the partner who’s ramped up their pursuit, to recognize that they need to pull back and give their partner some space.

Realize You Can’t Change Him – Accept Him Where He Is

It’s also important to recognize that you can’t change him. Just because he isn’t the person you thought he was doesn’t mean you aren’t compatible. If you love someone, you learn to love them where they are, not where you want them to be. James and Kira have been together for a couple of years now, but James just retired from military service and is battling some post-concussion issues. The doctors are saying he may have what they’re now calling a traumatic brain injury. James isn’t the guy he was when he left, and while they communicated during his time away, they were able to avoid many of the pitfalls of Stage 2. Now that they’re together, Kira is frustrated, partly because she doesn’t understand the changes in James, and partly because their differences seem to be coming to light now that he’s back. But Kira realizes that she loves James and is willing to do what it takes to understand what he’s going through, even though it’s difficult at times.

Learn How to Fight Fair

An unfair fight is one where you yell and carry on without listening or giving the other person a chance to say their peace. When you see a discussion escalating into an argument, it’s time to step back from it. You can say something like, “I think we both need to take a few minutes to calm down so we can talk about this rationally. When you’re emotional, like when you’re angry, it’s very difficult to think logically or rationally. Your mind just can’t do it, so any argument comes from an emotional place, not a rational one. By giving you both time to calm down, you’re allowing for your rational or logical mind to come back into the picture. You’re also more likely to be ready to listen now that you’ve calmed down. During this calming down time, take some deep breaths to send a signal to your system that the danger is over. Alleviate that fight or flight response that kicked in. You may also consider taking a walk or going to the gym to work out. This also releases those fight-or-flight chemicals and allows you to burn off the angry energy. When you come back together, stick to the ONE topic you were arguing about. Don’t bring up something that happened between you six weeks ago. Also, avoid hurling insults and using foul language. Be calm and come prepared to listen as much as, if not more than you speak.

Remember, this is Normal

What you’re going through is normal. It’s a stage of your relationship. It isn’t permanent. Nor is it a sign that there’s nothing between you. Your relationship isn’t ending just because you’re in the middle of a disagreement. Throughout your entire relationship, you will disagree. It’s how you manage those disagreements that make the difference between whether your relationship will survive.

Learn the Difference Between Healthy Disagreements and Control Issues

You can work through any healthy disagreement, but if you find yourself in a constant battle for control, that might not be a relationship worth saving. What to do if your boyfriend is controlling             Is my relationship over? Surviving Stage 2 is all about acceptance and tolerance of the issues that now rise up between you. Neither of you is perfect, nor is one of you always right and the other wrong. If you can learn to compromise, you’ll be more likely to succeed!

How Long Does Stage 2 Last?

Stage two can last anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the couple. How long it lasts for you depends on a few factors:
  • Your willingness to embrace change
  • Your own childhood history and any attachment issues
  • The quality of the advice you receive
  • How willing you are to compromise and forgive
This is a stage where selfishness will be your demise. There are, of course, only two possible outcomes from going through Stage 2. Either you break up or you power through. Couples who break up are often serial daters who are always looking for love but finding disappointment. They’re more likely individuals who lack confidence and/or are battling some attachment issues from their childhood. Couples who power through are usually more confident individuals who are able to forgive and survive the pain and frustration this stage can bring. These are individuals who believe that being in a relationship means making sacrifices and compromises for your partner or the relationship.

How do You Know When Stage 2 is Over?

You’re ending Stage 2 when:
  • You can communicate effectively about difficult topics
  • You’re able to quickly repair the damaging effects of your disagreements
  • You can heal old wounds and restore any broken trust
  • You’re able to share the power, instead of struggling for it
  • You can accept one another for who you are, instead of trying to change one another
This stage can feel like it’s just not worth it, that it’s too much work to survive it, but sometimes the harder the struggle, the stronger you are if you make it to the other side! Unlike stage one, this isn’t a stage you want to revisit. If you find yourself arguing over small differences, it’s a kick in the behind to remember to compromise and listen. If you find yourselves returning to this stage over and over, or if you seem to get stuck here, it means you lack the skills to navigate your power struggle and resolve your differences. You need to develop these skills in order to move on successfully past this stage.
stages of a relationship

Stages of a Relationship: Stage 3  – The Adjustment Stage

If stage two didn’t kill your relationship, stage three might. Sometimes, this stage is defined by what some call the seven-year itch. This is another stage of challenging moments, which arise as your commitment deepens and you continue to learn about one another. The differences at this stage may have more to do with external factors like family differences, cultural discrepancies, religious beliefs, values, or morals. Those things are all starting to make a difference in how your relationship functions from one day to the next, so they’re rising to the surface. At this stage, you’re at a point of deciding whether these deeper differences are surmountable. Since many of these differences often dictate how you live your life, they can be a big deal. Up until now, you may not be living together or spending a lot of time together, at least not enough for these issues to surface, but you’re getting closer and they matter now. Sometimes, during this phase, you drift apart. Just like in stage two, however, this doesn’t mean the relationship is over. It simply means you need to communicate. What’s driving you apart? Can you resolve the differences or are they too important or too big to overcome? If you’ve learned how to resolve your differences well in stage two, you may find this to be a time of peace. You know how to work through issues and you’re carrying those skills forward to manage the new potential conflicts. During this stage, you realize that you can’t change one another, so you either accept each other for who you are or you split up. You develop mutual respect for one another that overrides the differences and helps you set and maintain your boundaries.

The Dangers of Stage 3


You can lull yourself into boredom during this stage if you aren’t careful. Finding that peace is nice, but if you settle into too much peace, it’s no longer fun and challenging. Grow together and push one another to stretch your comfort zones. These types of activities help you build intimacy and make your relationship stronger. While many people mistake sex for intimacy, intimacy is actually about spending bonding moments together, building memories, and growing deeper in your affection for one another. When things get tough, it may be those memories that draw you back to one another.

Unhealthy Relationship Habits

If you’re experiencing a lot of conflict during this stage, you can develop unhealthy relationship habits, like giving one another the silent treatment after an argument or completely ignoring your problems altogether. Exhaustion and frustration at the constant bickering can weigh on you, making you not even want to try. If you get to this point, you need to have a conversation about whether this relationship has what it takes. You’ve gone through a lot already and you’ve spent a good amount of time together, probably a couple of years at this point, so be careful about giving up too easily.

Becoming “I” Instead of “We”

It’s easy to feel alone when there’s a growing distance between you. In this stage, you might feel as if you’re alone again, except with someone still sort of there in the periphery. The solution, again, is communication. At this point, it’s the solution to everything. If you haven’t yet developed healthy communication skills, it’s time to do so. Instead of both of you hanging out with mutual friends, you may find yourself spending more time with your friends and less time with him. Even if this relationship doesn’t work out, you need those communication skills for the next time. In that instance, evaluate what went wrong and how you can do your part better the next time.

How to Survive Stage 3

Again, stage three is survivable or there wouldn’t be four and five. There are things you can do to help yourselves make it through.

Stop Avoiding Your Problems

Problems don’t go away just because you ignore them. Especially when they’re problems between two people. They just get bigger and bigger until they’re too big to ignore, and often by then, they can be insurmountable. When a problem comes up, wait until a time when you’re getting along and then bring it up. Don’t choose another fight to solve this problem. If you sit down when you’re both already calm, it opens you up to logical and rational thought processes instead of emotionally charged yelling matches where nothing is solved. If something is too challenging but you want to work it out, consider couples counseling. An unbiased mediator can often see things you’re missing and is trained to look for cues in the things you say and your actions.

Remember to Show Affection Toward One Another

When things are rough, it’s easy to forget to show your partner that you still love them, but it’s also more important than ever. You can have an argument that leaves one or both of you wondering how the other feels. Without any affection, that unknown can really weigh on you and cause more harm. Some people go by a never go to bed angry rule, and it’s a good one to use. That way you can still come together at night and comfort one another, have sex, or just cuddle. Even spending time watching a movie together can be intimate.

Be sure to Notice the Positives

In stage one, it’s all about the positives of the relationship and failing to see the negatives. Stages two and three can focus more on the negatives, so be sure to remember the positives. Be appreciative of the things he does for you. This is how he shows his love for you. Also, try to do things for him. Even small gestures like baking his favorite cookies or cooking his favorite meal can go a long way to showing appreciation. When you feel like all of your focus is on negativity, make a mental shift and work through some positivity instead.

How Long Does Stage 3 Last?

There’s no predicting how long this stage will last. If you developed good communication and problem-solving skills during stage two, it might not be a contentious stage at all. You may find that peace I mentioned earlier, but remember that peace comes at a price too if you aren’t careful.
stages of a relationship

Stages of a Relationship: Stage 4 – The Commitment Stage

The commitment stage isn’t about marriage per se. In fact, you could already be married by this point. The commitment is more about knowing that you’ve overcome your differences and learned how to communicate well enough to solve problems and avoid massive arguments. Commitment is about making a choice every day to be with your partner. You feel like you don’t need one another, but you want one another, for better or worse, as they say. Now, you experience a balance of love, power, fun, belonging, and freedom. You’ve decided that the bad is outweighed by the good. While you have differences, you’ve learned how to live with them or you’ve made conscious choices to change yourselves to accommodate your partner.

The Dangers of Stage 4

Sex and Intimacy Fade Away

If you continue to nurture and place importance on your sexual relationship, this won’t happen. Keep things exciting in the bedroom. Share a fantasy or yours or his and act it out. Explore sex toys and games to keep things exciting. Passion doesn’t just happen after stage one. It takes effort to keep that attraction alive. Bring back sexual tension in your relationship

Staying Together for the Wrong Reasons

Be objective about why you’re still together. It’s very easy to stay together because of the kids or because it’s easier than starting over. Don’t allow guilt over splitting up outweigh the common sense of ending something that just isn’t working. It’s easy to settle into a routine of complacency, but that’s not engaging, fun, or fair to either of you.

Believing That Your Work is Done

Now that the relationship has settled in, it’s easy to think you can coast now. Wrong! A good relationship is one that you’re always working on. You’re always doing things together to build intimacy. You’re challenging one another, maintaining an air of mystery, and you’re doing things together. At the same time, you’re giving one another space and pursuing a few interests of your own outside of the relationship. Just don’t think you’ve reached a point when your relationship doesn’t require any more effort. You never reach that point!

Forgetting to Maintain Your Emotional Connection

An emotional connection isn’t sex. Emotional connection is, in part, about trusting one another. By now you should have a high level of trust in one another. It’s when you both feel this trust that you feel safe sharing more baggage and vulnerabilities if you haven’t done so yet. If your partner shares something like that with you, be careful with it. Think of it like an egg. You should hold it carefully and give it great consideration. He’s given you something and he temporarily feels as breakable as that eggshell. Don’t belittle him or laugh at what he shares. If he shares something like that with you, it’s a good idea to reciprocate. Show that you trust him with your deep dark secrets too.


This is the stage where affairs can happen. They’re more likely to occur if you haven’t navigated stages two and three very well. Your intimacy and trust have already fallen off and you don’t feel connected. You may be staying together out of convenience or for the kids. One of you has pulled away and the other is now seeking either sex or the emotional connection you just read about. Women will seek an emotional connection. Men will seek sex. You can avoid this, again, by being good communicators and by recognizing that a good relationship takes work. Understand the natural rhythms your relationship goes through. It ebbs and flows, just like anything else. When it ebbs, that’s when you need to be a little more vigilant, paying attention, showing appreciation, and communicating so both of your needs are met.
stages of a relationship

Stages of a Relationship: Stage 5 – Best Friends

By now, you’ve gone to hell and back and you’re still together. At this stage, you’re happy together and recognize the struggle you’ve gone through to get here. You’re closer than ever, probably considering one another to be best friends. The closeness you share now feels irreplaceable and your relationship feels like it’s on solid ground.

Characteristics of Stage 5

You Take on a Big Project Together

You may decide to start a business together or to build your dream home. You might share a hobby or be passionate about a cause you give your time and money to. You’re a cohesive unit now and you show that by working together on things. The world now sees you as one, instead of two.

Your Communication Skills are Excellent

You’ve learned how to communicate, and this is part of why your relationship is where it is today. Both of you understand that talking things through before they get out of hand is a much better plan than letting things sit. You may even be one of those couples now who doesn’t always need to communicate. You go into a coffee shop and you just know what he likes. You decide to stop on the way home to pick up dinner and you don’t have to ask him what he wants because you already know.

You Rely on One Another

Because you’re best friends, you can share the ups and downs of daily life. You get the promotion or you don’t; regardless, the first person you want to tell is your partner. If you don’t get it, he’s there to comfort you. If you do, he’s there waiting to celebrate. You’ve built an unshakable friendship, trust, commitment, and joy in being together.

The Dangers of Stage 5

Of course, there are pitfalls to any stage, but not as many as there were.

You Shift into Autopilot

The worst thing you can do to a relationship is put it on autopilot. Each day looks exactly like the last. You’re cycling through the same twelve meals, getting up and going to bed at the same time. Even sex has become routine. This is not the way to keep your relationship healthy. Routine is easier on your brain for sure, but you want to challenge your brain. Change things up. Try new meals. Watch some sex videos or get some sex fantasy books to read together. Don’t allow each day to be just like the last. Do something to keep things lively and fun.

You Live Parallel Lives

Instead of being a unit, you drift into being two people who live under the same roof. You’re driving kids to gymnastics and dance class while he’s coaching soccer and baseball. You go to work all day, come home, and throw something in the microwave. He eats on the road between work and practice. You might come together in the evening and fall into bed beside one another, but the distance isn’t inches, it’s a canyon. When conflict arises, instead of using those communication skills, you avoid one another. You’re both busy anyway and you use that business as an excuse to stay away from one another. You can become depressed if this happens, and it’s a prime landscape for an affair or two.

You Invest Too Much in Outside Lives

Balance is key in your relationship. It’s great to have those outside activities, as long as you aren’t using them to live those parallel lives. You can get so invested in outside activities that you never spend time together, one-on-one. To avoid this, maintain your weekly date night schedule. Be sure to put some sort of rules in place for how much time you’ll each commit to outside activities. You can also do some of them together, which increases your time together. The goal is to continue to nurture the great relationship you’ve spent years building.

Stages of a Relationship: Final Thoughts

As I said in the beginning, these aren’t linear stages, meaning once you get to stage five, you can cycle back to one of the other stages. Ideally, you’ll cycle between five and one, because those are the two stages when you’re the most excited and energized by each other. Your ultimate success relies really on one or two things:
  • Your communication skills
  • Your desire to work through things together
If you can look past his flaws and he can look past yours, you can build something great together. A good relationship requires work from day one until the day one of you passes on. As long as you keep putting in the work, you’ll have a very satisfying relationship.
How to End the Relationship with Style and Grace

How to End the Relationship with Style and Grace

Sometimes, you must face the inevitable point when it’s time to end the relationship you’d hoped would be your last.

You went into this relationship thinking he was the one, but then the attraction faded, and lust didn’t turn into love as you’d hoped. After two to three years, you see him for who he really is and it’s not a perfect match after all.

Sometimes, it’s not a lack of attraction or chemistry, but a misalignment of goals, cheating, or simply falling out of love. Regardless of the reason, there’s a right and wrong way to end the relationship and move on in a healthy way.

You owe it to one another, and to yourselves to end the relationship the right way. Before we go there, however, allow me to share a few reasons why a relationship should end.

Is There an Emergency Here?

Are you feeling the pain of a breakup? Do you feel as if your life has been turned upside down and you don’t know where to turn?

Whether you want him back or you want to move forward without him, a Personalized Emergency Breakup Kit can set you on the pathway to healing.

end the relationship

Why You Should End the Relationship

You Have No Emotional Connection

When you have an emotional connection with your partner, you feel safe sharing your vulnerability with him. You can easily discuss anything, or mostly anything with him because he’s your emotional rock. He will be there to pick up the pieces. He’ll hold you up when you feel like falling down. You both provide strength for each other. 

But if the spark disappears, this connection often goes with it.

The two of you engaged in friendly banter and enjoyed one another’s company, but now, even that feels strained. This is that emotional connection sizzling away. You no longer engage in meaningful conversation about anything. Being alone together just feels hard and is full of empty silence, fidgeting, and finally empty conversation to fill the void.

End the Relationship When You Don’t Feel Sexually Attracted

Sexual attraction can vary in a relationship, depending on what else is going on in your life. It’s natural, but if you find it difficult to come out of a low attraction phase, it might be a sign that things aren’t working anymore, but it’s not definitive.

Think back to when the two of you first had sex. How does that memory make you feel today? If these memories make you smile and have fond memories, all may not be lost. You’re probably still sexually attracted to him but there’s something else going on.

Then again, if you’re just not attracted to him anymore, it’s probably time to end the relationship and move on. When there’s no sexual interest between you, it’s a sign that the relationship is unhealthy and headed toward demise.

Someone Else Holds Your Interest

While you’re with him now, your heart flutters over someone else, or at least the idea of someone else. Maybe it’s a guy you’ve seen and briefly chatted with at the gym, a coworker, or a friend of a friend. Regardless of who it is, it’s not your current partner.

It’s okay to fantasize about other men, as long as it doesn’t steal your attention and affection for your partner. Fantasies become problematic when they invade that relationship space. When you’re in bed with your guy, he should be the one you’re thinking of, so if he isn’t, you know it’s time.

end the relationship

End the Relationship When You’re Being Asked to Change Who You Are

When someone loves you, they love you for who you are right now. He accepts your flaws, and probably even loves you for them. He doesn’t even see the nose you wish you’d had redone years ago. No. I take that back, he sees it and can’t imagine why you’d want to change it.

But when someone berates you into getting into better shape or finding a better job, it’s time to consider whether this is right for you.

Asking someone to use less salt when they cook or to avoid eating the peanuts that will surely send you to the ER is okay. That isn’t changing who you are fundamentally.

But when someone tells you that you’re not good enough for them the way you are, that’s on them. If you want to lose twenty pounds, go for it, but do it because you want to do it to improve your health or burn off stress.

He’s Supportive When Things are Good

Tanya and Brent had been together for several years. They’d recently purchased a house together and seemed to be a great couple. Then, Tanya got a new boss at work and he was a tyrant. On top of his poor managerial skills, he was new to the company and many of the things he railed at Tanya about weren’t correct.

Tanya came home from work stressed to the max. She wanted a hot bath, a margarita, and some candles so she could decompress. She expected that Brent would be her rock.

Instead, Brent sought out someone new. Not two days before, they appeared to everyone to be a happy, loving couple. If they arrived somewhere separately, he followed her home, pumped gas for her, and was there for her, but as soon as the sh*t came down, he sought out a new relationship.

Your guy should be supportive of you when things are good and when they’re bad. If you hit a rough patch in your life, a loving partner wants to help in whatever way he can. If it’s bringing you a new margarita while you cry in the bathtub, so be it. He’s there with a new salted glass full of margarita.

When he’s only there to share the good times but disappears or checks out when things are at a low point, it’s time to consider ending things.

You May Need to End the Relationship When Trust is Broken

I say you may need to end the relationship because it is possible for a couple to overcome a loss of trust, often caused by an affair. The catch is that you must both agree to do some couples therapy to get there. Only a professional can guide you through rebuilding your trust as nobody else can.

Trust is essential to any healthy relationship and when it’s gone, everything else fades away with it. You feel unloved, unsupported, unheard, unnoticed, and many other things.

Trust isn’t just broken with affairs. It’s also broken when promises aren’t kept. He promised to move closer in six months, but nine months have passed, and he isn’t even trying to do what needs to be done so he can make that move.

He promised to attend your big family event but bailed again at the last minute.

Maybe he promised to take you on a big vacation or to move in with you, but delay after delay keeps it from happening.

You can only make and break so many promises before all trust is broken.

End the Relationship When He Wiggles Out of Every One of Your Family Commitments

Your guy doesn’t have to like your sister to attend her birthday party. He’s there for you, not her. He’s there to be your support system and your friend.

If your friends and family question the mere existence of your guy, you may have a problem. Hanging out with one another’s friends and family is part of being in a relationship. It doesn’t matter if his mother always compares you to his other girlfriends, tough it out and be there for him. Of course, in that instance, you have every right to ask him to talk to her, but that’s a different problem.

The point is that when you’re a couple, you suffer through friend and family events for the greater good of your relationship.

The caveat is that this is reciprocal. If you want him to come to your stuff, you need to go to his too.

You Can’t Express Your Needs without Negative Fallout

You should never feel guilty for needing something, nor should you be berated for it or told you’re crazy. Everyone has their moments when, no matter what it is, you have a need to be met.

If we go back to Tanya and Brent for a moment, Tanya needed support. She didn’t want anything from Brent other than for him to be there with another margarita when she needed it, to turn on the hot water again, or to bring in new candles when the old ones burned out. She had a need to feel heard, loved, and supported. Instead, he found someone who wasn’t going through a difficult time in her life.

When you’re there for someone, you’re there. He shouldn’t be telling you how dumb it is for you to want to be there for your mother as she goes through something difficult. He should be there to support you when you find out your childhood dog died.

But sometimes, people are so wrapped up in their own stuff that they can’t see the needs of others. If it’s temporary, fine, but if it’s an ongoing problem, it’s probably time to end the relationship.

end the relationship

End the Relationship if He’s Hiding You

A man who won’t take you to meet his friends and family after a reasonable amount of time together is a man who’s hiding something from you.

When a guy is in love, he wants to show her off to the important people in his life, like his mother, or a favorite sister or friend. He wants his buddies to meet you because he’s proud to have you in his life.

He isn’t afraid to post photos of you together on social media, or even to take them with his phone.

A man who avoids introducing you to important people may be having an affair with you as the extra in his drama. This is a no-win situation for you because even if he eventually leaves that other relationship, you’ll be faced with a natural trust issue. If he did this to someone else with you, what’s to keep him from doing the same to you?

You Aren’t You Around Him

The best thing you can do for any relationship is to be yourself right from the beginning, but most of us aren’t. In my book, The Social Tigress, there’s a chapter on branding yourself and while this may sound harsh, we all do it.

When you’re single and you go out with your girlfriends, you pay very close attention to what you wear, how your hair is styled, and what you do with your makeup. You’re marketing yourself even if you don’t realize it.

If you create an online profile on a dating site or app, you’re marketing yourself.

In these marketing efforts, we all put our best foot forward. Only the best photos of you go on the profile, right? Of course.

But once you meet someone, you need to allow the real you to shine through. Sure, he may have initially been attracted to how you look, but men aren’t so superficial that they only go for looks. That might get him to say “Hello”, but it doesn’t get to eventually saying, “Goodnight.”

The problem comes into play when you can’t be yourself, either because he tries to stifle who you are or because you’ve shown him such a different version of yourself, and stuck to it, that now you can’t be the real you for fear of losing him.

In any case, he isn’t in love with you, he’s in love with the version of you that either he wants or you’re showing him, not the real you.

End the Relationship When You Both Talk About a Hypothetical Better Time Ahead

Your relationship shouldn’t be about waiting for the good times to come. You shouldn’t be waiting for the relationship to get better when some future milestone is hit.

He’ll appreciate me more once I can cook better.

We’ll have a better connection when we live together.

He’ll be more open with his feelings when we’ve been together for another six months.

You’re waiting for him to change, but he is who he is and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. Yes, people can change, but that doesn’t mean they want or intend to.

Instead of waiting for your relationship to be ideal in the future, look at what you have now. Can you live with things the way they are? If he’s not meeting your needs now, that perceived milestone in the future might not change a thing.

Your Goals are Different

A couple who wants to be together for the long haul should have shared goals. Not every goal should be shared, but the big ones are important.

For example, if he wants to travel the world but you want to advance your career, your goals are misaligned in such a way that it won’t work unless you negotiate the timing. You may agree to travel the world with him, but at a slower pace than he had in mind. If he’s agreeable, it might work, but if he wants to take two years off before making his big career move and you don’t, it may be time to end the relationship.

Sharing goals brings more intimacy to your relationship. When you’re doing things together, you’re developing memories and drawing nearer to one another. Intimacy isn’t just about sex, it’s about those shared moments that you’ll always remember.

end the relationship

How to End the Relationship

Now that you know some reasons for ending the relationship, let’s examine how you can end the relationship with style and respect.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Plan what you’ll say before you meet up with your guy. Don’t just decide to wing it. I know it’s a nervous time, but you’ll be less nervous if you practice a bit. Get a friend to help or practice in front of a mirror. Get your speech down and be prepared for his reaction.

Understand at the same time, however, that you cannot control his reaction. Trying to word things in a way that won’t upset him is futile. All you can do is remember to be kind, not to dump all the blame on him, and to be respectful of his need to speak.

End The Relationship Face-to-Face

Of course, it’s more comfortable to send a text or email telling him it’s over, but this is the chicken sh*t way out. Please don’t do this to anyone. He has time and emotions tied to the relationship too, and he deserves for the end to be a one-on-one conversation.

The exception to this rule is if there is physical abuse involved. In that instant, you’re running, not conversing. Otherwise, have enough respect for what the two of you shared to end it in person.

Choose the Right Place

Don’t end your relationship at your place or his but choose somewhere comfortable for both of you. It might be someplace public but somewhat secluded, like a park or a cozy coffee shop.

If you’re worried about him blowing his stack, in public is definitely a good idea, but if you think he’ll be calm about it, give him the courtesy of privacy when you end it.

End the Relationship and Be Respectful

One person is never the only responsible party in a breakup. You both have your roles. So, be respectful of him, and don’t dump this all on him. Own your part too and make sure not to make it a bashing session.

Respect also means being honest. Again, this doesn’t mean reciting every single thing he did to upset you but don’t lie either. Be general.

“Gee Brad, I think we just grew apart.” Or “You know, Jim, I think we just want different things now.”

This way, you’re ending it, but you’re not dumping on him, which would be unfair.

Make it a Clean Break

When you see he’s upset, you might try to mitigate that with some soothers like, “But we can still be friends” or “Let’s just see if time apart helps.”

If you don’t see a future for the two of you, this is unfair. I know you’re trying to make him feel better, but he’s still going to get hurt. It’ll just take longer.

It’s okay to be friends after a breakup but give him time to process the breakup first. Let him find his own way out of the situation and then reach back out, maybe in a few months.

End the Relationship but Avoid Arguing

Since you know this is coming and he probably doesn’t, he may be defensive at first and this can often lead to an argument. He may be angry and want to argue with you out of spite, or he’ll be blindsided and want to argue that you shouldn’t break up.

Either way, once your conversation devolves into an argument, it’s time to go. You have nothing to gain and everything to lose by arguing with him.

You don’t need to be mean about it, but simply tell him you think it’s time for you to go, “Jim, I’d like to leave us on a happy note, so I’m going to leave before we start saying things we’ll regret.”

He may try to continue the argument by phone, text, or email. In that case, block him for a while, at least until his anger subsides. It’s very difficult to have an argument if you’re the only one arguing.

He’ll soon settle down and it’ll end.

Don’t Let Him Talk You Out of It

If he didn’t see it coming and is still in love with you, he may try to talk you into staying. If you have good reasons for leaving, don’t allow this to happen.

You’ll come to the same ending eventually and the hurt will be that much deeper.

It’s a normal reaction for the other person to beg you to stay. He’ll make promises like:

  • I’ll be better about pitching in around the house
  • If I try, I know I can stop belittling you around your friends and family
  • I know I can be a little cranky, but I’ll work on it, I promise

If he wants to make those changes, great, but let him work on those things by himself. If you did have something before and you aren’t interested in anyone else, he may indeed come to you in a few months a new and better man.

But those types of changes are best done when you’re single.

End the Relationship but Be Empathetic

While breaking up might be a relief to you, he may be deeply saddened. Try not to glory in your happiness while he’s down. If you’re happy, fine, but be empathetic to what he’s feeling at that moment.

It’s never nice to dismiss or ignore someone’s feelings, even if you don’t want to date him anymore. You can soften the blow by reminding him of something good like, “Before I met you, I didn’t even know how to boil pasta. You taught me so much and I’m grateful.”

Final Words on How to End the Relationship with Style and Grace

Even though you’re the one ending it, your body will have a physiological and emotional response. Your mind is addicted to being in love, so it’ll play tricks on you to try to get you back out there faster than you should be.

Give yourself time to grieve the relationship and time to heal. Relationships change who you are. You learn new things, but you may give up some things too, like a hobby you enjoyed or participating in a sport you enjoy.

Sometimes, you even give up friendships in lieu of more time with your boyfriend. It’s time to revive all of those things and rejoin life. Doing so will help you find who you are again, and it will also help you through the grieving process.

I have a book that explains the nine stages of grieving a relationship, whether you initiated the breakup or not. It also helps you prepare yourself for a new relationship. It’s linked just below!

When you end the relationship in a classy way, you have no regrets and you leave your ex-partner with a better chance of moving forward in a healthy way too.

If you're ready to move on from this relationship, you're ready for He's Gone, Now What? This book walks you through the many aspects of dealing with a breakup, even if you're the one who initiated the breakup. Regardless of who started it, as they say, your body becomes addicted to the chemicals associated with being in love. The withdrawal process is as daunting as the withdrawal from cocaine.

You'll also learn about the stages of grieving a relationship and how to begin moving forward. You'll walk through the steps of preparing yourself for dating again and gain an understanding of how you can do so in a healthy, happy relationship.

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What is Phubbing? Is it Harming Your Relationship?

What is Phubbing? Is it Harming Your Relationship?

Phubbing, or phone snubbing, is an all-too-common behavior these days, but the real question to ask is whether phubbing is harming your relationship.

First, what is phubbing exactly?

Imagine you and your guy are out for date night. You’d like to talk about what movie you should go see later, but he’s got his thumbs furiously tapping on his phone. He’s engrossed and completely oblivious to the fact that you’re talking to him.

That’s phubbing.

Look on your next public transportation ride – I’ll bet you that the majority of people are phubbing. They’re engrossed in their phones so deeply that they miss what’s going on around them.

Why do People use Phubbing?

Of course, there’s a why associated with phubbing, and I think it’s important to understand it so we can dig down to why it harms relationships.

Phubbers are often Phubbed

If you’ve been phubbed a lot before, you’re more likely to engage in the same behavior. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

This is backed up by a scientific study.

Science is Still Studying

As far as scientific research goes, phubbing is a newer phenomenon, however, this doesn’t mean that there’s no information. It simply means that more information is needed to make well informed conclusions.

So, what that means to our conversation is that there are some ideas on who’s more likely to be phubbing, but there could be more information to come.

One prevailing thought is that phubbing is associated with people who have an addictive personality to start with. Since phubbing can be seen as a smartphone addiction, this makes sense. Some science has initially proven this to be true.

Along with that, some believe a social media addiction is closely related or correlated to phubbing. Again, this makes sense. If you’re hooked on social media, where are you going to spend your time?

Part of the social media problem, which is also new in scientific research, is learning whether people are using social media to form their own identity. Who you are in real life is who you project on social media, except it isn’t. That doesn’t stop people from trying to build an identity around what they post on social media.

FoMO is another reason for phubbing. FoMO, for those of us who are older (I had to look it up) is fear of missing out. Again, it makes sense because much of FoMO relates to social media.

Studies don’t yet agree on whether men or women are more prone to phubbing. Some say yes while other studies say no.

Additionally, there’s good news if you’re married as married people are usually less prone to phubbing.

Emotional Intelligence and Physical Aggression

Some have studied the relationship between emotional intelligence, physical aggression, and phubbing.

Research to date tells us that emotional intelligence can be a predictor of phubbing. Those with high emotional intelligence are able to control their emotions while those with low emotional intelligence cannot. Those with lower emotional intelligence are more likely to engage in phubbing.

So, it stands to reason that physical aggression would also have a relationship with phubbing. Some who have low emotional intelligence, but not all, are more prone to physical or verbal aggression.

More Information is Needed

Obviously, since this whole smartphone world is relatively new, the science behind its impact on our lives truly remains to be seen, but now let’s dig into how phubbing negatively impacts your relationship.

Phubbing and the Impact on Your Relationship


One common problem often associated with phubbing is jealousy. Imagine you’re on a date with your guy and all he wants to do is be on his phone.

What’s your first thought? Who has his attention so much that he can’t tear himself away to talk to you, right? Of course! That’s what anyone would think.

He’s Phubbing, You’re Phubbing

One of the first things I mentioned was that a predictor of whether you’re a phubber or not can be whether it’s been done to you.

If your guy is phubbing and ignoring you, what’s a girl to do? Get her smartphone out and join the phubbing party.

The problem with this is that you’re supposed to be out enjoying one another, but you aren’t. If one of you isn’t really into the whole smartphone thing, it can become very aggravating.

It Promotes an Environment of Retaliation

Some studies have shown that when your partner is phubbing, it makes you angry, of course, and your desire for retaliation is higher. You want revenge for being ignored.

This makes sense again because when you’re in a relationship, you want the attention of your loved one, but if all their time is spent with their nose in their phone, they barely know you exist.

You’re Very Dissatisfied with Your Relationship

To me, there’s already a high rate of relationships ending for reasons that could be avoided, and this seems as if it would fall into the same category.

What I mean by this is that if you or your partner simply realize that your behavior is hurting the other, you would quit or at least slow way the heck down so you wouldn’t continue to hurt them.

People who have phubbing partners, often called ‘phubbees’ reported lower relationship satisfaction in a study during which the partners were asked to keep a daily journal that also noted how extreme they felt the phubbing had been during the day.

Now that You’re Aware of the Harm of Phubbing

If you’re the phubber, I hope you see how your behavior is harming your relationship. If you’re the phubbee, I hope you see that what you’re feeling is backed up by science. Your partner is physically, but not mentally present.

If you feel frustrated, ignored, and unhappy with your relationship, you’re right where you should be. Your feelings are to be expected.

It’s unfortunate that we’re becoming so socially isolated because of technology. During COVID, we learned how to engage in relationships without being physically present, but there are things about being in close proximity to your partner that can’t be replaced.

Touch is very important because it gives us a feeling of being appreciated and loved. There is actually a physical response to being touched that helps reduce your stress and anxiety.

If we begin to dump our noses into our phones, we’re missing out on a huge aspect to a relationship. Not only are we avoiding eye contact, but there’s no touch, no conversation, no interaction of any sort.

So to answer the original question – is phubbing harming your relationship, the answer is a big YES!

How can you stop?

How to Stop Phubbing

Acknowledge the Problem

Of course, the first step in solving any problem is acknowledging that the problem exists. We often equate this to alcoholism, but the truth is that you can’t fix a problem you don’t recognize.

Whether you’re the phubber or the phubbee, it’s time to have a conversation with your partner to discuss the problem. As you know, one begets the other, so chances are you’re both doing it to some extent, regardless of who started it.

Implement Technology-Free Date Nights

A date night is a chance for the two of you to regroup and reconnect. The older your relationship is, the more important date night is, but it’s important to every relationship.

I make one, maybe two exceptions for this, and that’s if you have kids or one of you is on-call for a job, but even then, the phone is face-down on the table or put away in a pocket or purse.

This is your time to talk and spend time just being together. Phubbing moves you about as far in the other direction as you can go.

Place Your Phone Out of Sight

If you’re at home watching a movie, don’t put your phone on the table face-up where you can see every notification that comes in.

Lay it face down and silence notifications. If you can’t lay it face down, set it in a drawer or across the room.

The point is to remove the temptation to use it. And don’t go get it during a commercial or when your partner needs a bathroom break.

Try a Digital Detox to End Phubbing

There are apps that will help you regulate your time on your device. Some apps will block distracting apps from intruding in your life.

You can also turn off notifications for apps that tend to pull you away, like social media, mail, and even texting or voicemails.

I don’t like the little red numbers beside apps that tell me how many unread messages I have any more than the next person, but I don’t sit and stare at my phone either.

Assign Ring Tones to Important People

I understand that in today’s society, people expect you to reply immediately, but that doesn’t mean you should. Instead, assign the truly important people in your life a ringtone. Give Mom her own tone, or your kids, or your office if you go on-call or have a job where you may be urgently needed.

Kick the rest of the messages and voicemails to the later pile.

How to Stop HIM from Phubbing

If you’re the phubbee, it’s time to have a conversation with your partner. He’s obviously so engrossed in his phone that he hasn’t noticed how upset you get. Tell him. Use “I” language:

  • Brett, I feel like you’re ignoring me when you spend so much time on your phone
  • It makes me feel like I’m not important to you when you never look up from your phone
  • When we’re together, I feel as if you’re not really there

Stating how you feel is harder to dispute and these sentences don’t begin with an accusation. They state the situation and how it makes you feel.

After you’ve discussed it, if you notice that he’s starting his phubbing again, gently remind him that he’s doing it. Try not to take it personally. This is akin to an addiction and the phubber won’t be able to stop cold turkey.

Also, avoid your own phone. Give an example of what being present looks like. Be understanding and compassionate. This has likely become a habit and habits can be tricky to break. Give him time to recognize his problem and make a course correction.

Finally, resist the urge to turn to your own phone. Instead, try to interest him in something. Choose a topic of interest to him, like a hobby he has, a favorite team, or some other topic. This is intriguing enough for him to pull him away.

If you replace phubbing with fun, it will be an easier habit to break. Engage him in activities that make it harder to dig out a phone.

That’s a Wrap!

It’s clear that phubbing is harmful to relationships, and not just romantic relationships, but relationships between parents and children and your friendships.

In any instance, the feeling of being ignored and unimportant is there, waving a big red flag.

Whether you’re the phubber or the phubbee, there are things you can do to help rein in the problem. Patience with your partner will help things go more smoothly.

Once you find true love, the key is keeping it! In my best-seller, Pennies in the Jar: How to Keep a Man for Life, you'll learn many things you and your guy can do to maintain a healthy, happy relationship. The pennies you put in the jar are shared memories. You add pennies when you do things together like exploring a quaint little town nearby or relaxing in a coffee shop on a Saturday afternoon. They're added when you make a game out of grocery shopping or have a cooking contest for dinner.

Learn how to put pennies in the jar, how to communicate effectively and how to fight fair, all inside this great book!

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