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How I Saved My Relationship by Analyzing My Genes

Written by Eliana Ferdman, Mechanical Engineering | Last updated:
Medically reviewed by
Puya Yazdi, MD | Written by Eliana Ferdman, Mechanical Engineering | Last updated:

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How I Met Joe

Hi, my name is Eliana.

You might know my boyfriend, Joe Cohen, founder of SelfHacked, SelfDecode and LabTestAnalyzer.

Joe and I actually met on Facebook (yup of all places).

He sent me a message saying “Hey, you’re really cute. If you’re ever in California, let me know!”

Being from Montreal, I found this hilarious. When was I going to be in California? This guy must be a little crazy. I decided to respond, what’s the worst that could happen? I thought. We exchanged a few messages and landed on facetime minutes later. We had this instant connection, one that leaves you thinking this is way too good to be true. We spoke 24/7 after that initial facetime call, and Joe ended up flying to Montreal a few days later to meet me.

We had very similar backgrounds and personalities. Both Joe and I grew up Jewish Orthodox, went to religious private schools, and shared the same experiences. Our outlook on religion was alike and our journeys to becoming non-religious took a similar course.

These similarities helped us bond and understand each other in a way that not too many people are able to. We both highly valued honesty and were very blunt with one another.

With so much in common, we quickly developed a strong connection. And since we both hated the thought of a long-distance relationship, I decided to move in with Joe in California to see how things would go.

Sounds like the start to a perfect love story….

Not All Fun in the Sun

Fast Forward to living in California. I found myself in a place where I didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a job, and Joe was back at work. When I say back to work, I mean he was working 10-12 hour days and I was bored out of my mind.

That’s when it started. I would get moody often because I was bored and felt neglected. I had moved across the world for someone and he wouldn’t even give me the time of day.

But as time went on, we started to have serious relationship problems. We tried to fix these issues as normal couples do. We frequently talked about what was bothering me and tried to come up with solutions.

Joe helped me fix my boredom issue by bringing me on as an employee at his company.

However, this didn’t really fix anything.

I was still so unhappy but couldn’t seem to figure out why.

Both of us thought it was because we lived together, worked together, hung out together, and did everything together. Maybe we just needed space?

We tried giving each other more space, but nothing really changed.

I would still get annoyed with Joe almost daily. In turn, he would get annoyed with me for being “moody” or “overreacting” for “no reason,” which would only make me more mad.

I didn’t understand how one person could make me so mad day in and day out. “How does he not realize that his actions are driving me crazy? Why doesn’t he change?”. These questions would loop inside my head on a daily basis. I was constantly blaming his actions for my anger.

For example, I would ask him to take out the garbage and if he didn’t do it right away, I would be upset for most of the day. He’d ask what was wrong and I would just give him a death glare and say “I’m fine.”

In turn, Joe would feel like he was walking on eggshells, which made him appear more and more distant. He kept needing more space–he even slept in a different bed most nights.

It didn’t even cross my mind that it was because of my bad moods. I just figured he needed more space and it was something I would have to live with.

We stuck together until that point, because we still had a lot in common and our lives were very intertwined. We worked together, we played volleyball together, liked the same shows, had good conversation. We also cared about each other a lot and loved each other. Ultimately, we wanted to find a way to stay together and be happy, but we were running out of solutions.

A Therapist Said I Had No Issues

This wasn’t the first time in my life where I was experiencing relationship trouble. I had one other serious relationship and we would get into heated arguments all the time, which caused us to end our relationship despite a strong connection. Unlike Joe, my ex didn’t avoid conflict and things always escalated into huge fights. Back then, I had no idea that I had a problem.

That breakup really took a toll on me. It was my first serious relationship and he was my best friend at the time as well. I felt extremely alone and ended up getting very depressed. I sought out therapy, hoping that I would get more insight into my relationship issues and find a way to be happy again.

After my first session, I didn’t feel any better than when I walked in, but I still gave it a chance and continued to see the therapist.

The therapist never suggested that I had a problem with my mood, or that there was anything wrong with me. He just told me that my ex and I were probably not a good match, and the reasons I got upset were probably justified. At my 5th session, the therapist told me he didn’t think I needed any more sessions. “You’re fine”, he said.

And even though time ultimately healed my wounds and I moved on with my life, I was definitely not fine.

I Didn’t Want Supplements

Joe, being a biohacker, thought he had just the answer to my problems and suggested that I take some mood-boosting supplements. Our three kitchen cabinets were full of supplements, so I didn’t even have to buy any.

While Joe would do his health hacks, I would observe and find it both weird and hilarious.

However, to be honest, I thought all of it was complete bullsh*t.

I never thought of myself as having any health problems and never took any supplements. I exercised, ate mostly healthy foods…I thought I was as healthy as a person could be.

I said no to the supplements, claiming that getting into a bad mood was perfectly normal. Plus, I blamed the moods on him–and occasionally on PMS.

It just couldn’t be me–I was perfect! After all, I was the best girlfriend in the world. I would cook his favorite foods, do his shopping for him, give him massages…what else could he want?

On top of it all, I felt like I had no one to talk to about it. I already knew what my friends would say and I knew I wouldn’t like it. They’d tell me I deserved better and that there were plenty of fish in the sea. The problem was, I knew I wanted to be with Joe and turning my friends against him would only make matters worse, so I stayed quiet and tried to ignore my feelings, just hoping things would get better on their own.

Breaking Points

As you could have probably guessed, things didn’t get better on their own. It came to a point where I could tell that Joe was miserable and I never intended that. I still wanted to try to work things out… I still felt that we had something special, if only we could get past this hump.

I was trying my hardest not to get mad at Joe by holding everything in. This made the situation even worse, as I wasn’t venting my frustrations and Joe felt more uncomfortable with each passing death stare and subsequent “I’m fine.”

In the end, I was completely unaware of my emotional state. Joe would point it out and I would deny it or think he was crazy!

So, even though we rarely overtly “argued” or ”fought,” I was carrying a lot of negative emotions, which took a toll on our relationship.

Eventually, we reached a breaking point. Discussing our issues wasn’t helping anymore and we were moving backward. Nothing was working. It was uncomfortable even being around each other.

My SelfDecode Mood Report Fixed Me

One day, Joe bought me a DNA kit and suggested I try following the recommendations in my gene-based mood report on SelfDecode. He was adamant.

He even made a deal with me. He said if I followed the recommendations, I would be allowed to get as upset as I wanted, as often as I wanted, and he would not get upset at me in return. This felt liberating because for a long time I was trying to not get upset at him and now I wouldn’t have to hold all of those emotions in.

I told him that the recommendations and supplements were worthless, and there was no chance I would notice an effect. I told him that he was the reason I was mad all the time and no supplements were going to magically change that.

Nevertheless, I took the deal, uploaded my genetic data and followed the recommendations from my mood report.

My main recommendations were to take the supplements 5-HTP, lithium orotate, zinc, magnesium, curcumin and N-acetylcysteine.

I decided to read about these substances more on SelfHacked and made a final determination that they were safe enough to try. I didn’t have much to lose, even though I was pretty confident that they wouldn’t do anything for me.

Joe already had all the pills on hand (because he owns every supplement that has ever existed), so I started taking them soon after.

That’s when my whole life changed.

A Life Changer

If I were to quantify it, I would say my happiness levels quadrupled and I never get into a prolonged bad mood anymore.

As far as “side effects” go, my cognitive function noticeably improved (especially my memory), and my self-awareness increased.

So not only did my mood get better, but my cognitive function and memory improved as well. It turned out that I was living with brain fog and didn’t even know it.

I know, this sounds way too good to be true, but seriously, I am a completely different human being.

In fact, even Joe was shocked by the extent to which these supplements affected me. He thought they might help improve my moods by about 50%, but he didn’t think my whole personality would change.

At this point, I think Joe’s the “moody” one in the relationship 😉

Sure, he still does things that are slightly annoying, but so do I. We both realize what the other’s strengths and weaknesses are and we accept them.

I’m now much more self-aware about my emotional states. If I do get into a bad mood, it goes away in less than a minute and I move on. I’m able to get myself out of that dangerous moody cycle.

Because I wasn’t self-aware before, I didn’t even realize what I was doing or the impact it was having on my relationship. Only in hindsight do I see what happened.

It was as if I was watching the world with a gloomy and negative lense, and then one day everything changed.

My life has changed for the better, and I have the world of “biohacking” and gene-based recommendations to thank for it.

Buy a mood DNA wellness report and get SelfDecode Free

We Are Now Engaged

Joe and I are now engaged and in the midst of planning our wedding!

Sometimes, there are deep, insurmountable problems with a relationship, and those relationships should end. In our case, the problems stemmed from my mood issues and we were able to overcome them.

It’s certainly not the case that every, or even most, relationships can be fixed by a few supplements. However, whether you’re single or in a relationship, most of us have room to optimize our health, and in turn, our relationships and lives.

P.S. now we both eat our wings with gloves on!

Interview on Good Morning Britain

Interview With Dr. Kayte Susse on EverTalk TV

Joe Cohen and Eliana Ferdman from EverTalk TV on Vimeo.

Want Better Ways to Improve YOUR Mood?

If you’re interested in natural and targeted ways of improving your mood, we recommend checking out SelfDecode’s Mood DNA Wellness Report. It gives genetic-based diet, lifestyle and supplement tips that can help improve your mood. The recommendations are personalized based on your genes.

About the Author

Eliana Ferdman

Mechanical Engineering
Eliana studied Mechanical Engineering at Concordia University.

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