How to Save Your Marriage from Becoming a Sinking Ship

What are you avoiding in your relationship that can kill it?

Watch out for these silent relationship threats.

Forget about infidelity or lying to your spouse about your finances: there are other, less-talked behaviors that are just as destructive to a marriage ― and you and your partner are probably guilty of some of them.

Below, marriage therapists share six behaviors that can silently kill a marriage.



Spending time together as a couple is important, but don’t let your friendships fall to the wayside in favor of yet another night of takeout and Netflix. It’s unrealistic to depend on your S.O. to fulfill all your socialization needs; giving each other space by heading out for girl’s night out or a meetup with the guys could do your marriage some good, said Ryan Howes, a psychologist in Pasadena, California.

“It’s so important for both of you to build and sustain friendships with others,” he said. “Through your friends, you can gain other experiences, perspectives and support that may actually enhance your relationship. You have to have confidants outside the relationship.”



If you rarely reach out and touch each other ― or have reached the point where you only have “special occasion sex” (birthdays, anniversaries and vacations) ―it may be time to address the elephant in the bedroom: You’re well on your way to asexless, passionless marriage, said Debra Campbell, a psychologist and couple’s therapist in Melbourne, Australia.

“You don’t have to be having sex every day, but some kind of near-daily sexual or erotic acknowledgement is important in relationships,” she said. “It might be the slightest touch; it’s not always about orgasms and getting hot and sweaty.”

The Happiest Moment of My Life (So Far) Was With Those I’ll Love Forever

No, it’s not what you think. The happiest moment of my life so far was a day I felt unequivocally carefree with friends I love.

The happiest moment of my life so far wasn’t the day my boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend. Sure, that was a very happy time, but the one I’m about to tell you about was a different kind of love.

It wasn’t the day we got my dog Moe either. That too was a wonderful moment I’ll always remember. This day happened on vacation in Europe with my two best friends when I was in my mid-20s.

Here is a snippet of a time in my life I felt truly, utterly happy.

Many would probably expect me to answer this question as the day I met my boyfriend, or the day I got my dog, or perhaps something involving my family. Sure, those days are all joyful ones in my life of course, but there’s one moment in one day that I remember feeling truly and incredibly happy. I’ve always considered myself a happy person but this particular moment stood out for me for the past six years as my happiest.

It was the summer I turned 26 and I was on my first trip across the world, to Munich, Germany, Brussels, Belgium and Paris, France. A self-described hopeless romantic, I was so excited to be in Paris. I was on this trip of a lifetime with my two best friends, both males.

The three of us had become a The Hangover-like trio, even nicknaming ourselves after characters in the movie. We were constantly on all kinds of adventures. I felt safe and secure with the two, and had been in love with both of them (and very briefly dated one) at some point over the eight years previous. I was dating another man at the time and was eager to get away for a bit as I wasn’t sure exactly if I was all that excited about him (we ended up breaking up later that fall).

We gallivanted all around Paris for three glorious days. It was the time before ISIS threatened in the shadows and we could safely walk the streets without any worry. I remember seeing Versailles, Notre Dame and the Moulin Rouge. One evening, the three of us were sitting outside one of the quintessential Parisian cafés, sipping beers while taking a break from sightseeing. We were laughing hysterically at excerpts from my diary, which I had brought along to chronicle my European travels.

friends traveling and hanging out

After some loud stomach rumbling, we all agreed it was time to find somewhere to eat dinner. We stumbled upon a small and cozy-looking restaurant tucked into a corner of Paris, near the Sainte-Chapelle. From the outside, there’s nothing all that special about L’Auberge Café. Its brown and beige exterior is elegant but not too fancy.

Either way, we were excited about finally getting some food and the menu posted outside looked good. When we sat down, we took in the rustic atmosphere at the quiet restaurant. It was intimate and homey, a completely perfect surprise to us.

The dinner we had that night was for lack of a better term, incredible. There wasn’t anything too fancy about it either but it hands down was one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had in my almost 33 years.

I had a beef tenderloin, potatoes, peas and onions in a dark, savory sauce. My one friend dined on duck, a signature entrée of the restaurant and the other chose a fish fillet. We sampled fresh prawns, spicy gazpacho and an absolutely to die for molten chocolate dome dessert with the most decadent of melted French dark chocolate inside. With a bottle of the house wine, we made sure to make it a truly incredible night.

I know what you’re thinking—this doesn’t seem like it deserves the title “happiest moment of your life.” The funny thing is, despite how brief that dinner was in the hindsight of things, while I was sitting there I felt truly completely happy. It was a moment of my life I will remember forever. It was young enough not to have to worry too much about the future but old enough to truly appreciate that moment in time.

Now, whenever I am feeling anxious or just need to take a moment to close my eyes and relax, I always recall that dinner with my two best friends in one of my favorite cities in the world—remembering what it feels like to be completely, unapologetically happy.


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Here Are 5 Things You Need to Know Before Joining a Friendship App

My first time on a friend app I learned a lot about making friends, swiping right, and the importance of not getting discouraged. Here’s everything you need to know before setting out to find your new BFF.

Making friends as an adult is hard. There. I said it.

In elementary school, it seems so easy to make friends. You just have to show up on the playground with a good attitude and a few Pokémon cards (kids still play with Pokémon cards, right?) and you have plenty of bffs to hang out with at recess every day.

By high school, teenagers form into cliques (you’ve seen TV shows) so sometimes it can be a little harder to make friends, but if you join a club or sports team, you eventually find your group.

But by the time you’re an adult, friend-finding feels impossible. And when finding the right partner can come from a friend or a friend’s recommendation, creating a friend group is important. You’re so busy with work and relationships (and laundry) that it’s easy to lose touch with your old friends and forget to make new friends. Suddenly you find yourself feeling lonely, and no amount of Pokémon cards will help.

Thankfully, that’s when friend apps come in.

That’s right, it’s like a dating app, but for friends, and if you’re like me, you might feel skeptical about them at first. Personally, I’ve never been on a dating app. I met my fiancé before apps were even invented (back then we all had flip phones and spent most of our time talking about how awesome iPod shuffles were), so when I first heard about friend apps, I was nervous.

There are so many of them: Bumble BFF, Hey! Vina, Skout, and Peanut (which is specifically for moms) and the whole thing seemed weird and awkward. I could just picture myself saying “hey want to be friends?” and someone responding, bluntly, “no” and then feeling totally down.

But as it turns out, friend apps are kind of awesome. They’re fun, easy to use, and they help you connect with people who you may have never met. I ended up using Hey! Vina, met some amazing people, and learned a little bit about how to become a better friend. Now, I’m hooked, and I think everyone should have a chance to find friends this easily.

Here is my list of the top five things you need to know before getting on a friend app (and meeting your new BFF!) And don’t forget, if you’re trying to cut through the noise of the dating scene, join LOVETV today.

1. Your bio is everything.

african woman texting

I’ve heard that your picture is everything on a dating app, but in a friend app, your bio takes priority. When I first got on an app I didn’t spend a lot of time on that “about me” section. I quickly typed and honest, but simple, “I like cats, pizza, and wine” and drowned the text with a crap ton of emojis.

I knew my bio was nothing fancy, but when I started swiping through profiles, I realized that I should have put some more work into it. I found that so many people had spent a lot of time describing themselves, creating descriptions that were funny, sweet, and really clever. And those awesome bios were what made me want to reach out to these cool women. I quickly made it a priority to update my profile.

I wrote more about me and tried my best to showcase my personality. By the end, I was proud of my bio, and sure enough, pretty soon I was getting more matches too.

2. You don’t have to find your perfect match.

On a dating app you’re probably looking for a great match: a like-minded person who has a lot in common with you. And that’s probably a good tactic, you need common ground when it comes to starting a relationship.

But with friends, that’s not always the case.

In the beginning, I only swiped right on potential friends who seemed to have a lot in common with me. It seemed like a good idea at first but after awhile I found that I wasn’t swiping right very often. (I mean, come on, how many twenty-seven-year-old grad students getting married in July could I have possibly have found?)

Plus, I realized that it was more fun to strike up a conversation and share experiences with someone who was in a different place in their lives or had different interests.

Don’t swipe left because someone likes country music while you’re into classic rock, or loves waffles when you’re all about pizza. You learn from people who are different from you, so embrace those friendships.

3. You want to take the pressure off your first hangout.

meeting new friends via friendship app

It’s scary to meet up IRL with someone you met online, but if your goal is to make friends, you’ll need to meet up with them eventually.

Still, asking someone if they want to have lunch one day can feel a little intimidating, and your first hangout might end up feeling a little stiff or awkward. The best way to avoid this is to simply tell your new friend where you’re planning to be one particular day, and invite them to join you.

Do you have a coffee shop that you like to hang out in on Saturdays? Are you planning on going to a local concert one day? Telling a new friend what you’re doing, and inviting them to join, is a great way to take the pressure off a new friendship.

If they can’t make it to your weekly bowling hangout, no sweat, but if they do stop by, it can be a great way to make a first meeting feel casual and natural. No pressure, just friendship.

4. You might end up using every app as a friend app.

The truth is that any social media is a great place to connect, and once you get into the mindset of making friends, you can do it anywhere.

After signing up for a friend app, I realized that I was sending more texts and direct messages to old friends from high school or college. I started reaching out to old classmates and acquaintances who had added me, and I ended up connecting with a lot of people.

Friend apps will give you a friend-making mindset, meaning you’ll always be on the lookout for friends. You might not be close with every person you’re friends with on Facebook, but you just might start messaging someone you used to be in a class with, or a friend of a friend you met once or twice.

5. Know that making friends is hard, even on an app

meeting new friends via friendship app

One of the hardest parts of making friends is forming a strong connection, and that doesn’t change on an app. But don’t get discouraged. Finding the right people, and cultivating a friendship, might take some time, but there are some great people out there.

With some time, a good mindset, and maybe a little bit of luck, you’ll find your friends—and together, you guys are going to have the coolest happy hours, the best movie nights, and the most amazing brunch dates.

Maybe making friends isn’t quite like it was when we were kids… and maybe that’s okay. Friend apps are here to help us meet our new besties, and I can’t wait to keep swiping.

How to Focus on Friendships This Holiday Season

The holidays should be about family and friends.

There is so much to do during the holiday seasons. There’s family to see, presents to buy, work to catch up on, events to go to. Sometimes friends get forgotten when you have so much more going on. You forget to call, tell each other you don’t have time to go out for a coffee or a drink just now, and before you know it, it’s mid-January and you haven’t seen any friends for months.

But maybe your friends don’t have to take a back seat during the holiday season. There are ways to not only include your friends this season, but to make sure they feel like they’re apart of your holiday fun!

How to Focus on Friendships This Holiday Season

There’s so much to do during the holidays: There’s family to visit, gifts to buy, and events to attend.

You might be rushing to clean up the house before family comes over or maybe you’re speeding to pack your bags in preparation to go head home for the holidays. But no matter your plans, this season can get busy.

With so much going on, it’s not uncommon to find friendships taking a back seat in December.

You and your bestie may forget to call each other, you might miss your friend group’s usual coffee date, and before you know it, it’s mid-January before you realize that you haven’t seen any of your friends for a long time.

But maybe you don’t have to forget about your friendships this year. This season, make a point to focus on your friendships with these 4 tips and tricks for a friends-filled holiday.

Happy Friends Holidays

1. Show them you care, with some gifts!

I know, I know, you already have so many people on your shopping list. You’re probably already panicking about what to get your grandma, what to get your baby cousin, and what on earth to get your boss.

But even if it’s something small and silly, like a funny t-shirt or a scented candle, a gift that says “I’ve been thinking of you” can go a long way for a friend. Of course, you probably don’t even have to work hard on this gift. Picking something out on Amazon or ordering some cookies online is pretty painless. Plus, you can usually find a good deal while online shopping.

Just remember: the more personal you can get with a gift, the better. Your friends probably don’t need anything fancy or expensive from you, but they’d probably love something that reminds them of you, or an inside joke you share.

To help with your shopping, here are some fun (and simple) present ideas that make for wonderful friend gifts:

-A bottle of wine you think they’ll love

-An order of fruit, chocolate covered fruit, or cookies from online retailers like Harry and David or Mrs. Fields

-A hat or scarf in a color they look good in

-Drop off a pie or cheesecake on their doorstep

-A gift card to get a manicure (with a note saying you’ll plan to do your nails next time you’re together)

-A book or movie you loved (that you can talk about next time you hang out)

-A cute planner for 2020

-A holiday puzzle (you can even get a personalized puzzle with a photo of you two on it!)

-Silly socks featuring their favorite animal

2. Set aside time… ahead of time.

Making time for friends shows them that you care about them. It proves that, not only do you like seeing them, but that spending time with them is a priority to you.

But making time for friends in the middle of the holidays can be a tricky business. For me, it’s already difficult to plan hangouts during the non-holiday seasons. Between my work schedule, their work schedule, and miscellaneous commitments to worry about, it’s tough to set aside time. So, when you throw in extra holiday errands and family events? It can be tough.

The best way I’ve found to make time for friends is to set up a hangout date, weeks in advance, at an event that’s extra special and really can’t be moved. Think late-night movie premier or special live holiday show.

If you’re like me, it can be easy to ask a friend for a rain check if you only make loose plans to meet up for something like happy hour “one day this week.” But if you set aside time for a special event, buy the tickets ahead of time, and put it on your calendar weeks (or a month) before, you’ll both probably stick to the plan.

holidays with friends

3. Do holiday chores together.

Sometimes, you simply can’t set aside extra time for friends during the holidays. The idea of making time to see a movie? Impossible. Going out to dinner? Nope.

But you don’t necessarily have to carve out exclusive “friend time” in order to see your besties. Instead, team up with your buddies to get your holiday chores done together.

Meet up at the mall to shop together. Chit-chat as you wait in long lines. Help each other figure out what to get your parents or significant others. Try on Christmas sweaters and tell each other, honestly, if they look okay. As a reward, maybe you can sit down together for a drink once the shopping is done.

If you’re not crazy about the idea of shopping together, consider inviting friends over to your place on Christmas Eve to make pies (or appetizers) that you can bring to each of your family’s homes the next day. It takes about the same amount of time to make two or three batches as it does one—but baking together makes it twice as fun.

Or, if baking isn’t your thing, you could just meet up to wrap presents.

One of my besties and I love to meet up before Christmas and wrap presents together. We drink wine and eat cookies as we wrap, and over the years, it’s become one of my favorite holiday activities!

4. Involve friends in your traditions.

Another great way to include friends in the holidays is to make at least one of your traditions friend-friendly.

One option is to can make a tradition especially for your friend group. “Friendsgiving” is such a hit, you might consider organizing something like that (perhaps a little present exchange or ice skate party) in December. Or, if that’s too much work, you could always include friends in your existing family traditions.

You could slide some more chairs up to the table for Christmas brunch—or why not invite some friends over for some spin the dreidel?

Of course, you might be thinking this is probably easier said than done.

You might assume that your friends probably have their own plans with their own families—so why would they want to join in on yours? The truth is, you might be surprised at how many of your friends don’t live near family, or if they do, have low-key family gatherings at holidays. You might even have friends who do their “big” celebrations on different days.

I once went to a friend’s house for “Christmas Eve-Eve” which was a big thing in her family. All the cousins, extended family, and friends would get together for a big potluck. For them, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were small and pretty quiet, but December 23rd was more about neighbors and friends. It was a great tradition.

The holidays are all about spending time with the people you love—and that should mean your family and friends. While your season may be busy, these tips can help you rearrange and refocus to find some extra room for your friends this holiday.

New Year’s Resolutions for Better Friendships in 2020

I love New Year’s resolutions. They’re an excuse to challenge myself and set new goals for the year ahead. I’m pretty serious about sticking to them, too. I like to write my goals for the year on a piece of paper and tape it to the fridge so that I always remember my plans, and can cross them out as I accomplish them.

Usually, I make goals for my career, exercise goals, and plans for how many books I want to read that year. But this year my goals are a little different.

After a big move this year, I realized that friendships are really important to me. Not only do I miss my friends back home, but I had to make all new friends in my new city. I learned how important friendships are to me, so this year I’m making resolutions to be a better friend and have better friendships.

Here are my resolutions for better friendships in 2020.

1. Set aside time for friendships

To have better friendships, you have to be a better friend. And part of that is making friendships a priority.

Being in a relationship for so long, I’ve found that I often put friendships on the backburner, preferring to spend time with my husband rather than make plans with friends.

But I realize that I need to maintain friendships in order to keep them. When you don’t make time for a friend, they can start to fade out of your life. You both forget to call, don’t think to invite each other over, one of you moves, and suddenly you don’t know each other anymore. It’s the worst.

Of course, there are exceptions to this. I have some friends who I can not see for years and when we do finally get together, it’s like no time has passed. But especially with new friends, if you don’t spend time developing a friendship, the relationship can crumble.

One of my biggest resolutions this year is to make more time for friends. For me, making time to go out to dinner with just one friend, one time a week, is a great improvement. But maybe you’re more flexible and can make more time for friends.

Maybe your resolution could be calling 5 different friends a week. Or maybe you want to go to lunch with someone new from your office every day until you’ve met everyone. It’s easy to cater this resolution to your friend goals and no matter how you do it, you’re sure to have lots of fun.

2. Remember birthdays

One way to show your friends you care is to remember their birthdays. And I’m not just talking about about posting on their Facebook wall.

It means so much to people when you remember their birthday. It shows that you care and that you want to celebrate them. When my friends have reached out to me before my birthday, asking if I wanted to go out for a drink for my special day, it has meant so much to me. Even when friends follow through and show up for birthday celebrations means a lot.

That’s why one goal I’m making this year is to remember my friends’ birthdays. I’m looking up everyone’s birthdays and writing them down in my calendar. I’ll try to make sure we make time to celebrate but even if I just end up sending a card or even a text to friends for their birthdays, I know that it will probably mean a lot.

3. Planning activities your friends will like

I love planning hang outs with friends. But I especially love planning hang outs at places I love.

I’m always asking friends if they want to go to the local wine bar or go and see a comedy show. But somehow I never seem to be free when friends ask me to do things they like to do. I almost always turn down requests to go to restaurants I don’t like and for activities I don’t particularly enjoy. Funny how that works.

But this year, I’m changing that.

I’m making a goal to try to do more things that my friends like. When I know I’m going to see my craft-loving friend, I’ll offer to go to a knitting class and when I’m planning to see my outdoorsie friend, I’ll ask her to go on a hike.

It’s a great way to show that I value our friendship (and my friend’s interests), plus, it’s a good way to expand my own interests.


4. Double date

Hanging out with friends is a great way to bond. But going out on a double date? That’s a whole new level. It’s one thing to talk to your friend, but a whole other thing to get to know their partner (whether they be short term partners or long term relationships), and let your friends get to know who you’re with.

It can be a great way to get to know each other better, and if your partners get along too, it could be a great way to expand your friendship to include “couple activities.”

5. Be a great conversationalist

It’s so fun to talk to friends, except when it’s not. I’ve definitely had friends who were not always super fun to talk to. I know a few people who always seem to be complaining about work or complaining about other friends. I also know a few people who practically zone out when I’m talking. They’re the kind of people who wait to talk, instead of listen.

And don’t get me wrong, I can complain about stupid stuff and I can also sound like a broken record when talking about work. But it’s nice to talk to friends about interesting things, intellectually stimulating things, and to have fun when we’re talking.

So, this year I’m determined to be a better conversationalist. I’ll keep myself updated on interesting news stories, but I’ll also try to be more engaging and be a better listener.

If you’re looking to make better friendships in 2020, sometimes you have to be a better friend. These tips will help you to improve your friendships skills and friendships in the new year!