We Called an Expert to Give Rob and Blac, Miley and Liam, and More Relationship Advice
From newlyweds to rekindled romances, Sadie Leder-Edler gives love tips to the stars
Valentine’s Day may be over, but for Hollywood’s hottest couples, there’s still lots to talk about.
We consulted Sadie Leder-Elder, relationship expert and psychology professor at High Point University, for her tips on how these star-studded duos can make their relationships work.
(Note: These statements all come from Leder-Elder, and do not reflect the opinions of PEOPLE staff.)
Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian
Since their relationship began, these two have been plagued with drama and reports of familial tension. Leder-Elder says that Rob, who has stayed out of the public eye for the past 18 months, is now looking for a connection because he’s been so withdrawn from his family. “I can see how, if it felt like it was for him, a safe endeavor, he may [be] latching onto this relationship much quicker than he would have otherwise.” However, Leder-Elder advises that he should proceed with caution: While Blac may be in love, she also could be interested in Rob because of his connection to Tyga.
Leder-Elder recommends Rob reach out to those in his family who love him, and get their thoughts on whether Blac is a good partner for him. “People who care about him, if their intentions are true, will give him good advice.” If they’re skeptical, she says, it’s a sign Rob probably should be too.
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
The newly-engaged couple may be hearing wedding bells, but Leder-Elder advises they proceed with caution. While nearly half of adults have “rekindled” a relationship before, she says that it’s rare that these reunions last, and if they do, they’re oftentimes not “successful and satisfying.” While these stats don’t necessarily spell doom for Miley and Liam, Leder-Elder tells them to be cautious as they move forward in their reunion: “If they couldn’t make it the first time, there could be some sort of fundamental flaw in that relationship.” However, as she says, many of these couples do stay together.
Kendall Jenner and Harry Styles
Khloé Kardashian may have confirmed that her little sister Kendall is “dating” One Directioner Harry Styles, but she says that she’s not sure where the two stand – or if they’ve had “the talk” yet. Leder-Elder says this “what are we” phase is common on college campuses, or with college-aged people like Kendall and Harry. “Instead of just going from friends to romantic periods, there’s a gray period,” she says.
During that murky time, Leder-Elder says, people should remain true to themselves. If someone knows they’re interested in pursuing a relationship with someone, she recommends speaking up. “They owe it to themselves to let that other person know,” she says. “You could end up in a state of limbo for an extended period of time.”
Easier said than done, if you’re feeling the nerves of rejection. However, Leder-Elder says: “If you really want to be in a romantic relationship, you shouldn’t be scared to say, this is what I want, and this is what I expect.” So if Kendall or Harry want to take things to the next level, they shouldn’t be afraid to speak up and let their voices be heard.
Teresa and Joe Giuidice
It’s been a dramatic year for the Real Housewives of New Jersey couple, with Teresa in prison for the bulk of 2015. And that’s just the beginning, as Joe prepares to serve his own prison sentence in a few months.
As it turns out, distance does not make the heart grow fonder, Leder-Elder says: Couples in closer physical proximity nearly always fare better than couples who are apart. Technology has helped when it comes to bearing the distance, but Teresa and Joe won’t have the benefits of Skype and texting to ease their separation. Leder-Elder suggests regular communication, and especially, routine visits, to help stand off the negative effects of their time apart. For a couple this devoted, that’s definitely within the realm of possibility: “For Teresa, to stand by her man in a situation where she genuinely feels she didn’t commit the wrongdoing, it’s a testament of their commitment to one another.”
Jade Roper and Tanner Tolbert
This Bachelor in Paradise couple just tied the knot a few weeks ago, and had their nuptials broadcast during the Bachelor 20 special this past weekend. As the two embark on their first year of marriage, Leder-Elder advises that Jade and Tanner remember that not all of marriage is as joyous and celebratory as their wedding day. “When things crescendo, it’s ultimately going to have to come down a bit,” she says. “As you start to build your lives together, there will be more compromises, more negotiations, more difficult conversations. This is totally normal.” Newlyweds, she says, should always remember that not always getting along doesn’t mean a couple isn’t a good fit – it just means they’re normal. “We’re human,” she says. “We all have our quirks. And your partner does as well.”