Category

relationships

Woman Unceremoniously Dumps Toxic Boyfriend After Constant Body Shaming

By | body positivity, dating, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Stories, relationships, stories, uplifting news

One body-shaming boyfriend learned a hard lesson about respect when he crossed the wrong girl.

Weight-watching

23-year-old Shelby Johnson has spent years struggling with her weight. 

Things got so serious that as a teen, she had to be hospitalized after dropping down to a brittle 80 lbs. After that scare she managed to put on weight, along with self-esteem, she tells People.

“I haven’t been self-conscious in years. I was when I was underweight, but when I started getting to my goal weight my entire mindset changed”

– Shelby Johnson

“I felt more confident, more whole even. I knew that I was getting where I wanted to be and strived to be”

A devastating DM

Things were going so well that Johnson would even find a boyfriend who she thought loved and accepted her for who she was. 

That was until one day, when he DM’ed her with a particular complaint.

“It’s not like I haven’t told you you’ve been gaining and needed to lose anyway. You’re definitely getting a beer gut babe.”

– Shelby Johnson’s boyfriend, per her Tweet

In that moment, all of her insecurities returned, she shared.

“His comments did make me self-conscious. I started trying to work out 24/7. A couple friends noticed and expressed concern in my sudden desire to be so fit. ”

As she began to question her own response to her boyfriend’s message, Johnson took to Twitter to ask her friends if she was overreacting for feeling hurt.

Dumping dead weight 

She received more than just a second opinion.

Her tweet went viral, gaining nearly 39,500 likes and 5,200 from people telling her to dump her boyfriend, and that she’s beautiful already.

“He doesn’t deserve you. No need to keep that negativity around. You look great,” said one.

“Girl, dump him and find you someone who loves everything about you,” urged another.

Another commenter recommended an upgrade from her boyfriend.

“Dump him and buy a dog:)”

– @ktmlowe_ on Twitter

Johnson says that the overwhelming reaction “made me realize I wasn’t crazy for being hurt.” In another tweet, she announced that she dumped her boyfriend, joking that in doing so she was “dropping a hefty 180 lbs.”

Know your worth

Johnson says that although her now-ex-boyfriend was “really unhappy” about being dumped so publicly, he’ll use it as “a learning experience to be a better person.”

She just hopes that her painful experience serves as an eye-opener for women with similar experiences.

“Be careful, notice red flags and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and leave something that is no longer making you feel happy”

– Shelby Johnson

When it comes to relationships, compromises are important. It’s part of understanding, accepting and ultimately embracing one another.

However, one thing that’s non-negotiable is mutual respect. As Johnson’s story showed, anyone who disrespects or demeans you doesn’t deserve your time of day, let alone your love.

More uplifting stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/04/09/woman-dumps-toxic-boyfriend-body-shaming-beer-gut/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=woman-dumps-toxic-boyfriend-body-shaming-beer-gut

Halle Berry’s Response To Troll Is An Inspiration To Anyone Who’s Gone Through A Breakup

By | dating, Food for thought, inspiring, Inspiring Celebrities, inspiring celebs, relationships, stories, uplifting news

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it keeps happening in the public eye. Recently, when Halle Berry was shaded by a fan on Instagram, she had the perfect response.

A heated exchange

It all started when Berry posted an empowering message geared toward women.

A rude follower responded: “Says the women who can’t keep a man.”

But Berry didn’t let that rude person get her down and replied, “Who says I wanna keep the wrong man? Cuz…. I don’t.”

Great point!

Amazing Clapback

Of course, the commenting didn’t stop there, and another follower wrote “Geesh Halle, had some trouble with men in your life??”

Berry responded to that, “Nope, they had trouble with me.”

“No man has ever taken care of me… EVER!”

– Halle Berry

There’s no doubt that Berry has had some heartache in the public eye, from multiple divorces to a split with a partner just after they had a child. But her life is her business, no matter how famous she is – and that is an important message to us all.

Have faith in yourself

Relationships end, and they may end in a hard, sad, way – but that’s not a reflection on you or what you deserve, ever.

Toxic relationships and bad breakups happen very often, to many of us. It’s how you have faith in yourself and the promise of the future that you get past them.

While it’s sometimes true that it’s important to look at any unconscious patterns we may have if we keep ending up in one toxic relationship after the other, it’s no reason to victim-blame — ever. It’s simply part of the healing journey, and every human being is worthy of healthy love.

More inspiring celebs:

https://www.goalcast.com/2021/02/18/halle-berry-responds-rude-instagram-comment-cant-keep-man/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=halle-berry-responds-rude-instagram-comment-cant-keep-man

She Can’t Form New Memories, So He Shows Her Pics Of Their Wedding Every Day

By | Food for thought, heartwarming, love stories, marriage, relationships, stories, uplifting news

Some Hollywood stories were made for real life.

Filmed in Hawaii, Peter Segal’s 2004 rom-com hit 50 First Dates tells the story of Henry (played by Adam Sandler), who falls for amnesia-stricken Lucy (played by Drew Barrymore). Henry vows to win over her love anew every day.

Thousands of miles away in Spalding, Lincolnshire, lives the real-life couple — a wife who won’t give up and a husband whose patience and love have no limits.

Lost memories

I don’t know who you are, Henry… but I dream about you almost every night. Why?

Lucy to Harry in ’50 First Dates’

In the movie, we discover that Barrymore’s character, Lucy Whitmore, lost her memory from a recent car accident.

She wakes up every morning having forgotten anything about the day before. That includes her affection for Henry, a vacationing veterinarian who’s smitten with her.

Like Lucy, Michelle Philpots’ memory was also affected due to a vehicle accident. Doctors ultimately diagnosed her with anterograde amnesia.

It’s defined as “a loss of the ability to create new memories after the event that caused amnesia, leading to a partial or complete inability to recall the recent past, while long-term memories from before the event remain intact.”

For Michelle, that means waking up every day thinking it’s 1994, when Ace of Base sat atop the music charts and ‘Forest Gump’ was the year’s blockbuster film.

I wanted to be back to the normal me and not this shell of a person. I want my career back. I want to be able to say, ‘I remember when’ again — but knowing [that’s] the life you’ve lost, you can’t do it.

– Michelle Philpots on TODAY

Michelle uses hundreds of Post-It notes and keeps reminders on her phone’s calendar to avoid forgetting the small tasks most of us take for granted. She also has to log every interaction for future reference.

Even more troubling is that although Michelle met her husband Ian in 1985, they only got married in 1997. Meaning every day she wakes up with no recollection of their wedding day.

Her leading man

In the movie, Henry courts Lucy every day as if it was their first time together. His surprise “Good morning Lucy” tape reminds her of their wedding day.

And just like Sandler’s character, Ian is determined to make his wife fall in love with him every day. Each morning, he shows her pictures of their wedding day, sharing those moments to jog her memory and bring a smile to her face.

Can I have one last first kiss?

– Lucy, ’50 First Dates’

Although it can be trying at times, Ian never gets daunted, determined to rekindle their memories as a couple.

It can be very frustrating for me but I have to be patient and understand. I have to keep calm because I love her

– Ian Philpots to Daily Mail

Love is worth fighting for

Michelle works constantly to try to improve her condition. She can now recall up to six numbers by punching them into a telephone keypad.

Although it has been a struggle, her husband Ian has been by her side, recreating the moments that her accident has erased.

When Ian looks at Michelle, he sees the woman he loves. Just like Adam Sandler’s character, he’ll do anything to make sure that Michelle reconnects with the man she married.

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/23/michelle-philpots-amnesia-husband-real-life-50-first-dates/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=michelle-philpots-amnesia-husband-real-life-50-first-dates

Mom Fights To Adopt Abused Special Needs Teen Who Lived With 28 Other Orphans

By | adoption, family, Food for thought, heartwarming, parenting, relationships, stories, uplifting news

Most aspiring adoptive parents dream of bringing a bright-eyed baby home, someone they can nurture from infancy.

Unfortunately, older kids like Sony, a teenager from India – who also had physical and emotional scars – get overlooked. One family dared to look past that and met an incredible girl. Their story reminds us of the gift of ignoring appearances.

Indian families usually only want to adopt newborn children who are completely ‘perfect’ according to them

CARA CE0 Deepak Kumar

A difficult upbringing

Life was rough in India for 14-year-old Sony. Abandoned by her family, born with a birth defect and having suffered through years of physical abuse, she had facial differences and brain damage.

At school, teachers would force her to cover her face, saying that it scared the other children. “It made me feel sad”, she told KHOU.

Her older age made finding a family difficult. Couples dream of taking home a bright-eyed baby who they can nurture. Older kids are seen as undesirable, having too much “baggage.”

According to India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the majority of “returned” adoptive kids are older (6 years +).

Isolated and packed in a home with 28 other foster children, Sony seemed to have nothing to look forward to as her 15th birthday neared.

Hope across the globe

While Sony was praying for a family, thousands of miles away, Shannon Regan and fiancé Jay Marsh of Anne Arundel County, Maryland were growing theirs.

They had recently adopted 11-year-old Chelsea from China. During Chelsea’s adoption process, Shannon came across Sony and wanted to adopt her too.

Working closely with Reece’s Rainbow, a group that provides support for families adopting children with special needs, they fought to bring her over.

Race against a pandemic

The couple was fully prepared for the red tape and delays. What they couldn’t anticipate was a global pandemic. With the coronavirus spreading, Shannon needed to hurry to India to complete the process.

There has been a lot of trust on her part that there is a world out there here, we just need to get out there safely

Shannon Regan to ABC

Thankfully, she made it in time. They brought Sony over before the COVID-19 lockdowns started, just days before her 15th birthday on June 3rd. Shannon counts her blessings.

“If I hadn’t gone over there and got the final approval to bring her home, she definitely would still not be home”, she told ABC.

The gift of a home

Shannon truly realized her fortune when Sony returned to Maryland. In fact, she says both of her adoptive daughters have completely enriched her life and changed her for the better.

Having parents has helped me know that I’m important, loved, I have a new life. I can be my best and I am safe.

Sony Regan to ABC

No longer having to cover up, Sony is happy to finally be part of a family. She is now on a mission to help other children receive the gift of adoption. In a two-page letter she wrote encouraging adoption, Sony explains why a child is never too old.

“I know people are scared to adopt older children because they think that child might hurt the parents or family or child or won’t love them and won’t fit in. Actually, I know the adopted child can make your family life better. Adopted children do love their family even when it feels hard at first.”

I think adoption is love. I prayed for a family for a long time.

Sony Regan

Perfectly imperfect

Many saw in Sony someone too disfigured to look at, too old to change, too hurt to love.

The Regans instead saw a beautiful girl with a big heart who only needed a chance. Finally given an opportunity, she can show the world the amazing person she is.

Shannon Regan encourages parents to pursue adoption with both their “head and heart.” Wouldn’t it be nice if we brought that approach to all of our pursuits?

More uplifting news:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/17/shannon-regan-adoption-teenage-sony-india/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=shannon-regan-adoption-teenage-sony-india

How To Tell If Someone Has A Truly Toxic Personality, According To Science

By | dating, family, Food for thought, friends, Motivation, narcissism, personality, relationships, self, self-development, Self-Improvement, stories, toxic people, toxic relationships, uplifting news

Your friend or someone you know has gotten fired from every job they’ve ever had. Their dates always flake on them and their friends always betray them. The common theme: it’s never their fault and if you press them on it you’re the one to blame.

According to a team of psychologists in Israel, these types of people may have a toxic personality disorder called “tendency for interpersonal victimhood” (TIV), which they describe as “an ongoing feeling that the self is a victim, which is generalized across many kinds of relationships.”

People with TIV wholly and truly believe they are never wrong and that their victimhood is a core part of their identity.

How to tell if someone ‘plays the victim?’

Not everyone who feels victimized is toxic. Bad things do happen and it’s okay to be upset about it.

Rather, TIV occurs when someone constantly feels like a victim and they bring others down with them.

Rahav Gabay and her colleagues determined that people with TIV tend to have four dimensions:

Constantly seeking recognition

Of all the allegedly horrible things that happen to someone with TIV, people never apologize to them. Worse, they don’t even acknowledge their wrongdoing.

While apologies can be hard to come by, this only becomes an issue when the person who plays the victim is in desperate search of recognition for the supposed bad things that are done to them.

A sense of moral elitism

People with TIV are never wrong. In fact, their moral compass is better than everyone else’s and they use this assumption to manipulate others into their own perspective.

This behavior may be a defense mechanism as a way to maintain a positive self-image.

Lack of empathy for others

Everything that happens to TIV people is the absolute worst and no one else’s pain or suffering matters, or so they think. This can especially be toxic in a relationship as TIV people only care about their own problems, never others’.

The route of this behavior can be that since the person believes they have suffered so much, they don’t think anyone else deserves empathy for their suffering.

This lack of empathy can also show up in a group or national level in the form of “competitive victimhood” or an “egoism of victimhood” where members of a group cannot see things from another group’s perspective.

Rumination about past victimization

Since romantic relationships never worked out in the past for TIV people, there’s no chance they’ll work in the future. This is a fallacy as the past doesn’t dictate the future, but it’s a core belief of people who always play the victim.

Always ruminating about past grievances and thinking it reflects the future is something perpetual victims tend to do.

Why TIV is toxic

People who always play the victim are extremely difficult to deal with because they’re selfish and never wrong.

They’re also obsessed with seeking revenge for those who’ve wronged them and may punish others who had nothing to do with it just because they’ve been wronged before.

Forgiving is part of growth

We all play the victim from time to time. Sometimes bad things really do happen to us and it makes us sour.

The problem is when the victimhood because constant and when the person never learns from their mistakes. It’s also problematic when they never forgive others – you don’t know what everyone is going through and nobody’s perfect.

Ultimately, the problem with playing the victim is it doesn’t allow you to learn or grow from the past. If you don’t acknowledge your faults, how can you make adjustments for the future?

If you know someone who’s always playing a victim, it might be time to reduce your relationship with them or have a frank discussion about it. Life is too short to be surrounded by toxic people.

More uplifting stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/16/toxic-personality-disorder-tendency-interpersonal-victimhood/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=toxic-personality-disorder-tendency-interpersonal-victimhood

People Who Never Find Love Make This Critical Mistake, According To Ryan Reynolds’ New Commercial

By | Celebrities, dating, Food for thought, heartwarming, relationships, ryan reynolds, stories, uplifting news

Finding love has been hard in 2020, with a global pandemic and many people never leaving their houses and all – but then again, when hasn’t finding a match been kind of difficult?

Ryan Reynolds’ new Match commercial touches on just this issue – and shows how, when it’s meant to be, love will indeed find a way.

It also subtly highlights a critical mistake many single people make when looking for the one. (Yes, this especially applies when online dating during a pandemic).

Ryan Reynolds stars in Match.com ad

The commercial follows a woman named 2-0-2-0 (get it?) who finds herself matching with a guy who goes by the name of Satan.

[embedded content]

Satan is true to folklore, red and mean-looking with big horns, presiding over hell (nothing at all like the fetching Lucifer character on Netflix), but that doesn’t stop him from wanting love. He matches with 2-0-2-0 and discovers it’s a mutual match.

 “The feelings are mutual, so what are you waiting for?” his app reads.

The devil himself was able to find someone

The first date goes like many others.  They meet under a bridge, introduce themselves and stroll off. The video continues with a montage of dates they have throughout the year, enjoying empty theaters and football stadiums as they lead the rest of the world towards a shutdown.

Of course, their dates are against the backdrop of the world around them being a mess, from stealing toilet paper to watching movies in an empty theater, but they are still in their idea of a perfect love story.

Looking for love? Avoid this critical mistake and focus on this

While this video is undeniably funny – it’s also exhibitive of a really important truth that all of us should remember in our own dating lives.

If you think there is nobody out there for you, or if you think that because we’re in the middle of a pandemic there is no chance, you are sabotaging your own chances of finding someone from the get-go.

Love is out there, and the perfect person for you is out there (cause if Satan himself can find love in this ad, you sure can despite your perceived shortcomings and imperfections) if you are willing to believe it.

If you want love, don’t make excuses, and don’t deny yourself the chance to find it. You deserve that opportunity.

The important takeaway from this funny video is not that Satan and 2020 are one in the same (though that is debatable), but that no matter what your life circumstances are, you should never stop believing in yourself and in the possibility of meeting someone.

More inspiring celebrities:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/12/04/ryan-reynolds-match-commercial-lesson-single/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ryan-reynolds-match-commercial-lesson-single

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen Had to Fail at Marriage to Find True Love

By | Food for thought, love stories, marriage, profile, relationships, romantic

Ted Danson has had an unbelievable career in comedy. Despite the occasional miss, his roles on Cheers and The Good Place alone have solidified his status as a Hollywood legend. Similarly, his personal life has been a smash hit for the past 20-plus years. But that wasn’t always the case.

As Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen’s bumpy love story proves, sometimes you have to deal with your fair share of drama and heartbreak before being rewarded with unconditional love. 

Here’s what we can learn from Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen’s marriage:

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen have enjoyed over two decades of wedded bliss, but when the pair first met on the set of Pontiac Moon in 1993, the outlook was anything but promising. That’s because they had both sworn off love for good.

Steenburgen had gotten divorced in 1990 and Danson was having zero luck in the romance department. Not only was he twice divorced, but his second marriage ended in scandal and a historic $30 million settlement

Everyone changes…

Ted Danson’s first shot at love came at a young age. In 1970, at the age of 23, he married actress Randy Gosch whom he had met at Carnegie Mellon University. As their respective careers began taking off, however, they found themselves on different paths and separated in 1975. 

People change with every experience they have and don’t always remain compatible.

It’s a lesson Danson would soon learn for a second time. Unphased by his divorce, Danson said “I do” to producer Cassandra Coates just two years later. Sadly, a major health scare would soon drive a wedge between them. 

And tragedy can change your relationship

The year was 1979 and Coates was giving birth to their first child, Kate, when she suffered a stroke that paralyzed her left side. Recovery was slow and painful, but Danson remained by her side, even sleeping on the hospital room floor for the first three weeks. Unfortunately, the trauma soon took its toll. 

Speaking candidly about their experience, Coates told People in 1982:

For the first month, I did nothing but cry. I gave Ted permission to leave me. I thought I was going to be a wipe-out the rest of my life.

Cassandra Coates, People Magazine

As she noted, they were still “adjusting to the fact that we aren’t the same people we were before this happened.” 

Not only was their intimacy gone — “You don’t think about your sex life when you’re paralyzed,” she told the outlet — but as they tried to find their new “normal,” tensions grew.

As Danson admitted, “There was a huge rift between us — a massive lack of trust” accompanied by a major “sense of sacrifice” on his part.

Sometimes you have to lose everything to find joy 

Despite all of the challenges they faced, Danson and Coates remained a team for the next decade, but their foundation would crumble in the early ‘90s.

Danson was accused of having an affair with co-star Whoopi Goldberg on the set of 1993’s Made in America and the media just couldn’t get enough. That’s when the actor’s life began spiraling out of control. 

His marriage fell apart, he was hit with a history-making $30 million divorce settlement, Cheers was officially over, Made in America was a flop and, when all was said and done, his new relationship with Goldberg just couldn’t withstand the pressure. The couple called it quits after only 18 months of dating, shortly after an embarrassing comedy routine in which Danson dressed up in blackface to roast his girlfriend.

“I was a mess-and-a-half,” Danson told AARP Magazine of that time in his life.

I thought, I’m incapable of being in a relationship. But I was working on myself.

Ted Danson, AARP Magazine

And that’s when the unexpected happened. As he noted, it’s “ironic how life works in those moments. Once you throw your arms up and surrender, a lot of times things come your way.”

True love comes when you least expect it…  

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen
3/7/99 Los Angeles, CA. Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen at the 5th Annual Screen Actors Guild Award.

When Danson met Steenburgen on the set of Pontiac Moon in 1993, she was in a similar headspace to his. She was a newly single mother of two, having divorced Malcolm McDowell in 1990, and, like her co-star, she had all but given up on love.

“I announced to all my friends — not dramatically, but very seriously — that I was done with relationships,” she told Closer

That all changed one fateful day. The actors, who were tasked with playing a married couple, spent five hours shooting a canoe scene that would alter their lives forever. As Danson told the magazine, “We went out as friends and by the time we came back, we were in love.”

The timing of their encounter, which may have seemed odd at first, was actually perfect, as the pair had similar experiences to bond over.

As Danson explained, “We found each other when I was 45 and she was 40 — we had lived a bit.”

Both of us stared down some demons within ourselves, and it was lucky that we met then.

Ted Danson, Closer Weekly

They soon restored each other’s faith in love and were married in 1995.

True love gets stronger with age 

While Danson experienced his first three relationships crumble over time, with Steenburgen he learned a valuable lesson: True love gets stronger with age.

When faced with hardships, personal growth, and changing outlooks on life, true love doesn’t dissolve. Rather, it’s able to withstand anything you throw at it.

Which explains why the couple is as crazy in love today as they were when they first met. 

“I’m madly in love with Mary,” Danson proclaimed in 2017, gushing, “She’s a remarkable human being so I’m just incredibly blessed. It feels like heaven on Earth,” he continued. “If I were to die, I can say, I know what it’s like to be loved and to love.”

The feeling is mutual. “I’m ridiculously in love with him,” Steenburgen proclaimed in 2018. “I find him endlessly fascinating. He surprises me all the time and most of all he makes me laugh.” 

Ted and Mary’s biggest lesson:

It’s easy to have regrets or second-guess your choices in life, especially when the outcome isn’t the one you’d hoped for, but consider this: If you were to change even a single element of your past, your present might look very different.

This is a truth Danson is acutely aware of. As he told AARP Magazine, “If I corrected my mistakes — which are cringers — would I take them away if it were to alter anything about where I am now? No. Life is messy. The older I get, the more I realize it’s okay to be imperfect,” he noted. “Because you can still grow and make changes in your life.” 

Rather than pondering the what-ifs, use every experience, both good and bad, as an opportunity to learn. Treat failure as a chance to grow and better yourself and remember that your present is the result of everything that came before it, so there’s no time for regret. Instead, trust that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be or, at least, that you’re headed there.

More inspiring love stories:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/01/31/ted-danson-mary-steenburgen-marriage/

Is Appreciation Deficit Disorder Ruining Your Relationship?

By | challenging, dating, Food for thought, how-to guide, marriage, movie, relationships

Contrary to appearances, Netflix’s hit movie Marriage Story is not a story about divorce. It is, as its title indicates, a story about marriage. More specifically, it is the story of how a good marriage goes bad for one simple reason: Appreciation Deficit Disorder.     

What is appreciation deficit disorder?

While Appreciation Deficit Disorder isn’t a clinical disorder, if it was it would be defined as something like this: a “disorder” characteristic of the character we meet individuals like Charlie (Adam Driver) and Nicole (Scarlett Johansson)– who are in decent, functional relationships, but who are “appreciation-deficient” with regards to themselves, their spouses, and their relationship as a whole.

In fact, the failed marriage between Charlie and Nicole could be considered a textbook example of this as-yet undiagnosed “disorder” because it displays all the classic symptoms of this brand-new, made-up malaise.

Here are the symptoms of appreciation deficit disorder:

1. Physical and emotional withdrawal 

Example: Charlie and Nicole have been living parallel lives for the last joyless and sexless year of their marriage.

2. Criticism 

Example: Nicole repeatedly criticizes Charlie for being selfish, whereas Charlie repeatedly criticizes Nicole for being… Nicole;

3. Contempt 

Example: harlie claims that Nicole hated him during the last year of their marriage, whereas Nicole feels Charlie has been contemptuously ignoring her core needs; 

4. Negative sentiment override 

Example: The spouses are both so flooded with negative emotion that they each accuse one another of rewriting their shared past, as when Charlie insists that Nicole has only decided, after the fact, that she wasn’t happy with their life in Brooklyn, when at the time she was.     

Fortunately, appreciation deficit disorder contains, embedded within itself, its own obvious cure: appreciation. 

Indeed, the renowned couples therapist Terry Real considers appreciation not only the single “most effective” strategy for improving a relationship, but he goes so far as to say, “This one principle is equal to all the others combined.”  As we will see, most of the top couples therapists in the world agree.  

How to avoid appreciation deficit disorder:

Step 1. Appreciate one another

Marriage Story opens with tender and heart-warming expressions of mutual appreciation between Nicole and Charlie. At first sight, it certainly doesn’t seem like they suffer appreciation deficit.

The world’s pre-eminent marriage researcher, John Gottman, would say (with one important reservation) that Charlie and Nicole both have good “love maps,” a term that evokes the amount of “cognitive room” one has for all the little quirks of their spouse’s personality and personal history, as well as the marriage itself.

Gottman’s research shows that having good love maps is the very foundation of the seven-story “sound marital house” that constitutes a strong, sustainable relationship. His research also shows that having good love maps is a necessary prerequisite for building the next level up in the sound marital house, “fondness and admiration.”

Step 2. Be grateful for the things you appreciate

Researchers like Sara Algoe, Amie Gordon, Emily Impett, and Samantha Joel would also be impressed with the way that Charlie and Nicole express gratitude for how their partner invests in their relationship– a tendency that functions as a “booster shot” for relationship commitment and overall happiness.  

For instance, even when Charlie complains about Nicole’s untidiness – “It’s not easy for her to put away a sock, or close a cabinet, or do a dish” – he nevertheless expresses his gratitude for her effort and attributes it to her fondness for him: “but she tries for me.” 

Likewise, Nicole peppers her appreciations of Charlie with generous expressions of gratitude, singling out, for example:

He takes all of my moods steadily, he doesn’t give in to them or make me feel bad about them.

As the marriage historian Eli Finkel explains in his widely-praised book The All-or-Nothing Marriage, “In the long run, people who experience elevated levels of gratitude also experience stronger relationship commitment and are less likely to break up.”

But if Charlie and Nicole are so good at appreciating one another in all of these ways, then why do they break up?

Step 3. Express your appreciation 

While they feeling appreciation, Charlie and Nicole don’t express their appreciation out loud to one another. When we finally hear Nicole’s appreciation of Charlie articulated out loud, we come to understand that one of the main factors that causes both their marriage and their divorce to unravel is the unwillingness to give voice to appreciation. 

Most of the top couples therapists in the world – John Gottman, Sue Johnson, and Terry Real – emphasize the crucial importance of not just appreciating our partners but expressing that appreciation. 

For instance, Terry Real writes, ”When I speak of cherishing, I do not mean just feeling warm and fuzzy inside. I mean doing something to let your partner know what you are appreciating.”

Gottman makes the same basic point:

When you acknowledge and openly discuss positive aspects of your partner and your marriage, your bond is strengthened.  

Why is expressing appreciation so important?  Perhaps for the same reason that it’s so important not just to appreciate a house plant, but also to water it.    

Step 4. Appreciate one another’s life dreams

Why does Nicole refuse to read her appreciations out loud to Charlie?  While there are many answers to this question, they all ultimately boil down to another, more fundamental symptom of ADD.

Nicole is both hurt by and angry at Charlie because he has failed to listen for and appreciate her deepest needs and most-cherished longings.

According to Gottman, whenever there is a gridlocked conflict in a relationship the thing to do is dig down to what he calls the “dream within the conflict.” 

By “dream” he means the hopes, aspirations and wishes that are part of people’s very identity and that give purpose and meaning to their lives. In Gottman’s experience, the best way to drill down to the dream beneath the conflict is to explore the underlying symbolism of the surface-level desires at play in the disagreement. 

If he had taken me in a big hug and said ‘Baby, I’m so excited for your adventure and of course I want you to have your own piece of earth’ then we might not be getting divorced.

The marriage researchers Shelly Gable and Harry Reis have shown that when partners communicate and celebrate their individual successes with one another they both feel greater positive emotions and mental health, and also experience increased feelings of trust, intimacy, and satisfaction in the relationship.

As Eli Finkel explains, “Enthusiastic responses are beneficial because they convey the listener’s shared joy in the event and appreciation of the personal significance of the event for the discloser.”

Step 5. Appreciate (or, at the very least, accept) your partner’s influence

In Marriage Story, Nicole complains that all of the furniture in their apartment was Charlie’s taste. She bemoans the fact she didn’t even get to pick their apartment but just moved into his.

More generally, and perhaps most significantly, she remarks that during their marriage:

It would be so weird if he had turned to me and said ‘And what do you want to do today?’

In their long-term study of 131 newly-wed couples who they followed for nine years, Gottman and his fellow researchers found that even in the first few months of marriage, men who allowed their wives to influence them had happier relationships and were less likely to eventually divorce than men who resisted their wives influence. 

“Statistically speaking,” he writes, “when a man is not willing to share power with his partner there is an 81% chance that his marriage will self-destruct.”

Marriage Story Adam Driver Scarlett Johansson

Step 6. Appreciate and assert your own needs and dreams

It seems fair to say that Nicole also fails to appreciate her own dreams and assert her influence in a way that Charlie can understand.

She says, “I made noises about wanting to move back to LA, but they came to nothing, but “making noises” is a far cry from clearly and insistently articulating your dreams and desires. And unfortunately, as Terry Real writes:

You cannot create an extraordinary relationship unless you’re willing to do the hard work of identifying what it is that you want and pursuing it.

It is for this reason that, out of the many possible forms of appreciation that exist, Real prioritizes the cultivation of self-appreciation. 

“First and foremost,” he says, “I want you to cherish yourself.  I want you to value your own wants and needs. I want you to value your voice.”

Real has a confrontational way of encouraging people to appreciate and express their own wants up front. He invites them to swallow this bitter pill:

You don’t have the right to complain about not getting what you never asked for.

Step 7. Appreciate relationality

If Nicole had discerned and appreciated her own dreams more fully, she might have been able to summon the courage to not only stand up for herself but to speak up for herself and ask for more out of Charlie and for more out of their marriage. 

This is the very essence of what Real calls “fierce intimacy” or “daring to rock the boat.” Grabbing your partner by the collar and saying, ‘Such-and-such is really important to me. You better take it seriously. I’m not kidding.”  

Unfortunately, because Nicole doesn’t fully appreciate her own needs, she cannot articulate them to Charlie, let alone roll up her sleeves and fight like hell to make sure he meets them. 

Rather than moving from disempowerment to what Real calls “relationship empowerment,” she moves directly from disempowerment to what he calls “personal empowerment.”  

In Real’s view, “traditional femininity” teaches women disempowerment (i.e. “shut up and eat it”).  In contrast, third-wave feminism teaches women “personal empowerment” (i.e. “speak out and leave it”). But the next step is what he calls “relationship empowerment,” which encourages women to “stand firm and mean it.”

Marriage Story appreciation

What is real “relationship empowerment”? 

Something like this: “How are we going to be together in a way that works for both of us? How are we going to negotiate our needs? This is what I’d like. Tell me what you’d like.  And tell me what you need from me to help you deliver.”

Of course, there’s no guarantee that if Nicole and Charley had had the guts to have this kind of conversation they would have been able to work things out. But it certainly would have upped the odds. And it certainly would have been better than either staying in a marriage plagued by Appreciation Deficit Disorder, or complaining after the fact about never getting what neither of them ever asked for. 

By identifying the problem and addressing it maturely with these tools, you’re well on you’re way from moving from “appreciation deficit” to “relationship empowerment.”

Where to go from here:

https://www.goalcast.com/2020/01/24/appreciation-deficit-disorder-ruining-your-relationship/

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart’s 18-Year Romance Had an Unexpected Wingman

By | calista flockhart, Food for thought, harrison ford, love stories, marriage, relationships, romantic, stories

When Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart first began dating, their budding romance was met with a large dose of skepticism. First, there was the fact that the Star Wars actor is 22 years her senior. Then there was his not-so-perfect relationship past.

Luckily, Flockhart ignored the critics (and the two-decade age gap) and the pair has since gone on to become one of Hollywood’s longest-lasting couples.

Here’s what we can learn from Harrison and Calista’s romance:

People do change 

Harrison Ford has had no shortage of success — and controversy — in the love department. The Indiana Jones star was first married to illustrator and chef Mary Marquardt from 1964 to 1979 and the couple had two sons together, Ben and Willard.

However, their relationship was anything but perfect. When Carrie Fisher’s memoir was published in 2017, it was revealed that she and Ford had had an affair on the set of 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. The infidelity likely played a major role in the end of their marriage, but it didn’t spell out the end of Ford’s quest for love. 

Fast forward to 1983 and Ford was saying “I do” to screenwriter Melissa Mathison. They had two kids, Malcolm and Georgia, and appeared to be absolutely smitten with each other, but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

The pair began living separately in 2000 and, despite reconciling and putting in the work to try to rescue their union, Mathison filed for divorce in 2001.

However, some relationships in life simply don’t last forever and it is important to recognize that. Trying to place blame doesn’t yield positive results and that time is better spent looking forward while learning from the past.

Calista made the first move 

Ford and Flockhart first met at the 2002 Golden Globes after the Ally McBeal actress hatched quite the sneaky plan. Deciding to take fate into her own hands — literally — she reportedly “spilled her drink on him intentionally in order to meet him.” 

The bold move paid off. Plans were made for a follow-up encounter and her next step was to enlist then-costar James Marsden to take on wingman duties.

Recalling the incident in a 2013 interview, Marsden revealed, “She said, ‘Come to dinner with me and Harrison.’ I’m like, ‘Me, you, and him?’ It turned out to be a small group of us, thankfully, but I ended up as her wingman.”

The group had dinner, then headed back to Ford’s home for drinks and music. “He was giggly and goofy around her but pretty aloof with the rest of us,” Marsden recalled.

It was then that Ford made his intentions known, as Marsden noted, “We had more drinks, he played more music and then at some point he gave me a look that said, ‘OK, you’ve got to get the f*** out of here.’”

She looked past the numbers

VENICE – SEPTEMBER 1: American actor Harrisson Ford and Calista Flockhart arrive at the Palazzio del cinema at the 59th Venice Film Festival September 1, 2002 in Venice, Italy. Harrison Ford stars in Kathryn Begelow’s film “K-19: The Widowmaker” that will be presented at the festival. The annual Venice Film Festival is one of the oldest and most prestigious cinema events in Europe. The ten day event traditionally sponsors non-Hollywood films and awards the Golden Lion as its top prize. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Not only did Ford’s romantic past not interest Flockhart, but she was totally indifferent about his age. As she once told Hello! Magazine, “It doesn’t faze me. Sometimes I even say, ‘Wow, I keep forgetting that he’s 22 years older than me’. It doesn’t factor into our relationship at all,” she confessed.

“I like the way he looks first thing in the morning. It’s not handsome, it’s more cute. He looks like a little boy,” she added.

Age was also never a factor for Ford. By 2003, he was absolutely head over heels for the actress, telling Hello! Magazine:

I’m in love. Romantic love is one of the most exciting and fulfilling kinds of love and I think there is a potential for it at any stage of your life.

Pointing out that it’s never too late for romance, he added, “I was not surprised that I was able to fall in love, and I wasn’t surprised that I did.”

He became a father to Flockhart’s son

Ford also showed no qualms about becoming a father for the fifth time. In 2001, a year before meeting her future husband, Flockhart had adopted a son. While Ford didn’t expect to become a dad again, he didn’t miss a beat. He happily “inherited” Liam Flockhart because when you love someone, you embrace all aspects of their life.

Speaking with PARADE in 2010, he admitted, “I wasn’t expecting it at all. The unexpected part was certainly true, and the joy part is also true. I think Liam was about 6 or 8 months old when I met him and Calista. We have been together ever since.” 

According to the interviewer, “Ford’s eyes light up when he talks about Liam” and his devotion came through in his answers as well. Fords also added that, because of his age, he’s “much better at [parenting] now.”

“On the weekends, I do whatever Calista and Liam want to do. We’ll take a couple of hours on Sunday morning to go motorcycle riding or go for a hike. I just made a birdhouse with my son.”  

Their relationship keeps getting stronger

Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart 86th Academy Awards / Oscars Dolby Theater Hollywood, CA March 2, 2014 ©2014 Kurt Krieger

Ford eventually popped the question in February 2009 and the couple said “I do” that June. A decade later and they’re still going strong, enjoying married life and spending plenty of time with their now teenage son. And their bond just keeps getting stronger. 

When Ford was in a near-fatal plane crash in 2015 after a plane he was piloting suffered an engine malfunction, his wife rushed to be by his side.

After the crash, Ford said, “My wife, who is a wonderful lady, understands my passion for aviation, she understands what it means to me and flies with me to this day.”

It’s that understanding and support, paired with Flockhart’s ability to shut out critics and not judge Ford based on his past, that are at the very core of their relationship.

By focusing on their love, rather than outside voices, they were able to put all of their energy into building a strong foundation and nurturing a relationship that has managed to stand the test of time. Their love story is a lesson in never judging a book by its cover and listening to your heart. Aligning our actions with our instincts can strengthen the foundation of the relationships we form in our lives.

More inspirational relationships:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/19/harrison-ford-calista-flockhart-marriage/

How to Tell if It’s Too Soon to Move on From Your Breakup

By | Food for thought, heartbreak, introspective, mindset, personal essay, relationships

Breakups are incredibly complex and necessitate many layers of healing to fully, completely move on. When relationships matter– truly, deeply matter– there’s no off switch when you agree to call it quits. Love and memories still remain.

Throw intense emotions, a restructuring of your schedule, a loss of physical intimacy, possibly the loss of your ex’s friends and family into the mix and a one-size-fits-all answer to how soon is too soon to move on becomes almost impossible to figure out.

Moving on takes time

When you’re in the eye of the storm, feeling all the feelings, it’s understandable to seek a fixed and certain time limit on the grieving process.

I get it. I know the feeling. Being with your sadness is an act of courage. It’s natural to question how long the process might take. However, my intention is not to provide solid answers or a timeframe.

Instead, I wish to share a few tips that, in my personal and professional experience, have yielded a healthy approach to moving on.

What is “moving on” after a breakup?

I’m a lucky guy. I’ve fallen in love numerous times. Yet, break-ups never get easier. However, I’ve learned that regardless of what led to the end, if I valued and cared enough to establish a consistent, intimate relationship with someone, those feelings of love wouldn’t simply go away.

Perhaps this sounds obvious. But as years have gone by, I’d attempt to sanitize my feelings, as if moving on meant feeling completely indifferent towards my ex. Naturally, framing it this way led to lots of frustration because the love still remains.

My first full relationship ended 10 years ago. I still love her. Another relationship ended four years ago. I still love her. Another ended three years ago. I still love her. Another ended just under a year ago. I still love her too. See the recurring theme?

It’s a non-linear, illogical process

The difference is although I love my exes and want the best for them, I no longer crave to be close to them or wish to rekindle a romance.

Would I like them to be involved in my life to some degree? Perhaps. But I accept that this isn’t always practical. And I accept and have gratitude for the times we shared.

If love remains then what does moving on mean?

Well, firstly, moving on is a gradual process. It isn’t linear. It doesn’t make sense. I can have days following the breakup where I feel completely fine but then, experience a rough day years after it happened.

Matters of the heart aren’t logical. They’re completely absurd. Don’t waste too much time trying to work it all out. The importance is to allow yourself to feel.

However, over time, there’s less emotional charge to the memory of an ex. The love — a calm, soothing unconditional love — remains. But there’s no giddiness, ferocious sadness or grief at the loss of what once was. Instead, I find happy memories cause positive reflection.

Consequently, I notice storylines around “what could’ve been” settle in my mind. In the aftermath of all breakups, I struggle to see the reasoning. Even when I know it’s the end, part of me wants to plead and bargain, to just find a way because surely love is enough, right?

After some time, this bargaining fades and I reach the final stage of grief, which is acceptance.

What about meeting someone new?

For many people, including myself, the process of moving on may appear to be concluded when we meet someone new. A word of caution on this topic: meeting a new person after a relationship is a tricky territory.

It isn’t always a bad decision. But when meeting someone soon after a break-up, it takes a little soul searching to uncover our motives. Does it come from a genuine, healthy place?

The most important aspect of moving on is healing.

In the past, I’ve moved into new relationships to avoid feelings of pain. I’ve tried to fill the void by meeting someone new. This is an approach that avoids processing and acknowledging pain, and will cause issues to resurface down the line.

It must be said though, that it is entirely possible to grow and heal with someone else, if your new partner is understanding and accepting, and awareness is brought into the healing process.

That’s a far cry from falling into a new relationship and denying any aspect of pain that remains from a fresh breakup, essentially using the love and attention of someone else as a mechanism to enhance self-worth.

Developing a strong sense of self

I’ve previously written about the importance of retaining independence in romance and avoiding Cupid’s Timeline. If the relationship you’re leaving was healthy, then it’s entirely possible you’ll leave with a fuller, whole sense of self. However, codependent traits can seep into any relationship, even with the best intentions.

For example, after I’d done a lot of work around codependency, I met someone whose chemistry seemed to ignite the shadow part of myself I naively assumed I had healed. But I’d done the work away from relationships.

I was aware of certain tendencies. But it was only after meeting this person that these behaviors and emotional patterns got triggered. Therefore, I needed to confront them in as they occurred in real-time and not in meditation or reflection.

Break up the pattern

I learned that if there’s conflict in a relationship, I have a tendency to project my emotions onto my partner. I expect them to take joint responsibility, as if I were entitled to it. Healthy relationships are supportive, but my emotions are my responsibility. And unless I build and strengthen my ability to process them, the pattern will repeat over and over.

For example, let’s say I feel really sad after a breakup. A reflex of mine is to project my sadness onto a partner, for them to make me feel better. After losing my partner, I struggle to process this sadness on my own. Then, I meet someone new, and all of a sudden I feel better and the sadness eases.

Without consciousness, I can move from one relationship to the next as a mechanism to handle sadness without ever confronting it. Again, mutual support is essential in loving relationships. But if I always require someone else to process my sadness, anxiety and feelings of insecurity, I will always fall into codependent relationships. 

This can lead to addictive or poor decision-making when looking for future partners.

So how soon is too soon?

To conclude, there’s no definitive timeline for moving on. But it’s important to consider the key points of healing from a heartbreak. It is a process that involves forgiveness, processing grief, acceptance, and re-building independence.

Honesty with ourselves is required to really check in with how we feel about the loss of someone who, no doubt, has had a big impact on our lives.

I know how difficult it is to be with the pain. The impulse is to run, escape, find something to soothe. However, to really grow through a break-up, and move on in a healthy way, we have to sit with the pain, and learn from it. 

I’ll leave you with these words from Pema Chödrön in When Things Fall Apart:

Most of us do not take these situations as teachings. We automatically hate them. We run like crazy. We use all kinds of ways to escape — all addictions stem from this moment when we meet our edge and we just can’t stand it. We feel we have to soften it, pad it with something, and we become addicted to whatever it is that seems to ease the pain.

Breakups suck, there’s no doubt. But if you have the courage to confront your pain, the process of moving on will act as a huge catalyst for your personal growth.

More helpful articles:

https://www.goalcast.com/2019/12/18/moving-on-too-soon-after-breakup/