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Surprising things that test your love

You Best Couple Friends Split

Sometimes a breakup in your social circle can make the bond between you and your man stronger, as in, “Whew! Aren’t we lucky to be such a happy pair?” But the fallout from a bad split can also make you over analyze minor problems in your own relationship, warns Jeffrey Bernstein, PhD, author of Why Can’t You Read My Mind? “It can make you scrutinize your partner and create tensions you never had before,” says Bernstein.

Instead of creating new problems, use your friends’ breakup as an ice-breaker for a heart-to-heart with your guy. “It’s an opportunity to talk about what you’re doing right as a couple,”says Bernstein. “And when you discuss the split, focus on the questions in your relationship, not on the other pair.”

Your friends’ split can cause you to take sides too. “Usually, the man will relate to the male experience, and you will relate to your girlfriend’s point of view,” says Bernstein. You might think you’re being a good friend by commiserating, but you can unwittingly carry that tension home. So beware of forging alliances. “Listen and be supportive, but stay neutral,” suggests Bernstein. “And don’t rehash the breakup details with your boyfriend.”

You Kick a Bad Habit

Self-improvement is obviously a positive thing. But if only one of you changes, it can put a lot of pressure on your bond.” It’s not unusual for the other person to feel judged or threatened, like, ‘Do I have to better myself too?'” says Bernstein. Plus, even if the new, improved half is better off not smoking, inhaling sweets, or gulping six-packs, the other half bears some of the brunt of the mood swings and withdrawal symptoms.” The partner has to adjust to the change as much as the person doing the quitting, which can create a lot of tension,”says Goldberg. So try not to lose sight of what both of you are going through.

Another possible pitfall: Part of your connection might hinge on the habit, which is what Stephanie, 33, discovered when her guy stopped using drugs. “His habit brought us closer because I was his confidante,” she recalls.” I was who he came to for comfort. But once he quit, he withdrew. Maybe he associated me with his old life, even though I didn’t do drugs. Or maybe he didn’t need me anymore.”

To avoid Stephanie’s fate, “it’s important to figure out what you’ll both get out of the deal so you can balance what you may be missing,” says Goldsmith.And while it’s a great idea to enlist each other’s help to curb temptation, don’t try to recruit each other. “You don’t want to be negative or pressure your partner to join you,” says Bernstein.” That will only push him away.”

Your Single Friends Are Having a Blast

It’s kind of ironic: When you’re single, you spend your life searching for a mate. But when you finally settle into couple-dom, you start pining for the good old days. “Once the newness of the relationship dies down, your life together can seem so mundane compared to your unattached friends’ antics,” says Valentis. So you and your guy begin to envy their freedom and can start to resent each other and the compromises you’ve made to be a pair.

“Find ways to break out of the rut so you can get back some of that spontaneity you had when you first got together,” suggests Bernstein. Blow out of town to someplace you’ve always talked about. Shake up your sex routine with some new positions or racy games.

But you don’t have to be attached at the hip. “The single person inside you doesn’t die as soon as you’re in a relationship,” says Elaine, 27, who still goes club crawling, flirts with strangers, and doesn’t sweat it when her guy hangs with his single pals. “Just don’t do anything you wouldn’t tell him about.”

And don’t forget: When your single pals give you the play-by-play of their escapades, factor in the back-story they’re conveniently omitting — the wicked hangovers, the unreturned phone calls, the serial self-doubt, the lonely Saturday nights. “Single or coupled-up, we always want what we can’t have,” says Bernstein. “Whether you give in to those temporary yearnings depends on whether you really want to be in that relationship.”

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Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Surprising Things That Test Your Love

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