How to Get Your Partner to Give You Some Time to Yourself

How to Get Your Partner to Give You Some Time to Yourself

Most of us whether consciously or not come to love with all sorts of presuppositions. We have a preconceived notion of what it is like to be in the perfect relationship, what the opposite sex is really like, what a marriage should be, and so on. But living it, that’s a whole other thing. Though we often assume that being together all of the time is a sign of a healthy relationship, after the honeymoon phase is over our needs change. That is only natural. In this next phase, each of us needs some time apart from our partner. Coupledom comes with all different kinds of interactions. You do not have to be Siamese twins to share your love. In fact, it is unhealthy if you never spend time apart. When we are with our partner all the time, we cannot appreciate them as much. Things get stale. We take them for granted, get irritated more easily by them, which increases the chances of relationship strife. Then there are identity issues that come with coupledom. You have to always think in terms of “we.” You have to take your partner’s feelings into consideration. You have to constantly accommodate them. Sometimes we just need time away from our lover or spouse to be who we are without them, to get in touch with our feelings, digest the complex goings on in our lives, and just feel who we are without our blending into someone else.

Some people feel guilty asking for time alone. But realize that you are a big part of this relationship. If it is good for your mental health, it will be good for your partner too. In truth, getting a little time to yourself will actually rejuvenate the relationship. You will have thoughts, experiences, and insights to share. Remember that self-love is just as important as loving your partner. Every once in a while go on an adventure by yourself, or at least without your partner. A day trip, a biking tour, an afternoon at a museum, an evening with a good book, or a few hours at a coffee shop can really help you center yourself again. You will come back to your partner refreshed. Explain to them all of this so they understand. Be sure that they see that you just need a little me-time. It has nothing to do with them. Make sure they don’t feel rejected or lonesome. If so, help them find something to do, and encourage them to take part in personally fulfilling activities by themselves, or with friends.

Asking for some time alone can feel as though you are rejecting your partner. Instead, you are asking for exactly what you need. Anyone in a solid relationship should be able to openly and honestly communicate their needs and have them met. If your partner is resistant, take a good long look at them. Are they needy or clingy? They may have self-esteem issues. Reassure them that this is perfectly natural and reasonable. But also help them to build up their self-esteem over time. Reflect on their positive qualities and accomplishments. Encourage them to take part in interests, hobbies, and spend time with friends. If they are overbearing, manipulative, and try and guilt you into not having some time to yourself, rethink this relationship. This person may not be healthy for you. But a good partner will understand where you are coming from and support you. They may even be dying for a little time to themselves.

For more on how to run your romantic life smoothly read, Managing Relationships: Bridging The Communication Divide by Jemayne L. King.

Men Provide Less Emotional Support to Their Partner When Stressed

Men Provide Less Emotional Support to Their Partner When Stressed

Ladies, have you ever turned to your partner when he is stressed out, looking for emotional support and validation, but instead receive the sound of crickets in return? If you are lucky you may get cold, calculated logic, instead of understanding. Now you could just call up a friend, your mom, or your sis. But a significant part of any romantic relationship is providing emotional support for one another. If you cannot get that, what are you in this relationship to begin with? Don’t blame it all on the male portion of the population. Men are not socialized to express their emotions in our society. So they already come at a disadvantage. Those men and women in supportive relationships feel closer to their partner, and that ultimately is what everyone wants. They feel more confident too. The sex is better since both parties feel close to one another. Intimacy abounds. And this support spills over to other areas of life too. We have a rock to depend on, a partner to carry us through the hard times, and to help us reach our educational, career, and personal growth goals. Emotional support for both men and women is often sought from their primary, romantic relationship. But a new study published online by the journal Psychological Science, has some bad news. Researchers discovered that when stressed, women do a better job of providing emotional support to their partner than men.

An international team of psychologists conducted the study, led by Thomas Bradbury. He is the co-director of the Relationship Institute at University of California (UCLA). Bradbury said that men manage stress differently. The male of our species, or at least in our culture, when stressed are less comforting, supportive, or nurturing than women, according to Bradbury. This becomes more evident when a partner expresses her feelings in an emotional way. 189 highly satisfied couples, who had been together for a little over four years, participated. The average age for the men was 28, and for the women 26. The couples were then split up into three cohorts. The first had couples where the man was the only one suffering from stress. In the second, only the woman felt stressed. For the third, both parties were stressed. First, Researchers conducted a fake job interview with each active subject individually. Then they were asked to count down from 2,043 by 17 each time, as fast as they could. They also had to start over again from the beginning each time they make an error. These tasks as you might imagine caused participants tremendous stress. Researchers then took saliva samples from each, testing their cortisol level—the stress hormone. Afterward, the couples were put into a room and videotaped for eight minutes.

When each active participant went back to their partner, they all complained, talking about the stress they were feeling, and what they had experienced. Researchers analyzed the videos later on to see how supportive each partner was, and whether men, women, or both were equally supportive even when feeling stressed. Investigators measured the number of positive, supportive responses, to the number of negative or dismissive ones. They also recorded non-verbal cues such as hand holding, eye contact, lack of eye contact, and whether they sat close together or far apart. And even when feeling stressed themselves, women were more responsive to their partner’s emotional needs than men. Bradbury said that each partner can be emotionally available and supportive of the other. But women should also realize that their partner operates a little differently. When he has had a particularly stressful day, and use another method of approach than a full onslaught. On these days, perhaps wait until he has had some time to unwind, or talk and vent but in a calm, matter-of-fact manner. This may elicit better responses. Meanwhile, both partners can recognize the role stress plays in their own separate lives, and in their relationship together. But each person must remember that you cannot tell how stressed your partner is until you ask them.

If love is stressed-filled battle field, learn the rules of engagement by reading Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex by John Gray.

When Low Self-Esteem Hurts Your Love Life

When Low Self-Esteem Hurts Your Love Life

Everyone feels insecure at certain moments in their life, especially their love life. Whether it be an awkward crush like many of us go through in middle school, your first kiss, first real love, or a spouse who did everything right and swept you off of your feet. The feelings that surround these moments can feel so overwhelming, that we feel small by comparison. But for some, self-esteem is a sustained, ongoing, even lifelong struggle. A relationship is best when it is engaged in by two equal partners. If one person is constantly struggling with self-esteem issues, though it may feel like a personal problem, it is affecting your relationship in a myriad of ways. When you have low self-esteem you have a hard time believing your partner when they pay you a compliment. This lack of appreciation can hurt them, putting space between the two of you. Those with low self-esteem have trouble setting boundaries. Everyone crosses a line once in a while. But without the ability to say something, your partner can walk all over you, and all you can do is wear a shirt that says, “Welcome.” Those with self-esteem issues do not know how to ask for what they want in a relationship. They fear their desires will be met with disapproval. So they never get what they want, leading to a secret little pit of hell, an inner cubby hole of frustration as one can never feel comfortable expressing themselves truly to the person they love most.

Do you hold back from engaging in open and honest dialogue with your partner? According to a study out of the University of Waterloo in Canada, this can be viewed as aloofness on the part of your beloved. It makes them think you do not care. But what is actually going on, you hold back because you are afraid of becoming vulnerable, of driving the person away, or of getting hurt. The author of this study Megan McCarthy, said that the partner with low self-esteem is resistant to address problems in the relationship. But in doing so, things cannot develop or progress. The relationship becomes stagnant until it no longer ceases to be. Those with low self-esteem believe that if they do speak up about problems, they will be rejected by their partner. But this causes them dissatisfaction. What researchers suggest is interpersonal communication. Work on telling your partner little problems or small wishes and wants that you have. When they fulfill them, be happy and reflect on it. Then work toward bigger problems or desires. On another front, work on yourself. Improving your self-esteem can only help to improve your relationship. You are indeed half of it. So what can you do to build up your self-esteem?

Look back your accomplishments. Celebrate them. What have you done, and what positive personality traits do you embody that these accomplishments signify? What skills did you have to use to get there? Set slightly higher goals for yourself and work toward reaching them. Celebrate after each one. Smile more. Just the act of smiling can make you feel brighter. And people respond to you when you are smiling. It makes you seem more attractive and more confident. Positive interactions with people will help further your self-esteem journey. Talk to trusted friends and confidants, and let them know about your struggles. Ask their unadulterated opinion of you and any advice they may have. Usually, those close to us will say nice things and make us feel good. But they can also offer some fresh perspective which you may be in need of. Surround yourself with those who support and uplift you. If you have people in your life who are pessimistic, always critical, who disrespect you or tear you down, get rid of them, or if you have to see them, severely limit the time you spend with them. They can only hamper your efforts. Be positive and find things to be positive about. People love enthusiasm. If you can dig deep and find it, you can attract more people to you. Their desire to be around you will help you to feel confident. Lastly, try and get some exercise. The feel good, natural chemicals it releases will give you a boost that others and even your baby will notice and it will make them feel good, basking in the energy you radiate.

For more pick up a copy of, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff.

Relationship Burnout: How to Recognize and Overcome it

Relationship Burnout: How to Recognize and Overcome it

When you burn out, you are completely drained. You no longer have the energy, strength, or motivation to move on. Caring has been pummeled out of you. Now, you just want to rest. Nothing can be more fulfilling than a happy relationship. But when one is going off the rails, nothing can be more painful, or exhausting.

We usually recognize the signs of burnout at work. Some savvy coworkers at a bad job can even tell who will have an awkward episode, who will make a scene, and who will leave quietly after they become incompatible with their job. Sometimes it comes out of the blue for everyone. A coworker just up and moves to Colorado and begins making handmade furniture. But the signs of relationship burnout, though similar can be harder to spot. In the work sphere long hours, hard work, and little return for a sustained period often result in burnout. In your love life, if you feel you have worked so hard and gotten nowhere, and your toil and energy have been met with little progress, the same result occurs. When you have tried and tried, and meet nothing but a wall each time, it is time to move on. But we are too close to that wall we fail to see the writing on it. We get stuck in how we remember our relationship back in the happy days that we forget to face facts, and see it for what it is today.

Though all relationships have their ups and downs, if you feel there is no way to get back on the upward track, you are experiencing relationship burnout. But for many, the alternatives scare them into not leaving. Some are fearful of the dating scene. They think they have been out of it for too long, or they just have no enthusiasm for it. This relationship has left a bad taste. People with relationship burnout have no optimism toward their love life. They have no gitty anticipation at finding a new, better suited mate. Those who are experiencing this particular kind of burnout often feel drained emotionally. They don’t laugh as hard at jokes, and are not as moved by inspirational speeches. They have spent all their emotional capital fighting the battle of their relationship, and in other realms in life have none to spend. Flashbacks of negative scenes with you and your partner play in your head as if a film on a loop, until you cannot stand it anymore. It is the stressors of the day and fights with your partner you remember most. That’s when the world between your ears becomes a loathsome place to reside, an emotional prison.

If you are a complete pessimist about love, you are probably experiencing burnout. It may be time to talk about splitting up from your partner, or at least spending time apart. Once it is over, give yourself time to relax, recharge, and reflect. What did you learn from this relationship? Are you ready to move on? Keep asking those questions until you have positive answers for them. Now is the time to reinvest in yourself. Get the negative emotions out of your system. Start to date again only when you feel comfortable. Don’t feel guilty about where you are with someone who is interested in you and you aren’t interested. If you are with someone worth your time, tell them up front, you just got out of a bad relationship and what that means. Whether you aren’t ready to date yet, or aren’t ready to get serious. Do not feel pressured to have someone in your life. But do not be scared of it either. Trust your senses and yourself. You will know when you are ready. Get in touch with your inner light and search for your authentic self. Pursue your interests and passions. When your life and your heart are ready, you will be able to have the kind of relationship you can feel good about.

When you have been by yourself for long enough and are ready to try again read, Stop Being Lonely: Three Simple Steps to Developing Close Friendships and Deep Relationships by Kira Asatryan.

Is Being Friends First a Good Idea?

Is Being Friends First a Good Idea?

When you first meet someone you are interested in, sometimes the relationship takes a course of its own. You two can’t get enough of each other. In other situations it can be hard to tell how fast or slow things should go. Sometimes those who were hurt in previous relationships or just got out of a long and painful divorce want to take things abominably slow. But then you risk the other person losing interest or putting you in the “friend zone”, never to be seen as a romantic prospect again. Some people say being friends first kills the chemistry. Others say it’s a great way to see whether this is limerence or real love. So should you rush in headlong? Or is being friends first a good idea? Taking things slow might be the right move. No one can mess you up like a lover or an ex. So taking time to get to know someone is a smart move. Look past the chemistry and see if there are any warning signs. But what about being “friend zoned?” Well, according to a recent study a person’s attractiveness often increases as you get to know them better.

Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin conducted the study. They found that after spending more time together, things like compatibility made someone more attractive, even over other things such as appearance. Of course, researchers warn that what is found attractive in a mate varies widely from person-to-person, beauty thus being in the beholder’s eye. There was a trend toward getting to know someone better which made them more attractive. Lucy Hunt was the lead researcher. She and colleagues knew that couples are often similar in attractiveness level and share behavioral characteristics, what is known as “assortative mating.” What they wanted to know was why this phenomenon occurs. Upon investigating further, researchers found that desirability increased for many participants as time went on. Seeing someone in a different context than one normally does was the definitive factor as to whether the person became more or less attractive. Perhaps if you are dating someone you aren’t sure about, place them in a different context and get a read on how you feel about them. If you are always hanging out with friends, invite them to a family party, or ask them to join you in a volunteer opportunity. Chances are you’ll be better able to gauge how you feel about them.

Another reason is our impressions of someone change over time. When we first meet a person, we look at their outward appearance, how they speak, body language, tone of voice and much more, and we make quick decisions about them. This is actually a protection mechanism. Are they trustworthy? Over the long term we get to see different sides of them and as we do, how we feel about them changes.  167 couples took part in this long-term study. 100 were married and 67 were dating. The couples had known each other from three months to 53 years. Researchers set up video cameras and asked what had changed for the couple over the course of their time together. Then the attractiveness of each couple was rated by independent observers. This research also finds that if you want to date someone more attractive than you are, hang around them awhile. Investigators found that the longer the couple had dated before marriage the more mismatched they tended to be in physical attractiveness. Of course, nobody likes to be friend zoned. But that’s a risk we have to take if a relationship is truly to blossom.

For tips on turning things around if you’ve been “friend zoned” read, How to Get Out of the Friend Zone: Turn Your Friendship into a Relationship by The Wing Girls