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Category: <span>Sex Therapy</span>

8 Signs Your Relationship Might Be In Trouble

#1  You’re walking on eggshells around your partner.

This is a dead giveaway things are no longer ideal. If you feel like you have to tip toe around your partner, just to keep the peace, then you are no longer able to really be yourself. So, it’s only a matter of time before you start building up resentment towards them, if you haven’t started already.

#2 You no longer have the desire to connect with your friends or family.

Sometimes we give so much priority to our marriage; it slowly creeps up to 100% of our time. We no longer think we have room for friends and family. Then as the marriage deteriorates, we tend to isolate even further because we don’t want to negatively impact the friends and family we love.

#3 You feel like you were betrayed by your partner in the past and your relationship has never been the same.

I call this an energetic break. It’s a time when you needed them most and they let you down or even worse, abandoned you. Most people experience a break in the love flow or an energetic break during or shortly after this event, where they no longer feel connected to their partner. Until this feeling of betrayal is released or healed, it will continue to participate in your daily life and the intimate interactions in your marriage.

#4  You are constantly pushing each other’s emotional buttons.

Some people may say, “come on – this is just marriage,” but really it’s a sign that you are no longer in the love flow. You are no longer each other’s biggest fans and supporters. And over time as you continue to consistently upset each other and trigger each other’s wounds and baggage, THEY will eventually become associated with your biggest hurts and pains. People who eventually divorce just call this “growing apart.

#5  Deep down you know you love your partner, but you just can’t feel it anymore.

This is a sign that you may have been deeply wounded by your partner. If you can’t FEEL the love anymore, it’s likely you have a protective wall around your heart blocking it. Although the wall is meant to protect you from further pain, it also blocks the true flow of love both with your partner and others. Most people experience this as feeling numb. You can no longer feel your partner’s pain.

#6  You feel like roommates now and/or no longer have sex together.

This is a dead giveaway that there’s been a significant energetic break and you can expect resentment and blaming to escalate. Some couples still have sex with each other. They just don’t enjoy it! This can also show up in more subtle ways, such as having a sole focus on the kids and/or making money and completely back-burnering your relationship. Marriages in this stage are truly in jeopardy.

#7  You feel like your partner is not the person you married/originally met.

Many women in struggling marriages often report that their husband is no longer the man they married. They wonder which one he REALLY is? This is a significant sign that the relationship is no longer in harmony or flow. It’s now in it’s opposite phase of struggle, triggering and upset.

AND THE BIG ONE…

#8 You feel like your partner might secretly hate you.

This is the big one because it’s so insidious and over time sabotages the entire relationship. Some couples experience it more like they have become secret enemies. This is more of a gut feeling for most people. Your body wants to keep you at a distance and you even start to fear your partner at a deep level. You may feel like adversaries on a daily basis, always in conflict as if they have some sort of control over you. The crazy thing is that most couples never even talk about it!

Interested In BDSM? Here’s How To Protect Your Mental Health…

Adventurous sex is no longer taboo or uncommon—on the contrary, it’s actually a perfectly healthy way to explore one’s sexuality, as long as you’re being safe about it.

A particularly popular form of kink is BDSM, which refers to bondage, discipline, sadism, and masochism. Over one-third of women and men in America have explored BDSM, and there is now scientific evidence that proves BDSM can be a healthy part of any relationship. In a recent study, BDSM practitioners were found to be less neurotic, more extroverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, and less sensitive to rejection, and they had a higher subjective well-being.

While this is good news, it’s still important to keep in mind some key factors for maintaining your physical and mental health when incorporating BDSM into your sex life, especially if you’re experimenting with it for the first time.

The neurobiology of BDSM.

The practice of BDSM physiologically triggers many of the same hormones that sky diving and other extreme sports may invoke. In particular, the stress hormone cortisol is often released, particularly by the receiver of the sensations, which helps to turn off the executive functioning area of the brain leading to feelings of euphoria and increased partner connection.

Heather McPherson, certified sex therapist and CEO of the Sexual Health Alliance (as well as my professional mentor), describes this state as “subspace.” “Subspace is a state that some players attempt to accomplish, where you can tolerate more pain and sensation than usual,” she explains. “Experienced players often call it, ‘flying.'” These are the feelings that often tend to make couples feel more bonded following a session.

Unfortunately, the flip side of this euphoria is all too common in the hours and days following an intense experience, especially for those on the receiving end. For those new to BDSM with a history of anxiety and depression, this is an important fact to keep in mind. In addition to the increase in cortisol, participants have also had an increase in endorphins, which bind to the opiate receptors. The steep drop-off in these chemicals can create a state referred to as the “sub drop.”

Sex therapist and erotica writer Dr. Donna Jennings explains that sub drop follows the “endorphin release after a BDSM scene, where the body works to move back to a normal chemical state.” She says that chemical drop can create both a physical and emotional reaction. Physically, a person can feel fatigue, aches, and pains. Emotionally, McPherson adds, a person can experience a range of emotions including “sadness, numbness, disconnection, guilt, or shame.”

Unfortunately, for those new to BDSM, sub drop can often get misinterpreted and misattributed to other aspects of the participant’s life and relationship.

How to prevent the drop.

By understanding what happens in the mind and body during a BDSM session, you can better prepare for the intense psychological ups and downs.

According to certified sex coach Ginger Hart, it’s best to mentally prepare ahead of time. Hart says there are two distinct phases people go through when they first begin exploring BDSM: the curious state and the adventurous state.

“The curious state is all about watching, learning, and gathering information to figure out what you’d like to explore, which builds confidence and excitement,” Hart explains. “This state is fragile, and [people] should consider adopting the mantra, ‘I would like to watch. I’m not ready to play.'”

She says that those new to BDSM shouldn’t move from the curious phase to the adventurous state until “they feel secure in their desires and are able to articulate and define personal boundaries.”

Once you’ve engaged in a session, you and your partner should participate in what’s referred to as “aftercare” to help prevent and subvert negative feelings associated with sub drops. In aftercare, usually the dominant partner takes care of the sub by participating in caretaking activities. These might include one partner holding and caressing the other, falling asleep in each other’s arms, giving a massage, running a bubble bath, or cooking their favorite meal following an intense scene. Participants can also plan to have self-care activities after they play to lessen the effects of sub drop (or top drop, which can also happen). Aftercare following a BDSM session should also help to increase the bond between partners.

If for some reason your partner is not offering you this type of care after your play session, you can still practice self-care on your own, including eating your favorite foods and indulging in your favorite Netflix shows—especially those that make you laugh.

Reaping the psychological rewards.

While BDSM might not be for everyone, McPherson explains, “This area of practice does contain great risks and rewards.” Counter to what you might expect, “for those with sexual anxiety, they can feel relief and comfort in BDSM play because it requires in-depth communication about what might happen as well as negotiation about what will happen and what they do not want to happen, which can calm nerves.”

Once you’ve decided to try out BDSM for yourself, it’s important to properly educate yourself and to listen to your partner.

“The key to safely expanding and exploring new areas of sexuality such as BDSM is to be aware of your own needs and desires, as well as those of your partner,” Hart says, “and to know when to push forward and when to remain curious.”

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