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Learning How To Have Productive Fights Made Me A Better Wife

Growing up, the only thing I knew about being married came from the movies. This included a lot of romantic letter-writing and jumping-into-each-other’s-arms French kissing scenes. It also included passionate plate-smashing arguments. You can imagine that I’ve been sorely disappointed in some of my relationships.I come from a family of divorce. My parents, who remained […]

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Growing up, the only thing I knew about being married came from the movies. This included a lot of romantic letter-writing and jumping-into-each-other’s-arms French kissing scenes. It also included passionate plate-smashing arguments. You can imagine that I’ve been sorely disappointed in some of my relationships.I come from a family of divorce. My parents, who remained friends throughout my life, split when I was just 4 years old. And while they both provided loving homes, I never understood what a healthy marriage should look like. Because of this, I didn’t know how to fight fairly.

Art Markman, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of Smart Change, tells SELF that children observe a lot about adult interactions from the relationship between their parents, as well as the relationship that parents have with them and with siblings. “In addition, children may have a chance to observe their parents interacting with other adults,” he adds. I learned about adult interactions from Reality Bites.My first real fight with my high-school boyfriend was plagiarized. He hurt my feelings, and after watching my favorite movie for the zillionth time, I rewound a particularly heated scene between Troy and Lelaina and wrote down the most powerful words to break my boyfriend’s heart. It failed miserably.

Fast forward to my now-husband who was born with the emotional maturity of a 75-year-old man. He took me to the nicest restaurant in our hometown for our first date and opened the car door for me and ordered wine like a grown up. My previous boyfriend had taken me to McDonald’s before a homecoming dance, so this felt very adult.Along with this maturity came a reasonable response to real-life arguments. Like someone opening my car door, I was not prepared. Where was the passionate plate-smashing? Where was the screaming match? Wasn’t one of us supposed to zoom off and cry in an abandoned parking lot?Markman says that it’s important for couples to learn that you can be angry with each other and work past it. “This can be particularly difficult for children of divorce who may always be wondering whether a particular fight is the one that will lead to a downward spiral that ultimately ends the relationship.

” It’s true: I assumed that every argument would have some dramatic ending. I certainly didn’t understand that a disagreement could be respectful and even productive.But I knew that if I wanted this relationship to work, I had to learn to fight fairly.Markman says that learning to disagree respectfully might be more difficult for those without role models (that don’t come from Netflix). “One of the things that family therapists spend a lot of time talking about is how to state feelings rather than making accusations when fighting. That strategy is valuable for making discussions and arguments productive.”For me, it meant learning to use “I” statements rather than “You” accusations. It also meant that I had to learn to say, “I’m sorry,” which happened to be another one of my major downfalls when it came to having a disagreement.

As in, I just didn’t do it. The only thing I knew about arguments is that you were supposed to win them and saying you’re sorry meant that I was the loser.Markman says that, like me, some people do have trouble apologizing. “For these individuals, it’s really helpful to learn to apologize, because it helps their partner to feel like their concern is understood and that there was something valid in what they were feeling. By apologizing, you give you and your partner a chance to move forward rather than staying stuck in the moment that created the rift.”Unfortunately, this went on longer than I’d like to admit—at least a couple of years—with my now-husband doing most of the apologizing. (WHY DID HE MARRY ME?!) Markman explains that some people take responsibility for their partner’s feelings and not just their own actions. “If you find that you are always apologizing and your partner never is, then it is important to have a discussion about ensuring that both of you are willing to take responsibility for your own actions.”And when I did apologize—like really, truly apologize—it felt so good.

This sincere action opened the doors to better communication and OMG THE FEELINGS. Honestly, I hate that I waited so long to do this, but I’m thankful that I had a patient partner and over the years, I’m proud to say that I’ve learned to fight fairly, or rather, disagree, and that it never feels like losing when I apologize.Am I perfect now? No, but arguments feel productive. I choose my battles, too, which Markman says is important. “Every couple has differences in priorities and values that they need to discuss. In addition, every relationship has moments in which one person does something that bothers the other and while it’s not necessary (or even healthy) to point out every small foible, it’s important for people to talk about the things that really bother them.” So I may give in and say, “Fine, wear the T-shirt with pit stains,” but calmly communicate that I’m bothered if he’s texting while we’re having coffee, or whatever feels important at the time. And I think he does the same.Markman goes on to say that occasionally disagreeing is, in fact, healthy. “Couples who never fight are often couples that are avoiding confrontation, rather than being perfectly aligned.” Whew! Now, about those pit stains.

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Best Charities To Donate to To Help Animals

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A lot of people want to donate to charities that help take animals away from situations that hurt them. If you’re not sure which charity to donate to, Animal Charity Evaluators has your back. 

ACE is a California-based nonprofit company that releases annual lists of top recommended animal charity foundations, and they offered assistance by funding some of Future Perfect’s work for 2020.

Most of the charities featured in the list are focused on strategies that can get around factory farming by enforcing the transition to plant-based diets, or at the very least, by improving the conditions in factory farms. 

Focusing on factory farms makes the most sense because this is usually the site of suffering on a large scale. Unfortunately, death is not the only unpleasant process that happens on these farms, but a lot of the animals suffer a lot before they are killed. 

In these farms you’ll notice that pigs, calves, and hens are put into extremely small spaces where they have little to no wiggle room, and that the things they undergo are so horrific that there are ag-gag laws which are used to hide the details of the cruelty from the masses. 

ACE looks and promotes the most effective way to help animals, and have three main criteria when it comes to choosing and recommending certain organizations:

  • Charities must be able to produce greatest gains for animals
  • Charities should evaluate and improve their programs actively
  • Charities must present a demonstrated need for funding

With these three evaluating criteria in mind, ACE chose these organizations that you can donate to.

Wild Animal Initiative

This is a new entry compared to the other charities listed, and the goal of this charity is to research and advocate ways to assist free-range animals.

The Humane League

This charity runs campaigns that urge corporations to adhere to higher animal welfare rules, and also promotes grassroots legislative advocates.

The Good Food Institute

This charity focuses on the development of plant-based substitutes to meat, eggs, and dairy. They believe that developing plant-based options is an effective way to weaken animal agriculture.

Albert Schweitzer Foundation

This charity group has outreached corporations to promote the use of humanely raised products and they also offer legal services. They are also one of the first animal charity groups that prioritized corporate outreach for farmed fish.

If you are looking for the best animal charity group to donate to, you should check out ACE’s list so that you can look into the different charities and their advocacies and determine whether your values align with theirs.

Being able to donate to charities that help prevent animal suffering, and while it may not be you going to these farms to stop the horrors, supporting charities is an easy way to help. 

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4 Things That People with Multiple Partners Want You to Know

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Polyamorous relationships are not everyone’s cup of tea. However, there are some couples who find it better to have a so-called third wheel. Others discover that having multiple partners work best for them.

Polyamory is not a popular lifestyle choice. Most people opt to enter monogamous relationships, preferring to have one partner at a time. In fact, individuals who opt to have multiple partners are usually frowned upon. To better understand why some people adopt—and perpetuate—polyamory, we collated several reasons:

They’re not the jealous type.

Dr Elisabeth Sheff, author of the book entitled “Polyamorists Next Door” asserts that people with multiple partners do not easily get jealous. Additionally, polyamorists assert that opting to be in a polyamorous relationship even helps overcome that natural predilection. They mention that being in a relationship with multiple partners allows you to ease too much focus on a single partner and distribute your affection to accommodate all the other partners you have.

The relationship isn’t purely about sex.

Sheff claims that people with multiple partners do not merely opt for the said lifestyle due to their need for physical intimacy. However, it is still one of the major reasons. Sheff shares that polyamory also works for her and her wife, especially since she travels a lot and they rarely have time for their relationship. 

“We have a lot of flexibility, but we don’t tend to act on it very much. Me because I don’t have a very high sex drive, and her because she’s been working like a fiend. She’s very serious about her career, and spends zero time trying to date. It’s only happened the once, where she met someone she really connected with,” she explains.

For some, having multiple partners helps provide the intimacy that may sometimes be lacking in a purely monogamous arrangement, as well. 

People fall into this lifestyle.

Sometimes, couples choose to try the lifestyle and find out that it makes their relationship better. “We learned a lot about how poly worked…and soon it was quite a normal thing in our social circle,” mentions Alex who also practices polyamory together with his wife. He narrates that, at first, he and his wife were reluctant to adopt the lifestyle. “It did make us more relaxed about other things, we became more comfortable telling each other when we found someone else attractive or had fun flirting with someone or whatever,” he explains.

It requires constant and open communication.

To maintain the beneficial effects of having multiple partners, Alex and his wife adopted the necessity of having constant and open communication. He says that they make it a point to prioritize their relationship even as they practice polyamory. He shares that it isn’t always easy. “…we found we were able to work things out for ourselves through lots of honesty and conversation and being loving and considerate in a way that has also made our relationship much deeper and stronger,” Alex explains.

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Study Says Lockdown Helped Make More People Happy

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According to the Bennet Institute for Public Policy in Cambridge University, about half of the people who previously reported feelings of happiness decreased in the 3 weeks right after the lockdown. Data from various platforms mention that only about 51% of Britons declared feelings of joy before the report of the first COVID-19 death in the UK and only 25% were feeling happy after the declaration of lockdown on 23 March.

When the lockdown eased a bit, however, numbers started improving as around 47% started saying that they were happy by the end of May.

The same research also mentions that there is a relative difference between the rich and the poor in terms of happiness levels in relation to the lockdown. Those who were well-off in life mention the dwindling levels of joy while the poorest sector asserts a rise in hopefulness and satisfaction.

Dr Robert Foa of YouGov-Cambridge Centre for Public Opinion Research and Cambridge’s Department of Politics and International Studies mentions, “It was the pandemic, not the lockdown, that depressed people’s wellbeing. Mental health concerns are often cited as a reason to avoid lockdown.”

“In fact, when combined with employment and income support, lockdown may be the single most effective action a government can take during a pandemic to maintain psychological welfare,” Foa adds.

In many parts of the world, there is a huge outcry for aid especially because the widespread declaration of lockdowns caused many people to lose their jobs. Many people were also cut off from their loved ones due to the social distancing requirement that is still in effect today. People who were used to freely mingling and going out daily were suddenly left with nothing to do and no one to be with. The sudden need to stay indoors greatly affected the different aspects of living, causing huge impacts on both physical and mental well-being.

With the news of various attempts to discover an effective vaccine for the coronavirus and the increasing improvement in contract tracing and testing, many people are feeling hopeful once again. The need to go back to various jobs and reconnect with loved ones allow more people to regain the positivity that was lost during the height of the pandemic.

Summary

The sudden onset of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis heavily affected the whole world. Various countries around the world were forced to enact hard lockdowns and require social distancing protocols to stop the rapid spread of the deadly virus. The general feelings of happiness decreased during the onset of the pandemic as the report of the first UK death made people realize the seriousness of the issue at hand. With the attempts to discover a vaccine for the disease, however, and the gradual easing of lockdown in the country, more and more Britons are now claiming feelings of hopefulness and joy. Around the world, the clamor for a definite covid-19 cure is heard.   

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