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Jheq and Mike: Love knows no distance

Jheq Bacsal and Michael Ellis first “met” via the former’s Google+ post. But after that chance encounter, the two fell for each other and are now making plans to live as a happy couple in the Philippines, where Michael (an American) is finding happiness with both Jheq and a growing love for the Philippines.

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All about loveJheq Bacsal and Michael Ellis first “met” randomly, from half way across the world (8,400 miles between the Philippines and Chicago, Illinois in the US) from a Google+ post.

“It’s super amazing! It all started way back on June 26, 2013, when I randomly posted something on my Google+ wall. I was trying to create a blog about it too to tell everyone how fascinating my story was. It looks like it just came out of a love story book,” Jheq recalled.

Michael then visited the Philippines from Chicago after that first chat.

“After that chance encounter, we got engaged and busy planning our future dreams. Primarily, finding a way to live here in South Luzon as a married couple,” Mike said.

Jheq admits to immediately starting to like Michael and love him since that first day they chatted.

“We talked about a lot of personal stuff and really got to know each other. It’s not really hard to love a man like him. He’s so accepting, understanding and loving. All my flaws were invisible in his eyes. As we always say, ‘blinded by love’,” Jheq said.

For Michael, his first visit not only made him realize his love for Jheq, but as well as for the Philippines in general.

“After staying with my fiance, and being treated like a member of a loving family, not to mention the attitude and hospitality of the Filipino people, I know this is my place in the world and plan to move here permanently before the end of this year, perhaps working towards a small business with Jheq,” he said.

Michael admitted that “many challenges face us, but its truly an exciting time. Our love gives us faith, and somehow we’ll make it.”

After being engaged, Jheq and Michael now acknowledge the real struggles of being a same-sex couple in the Philippines.

“The biggest challenge that we are facing right now is the fact that gay marriage is not legal here in the Philippines. Yes there are priest or lawyers who conduct LGBT marriages, but it won’t be recognized anywhere legally. We are already engaged and have the blessings from our parents, but we must still live with the fear of not being recognized by the place we want to live in. Gay marriage is making breakthroughs all over the world, including the US,” Jheq said, adding that “the Filipino people are one of the most accepting of LGBT people in the world. It’s only natural to make it legally recognized here.”

For Michael, “Jheq and I wish to become active in the fight for LGBT legal recognition in the Philippines. Marriage was made for people like us. Something truly out of a story book. We so much deserve to make our own fairy tale, as anyone who falls in love.”

Despite the current challenges faced by their loving relationship, Jheq and Michael both mutually see the mutual growth that they have shared since they met.

Michael has struggled through two heterosexual marriages before finding Jheq. “Not understanding my sexuality due to lack of education and ignorance from the loved ones who raised me. This is often the case with people such as me who remain closeted for so long. With God’s help and Jheq’s love, I finally feel comfortable, open and proud of who I am,” he said.

Aside from being able to practice his English, Jheq added that “the best thing is that I am not afraid of what other people think about us. I learned to accept myself, not hesitate and became a more positive person. Both of us are really proud of what we have right now that makes me more confident to tell everyone about my story. Having him in my life made me take care of myself more. I quit smoking and drink less alcohol like my partner. Living healthy is what we both look forward to so we can grow old together. The most important thing though is that I am happy everyday and treat everyday as a blessing from God.”

Jheq and Michael plan to get married soon and establish a business in the Philippines like a photo booth since Michael is a photographer and has the basic starting equipment, and also maintain a US based business.

“We like to have a business here in Philippines so he can have his working visa. If not, he will look for a job here in Philippines so he can stay here with me. He wants to live in the Philippines, and that is something that we need help with. He likes it here more than the US. He had a wonderful time here and do not want to live as a tourist anymore. Yes we can earn more money in US, but he would like to stay in an environment where everyone is happy and live with my family. He is actually staying at our house and it was my Dad who initiated it, instead of him looking for an apartment,” Jheq said.

Jheq and Michael now want to be a part of the LGBT advocacy in the Philippines and be a good example to highlight that gender and distance are never issues to find true love.

“Love really is just love. It has nothing to do with shape, size, or gender. We are all part of the human condition, sharing ups and downs. And not least of which, looking for that special someone,” Michael ended.

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

Love Affairs

Can colors influence relationships? Check the colors supposedly good for love

Couples with green bedrooms are the happiest in their marriage (89%), followed by beige (84%) and red (77%). Alternatively, couples with purple (31%), brown (33%) and white (38%) colored bedroom walls are the unhappiest in their marriages.

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When it comes to decorating our homes, little thought often goes into how our choices will impact our wellbeing versus how it will look (and cost). But studies have found that the color of your bedroom walls can affect how well you work from home, as well as your sexual activities. 

Exactly because it was interested in looking at the latter (i.e. how color choices affect sex life), PriceYourJob.co.uk devised a study to see if a bedroom wall color impacts a marriage. For this, 4,390 couples were surveyed. They were asked: about the current wall color of their bedrooms; and then their answers were analyzed to ascertain how happy they are in their marriages. 

CHOOSING WELL

As a side note: The bedroom is where most arguments stem from for couples (51%), followed by the kitchen (22%), bathroom (16%), living room (8%) and garden (3%).

To help those who find the bedroom to be the hub of their issues, if a happy marriage is what you are after, paint your bedroom green. According to the findings of PriceYourJob.co.uk, 89% of people with a green bedroom are happy in their marriage. The color green is said to create a sense of comfort as we’re constantly surrounded by it. It can represent growth, fertility, safety and endurance which could contribute to why so many couples with green rooms are happiest. 

Those with beige-colored bedrooms were found to be the second happiest in their marriage (84%). Beige is often associated with being dependable, calming and warm, so it’s no wonder this is reflected in people’s marriages. 

Sultry, romantic and considered the color of love in many cultures, red takes third place. 77% of couples with this color bedroom are content in their marriage. 

Blue, grey and yellow follow next on the list as 70%, 64% and 62% of couples with these paint colors in their bedroom report being happy in their marriage. 

Completing the list of top 10 bedroom colors that lead to happier marriages are:

7. Indigo – 57% of couples are happy in their marriage 
8. Black – 51% of couples are happy in their marriage
9. Maroon – 48% of couples are happy in their marriage
10. Silver – 45% of couples are happy in their marriage

AVOID…

On the other end of the spectrum, PriceYourJob.co.uk discovered that certain bedroom colors can be found more commonly among couples that aren’t happy in their marriages. 

Couples with a purple bedroom were found to be the least happy in their relationship with only 31% claiming so. Purple often creates a mood of mystery and can call to mind feelings of indifference or sadness. 

Brown was the second most common color among unhappy marriages (33%), and white third (38%). Brown is said to be a heavy color that can suppress your emotions and therefore be a significant factor to a couple’s unhappiness without them realizing it, as communication is key to marriage. White can also be attached to the feeling of isolation, coldness and starkness which couples are inviting into their environment.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.com

According to environmental psychologist and wellbeing consultant Lee Chambers: “We don’t often consider how different colors can impact our emotions when looking for a shade for our bedroom. Research has shown that spending time surrounded by certain colors can affect our emotions, mood and behaviors Especially in the home, this can have an effect on how we feel on a daily basis.”

For Chambers, bedrooms should be a place of relaxation, serenity and peace, where we rest and recuperate, and occasionally show our passions. “Warm, bold colors, like red are great for getting us alert and stimulated in the morning and are certain to bring out our feisty side. Cooler pastel shades such as blues and greens convey a sense of peace and nature, and they tend to calm us down and make us feel safer and assured, promoting a restful state. White is clean and clinical, but without a significant splash of color can feel cold and uninviting, while too much black can induce a feeling of sadness.”

Chambers recommends introducing a color that has both warmer and cooler elements, “and don’t forget to be mindful of each other’s color preferences, as we also attach our own meaning to colors and your bedroom color should feel like an expression of anyone who relaxes there and be a place of safety

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Love Affairs

Dating apps don’t destroy love

Contrary to earlier concerns, a UNIGE study has shown that people who met their partners on dating applications have often stronger long-term relationship goals, and that these new ways of meeting people encourage socio-educational and geographical mixing.

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As dating apps escalated in popularity, so has criticism about them encouraging casual dating only, threatening the existence of long-term commitment, and possibly damaging the quality of intimacy. There is no scientific evidence, however, to validate these claims.

Now a study by the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland – and which was published in the journal PLOS ONE – indicates that app-formed couples have stronger cohabitation intentions than couples who meet in a non-digital environment.

What is more, women who found their partner through a dating app have stronger desires and intentions to have children than those who found their partner offline. Despite fears concerning a deterioration in the quality of relationships, partners who met on dating apps express the same level of satisfaction about their relationship as others.

Last but not least, the study shows that these apps play an important role in modifying the composition of couples by allowing for more educationally diverse and geographically distant couples.

“The Internet is profoundly transforming the dynamics of how people meet,” confirms Gina Potarca, a researcher at the Institute of Demography and Socioeconomics in UNIGE’s Faculty of Social Sciences. “It provides an unprecedented abundance of meeting opportunities, and involves minimal effort and no third-party intervention.”

These new dating technologies include the smartphone apps like Tinder or Grindr, where users select partners by browsing and swiping on pictures. These apps, however, have raised fears: “Large parts of the media claim they have a negative impact on the quality of relationships since they render people incapable of investing in an exclusive or long-term relationship. Up to now, though, there has been no evidence to prove this is the case,” continues Dr. Potarca.

Facilitated encounters

The Geneva-based researcher decided to investigate couples’ intentions to start a family, their relationship satisfaction and individual well-being, as well as to assess couple composition. Dr. Potarca used a 2018 family survey by the Swiss Federal Statistical Office. The analysis presented in this study looks at a sub-sample of 3,235 people over the age of 18 who were in a relationship and who had met their partner in the last decade.

Dr. Potarca found that dating websites – the digital tools for meeting partners that preceded apps – mainly attracted people over the age of 40 and / or divorcees who are looking for romance.

“By eliminating lengthy questionnaires, self-descriptions, and personality tests that users of dating websites typically need to fill in to create a profile, dating apps are much easier to use. This normalized the act of dating online, and opened up use among younger categories of the population.”

Searching for a lasting relationship

Dr. Potarca sought to find out whether couples who met on dating apps had different intentions to form a family. The results show that couples that formed after meeting on an app were more motivated by the idea of cohabiting than others.

“The study doesn’t say whether their final intention was to live together for the long- or short-term, but given that there’s no difference in the intention to marry, and that marriage is still a central institution in Switzerland, some of these couples likely see cohabitation as a trial period prior to marriage. It’s a pragmatic approach in a country where the divorce rate is consistently around 40%.”

In addition, women in couples that formed through dating apps mentioned wanting and planning to have a child in the near future, more so than with any other way of meeting.

But what do couples who met in this way think about the quality of their relationship? The study shows that, regardless of meeting context, couples are equally satisfied with their lives and the quality of their relationship.

Couples with a diverse socio-educational profile

The study highlights a final aspect. Dating apps encourage a mixing of different levels of education, especially between high-educated women and lower educated men. Partners having more diversified socio-educational profiles “may have to do with selection methods that focus mainly on the visual,” says the researcher. Since users can easily connect with partners in their immediate region (but also in other spaces as they move around), the apps make it easier to meet people more than 30 minutes away – leading to an increase in long-distance relationships.

“Knowing that dating apps have likely become even more popular during this year’s periods of lockdown and social distancing, it is reassuring to dismiss alarming concerns about the long-term effects of using these tools,” concludes Dr. Potarca.

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Love Affairs

Making an impression using pick-up lines

92% of people agreed that the wrong pick-up line can be enough to put them off someone and swipe left. This means there is a need to know what kinds actually work.

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Due to nationwide lockdowns, more singletons than ever have turned to dating apps to seek a partner, often resorting to dodgy pick-up lines and dreadful jokes in the hopes of scoring themselves a date.

But which one gives you the best chance of receiving a swipe right? 

ManySpins.com did a research on this.

In the hopes of digging deeper and finding out why some pick-up lines are more effective than others, Manyspins.com surveyed 4,320 users to uncover their views.

To start, when asked ‘Do you like pick-up lines?’, 86% of participants said that they do and only 14% disagreed.  This goes to show that your dating success is down to your choice of pick-up line.

Now, 92% of participants agreed that the wrong pick-up line can be enough to put them off someone and swipe left. This means there is a need to know what kinds actually work.

What kinds of pick-up lines are the surveyed users most likely to swipe right on? Consider the following response:

  1. Cheesy/corny (77%)
  2. Romantic (71%)
  3. Funny (62%)
  4. Straightforward (56%)
  5. Dirty (34%)

Taking a range of pickup lines that fit into these different categories, Manyspins.com then took to Tinder to see which is most likely to get a response.

As stated, if you’re looking for a new pick-up line for your dating app bio, Manyspins.com found that old cheesy classics work best. The pickup line that receives the most matches is “I’d say God bless you, but it looks like he already did maintaining an impressive response rate of 80.4%.

With more people taking their search for love more seriously, using the classic “I think I’ve seen you before. You look a lot like my next boyfriend/girlfriendappears to work a treat as this pick-up line leads to a respectable 79.4% success rate. 

It seems that pick-up lines hinting of a potential future, are a hit when it comes to securing those right swipes, the profiles that used the pickup lines “So, when our friends ask how we met, what are we going to tell them?” and “You don’t know how many swipes it took to finally find you” had a 77% and 70.6% success rate, respectively. 

Not all pick-up lines work, obviously.

It’s clear to see that pick-up lines hinting towards sex are off-putting. The pickup line most likely to hinder success is “Let’s have a who’s better in bed contest. I’m hoping to be a sore loser”. With a success rate of just 20.6%, it may be too early to speak about the bedroom.

The pick-up line “If you were a booger, I’d pick you first” is another you may want to avoid. According to Manyspins.com’s findings, it had a beatable success rate of 32.8%. This could be due to the idea of being compared to a booger or the picture it paints of a lack of hygiene, but we’ll leave that up to those using it to find out. 

Another popular pick-up line that didn’t bode well with users was “Your parents will love me, but your neighbors won’t”. With a success rate of 34.2% it’s clear to see that once again laying it on thick may not be the way to go. 

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Love Affairs

Who does the dishes apparently matters in relationships

Keeping the house in order is hard work, especially if you’re a full-time worker. It therefore comes as no surprise that some relatively simple household chores can cause a lot of tension in relationships.

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Keeping the house in order is hard work, especially if you’re a full-time worker. It therefore comes as no surprise that some relatively simple household chores can cause a lot of tension in relationships.

With this in mind, ShowersToYou.co.uk wanted to find out which chores sparked the highest amount of tension within a relationship. To achieve this, the site surveyed 2,459 couples to find the answer, discovering that the chores that cause the most rifts are… pretty dirty (pun intended).

Here’s a list of the most commonly fought over chores within households:

Doing the dishes is the chore most likely to cause arguments, with 57% of couples reportedly getting into a spat over it.

Taking out the rubbish and cleaning the kitchen came second and third, at 46% and 42% respectively.

Dusting is the chore most likely to cause the least amount of arguments, with only 9%, suggesting a lot of couples are fine with sweeping this one under the rug.

Interestingly, among the espondents who are no longer in relationships, 15% revealed that quarreling over household chores was a direct contributor to the breakdown of their relationship.

Other findings include:

  • 40% of respondents disclosed that a lack of appraisal or acknowledgement for doing chores was a large factor in the sparking of arguments.
  • 90% of couples will spend up to one hour arguing with their significant other over chores, with 45% of these arguments incited by a feeling of the chore not having been completed properly.
  • 30% of couples argued about the timingsof the chore, showing that keeping to a schedule was a high priority. Only 15% argued over who was doing what chore, and the remaining 10% argued over entirely different things, with one respondent claiming that they “didn’t like doing it” – which isn’t surprising.
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Love Guides

Importance of a pre-nup for high net worth individuals

To reduce any ambiguity and the risk of someone secretly ‘marrying for money,’ a prenuptial agreement puts down on record what was agreed to before the marriage. This establishes the thinking at the time of the marriage, which is useful in and of itself.

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For people who are just beginning their business journey but have already gained millionaire status, with the prospect of growing wealthier over time, there’s a need to protect themselves. Marriage being a legally binding contract, it opens up the potential for a loss of business control in a contentious and poorly managed divorce proceeding and subsequent settlement. 

To reduce any ambiguity and the risk of someone secretly ‘marrying for money,’ a prenuptial agreement puts down on record what was agreed to before the marriage. This establishes the thinking at the time of the marriage, which is useful in and of itself. 

Why are pre-nups vital for wealthy people?

Where Does the Money Originate?

Some men and women are independently wealthy before they marry. They may have inherited money from family or built a successful business early in life. Either way, they probably want to protect their money in the event the marriage breaks down in later years. 

Divorce Proceedings? Let the Mud Slinging Begin

Divorce proceedings tend to bring out the worst in people. Dividing the assets is not romantic and when there is bad feeling on both sides, it can soon get ugly. Previously friendly communications can quickly degenerate into false accusations as a negotiating tactic to force a higher settlement.

A negotiated prenuptial agreement for high-net-worth individuals should be a priority. Whether as a businesswoman or a businessman, it’s important to preserve the business interests by avoiding a necessary breakup of the corporation. Also, it’s preferable to have any children become the eventual beneficiaries rather than someone leaving the matrimonial union. This is often best achieved by limiting the financial exposure of a potential divorce through a negotiated prenuptial agreement. 

The Validity of a Negotiated Pre-Nup

As a will gladly tell you, it’s become increasingly common for people to attempt to get out of a pre-nup they signed. The most common reason cited is that they were “coerced into signing it” in an attempt to invalidate it. The situation occurs far less often when the person bootstrapped a business or was self-made. In which case, there’s far less of a wealth disparity between the divorcing couple. Yet when marriage was the main wealth creator for one of the parties, their divorce can become extremely difficult to resolve. 

A good resource to find a lawyer is using a directory like lawyers.findlaw.com. However, if you are looking for Lawyer in Salt Lake City, you might want to consider Hepworth & Associates Law Firm as they have considerable experience drafting legally binding prenuptial agreements. It makes it likelier that any pre-nup will be litigation-proof and far less likely that spurious claims used as a negotiation tactic will be taken seriously. 

For anyone who is already wealthy or even expects that they might become so, it’s worth getting a pre-nup before walking down the aisle. Otherwise, they’re literally putting it all on the line with a contract that has a 50/50 success rate, at best. If that were an investment, they’d surely pass. Yet marriage is a special case, so special protections are required to do it right. 

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Love Affairs

What makes a happy couple, a happy family?

Being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.

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“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” Leo Tolstoy wrote famously in 1878 in the opening lines of Anna Karenina. Turns out the Russian author was onto something.

Cohesive families, indeed, seem to share a few critical traits – psychologists agree. Being emotionally flexible may be one of the most important factors when it comes to longevity and overall health of your romantic and familial relationships.

That’s the finding of a new University of Rochester meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, which statistically combined the results of 174 separate studies that had looked at acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, and emotion regulation.

The researchers’ aim was to clarify how mindful flexibility – on one hand – and inattentive, mindless, and rigid inflexibility on the other – were linked to the dynamics within families and romantic relationships.

“Put simply,” says coauthor Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, “this meta-analysis underscores that being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.”

Psychological flexibility versus inflexibility

Psychological flexibility is defined as a set of skills that people use when they’re presented with difficult or challenging thoughts, feelings, emotions, or experiences. Such skills encompass:

  • Being open to experiences–both good and bad–and accepting them no matter how challenging or difficult they might be
  • Having a mindful attentive awareness of the present moment throughout day-to-day life
  • Experiencing thoughts and feelings without obsessively clinging to them
  • Maintaining a broader perspective even in the midst of difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Learning to actively maintain contact with our deeper values, no matter how stressful or chaotic each day is
  • Continuing to take steps toward a goal, even in the face of difficult experiences and setbacks

The opposite – psychological inflexibility – describes six specific behaviors, including:

  • Actively avoiding difficult thoughts, feelings, and experiences
  • Going through daily life in a distracted and inattentive manner
  • Getting stuck in difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Seeing difficult thoughts and feelings as a personal reflection and feeling judged or shameful for having them
  • Losing track of deeper priorities within the stress and chaos of day-to-day life
  • Getting derailed easily by setbacks or difficult experiences, resulting in being unable to take steps toward deeper goals.

Psychologists consider the rigid and inflexible responses to difficult or challenging experiences dysfunctional, ultimately contributing to and exacerbating a person’s psychopathology.

Photo by @suzylee from Unsplash.com

How flexibility shapes interactions

Through their analysis, coauthor Jennifer Daks, a PhD candidate in the Rochester Department of Psychology, and Rogge discovered that within families, higher levels of various forms of parental psychological flexibility were linked to:

  • Greater use of adaptive parenting strategies
  • Fewer incidents of lax, harsh, and negative parenting strategies
  • Lower perceived parenting stress or burden
  • Greater family cohesion <
  • Lower child distress

Within romantic relationships, higher levels of various forms of psychological inflexibility were linked to:

  • Lower relationship satisfaction for themselves and their partners
  • Lower sexual satisfaction
  • Lower emotional supportiveness
  • Greater negative conflict, physical aggression, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance

The results suggest that psychological flexibility and inflexibility may play key roles in both couples and families in shaping how individuals interact with the people closest to them, the researchers write.

The meta-analysis, also commonly referred to as a “study of studies,” cements and adds to the findings of Rogge’s earlier work in which he and a team tested the effects of couples’ watching movies together and talking about the films afterward. In that work, Rogge and his colleagues demonstrated that couples could bring mindful awareness, compassion, and flexibility back into their relationships by using movies to spark meaningful relationship discussions, leading to both immediate and long-term benefits.

That study, conducted in 2013, found that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple watch-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods–more than halving the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after the first three years of marriage.

Being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.

“The results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships,” Rogge said about the earlier study. “You might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate. You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years–that is awesome.”

Watching and discussing movies with your partner that feature onscreen couples can have a positive effect on your relationship, Rogge recently told People magazine. It’s an easy exercise that “could be a lifesaver during quarantine,” he says.

Which movies work? As Good as It GetsFunny GirlGone with the WindLove StoryIndecent ProposalThe Devil Wears Prada, and Father of the Bride are a few of the films Rogge and his fellow researchers used in their 2013 study of couples.

Looking for some LGBTQ recommendations? Rogge suggests The Kids Are AlrightThe Wedding BanquetThe Birdcage, and episodes of Grace and Frankie.

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