Effective family relationships and functioning

“A family is who they say they are.” Wright and Leahey


Relationship problems in family is a serious stress among the members of that family. Relationship problems may exist in varying degrees between the husband and wife, parents and children or between the children. Family is the smallest representation of a community, nation and a culture. If the family is dysfunctional the end result will be a dysfunctional nation. When certain things are taken care of within a family these relationship problems can be avoided.

Stages of family development

The single young adult

This is a difficult stage because the young adults must decide what social standards from the family of origin will be preserved and what they will change for themselves to be incorporated in to a new family. Tasks of this stage include forming an identity separate from parents, establishing intimate peer relationships and advancing towards financial independence.

A new married couple

Marriage is a difficult transition because the each partner will have their own uniqueness and such a difference should be assembled together to form as a couple. The new couples must then renegotiate their relationships with their parents, siblings and peers. Tasks of this stage include establishing a new identity as a couple, realigning the relationships with members of the family and taking decisions about having children etc.

The family with young children

Adjustments in relationships should occur with the arrival of children. The entire family is affected and the realignment of relationship must occur. Tasks of this stage includes adjustments within the marital system to meet the responsibility associated with the parenthood while maintaining the integrity of the couple relationships, sharing the responsibility of child bearing equally and integrating the relationship with the other members of the family.

Family with adolescence

Both parents will be approaching the middle life while adolescence are undergoing biological, emotional and socio-cultural changes and all these factors demands the changes in family relationship patterns. Tasks of this stage includes redefining the level of dependence so that adolescence are provided with great autonomy while parents remain responsive towards the dependency needs of the adolescence. Problems related to middle age, work, couple relationships and aging parents also must be solved during this period.

The family launching grown children

This stage is characterised by intermittent entry and exit of family members. Children may leave home for further studies, work etc. while in-lows and children enter in to the family system. A great deal of relationship realignment is necessary at this time. Adult to adult relationship is important at this time and tasks associated with this stage include re-establishing the bond of the dynamic marital relationship, realigning the relationship to include the grandchildren and accepting the additional care taking responsibilities.

Family in later life

This stage begins with the retirement and last until the death of both spouses. Most adult in this stage still have a prominent part of the family system and many are able to offer support for their grown children. Tasks associated with this stage include accepting the physiologic changes associated the aging, changes in socio-economic status with the retirement, dealing with the death of the spouse and friends.

Major changes in family development


Divorce is a major change in the process of family development. Both the individuals must then go through the stages of grief and resolve effectively. Stages of family life cycle of divorce include deciding to divorce, planning the breakup of the system, separation and divorce. Tasks involve accepting one’s own part in the failure of marriage, working cooperatively on problems related to custody and visitation of the children and finances.

Divorce in a family with children is again a major issue in the development of the children. The custodial parent must then adjust to the functioning as a single leader as an ongoing family while working to build a new social network.


About three fourth of the people divorced will eventually remarry. Remarriage is also demands a major changes in family developmental process as well as in the individuals of the family.
The custodial parent has to find a spouse who can adjust with the children and the new spouse has to adjust with the new system and the children and the children has to accept the new step-mother and adjust with the new family system.

Elements of effective family functioning

1. Communication

Functional communication patterns are those in which verbal and non-verbal messages are clear, direct and honest. All family members should be encouraged to express honest feelings and opinions and all family members should have equal participation in decisions that affect the family system. Each member must be active listener to others in the family system

2. Self concept reinforcement

Functional families strive to reinforce and strengthen each members self concept, with the positive results being that family members feel loved and valued.

3. Family member’s expectations

Expectations of family members from others in the family must be realistic with an understanding of the abilities and limitations of others. Expectations must also be flexible, allowing interruptions and changes occur without conflicts. Each member must be valued individually and comparison with other member should be avoided.

4. Handling differences

It is unrealistic to think that every member of a family should share the same attitudes, values and believes. These factors are unique in every individual in a family. Family members should understand that it is acceptable to disagree and deal with differences in an open non attacking manner.

5. Family interaction patterns

Each family member should share a common interaction pattern in a family. The interaction pattern must be accepted as a rule in the family and the interaction patterns must be workable, constructive and with a view to help and support other members.

6. Family climate

Family climate represents the emotional atmosphere within a family. The climate of the family is composed of a blend of the feelings and experiences that are the result of family member’s verbal and non-verbal sharing and interacting. A positive family climate is founded on trust and is reflected on openness, appropriate humour and laughter, expression of caring and mutual respect.

Major factors causing dysfunctional families

1.Making assumptions: A family member assumes that others will understand what is in his/her mind and no need to talk to them about it. This lack of communication causes dysfunctional family. The family member also assume what the other person is thinking or feeling without clarifying it.

2.Belittling feelings: This involves ignoring the feelings of others when it is expressed. This discourages the other member to express feelings honestly.

3.Failing to listen: One does not listen to what the other individual is saying.

4.Communicating indirectly: For example, if a child want a toy from a shop and he is afraid to ask to his father. So he approaches his mother and she talk about this to her husband.

5.Double-bind communication: It conveys a ‘damned if I do and damned if I don’t do’ message.

6.Expressing denigrating remarks: It involves Negative criticism.

7.Withholding supportive messages

8.Taking over: The responsibility of one member is taken over by other and not allowing him to develop a sense of responsibility.

9.Ignoring individuality: One family member fails to accept that the other member is a unique individual that he has his own decisions and freedom.

10.Demanding proof of love.

11.Attacking: A difference in opinion can deteriorate into a direct personal attack manifested by blaming another person, bringing up the past and making destructive comparisons etc.


13.Surrendering: A person who is surrendering in the face of disagreement does so at the expense of denying his or her needs.

Etiquette of Intimate Relations

Islam teaches us all things and has brought all good teaching to mankind concerning their livelihood, religion, living and dying, because it is the religion of Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted.

Sexual relations are among the important matters of life which Islam came to explain and to prescribe proper conduct and rulings which elevate it from the level of mere bestial pleasure and physical desire. Islam connects it to a righteous intention, supplications (adhkaar) and proper conduct which lift it up to the level of worship for which the Muslim will be rewarded. The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explains this. Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) says in his book Zaad al-Ma’aad:

“Concerning sexual relations, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) brought the most perfect guidance, whereby health may be preserved and people may find pleasure and enjoyment, and it may fulfil the purpose for which it was created, because sex was created for three basic purposes:

The preservation and propagation of the human race, until they reach the number of souls that Allaah has decreed should be created in this world.

Expulsion of the water (semen) which may cause harm to the body if it is retained.

Fulfilling physical desires and enjoying physical pleasure. This alone is the feature that will be present in Paradise, because there will be no producing of offspring there, and no retention which needs to be relieved by ejaculation.

The best doctors suggest that sex is one of the means of maintaining good health.”

(al-Tibb al-Nabawi, p. 249)

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:

Among its benefits is that it helps to lower the gaze, brings self-control, enables one to keep away from haraam things, and achieves all of these things for the woman too. It brings benefit to a man with regard to this world and the Hereafter, and benefits the woman too. Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to enjoy regular intimate relations with his wives, and he said, “In your world, women and perfume have been made dear to me.” (Narrated by Ahmad, 3/128; al-Nasaa’i, 7/61; classed as saheeh by al-Haakim)

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O young men, whoever among you can afford it, let him get married, for it helps him to lower his gaze and protect his chastity. And whoever cannot do that, let him fast, for it will be a protection for him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 9/92; Muslim, 1400)

(al-Tibb al-Nabawi, 251)

Among the important matters which should be paid attention to when engaging in intimate relations:

Having the sincere intention of doing this thing only for the sake of Allaah. One should intend to do this to protect oneself and one’s wife from doing haraam things, to increase the numbers of the Muslim ummah so as to raise its status, for there is honour and pride in large numbers. It should be known that one will be rewarded for this action, even if he finds immediate pleasure and enjoyment in it. It was reported from Abu Dharr that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “In the sexual intercourse of any one of you there is reward.” (meaning, when he has intercourse with his wife) They said, “O Mesenger of Allaah, when any one of us fulfils his desire, will he have a reward for that?” He (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Do you not see that if he were to do it in a haraam manner, he would be punished for that? So if he does it in a halaal manner, he will be rewarded.” (Narrated by Muslim, 720)

This is the great bounty of Allaah towards this Ummah; praise be to Allaah Who has made us among them.

Intercourse should be preceded by kind words, playfulness and kisses. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to play with his wives and kiss them.

When a man has intercourse with his wife, he should say: “Bismillaah, Allaahumma jannibnaa al-shaytaan wa jannib al-shaytaan maa razqtanaa (In the name of Allaah, O Allaah Keep us away from the Shaytaan and keep the Shaytaan away from what You bestow on us (our children)).” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If Allaah decrees that they should have a child, the Shaytaan will never harm him.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 9/187)

It is permissible for the husband to have intercourse with his wife in her vagina in whatever manner he wishes, from behind or from the front, on the condition that it is in her vagina, which is the place from which a child is born. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will.” [al-Baqarah 2:223]. Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Jews used to say that if a man had intercourse with his wife in her vagina from behind, the child would have a squint. Then this aayah was revealed: “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will.” [al-Baqarah 2:223] The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “From the front or from the back, so long as it is in the vagina.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 8/154; Muslim, 4/156)

It is not permissible for the husband under any circumstances whatsoever to have intercourse with his wife in her back passage. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Your wives are a tilth for you, so go to your tilth (have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the vagina and not in the anus), when or how you will.” [al-Baqarah 2:223]. It is known that the place of tilth is the vagina, which is the place from which one hopes for a child. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “He is cursed who has intercourse with women in their back passages.” (Narrated by Ibn ‘Udayy, 1/211; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 105). This is because it [anal intercourse] goes against the fitrah [natural inclinations of man] and is an action which is revolting to those of a sound human nature; it also causes the woman to miss out on her share of pleasure; and the back passage is a place of filth and dirt – and there are other reasons which confirm the fact that this deed is haraam.

If a man has intercourse with his wife and wants to come back to her a second time, he should do wudoo’, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you has intercourse with his wife then wants to repeat it, let him do wudoo’ between the two (actions), for it is more energizing for the second time.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1/171). This is mustahabb (recommended), not waajib (obligatory); if he is able to do ghusl between the two actions, this is better, because of the hadeeth of Abu Raafi’ who said that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went around his wives one day and did ghusl in this one’s house and in this one’s house. He (Abu Raafi’) said: “I said to him, O Messenger of Allaah, why do you not do one ghusl?” He said, “This is cleaner and better and purer.”

One or both of the spouses have to do ghusl in the following situations:

When the “two circumcised parts” meet, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “When the circumcised part meets the circumcised part (according to another report: when the circumcised part touches the circumcised part), ghusl becomes waajib (obligatory).” (Narrated by Ahmad and Muslim, no. 526). This ghusl is obligatory whether ejaculation takes place or not. The touching of the circumcised parts means that the glans or tip of the penis penetrates the vagina; it does not mean mere touching.

Emission of semen, even if the two circumcised parts do not touch, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Water is for water [i.e., the water of ghusl is necessary when the “water” of semen is ejaculated].” (Narrated by Muslim, no. 1/269)

Al-Baghawi said in Sharh al-Sunnah (2/9): “Ghusl for janaabah [impurity following sexual discharge] is waajib in either of two cases: when the tip of the penis enters the vagina, or when gushing water is emitted by either the man or the woman.” For more information on the details of ghusl as prescribed in sharee’ah. It is permissible for the husband and wife to do ghusl together in one place, even if he sees her and she sees him, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and I used to do ghusl together from one vessel between me and him; we would take turns dipping our hands in the vessel and he would take more than me until I would say, ‘Leave some for me, leave some for me.'” She said, and they were both junub (in a state of janaabah). Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim.

It is permissible for a person who has to make ghusl to sleep and delay the ghusl until before the time of prayer, but it is definitely mustahabb for him to do wudoo’ before sleeping, because of the hadeeth of ‘Umar, who said that he asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), Can any one of us sleep when he is junub? The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Yes, but let him do wudoo’ if he wishes.” (Narrated by Ibn Hibbaan, 232).

It is forbidden to have intercourse with a woman when she is menstruating (having her period), because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “They ask you concerning menstruation. Say: that is an adhaa (a harmful thing for a husband to have a sexual intercourse with his wife while she is having her menses), therefore keep away from women during menses and go not unto them till they have purified (from menses and have taken a bath). And when they have prufieied themselves, then go in unto them as Allaah has ordained for you (go in unto them in any manner as long as it is in their vagina). Truly, Allaah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers, etc.).” [al-Baqarah 2:222]. The person who has intercourse with his wife whilst she is menstruating has to give a dinar or half a dinar in charity, as it was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) obliged a man to do when he came and asked him about that. This was reported by the authors of al-Sunan and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 122. But it is permissible for the husband to enjoy his menstruating wife without having intercourse, because of the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) would tell one of us, when she was menstruating, to wear a waist-wrapper, then her husband would lie with her.” (Agreed upon).

It is permissible for the husband to withdraw (‘azl) if he does not want to have a child; by the same token it is permissible for him to use condoms – if his wife gives her permission, because she has the right to pleasure and to children. The evidence for this is the hadeeth of Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, “We used to do ‘azl at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) heard about that, and he did not forbid us.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 9/250; Muslim, 4/160).

But it is better not to do any of that, for several reasons, including the fact that it deprives the woman of pleasure or reduces the pleasure for her; and that it cancels out one of the purposes of marriage, which is to increase the number of offspring, as mentioned above.

It is forbidden for both spouses to spread the secrets of what happens between them in their private marital life; indeed, this is one of the most evil things. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Among the most evil of people before Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who comes to his wife and has intercourse with her, then he spreads her secrets.” (Narrated by Muslim, 4/157).

It was reported from Asmaa’ bint Yazeed that she was with the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and men and women were sitting with him, and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Would any man say what he did with his wife? Would any woman tell others what she did with her husband?” The people kept quiet and did not answer. I [Asmaa’] said: “Yes, by Allaah, O Messenger of Allaah, they (women) do that, and they (men) do that.” He said, “Do not do that. It is like a male devil meeting a female devil in the road and having intercourse with her whilst the people are watching.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, no. 1/339; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Adaab al-Zafaaf, p. 143).

This is what we were able to mention about the etiquette of sexual relations. Praise be to Allaah Who has guided us to this great religion with its sublime manners. Praise be to Allaah Who has shown us the best of this world and the next. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Making the Most of Your Relationship Mistakes

A woman walking away from her boyfriend wondering if he's right for her

Your relationships can be viewed as a school with many classrooms to spend time in and lessons to learn. With each successive relationship you learn more about love, attraction, equality, and the destruction you or someone else is capable of. If you are lucky enough to be with one person for a lifetime, you’ll learn all those lessons in one relationship. But there is nothing like a relationship failure to create the impetus to start sorting through the baggage of attitudes and beliefs that you carry from one relationship to the next. Although you might like to avoid the inner work necessary to achieve a healthier relationship, you have to appreciate that with insight you grow to make fewer mistakes.

Whether it is your criteria in choosing a mate that requires a second look or the fact that in every relationship there is a pattern of frequent communication meltdowns, taking a hard look at yourself is important, especially if you don’t want your new or future relationship to fall into the same destructive patterns.

Making Foolish Conditioned Choices

The natural question arises: Do we really make the wrong choices in selecting a mate or does a relationship choose us so that we can fulfill a life lesson we agreed to learn? The answer is: it happens both ways. Conditioning sometimes drives the mate selection process forcing you to choose someone you are conditioned to believe suits you best. That is why many women choose a mate just like their father, especially if they are seeking the comfort of a familiar personality to start with. Or you may find yourself attracted to a bad boy thinking you will resurrect his soul and put him on the path of righteousness. This choice reflects a woman’s conditioned tendencies to see herself as a healer to mankind. The key is to identify the pattern in your choices and to determine if conditioning is driving them. Sometimes we can’t help attracting the wrong kind of person. They just seem to arrive on the relationship stage one after another. In this case, you are completing bad karma and you may have to acknowledge your mistake was in a previous life.

Led on Too Long

It doesn’t feel good to be left on hold wondering when he will stop playing the field and see that you were “the one” all along. You made yourself available, waited for his calls, loosened all other ties thinking dawn would break any day now. But if after two years you have not established an exclusive relationship, it’s likely you’ll never get the commitment you want. See the mistake of making yourself too available to someone who never wanted more than a casual relationship.

Red Flags Don’t Mean a Thing

Some personalities tend to ignore obvious signs at the beginning of a relationship that spell out trouble and warn that the subject of attraction is not exactly relationship material. So what that he tells you he was married eight times and each time it was the woman’s fault the relationship failed. Or that he guzzles a six-pack in front of the TV on your second date. Ask yourself this question: How was my blindness a product of my desperation for love? And perhaps your eyes will be open on the next go-round.

Thinking Communication Is a One-Way Street

Dictatorial communication styles are often a symptom of mindsets of inequality. Whether it is you giving out the orders and venting for hours or your partner who thinks his way is the right way and you should have nothing to say, the relationship will suffer from degradation. Words can be powerful, but how you say them can be even more powerful. Examine your communication style and the mindsets it stems from. If it needs changing, change the communication dynamic by focusing first on your own style of communicating.

Breaking Up When You Need to Make Up

If you were too quick to leave a relationship in the past you know the pain you caused as well as the regrets you have. Flight behavior can represent a fear of intimacy or the inability to recognize that people can change with time when they value the love between them and each other. Fighting the urge to break up and developing some patience and understanding may very well save a relationship deemed too challenging.

Living Too Long Without Love

If it is love that you are after, you need to face the fact that you are lovable and that you deserve a partner who sees the sun, moon, and stars in your eyes. But if he doesn’t seem to be treating you with love and respect, keeps you at a distance and is self-absorbed, unresponsive or overly critical, the problem isn’t necessarily you. There is nothing worse than staying in a relationship that is impoverished or with a lover who is never in the mood for love. In fact, it is heart-breaking. Your mistake may be in expecting a turn-around by demanding better treatment. Demands seldom seem to work. The magical elixir may be to create a life outside the relationship that looks greener. If you matter anything to him and he see’s you’ve moved onto greener pastures, he may start to value what he lost. If not, you have created a new life to move all the way into.

Too Much Unsorted Emotional Baggage

Emptying the baggage that you should have left at the airport of your last relationship need not fly in the face of a new partner. In fact, you need to accomplish letting go of the regrets, guilt, shame, anger and grief before you enter another relationship. Maybe you think you have done it to your satisfaction, but just in case look beneath the lining to see if you are harboring something else inside.

Admitting You Made Mistakes

Admitting you made mistakes in a relationship can be difficult to swallow especially if you are the kind of person who doesn’t like to admit they were wrong. The tendency may be put most of the blame on the other person and not take responsibility for your part. End the blame game by focusing instead on what behaviors from you contributed to the problems in the relationship. Then forgive yourself and make strides in learning from those mistakes, promising yourself never to do the same thing again.

Settling for the Short End of the Stick

Women who get no respect usually expect none. They are so conditioned to believe a woman is undeserving, can never measure up, and should be subservient that the short end of the stick seems taller than she feels. Therefore, she will ask for little and watch how her man commands her universe and his. Inequality is no joke, especially if you have lived it too many times or for two long a period of time. The mistake women make is thinking they can never expect equality without chasing away their man. The learning curve demands that a woman stop using the stepping stones of an outdate legacy and see herself forging a path of equality for the sake of the evolution of mankind.

Passing on Someone Perfect for You

If you are the type of woman who seeks the “perfect” man, you are guaranteed never to find him. In fact, you may have even passed on a man who was your divine complement (soulmate) thinking at the time you could do better. If you are in the habit of dissecting the men you attract, try instead to erect a new standard: “A divine design is better than mine.”

How to Make a Sim Fall Instantly in Love With You in Sims 3

Romance is a crucial gameplay aspect in the life-simulation game “The Sims 3.” Sims can fall in love with any other Sim, regardless of the gender and even woo Sims that are already in a relationship. However, Sims also require compatibility to begin a romantic relationship. Sims that have a negative relationship score with your Sim or are in committed relationships with other Sims are more difficult to attract. If you want to play matchmaker for your Sims and do not want to spend the extra time building the relationship, use cheat codes to force the Sims to instantly fall in love.


  1. Open the cheat command console by holding down the “Shift,” “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard.
  2. Type in the cheat code “testingcheatsenabled true” without quotations and press “Enter.” This will enable the testing cheats, which allow you to manipulate various game functions, including relationship levels.
  3. Click on the Sim you want your Sim to fall in love with and select the “Friendly Introduction” social option. This allows your Sim to meet the other Sim if they have not done so already.
  4. Open your Sim’s relationship menu and click on the relationship meter for the Sim you want to fall in love with. Drag the relationship bar over so that it is completely full. This will make the relationship between the two Sims strong enough to move on to the next step.
  5. Click on the Sim you want to fall in love with and select any romantic interactions. Because the relationship level is now as high as it can be, romantic interactions are guaranteed to work. To take the romantic relationship to the next level choose options like “Propose” and “Get Married” from the romantic interactions menu.


  1. Open the cheat command console by holding down the “Shift,” “Ctrl” and “C” keys on your keyboard.
  2. Type in the cheat code “testingcheatsenabled true” without quotations and press “Enter.” This will enable the testing cheats, which allow you to manipulate various game functions, including relationship levels.
  3. Click on the Sim you want your Sim to fall in love with and select the “Friendly Introduction” social option. This allows your Sim to meet the other Sim if they have not done so already.
  4. Open your Sim’s relationship menu and click on the relationship meter for the Sim you want to fall in love with. Drag the relationship bar over so that it is completely full. This will make the relationship between the two Sims strong enough to move on to the next step.
  5. Click on the Sim you want to fall in love with and select any romantic interactions. Because the relationship level is now as high as it can be, romantic interactions are guaranteed to work. To take the romantic relationship to the next level choose options like “Propose” and “Get Married” from the romantic interactions menu.

Leaving Toxic Family Relationships

For many people living in a toxic family relationship can be a stressful, chaotic part of childhood. Being an adult means learning how to cope with toxic parents, and how to leave them behind. Often the death of parents will also leave conflicting feelings of remorse and guilt, despite what parents did to their child. Thomas Whaley’s debut novel explores Benjamin Quinn’s childhood, and how he finally attempts to leave it all behind.

Benjamin blames his parents for the way he has turned out. He’s pompous, egotistical, and sarcastic. Benjamin doesn’t want to be this way, but feels he was forced into his personality by his parents. Benjamin learns a family secret that may explain why his parents raised him in a toxic environment, but certainly doesn’t absolve them of all blame.

If you enjoy authors like David Sedaris, you’ll enjoy reading Thomas’s novel about Benjamin Quinn, a fictional character in “Leaving Montana”. Sometimes leaving a state can mean more than leaving a location, it can also mean leaving the family that raised you behind.

David Sedaris’s new book should be coming out shortly, as his last short story collection came out in 2013. He certainly spends time writing self-deprecating, autobiographical, and humorous books. No topic is taboo with him. Many reviewers are comparing Thomas with David.

Thomas Whaley has created a character who should be likable. He’s successful in his career; he has a loving partner, two children, and a beautiful home. He has a faithful group of friends. But for those who know him well, he has deep-rooted anger, ready to explode.

Not a lot is given away in the preview of the book. We understood his own parents had a terrible relationship. It’s said he saw terrible things happen, which many adults would be horrified to see. Perhaps this implies that abuse was a part of his childhood. He ended the toxic cycle in his own personal life, and managed to put it aside by his 30s. He felt he had it under control, until his parents confided in a secret.

Most people can agree that by the time you’re in your 30s, it’s time to set aside childhood traumas, and either forgive your parents, or move on. It’s time to be responsible for your own life. But for Ben, it sounds like he has to face his demons once again. The only other tidbit of information given is that he is going to journey back to Montana so he can face his fears, and put them to rest permanently.

Thomas has won two awards for his debut novel. One is the NIEA award for National Indie Excellence Awards, and the second is the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Not many authors do as well with their debut novel.

It will be exciting to see what Thomas’s next novel will be about. Perhaps it will be another story about Benjamin, or it will be about an entirely new character. Either way we will have to wait and see.

6 Differences to Appreciate in Your Romantic Partner

Differences sometimes initially attract people to their partners. For example, a quiet introvert is sometimes attracted to an extrovert’s bubbliness, or someone who lacks confidence is attracted to someone who has it.  Over time however differences can cause conflict in relationships (see here(link is external) and here (link is external)for a couple of research examples).

Below are some quick self-reflection questions to get you thinking about the ways in which it’s nice to have a partner who has different traits and strengths than yours.

6 Differences to Appreciate in Your Romantic Partner.

1. The ways in which your mate is a morally better person than you.

For example, my spouse has a much stronger desire to volunteer than I do.  She has better attitudes towards people who are less fortunate than we are, but those better attitudes rub off on me.

2. Healthy ways your mate copes with stress that are different from how you do it.

When you live with someone, you become intimately aware of how they cope with stress. Partners can pick up new skills from each other, or you might just admire what the other person does.  What have you learned from your partner about useful ways to cope with stress?  For example, your spouse may go for a run after work each night.

3. Practical skills your mate has that you don’t have.

Maybe your mate can make dinner for 6 without getting stressed about it, or can do DIY projects that you’re hopeless at.

4. Ways in which your mate will step in a do things that you find anxiety provoking.

Maybe your mate is the one who’ll deal with awkward conversations that need to be had with your family members or neighbors. Maybe they’ll be the one to return items to stores because you feel embarrassed doing it.  When is your partner willing to step in and rescue you from things you feel anxious about doing?

5. Are any of the qualities that annoy you about your partner the dark side of their more attractive qualities?

For example, if get annoyed by your partner’s stubborness, do you also admire their belief in themselves and their ideas?  If you get annoyed that they spread themselves too thin, do you also admire their generosity?

Pinpoint what irritates you about your partner, and ask yourself whether there is relationship between that quality and something you like about them.

This isn’t about dismissing the annoying aspect. It’s just about seeing things in gray rather than black and white.

6. Are there any specific tasks that your partner does in a way you admire or find sweet/cute/amusing?

Does your partner make sandwiches in a particularly adorable way, or do they have a super well organized system for keeping their mail and receipts in order?

It’s easy to ruminate about it when your partner doesn’t do tasks the way you like them to be done.  What do they do that’s different from your approach in a good way?

It could be as simple as their favorite weird sandwich fillings, or the goofy apron and chef’s hat they love to wear when they’re grilling out.

Do Rebound Relationships Move To The Next Level?

You have just broken up with your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend and the relationship may have left you with a bitter taste in your mouth. The top most things on your mind are probably jumping into a new relationship to spite your ex for all the wrongs they committed. Well, a rebound relationship can be described as a relationship one gets into a few days to several months after breaking up with their partners. Rebound relationships most of the times fail for several reasons however there are always two sides to a story. Some rebound relationships actually work and move to the next level. We will look into why rebound relationships fail as well as why some rebound relationships work and move to the next level. We will also end up seeing what the importance of new relationship advice is.

The first reason why rebound relationships fail is because one of the partners gets into the new relationship for the wrong reasons and with wrong intentions. The partner who is on rebound may be out to prove a point to their ex and this could end up hurting their new partner and the relationship ends even before it starts. The other party who is not on rebound will definitely get hurt when they discover they were being used as a vengeance tool. New relationship advice will help the partners know if they are entering the relationship for the right reasons.

The other reason that rebound relationships fail is because of baggage carried from the previous relationship. The partner on rebound may still have unresolved issues which they may carry into the new relationship this ends up hurting their new partner and may lead to the death of the relationship.

It’s not wrong to compare notes from your previous relationship but this should be a private affair something that the person on rebound should do in their mind and not bring out in the open. It is humiliating to be compared to another person for whatever reason because each and every person is a unique personality with their pros and cons.

Why would a rebound relationship work you may wonder, it is a very rare occurrence however some rebound relationships do work for several reasons. You may have kissed enough frogs and you may have finally met your soul mate. This sounds like a fantasy but it is a reality and does happen when the two partners in the new relationship share common goals and are agreeable the rebound relationship can work because both parties appreciate each other and do not take each other for granted. Rebound relationships may work especially if the two partners have been friends for a long time and understand each other. This is because they already share a common goal and are comfortable with one another.

For a new relationship to work especially a rebound one both parties should be willing to give it time to grow and have open and constant communication. Whatever you do treat others the same way you would like them to treat you. At the end of the day you need some new relationship advice for you to make it.

Expectations in a Relationship

A couple frustrated with each other in a restaurant

Are the expectations you have in a relationship really yours, or are they an accumulation of what you’ve read or have been taught? Have you accepted the idea that, this is the way it should be? What you want in a relationship and what you have could very well be causing an inner conflict. You may be looking at your partner and saying, “Whoa, wait a minute! He should be doing such and such” … butwho determined what he should be doing?

There are scads of books available today about fixing relationships, how to catch the perfect man, why men love bitches, how to behave in a relationship, whether or not he’s just not that into you, how to tell if he is into you, that men are from Mars … well, you get the idea, and the list is endless. Point is, are you deriving what a relationship should be based on what Oprah, Dr. Phil, countless books and talk show hosts have to tell you? Or, are you allowing the person with whom you’re in a relationship to be who he or she is and learn to adjust your perspectives?

Granted, certain behaviors are disrespectful, and no one that I know of wakes up in the morning with an enthusiastic, “Oh, yippee, I sure hope I get treated like scum today!” Mutual respect in a relationship is paramount to make a partnership work.

What I have discovered is that we all have an ideal in the corner of our mind of what our interaction with our loved one “should” be. Whether this is derived from watching, Leave It to Beaver (June as the perfect wife in her pearls) or Married with Children (Al secretly loves Kate, but is very degrading to her) – or, as mentioned above, from the books and famous people that tell us what we should expect. If your relationship is falling short of the commandments that dictate the shoulds and should nots, are you expecting it to change? Better yet, can you discard what the powerful “they” say, and just learn to adjust to what your relationship is instead of what you think it should be?

More disagreements and squabbles between two people are born out of what others dictate to us; someone else who doesn’t have a clue about who you are or who your significant other is, insists on telling you that this is the way you should behave, resolve issues, and live happily ever after.

Happily ever after only comes in books. Relationships are a continual work in progress, keeping your ego in check, accepting certain things, and learning to choose your battles. Leaving the cap off the toothpaste isn’t a battle worth the effort. Not telling you where he’s going when he suddenly decides to go out for the evening- that one is worth the pursuit.

To genuinely allow your relationship to work, you have to get into a space where you allow each other to simply be the person he or she is. No one needs “fixing.” Perceptions can be shifted. Behaviors can be altered. The key is to make sure that it’s what you want, and not what you’ve been told!