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20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One

20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One

Whenever a couple that has been married for a long time tell the story of how they met, they can always pinpoint the moment in which they knew they found “the one.” Though there definitely is that moment of clarity in which you realize you would rather be with this person than anyone else in the world, there are also many small moments leading up to such an incredibly epiphany. If any of the following apply to you, you might want to start thinking about taking your relationship to the next level.

1. Seeing them makes everything better

Everyone has awful days where they just want to crawl into bed and never come out. But the right partner will erase all of the pain you’ve gone through all day, and make you realize just how lucky you are. The instant you see their face, you’re able to remember why you put up with the garbage you deal with at work all day: because you want to make a better life for them, and for your future together.

2. You can share your hopes and dreams with them

When you’ve found the one, you want them to know everything you want out of life. You share with them even the most farfetched dreams you’ve ever had, because with them by your side, you actually feel like you might accomplish all of your goals. Even your silly childhood dreams become a tangible possibility when you have someone to support you on your journey.

3. You can admit when you’ve made a mistake

I’ve seen so many relationships around me fall apart simply because both parties failed to be able to admit they messed up. When you find the one, you feel comfortable admitting mistakes because you know your better half won’t hold it against you in the long run. You can trust that they’ll accept your honesty and you’ll be able to work toward a better relationship in the future.

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4. You want to make their life better and easier

When you’ve found the one, you start living for someone other than yourself. You sacrifice every fiber of your being to make sure they have an easy go of it. Even if you’ve had a long day, you’ll come home and want to immediately start cleaning the house and cooking dinner for them, so they can relax for a bit. If they forgot to get something at the store, you’ll gladly hop in the car and go get it, even if it means missing out on your favorite show. For that one person, putting their comfort ahead of your own is of utmost importance.

5. You don’t do certain things without them

If you have made it a habit to watch a certain show together every week, you would never watch it without them. If going to Rita’s for a gelati is something you only do with them, you don’t go without them by your side (unless you’re picking something up for them!). If they’re on a diet, you won’t bring home Chick-Fil-A for yourself. When certain things become your “couple” things, you know you’ve found someone special.

6. You argue seldom but passionately

Everyone argues once in a while, but like I said before, you don’t harp on insignificant moments just to prove “I’m right.” You let most things go, but when you do have an argument, you aren’t insulting or rude. You simply show your passion for whatever it is you’re arguing about, and you also listen to what the other person has to say. Again, these arguments aren’t about getting your way, but more about finding a common ground on which you both can build.

7. You resolve arguments amicably

Like I said, when you’ve found the one, you don’t care who’s right or wrong in an argument; you just want to improve your relationship. When you’ve found a person who you actually like more after an argument, you can be pretty sure you’ve found a good one.

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8. You’re upfront when something bothers you

From the moment we started getting serious, my wife and I started living by one rule: If it bugs you, sleep on it, and if it’s still bugging you, bring it up. This has worked wonders for us, and it’s part of the reason we rarely get into fights. By the next morning, we’ve had time to put things in perspective, and more often than not we realize what was bothering us the night before isn’t that big of a deal (especially if it’s not a chronic habit). If it is worth bringing up, well, see number 7 above.

9. You love getting random texts from them

Everyone knows the feeling of getting butterflies early on in a relationship. Not everyone knows the feeling of getting butterflies in a relationship that’s been going strong for years. I’ve been with my wife for almost seven years, and I still smile every time I get a text from her. It shows that, even when she has work and school on her plate, she still has me on her mind in some way. And we both still find little ways to keep our relationship fresh, even after all this time.

10. They know what to order for you

Scenario: You’re waiting to be seated at a restaurant, and you have to use the bathroom. You come back to find your table ready, and the waitress has already brought over a cold glass of your favorite beer. I’m pretty sure all men can agree that a woman who knows what beer to get you has found the most direct pathway to your heart. As for what women want…? Okay, I’ve been with one for seven years, and sometimes I still struggle a bit with this!

11. You pick up each other’s signs in social settings

As an introvert, I can only handle being out so long. Same with my wife. We both reach a point where we are ready to go, but aren’t in a position in which we can be rude about it. Knowing your significant other well enough to know when they’ve had enough and are ready to go home is a sure sign that you care deeply for them.

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12. You know when to leave them alone

No one said you have to spend every moment of every day together. Sometimes, even if you want to be right next to them, they’ll want some space. I know my wife needs a few minutes to herself after a long day of work, so during that time I’ll get dinner started or pick up a little around the house. By the time we sit down for dinner, I know she’ll be ready to share her day with me, regardless of how good or bad it went.

13. You encourage each other

This goes along with the earlier entry about sharing hopes and dreams. When you’ve found the one, you want all of their dreams to come true. It could be supporting them on a diet or pushing them to go back to school to further their career. You simply want to see them succeed, and will be there to help every step of the way.

14. You know how to cheer them up

When they’re in a funk, you know exactly what to do to make things a bit better. You know them better than most anyone else does, and you also will go to greater lengths to make them happy than anyone else would. Even on their worst day, you that picking up her favorite flowers, or his favorite flavor of ice cream, will make them smile. You might not be able to fix the problem right away, but you can make facing it just that much easier.

15. You listen to the same story over and over

I’m guilty as sin of this one. I tell the same stories about my younger days constantly, and instead of cutting me off, my wife humors me, lets me laugh about it, and ends up laughing along with me. I mean, you get to a point when you know everything about each other, so you’re bound to run out of stories to tell. That doesn’t mean you can’t take a trip down memory lane every once in a while.

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16. You can make anything fun with them

Grocery shopping alone is the most boring (and frustrating) errand in the world, as far as I’m concerned. However, going to Giant with my wife is simply another moment in which to make a memory. When you have as many inside jokes as we do, the grocery store is full of endless comedic material. When you’ve found someone who can make shopping for frozen vegetables entertaining, you’ve definitely found the one.

17. You’re cheesy as heck around them

You have a completely different sense of humor when you’re around the one you love. You can make the corniest, silliest jokes possible, and know that you’ll both crack up about it. You don’t feel the need to “be cool” around them, and you can let yourself go.

18. You put effort into gifts for them

Like many guys, I’m not the best gift-giver. My family would rather spend money on experiences than material things, so I grew up not being “gifted” (sorry for the pun) with the ability to pick out good presents. That changed when I met my wife. Whenever a special occasion comes around, I go out of my way to find something special, and even go as far as making something for her that shows just how much I care. I knew she was the one when I actually felt like being crafty just for her. If you’ve ever gone shopping for yourself, and ended up finding something special for your significant other instead, you’ve probably found the one.

19. You’re intimidated by how you feel for them

Being in loooove is definitely a scary proposition. When you’re just starting to get the feeling that “this is it,” you’re actually scared of the feelings you’ve been having. That’s simply because you’ve never felt that way before. You might even push her away at first, which I unfortunately did for a while. Don’t fight it. The rest of your life will be so much easier having the one you love by your side throughout it all.

20. You wouldn’t trade them for the world

Along with being intimated by how you feel for them, you might be hesitant to give up “the single life.” Sure, settling down means you probably won’t have those late nights with your friends for much longer, and you’ll have to make decisions as a couple instead of independently…but who says these are bad things? When you settle down with the one you love, you’ll wonder why you wasted so much time at the bar in your younger days, and you’ll wish you had gotten on track a bit sooner. When you find the one, your life will change immensely. But you’ll be totally okay with that.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm1.staticflickr.com

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Last Updated on June 12, 2018

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

Can a Dysfunctional Family Become Functional?

A dysfunctional family is more than disagreement or constant arguments. Anything from plain neglect, to abuse and even verbal and physical violence is the everyday experience of those who are part of a dysfunctional family.

You know how this looks:

  • Parents constantly comparing children.
  • Siblings in conflict because of tolerated bullying.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Adultery…
  • And many others.

For all the members, this will mean emotional pain and even trauma; which, in case it doesn’t get resolved, will have a detrimental effect on the individual’s personality and development.

Needless to say, the younger members are the most vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean the parents are out of danger, as most commonly the parents play the roles of abuser-codependent, and in some cases, both parts inflicting pain on one another.

Most like to think these problems stem from deep-seated issues, and that therefore it’s pretty much impossible to deal with them.

This is only true for families not willing to do what it takes, for if only a single member is determined and knows how to do it, the whole family can do a lot of progress.

In this article, I’ll break down for you the basic steps of fixing a dysfunctional family. Although it may seem hopeless, it is possible to turn things around.

If you have ever felt in this position, or if you know somebody who is, this article is for you.

How to fix a dysfunctional family

In a few words the solution for a dysfunctional family lies in dropping the ego, focusing on the solution, switching blame for responsibility and doing the work as a unity, for the good of the whole family.

And this will accomplish things you once only saw as a dream.

Dropping the ego? Switching blame for responsibility? Doing the work? What does all this mean?

It’s simple. In a nutshell, it’s that which will allow you to turn a dysfunctional family into a functional one.

Let’s take a look at how exactly this can be done. And near the end we will also talk about what you can do in a dysfunctional family with cynical traits.

Dysfunctional families where not only problems are well-known, but also nobody seems to want a fix or openly decide to perpetuate the harmful behaviors. Such as the case of abuse and physical violence.

There is also a solution for these, it’s just not what you are expecting…

Dysfunctional… Or just average?

Most families are dysfunctional, though at varying degrees of dysfunctionality.

The milder cases, are just marked by “typical” comically-shrouded bullying or lack of interest in other members’ development or wellbeing.

You can know a family is dysfunctional if their interactions are anything different than cooperation, solidarity, care and support. But let’s get more specific…

A dysfunctional family is one in which members directly or indirectly suffer emotional and/or physical harm inflicted by other members of their family. Most commonly, perpetrated by the parents.

Even harmful actions as “passive” as neglect, which is inflicted by inaction rather than action, signifies a dysfunction within the family.

Dysfunctional families have conflicts such as:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Lack of interest and time spent together
  • Sexism
  • Utilitarianism
  • Lack of empathy
  • Unequal or unfair treatment
  • Disrespect towards boundaries
  • Control Issues
  • Jealousy
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Violence and even sexual misconduct or abuse

You may think a dysfunctional family has very little or nothing to do with personal productivity, but you would be wrong in thinking this way…

If a person is not emotionally well, she will not be able to perform as desired, as the emotional harm that has been inflicted will hinder everyday performance in the way of inability to concentrate, lack of mental clarity and low levels of inspiration, motivation and discipline.

Having a functional family does exactly the opposite: It creates productive members with no emotional baggage.

How to turn it around

When you’re part of a dysfunctional family you know it. You can quickly identify in other members the behaviors and conflicts that create the dysfunction.

But just in case you’re having trouble telling functional from dysfunctional I will tell you the following:

One of the easiest ways you can recognize if you are in a dysfunctional family is to survey your won feelings.

We often overlook this, but have you stopped to ask yourself how you feel?

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As cheesy as it may sound it really sheds a lot of light on the subject.

What behaviors, actions and attitudes in your family you wish were better?

Do you think certain behaviors and actions from your family marked you in the past?

Sadly, we cannot go back to the past to correct it. But we can do a lot in the present…

Correction is possible

In order to fix a dysfunctional family, you must start by putting an end to the behaviors and actions that are affecting you.

Verbalize it.

All members of the dysfunctional family have one issue in common: They don’t put a stop to the harm.

Whenever you feel your boundaries being overstepped there is just one single word you have to remember: STOP.

This is the door to a better, more functional family, because after this, comes the fix.

But first you have to identify and make others know where exactly lies the problem.

So go ahead and fearlessly start with “Stop”, followed by your expression of dissatisfaction.

Putting it to work in real life

In real life it would be something like this:

“OK, stop! Every time you belittle me I feel you don’t care. I need attention and respect, and it is your responsibility as my family to provide them to me”

Or:

“Stop. When you compare me with my cousin it hurts, I feel like I don’t matter and that’s not ok. I ask you to stop doing it.

Or:

“Please stop. When you start yelling all respect is lost and it turns into a battle of who can do it louder. Don’t raise your voice and let’s work this out the way humans do”.

As you can see, here you start by putting a stop to the toxic behavior when it arises. And afterwards you verbalize why it’s wrong and what needs of you need to be fulfilled.

This is what you have to remember:

1-Stop.

2-Why it’s wrong?

3-What you need.

And this will also work well in case you need to do it for another family member.

It’s a family thing

A dysfunctional family cannot be fixed by one member alone.

Yes, a single member can initiate progress and be the leader of the change. But in order to completely become functional all members must contribute to the solution.

In other words, you will need cooperation…

So don’t be afraid of asking for it!

Approach your family member and ask to be listened.

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We sometimes feel our needs are “not that important” or we simply believe they won’t listen. But thinking like this would be like being defeated at an unfought battle.

You will be amazed by how much people listen when you voice your needs, especially if it implies showing yourself open, vulnerable and in need.

It’s not a free-for-all battle

In order to get your family to cooperate, first you must fix your individual relationships with every member of the family. Remember: Relationships are always between two people, and two people only.

No matter how complex, the quality of a multi-member relationship (like a family) will always depend on the quality of the individual relationships.

Once you have straightened the relationship with every member of the dysfunctional family you will be able to better communicate with other members and help in the betterment of their individual relationship.

And this is where we will talk about the fix itself. The one I mentioned in the introduction…

The method

1. Drop the ego

Wherever there is conflict there is ego.

You cannot fix a relationship where there is ego, because the ego will want to win. Always. Yours and the other person.

Ego craves control and satisfaction, and in many cases, to establish dominance.

What does this have to do with a dysfunctional family? Everything. Ego will interfere with every plan you have to fix it.

It will make people suborn and defensive. And it will also make them drop responsibility. This is why, the first step is to drop the ego.

After you make sure you are not going to allow your ego to interfere you must work to make the other person do the same. How? By speaking from the heart…

Tell the other person how important all this is to you.

Tell the other person that it’s not a matter of arguing, but just working things out together.

Point out how it is not possible for you to do it alone.

And ask for sincere attention without any desire of opposition, because what you are doing is by no means in the hopes of harming the other person, but just to better the relationship and stop the damage being dealt to you.

You will have to point out the mistakes you need corrected, that’s for sure. And that leads me to the next point…

2. Not blame, but responsibility

When talking about others’ mistakes we often use an accusatory tone. And that’s natural, it’s what things should be like if ego was not present.

But since we are all creatures of ego, this immediately brings the shields up. And then unsheathes the swords…

When we blame others they automatically enter a defensive state, and this only leads to a failed negotiation.

What you need to do is to shift from blame to responsibility. And even that will have to be done carefully!

Instead of telling them off or demanding change or complaining, calmly point what the problem with their behavior is.

As much as this feels contradictory, also make them feel understood. You know how difficult it is to accept a mistake, so just make them feel it’s no big fuzz… which does not mean it’s ok, but it takes tension off.

You will do something like this:

“Hello dad. Can I talk with you for a minute? I really need to tell you something.

I have been feeling pretty sad lately and I know this is something you do care about.

You see, whenever I talk about my accomplishments you mention something else that makes my achievement pale in comparison.

I know you don’t do this intentionally and I know you might have not realized this until now, but I want to let you know this really brings me down.

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It would mean a lot to me if you could stop doing it, and it would help better our relationship, because this has already forced me to distance myself from you. And I don’t want that, I want a good, healthy relationship with you”

What happened here?

We started off with making it something important, something that needs both time and attention. Then we openly show ourselves vulnerable, just as we are.

We also mention why he should listen, and shove our feelings there again, because they are important.

We describe the issue with no attachment and with no hostile intention. It’s just a description.

And then we take the blame off. Just before we assign responsibility without actually saying it.

You are not blaming him directly, but you are pointing out the inevitable fact that his actions are causing a dysfunctionality. He is now responsible for changing.

This is what “switching blame for responsibility” means. What comes next? Doing the work!

3. Doing the work

What would any of this mean if, in the end, nothing changes? Exactly, nothing!

This is why you must follow up with every change that needs to be done.

Do so in a manner that is not hostile. Bring it up in a casual manner, and emphasizing how you both reached an agreement and how that is important to the family.

If the person doesn’t follow up don’t hesitate to bring it up again, and tell them you feel disappointed that your honest try at it was not listened.

It may even be a subject in itself, and therefore the need for another conversation.

“When you go back to old habits it shows that you didn’t really care about what I said. But back in real life you just reinforce how much contempt you show towards me and my feelings.

I talk with you because I care. Because although it would be easier for me to just distance myself from you I rather do my part in nurturing this relationship.

But there is just so much I can do, if you refuse to do your part I can do nothing else.”

You need very clear and positive communication in order to make this work.

Love is all you need

You must remember that in order for a dysfunctional family to become functional, all the work needs to stem from love.

That is the single one requirement for all this to work: Love.

And what happens if it simply is not there?

What happens if, nobody is willing to do what it takes?

What happens if a member of the family refuses to change and is happy with the harm he or she is dealing?

There is only one thing you can do:

To break away.

Let’s be honest, people, especially adults, are very difficult to change.

There is a Jewish proverb that I love, which sums it up like this:

“We spend the rest of our lives trying to unlearn what we learned before we were 7”

If you find it very hard to change the very traits that make your family dysfunctional or if it’s simply impossible, you still have a card up your sleeve…

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Although nobody likes to beak away from family members, we must remember we have a responsibility with ourselves as individuals, before any relationship with anyone.

You have the responsibility of making yourself happy and free. Because you matter as an individual, regardless of any relationships you have, be it family, friendship or romantic.

Putting distance

So in case you are dealing with a family member who is simply unwilling to change take both physical and emotional distance.

What do I mean?

Learn, first, to take their damage in a detached manner.

Don’t let it hurt you further. Instead take a deep breath and distance yourself emotionally.

Don’t be attached to feelings such as “Why doesn’t she love me?” or “What did I do to deserve this?” or “If he wasn’t like that my life would be perfect”.

Simply refuse to keep participating in the emotional downward spiral and accept, even if it’s painful” that there is nothing you can do. Accept that even without that relationship you are whole, you are worthy of love and respect.

They are their responsibility and you are yours. So decide what is best for you.

Realize it only comes down to two possibilities:

I keep the relationship and therefore accept the abuse. Or…

I choose my peace of mind.

And don’t let your mind fool you. We often think that since we all are imperfect, we must take the good and the bad behaviors of people. And we are especially forgiving towards our family…

Well, guess what? We are also responsible adults who are aware and must own to their acts. Never excuse abuse or violence or transgression towards you or anybody else.

Choose your happiness and if possible, also distance yourself physically, as it will increase your peace of mind tenfold.

How to prevent it

There are two key concepts you must bear in mind in order to prevent the dysfunctionality of a family:

  • To be completely aware of one’s own mistakes and not allow them to impact others and…
  • To make sure our SO’s are also on the same channel before creating a family (i.e. having children)

Dysfunctional families are the product of irresponsible paternity, for the decades-long unresolved emotional conflict ends up surfacing in the family inevitably, and it will for sure harm those who least deserve it: Innocent children.

You may notice we went from talking about family, to talking about individual relationships, to talking about you. We went from “them” to “us” to “me”.

Why? Because in the end you have the power to fix a dysfunctional family. To correct the mistakes you have in yours and to prevent dysfunctionalities if you don’t have a family but plan to create one.

Priorities and clear thought

You may be part of a dysfunctional family, but that does not mean you are powerless or that you have to suffer the consequences.

You learned today how it’s all a matter of priorities and thinking clearly.

You learned that, if love exists, everything is possible. You learned that even when there is no love and no fix for your dysfunctional family, there are still things you can do. It’s a matter of choosing your peace, because you deserve it.

Everything will be better if you apply this knowledge. If you talk to that problematic family member. If you help them see the harm they are doing. If you make sure they do change and treat you the way you need to be treated…

If you choose yourself over that toxic family member. If you refuse to justify the harm that others can do to yourself. If you realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself.

And lastly, that you also have to be aware of your actions and be open to criticism. Because we might be unknowingly harming others. And that would be us creating a dysfunctionality. Don’t allow it to happen.

Dysfunctional families are not impossible to fix. It just takes love, cooperation and responsibility.

But if you tried and those elements are not present, just choose yourself instead.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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