Love & Learn

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    You know what is so much fun for couples to do together? Fight over housework! Oh yeah, baby. Nothing turns me on like arguing over whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher. And don't even get me started on how exhilarating the laundry squabble is. 

    Kidding, obviously. Dividing up what to do around the house is one of those problems that can divide a husband and wife.

    "I definitely see household chores and division of labor as something a lot of couples argue about," says family counselor Rachel Sussman. As of 2013, men spent about 10 hours more a week on paid work, while moms were spending six more hours a week on household chores and three more hours on childcare. But does it feel equal?  

    If you find yourself struggling to strike the right balance, here are a few tips for sorting it all out peacefully with your spouse -- without breaking dishes or throwing socks at each other.

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    Talk about awkward: Your kid is invited to a birthday party, only the invitation says guests should bring "no gifts." If you've ever found yourself in this predicament, you might surmise deep down that you're screwed no matter what: If you follow the host's wishes and show up empty-handed, you will feel like a heel, particularly if other guests bring gifts anyway. Or, if you blow it off and bring a present, the host might truly be miffed and thank you through gritted teeth.

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    I never thought falling in love would affect my parenting.

    A little over two years ago, when I first split from my then-husband, I had a vision for my life. I would spend the next several years doting on my darling son, puttering around my garden, and enjoying the peace of solitary life. I would remain as chaste as the Virgin Mary. And he would have all of my attention.

    How was I supposed to know love would find me again quickly, toss me upside-down, and turn me into the most distracted, half-assed mother ever?

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    In the early days of my marriage, I can fully admit I was one super scattered wife. At just 25, I was still in the "look at me" phase of youth when I wanted every man to notice me and think I was attractive.

    My husband would often tell me (and to be honest, still tells me), "You care about everyone's opinion but mine."

    At one point, that was probably true. After all, he HAS to think I am attractive. He's stuck with me. Somehow the eyes of others felt more discerning, more important.

    I told myself back then that my husband had low standards for beauty (he doesn't), which was really a way of insulting myself. If he thinks I am the hottest woman out there, he must be wrong, right?

    I know I'm not alone. I've heard countless women discount their spouse's opinion that way, and it's sad. Because now, after growing up a bit and becoming a mom three times over, I've realized the truth: ONLY his opinion matters.

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    Even though we could predict everyone jumping to conclusions from a mile away after her recent breakup with French Montana, it's still a little surprising how people assume Khloe Kardashian will take Lamar Odom back now that she's single again.

    Um, while the idea of her having unresolved feelings for him isn't all that far-fetched, given that he was (and I guess still is) her husband, Khloe seems to be level-headed enough to learn from her past mistakes instead of making them all over again, right?

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    When it comes to your relationship, are you a lover or a fighter or a loving fighter or a fighting lover or ...?

    The reality is every couple has a "fight routine," and how you and your significant other disagree can ultimately determine your long-term compatibility.

    "When it comes to fighting, the bigger question is: Are you mismatched? Can you bridge the gap in your fighting styles?" says Laurie Puhn, author of Fight Less, Love More and creator of the online virtual couple's course based on the book.

    In other words, if you and your partner have divergent disagreement patterns in place, you might never reach a resolution when you fight unless you make an effort to understand each other's default squabble setting and learn to work together toward a solution.

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    It is so, so, SO hard to teach kids to tie their shoes. And between all the Velcro and slip-on styles out there today, many kids are mastering this milestone later than the usual 5 to 6 age range, says Keri Wilmot, a pediatric occupational therapist at ToyQueen.com. Yet while parents can put off teaching this skill, sooner or later, you've got to sit down with your kids and show them the ropes. Here's how.

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    In the early part of my relationship with my husband, I was DEFINITELY the jealous sort. If a girl got within five feet of my then-boyfriend, I was ready to throw down. More than one near physical fight was averted by my boyfriend dragging me into another room and talking me down.

    To be fair, he had given me reason to be jealous. My then-boyfriend was all about "casually" dating me and several other women at the same time. By the time we committed and he was only dating me, my trust was not exactly high.

    Even given those facts, my jealousy was out of control. Back then it would have been hard to imagine that I would someday say I liked when other women noticed my husband or that I enjoyed it when women asked if he has a brother or called him a "catch."

    But sure enough, more than a decade after those fits of rage, that's exactly what I feel. So go ahead and ogle my man. It makes me happy.

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    You've finally had enough. You've reached that point where you recognize you're being abused and you need to leave, SOON, before it's too late.

    Or maybe you're not so sure. You're feeling defensive, like Janay Rice, who was videotaped being brutally beaten by her husband, NFL player Ray Rice. You're still wondering if it's bad enough to leave. But you want to make some plans just in case.

    You definitely should make plans -- ASAP.

    But be cautious and get help. "The decision to leave an abusive relationship is always one to make carefully," says Dr. Christine Murray, domestic violence researcher and associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. "It may take time, or you may have to leave immediately in the aftermath of abuse."

    Here are 7 steps to take if you want to leave an abusive relationship.

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    Most women are thrilled to celebrate at a baby shower ... only odds are you know at least one woman who may find this party a painful experience. Maybe you know that she recently had a miscarriage or has been doing fertility treatments for years with no luck. Rather than have her endure the agony of oohing and ahhing over booties and blankies before she locks herself in the bathroom to cry, you get to wondering whether perhaps it would be kinder to keep her off the invitation list entirely.

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