How to Make Love Last

COUPLE-IN-BED

How to Make Love Last

Despite the elevated divorce rate, long term love is not doomed. In fact many couples experience a beautiful, deep, thrilling connection throughout their lives together. A recent study conducted by Stony Brook University found that out of a sample of 274 married couples, together 10 years or longer, 49% of men and 46% of women said that they were “very intensely in love.” This study was published in The Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Head researcher Daniel O’Leary and his team uncovered the secrets to sustaining romance. So how do you make love last? First, physical intimacy is important, such as hugging and kissing. It releases oxytocin the “cuddle hormone” helping the couple relax and connect. Couples who didn’t report any physical displays of love were also those in a loveless marriage. Sexual frequency also contributed to feelings of intense love. But it wasn’t necessary. 25% stated feeling this way without be physically intimate with their partner within the last month. Physical affection even makes up for other negative aspects of a relationship. Some couples who reported stress over financial decisions, different parenting styles and so on who took part in physical affection still said they were in intense love with their partner.

Couples that remained positive were also far more likely to feel intense love for each other. Some couples take each other for granted or the elements in their partner that they love, appreciate or admire fade from constantly seeing them. But those who showed more appreciation were far more likely to be intensely in love. Another aspect was sharing in interesting, unique and exhilarating experiences together. Exercising, cooking, reading and discussing the same book or article, learning something new that was exciting like surfing, traveling, exploring spirituality or going on adventures all helped couples maintain intense, long lasting love. Personal happiness was the last quality that couples that love intensely share. Personal happiness was especially important for women in these relationships. But does being intensely in love also infuse a person with happiness, or does personal happiness bring an extra spark to the relationship? This is a chicken and egg scenario, a Mobius strip without end. See if you can infuse some of these characteristics in your relationship. Practice appreciating your partner. Go on adventures and explore together. Invest in some quality time. Make sure to show physical affection toward one another. Your love will grow and blossom if you cultivate it in the right way. For more advice read, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure by Alistair Begg.

How to be More Loving

loving

How to be More Loving

Sometimes when we are in a relationship, we don’t let on how we really feel. And we definitely don’t let the other person know how into them we really are. That would be love suicide right? It can also sabotage the relationship. The truth is the secret to a sustained love is intimacy. How are we supposed to get intimidate with someone when we can’t open up to them? Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it’s actually a strength. Does that mean you should outline all of your shortcomings and all the embarrassing moments in your life on date number one? Of course not. Let it unfold naturally. What it does mean however is that, when the time is right, you should open up and show your lover how you love, and how you wish to be loved. If they are the right kind of lover and respond in kind then you’ve got a great relationship on your hands. Remember you can’t change other people. You can only change yourself. So find the best way for you to express your love. You’ll increase your chances of getting what you really want. You want to set the tone. Shed that inner critic and instead grow into a loving, open person. And through this display you may actually get a loving open person in return.

Talk about exactly how you feel with yourself. Practice and see how the words feel. How are they to take it? Don’t overanalyze or feel mortified if you say those three little words and get nothing but crickets. That’s how you feel and that’s alright. Just tell them that then change the subject. But at least you were honest and passionate and said how you felt. It may warm them up to you. They may just need some time. Or they may warm right up to you. Granted, don’t do it on the first date. But if things have been going spectacularly and it slips out on the sixth or seventh date, it’s no big deal. Don’t get caught up in a this-for-that mentality. If you feel it just say it and don’t worry about the next part. Be kind and loving but don’t attach strings. Be generous with your love toward your partner. Take part in shared interests to build your bond together. Whether it be a foot massage or letting them handle the remote once in a while, take part in acts that they will find loving. Make sure you are with the right person. Take your time and wait until you feel comfortable. But if you are with the right partner and it’s the right time. Open yourself up. Love more and show them how to love more. It will open up a whole new world for you. You’ll be so loved and feel so alive. For more advice read, Love is a Verb: 30 Days to Improving your Relationship Communication by Simeon Lindstrom.

Ending a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship

manipulative

Ending a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship

If you somehow found yourself in a manipulative or controlling relationship, it may seem impossible to end it. Though it can be difficult, it can certainly be done. You may feel guilty, somewhat responsible, wondering if they can make it without you, or visa-versa. But that’s just the manipulation talking. How can you be happy, fulfilled and truly free with this person in your life controlling you? You need to prepare, go through with it and move on with your life.

First, realize that you are being controlled. Has the person had terrible outbursts followed by how much they want and need you? Did you try to leave before and they threatened you, or even threatened suicide? Have they slowly wormed their way into every aspect of your life? Do they put you down in front of others? Are they extremely jealous? Write down a list of all the controlling and manipulative things they have done, or are doing. Keep this list and refer back to it when you feel your resolve wavering. Remember all the reasons you want it to end, and then make arrangements. Are you two living together? Make arrangements to move elsewhere. Do so quietly. Plan what you are going to say. Make it short, sweet and to the point. Let them talk but don’t let them drone on. And don’t let them charm, or cajole or convince you to stay. Don’t budge. Remember your list and don’t back pedal, keep moving ahead.

It may help to end the relationship in your mind first. Pretend you are confronting the person and say all the things you wish you could say, if they weren’t so manipulative. Remember the good times and the bad. Reflect, but realize it’s better this way. You’ll never be able to live your life with them controlling and manipulating you. Think of yourself as single. Be firm. And once you drop the hammer, don’t contact them. Erase them from your phone. Block their email. Unfriend them on Facebook and other social media sites. Keep away from them. Don’t give them a chance to explain. How many chances have you given them? Do not tell them where you are going or where you’ll be living. If you see that person, just walk away from them. Do not give them a chance to chat or explain things further. They are only looking for an in to suck you in. Realize that they are a charmer and have the ability to manipulate you, and resist them.

If there is something you absolutely need to contact this person for, do so through a mutual friend, or have your friend contact them and pick up the item. If it has to be you, pick it up in a public place. Take the item. Thank them and get out of there. Give them short yes and no answers. Be cold. Don’t give in to any of their advances. Spend some time with your friends, relatives and other loved ones. Get busy with work, school or whatever you are doing. Love yourself. And recognize how much better life is without someone manipulating you. For more advice read, In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D.

Alleviating Marriage Boredom

relationship-difficulties

Alleviating Marriage Boredom

Lots of couples go through rough patches, ruts and what-have-you. Everyone is so busy nowadays, who has time to invest in a relationship? Most of the time we come home and all we want to do is eat, veg out on the couch for a little while and go to bed. But a marriage needs to be renewed with energy, vitality, interest, sexuality, amazing conversation, and even the sharing of food and ideas. Without these things a marriage is just flat. Alleviate marriage boredom by following these easy steps to reinvest in yourselves and make your marriage worthwhile.

First, work on yourself. Most people point the finger at their partner without realizing what issues they themselves bring to the table. Have a little time to reflect on what happens when you have arguments, what negative patterns there are, and how to counteract them. Then talk to your partner about it. Discuss the dynamics you’ve discovered and how you will neutralize them. You’ll be surprised but this very act may have them thinking about what they can do to improve themselves.

While you are getting in touch with yourself, get in touch with a sexual fantasy you want to try with your partner. And get in touch with your hopes, dreams and passions. If all you have or they have is the relationship that gets rather dull after a while. For heaven’s sake, what do you talk about over the breakfast table? But if you have a hobby or a dream to be fulfilled, invite your lover in and share that with them. Have one night a week where you invest in just the two of you. Turn off the TV that day and talk, have dessert, open a bottle of wine, look through old photo albums, act silly and have fun together. If you have the means go out. If not, find other ways to enjoy each other’s company.

Realize that relationships change and go through many phases. People’s wants and needs change over time. It’s important to stay in touch with your partner, who they are and how they are changing, and be okay with it, as they must come to accept who you are. If things aren’t the same, talk about it. Find ways to improve your life together. Encourage your significant other to chase their dreams and help them run after them. Expect them to do the same for you. Find something they’ve always wanted to try and do it with them. If absolutely none of these work for you, be sure to see a marriage counselor. But consider divorce the very last option. If you can reinvest in your marriage most times an awful lot will come back toward you. For advice on spicing things up in the bedroom read, Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, Ph.D.

Overcoming the Winter Relationship Drain

COUPLE-IN-LOVE-WINTER

Overcoming the Winter Relationship Drain

In the barren landscape of this cruel season, your heart may feel as bitter as it is outside. Unfortunately for many, especially those who would rather hibernate, it’s often hard to keep a relationship vibrant during this time of year. Then there are bleak statistics like the fact that couples are more likely to split over the holidays and St. Valentine’s Day. The season can put extra pressure on a couple, particularly pertinent if they aren’t getting along to begin with. Psychologist Seth Meyers, PhD, says we tend to be moodier in the winter months, and our energy level is lower. These also take their toll on our love life.

HERE ARE SOME POTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP OBSTACLES AND HOW TO GET PAST THEM:

  • Both men and women feel cooped up during the cooler months, and this adds to our irritability. The lack of sunlight also robs us of serotonin—the happiness neurotransmitter in our brains. One way to combat this is to bundle up and go outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes at lunchtime, a little sunlight can get the serotonin flowing, and make you your own fun-to-be-with self again.
  • Another problem is that we often try to feed this lack of serotonin with temporary fixes such as simple carbs, sugar or alcohol. These can make you feel better short-term, but when you crash later on you feel worse. This is when we find ourselves in a screaming match with our partner. Being “hangry” is no laughing matter. Nutritional psychologist Julia Ross suggests high protein snacks instead. Eggs, cottage cheese, fish, a handful of nuts or some natural peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat are all good options. These will give you a long-term boost while avoiding the blood-sugar roller coaster other foods put you through.
  • Winter is a time when some put on their thick, puffy socks, pajamas, swaddle themselves in blankets and settle down to a TV binge. This is not exactly the sexiest scenario. But a lack of sex in the winter can also spell a lack of connection. Exercising together can boost mood enhancing biochemicals like serotonin and dopamine. Why not hit the gym?
  • Also, work a little harder to keep the spark alive. Spend some time with the TV off. Play some nice music, light candles and get in the mood. Couple time is always appreciated. It makes your cuddling on the couch that much cozier. And cuddling releases oxytocin, the bonding neurochemical.
  • If you haven’t been intimate in a couple of weeks why not initiate a romantic setting and see how your partner responds? Skin gets dry in the winter. Offer to rub some lotion on your sweetie, and while you are at it give them a nice massage. Pick up their favorite dessert and feed it to them over hot cocoa or warm apple cider. Mulled wine and some fun conversation could work. Sure it may be a struggle, but get up and go out once in a while. A little bistro, live jazz, open mic night at your local coffee house or dancing at that hot little joint downtown are some fun options.
  • When it is time to snuggle on the couch, watch the latest RomCom, or perhaps something naughty.
  • Sometimes a little adrenaline can get the juices pumping and make you feel closer. Look for indoor rock climbing at the mall or laser tag at the arcade.

There are lots of fun and romantic things you can do to break out of the winter rut and embrace love, no matter how cold it is outside. For more on this subject read, The Truth about Love: The Highs, the Lows, and How You Can Make It Last Forever by Dr. Patricia Love, EdD.