Why Readers Make the Best Lovers According to Science

 

There is something about cracking open a new book that makes one filled with hope. With equal measure finishing a great book can leave a hollow feeling. Those who know this struggle well revel in the act of what is called, “deep reading”. Psychologists note that reading is the second most transformative act one can take part in. The first is writing. But today due to the internet, tablets, smart phones, and e-readers people are more or less skimming, and not really delving in deep like they used to. That’s a shame. For if true readers are a dying breed so lessens a great segment of the dating pool which makes preferable mates. According to two studies those avid readers are smarter and more compassionate, two vastly appealing features for a significant other. Both these studies were Canadian. One took place in 2006 the other in 2009. Each study was a collaboration between Keith Oatley, a professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto, along with York University’s Raymond Mar, a psychologist. Oatley and Mar were able to prove that fiction readers showed more empathy—knowing exactly how another feels and being moved to compassion. These readers were also better able to hold beliefs, ideas, and interests that were not their own, something called “theory of mind.” If you have ever been in a multicultural relationship, you know just how important these are.

Today, psychologists say those who have trouble with empathy should read fiction. The idea is that if you can see the world from behind someone else’s eyes, you can better identify with him or her and through the experience people in general. One of the most important relationship tools you can have is how to relate to one another. Theory of mind is considered a natural part of the human experience. But it takes the right kind of social interaction in life to bring it out and help one to develop it. Anyone who has ever been with a selfish lover or even a narcissist knows how important theory of mind is. If you are considering having children with someone, know that just having books in the home increases the child’s word count and cognitive abilities from a younger age. They are also better adjusted socially. A study Mar conducted in 2010 found that children who read more had a better developed theory of mind and could relate to people more. So that would go for not just your love interest but should you wish to have children, your potential offspring as well.

Someone who is a reader should have a better vocabulary. Few relationship skills are more necessary than communication. A person who can communicate exactly what they mean clearly, and perhaps in different ways so you can grasp it should their first attempt not strike you, is the type you wish to keep around. Chemistry and rapport are certainly important. But what we often forget is that relationship and problem-solving skills are necessary too. We don’t often screen a potential love interest for these. Many times we just lead from the heart. So when you go into someone’s apartment for the first time, be cognizant of whether or not they have a bookshelf and check out what is on it. If you are out with someone special, ask them about their reading habits. What was the last book they read? What was a book that changed their life? Their answer may mean the difference between you sticking around or rushing out the door. For more on finding the perfect mate read,Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate by Patti Stanger and Lisa Johnson Mandell.

Year Two Can be Hard on a Relationship

That sheer rush when you fall for someone can be so exhilarating. Every insight they share fills you with awe, their jokes are hilarious, and every idiosyncrasy tickles you pink. But some two years later some find their partner’s insights stale, their jokes lame, and the little habits you used to find so cute are now positively irritating. What happened? The biochemical that kept you high on this person this entire time has leveled off. This is what some people call limerence and others the “honeymoon phase.” After about six months it begins to wear off. The two year point is heavy for most people. Some never want to settle down. They just want to jump from person to the next, chasing the feeling of newfound love. But many people want a life partner to share things with. So in this case to keep those feelings alive takes a lot of work. It takes a considerable investment in time, effort, thinking and planning for any relationship to run smoothly. Once those feelings end you have to evaluate it for what it really is, and consider whether you indeed have a deeper connection with this person or if it was all just infatuation.

Take a good look. Is there good communication? What about affection and tenderness? Do you treat each other with respect? Can you work through problems constructively? If the thrill is gone and you can’t for the life of you figure out what you saw in this person, be happy that the fog of love has lifted and cut your losses. Don’t keep trying to breathe life back into the corpse or you will waste a lot of time and effort, and frustrate yourself to no end. If you have been through a series of these relationships and are always let down in the second year or thereabouts, take a look at your standards. Are they perhaps too high? Some dating experts say apps and websites have made it seem like we can find someone perfect, when it’s really in our foibles and our acceptance of one another’s that we find acceptance and through it, love. Another aspect may be a fear of intimacy. Those who fear commitment often find their fears bubble up to the surface once the feel good chemicals of love wear off. Take it slow, communicate and seek help so as not to sabotage a good relationship if you are indeed in one.

As things develop, that frantic intensity might be gone. But there are other advantages not available before. Sometimes we forget how those dizzying first days, weeks, and months give us tremendous anxiety. But relationships in later stages are more comfortable. Partners who know each other better are closer. Though the instant need to gobble one another may be gone, many married couples say sex is better once you get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and perhaps what kinks you share in common. You have your technique down too. Sometimes relationships and sex can get dull and need some sprucing up. Having a date night, plan a vacation, consider tantra, learn a hobby together like cooking, rock climbing, yoga, or salsa dancing. These are novel experiences which will invigorate your relationship. Talk about what you want to explore together. Also, partners who spend too much time together can get on each other’s nerves. Spend a little time apart to explore different hobbies or spend time with friends. You can talk about something new over the breakfast table. Consider your relationship carefully. But if you have all the right things to make it great, try and infuse a few changes and you’ll be able to reignite the spark. For more readHow to Keep Your Relationship Exciting: 85 Tips to Keep the Romance in Your Life! by Kate Anderson.

Get Over the Stigma of Singledom

Single people get a bad rap. In the media, they are depicted as sad and lonely. Rarely do we see someone strong, well-adjusted and independent without a love interest lurking in the background. Then there is the butting in of certain well-meaning friends and relatives. They may come under some kind of delusion from time to time, and talk to you as if there is something wrong with you. “Why haven’t you found someone?” they ask. Or give you not so good advice like, “Maybe you should just lower your standards a little.” Just relax and remind yourself that you are in good company. The biggest growing demographic in the country today is single women. Sometimes we let what others say get to us. Don’t let them stigmatize you for loving yourself and leading your own life. Get over the stigma of singledom and enjoy flying solo. And in fact, while you are at it, help those other people get over their prejudice against unattached Americans as well.  Here are some reasons why you should feel lucky to be without a plus one. 

Ever see folks who don’t quite belong together try and make it work? It’s just sad. Why would you put yourself through that? Instead, why not wait for someone you can relate to, who flips your switch. Getting turned on is not just a sexual thing. It’s probably more emotional. It’s when you flow with someone. You have that instant rapport. There are different reasons why we are attracted to a person. When you meet that special someone who makes your heart skip a beat it dawns on you that this is someone worth pursuing. But just having a warm body next to you at the movies or on the couch isn’t worth it to those who have a brilliant mind, a full agenda and an independent spirit. There are people who jump from one relationship to another like frogs across Lili pads. These people are generally scared of being alone. But they don’t get a chance to really dig down deep and learn some personal truths about who they themselves are. A pause between serious relationships can give you time to breathe, slow down and focus on your own issues, where you are going and what you want in life. The person you have to love first and best in life is really yourself.

When you aren’t attached you can date around and see what you really like. Why not have some adventures? You can open up your social calendar and allow yourself some time to be a free spirit, sprint off without having to check in with anyone, or babysit someone who can’t keep up. Singledom is not a dilemma, it’s a rare opportunity that most people don’t have and some are downright jealous of. Now is the time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Go teach English in Asia. Volunteer in Africa. Explore your passions. Learn a new language. Start a business. Discover your family history or completely transform yourself into the person you’ve always wanted to be. Being single can feel lonesome at times. But at least you won’t ever feel trapped by or disgusted with your lover. You won’t feel smothered or neglected, rejected or treated unfairly. Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” Anyone who has ever been in a bad relationship knows what he is talking about. Instead, reconnect with yourself and find your own inner light. Once you are glowing like a beacon, someone worthwhile is sure to notice you. If you’re still not convinced or are just giving up the single game read,“Best Dating Advice I Ever Got”: 3000 Women Pick Their Favorite Love Tips by Ali Binazir MD.

Why You Aren’t Finding Anyone You Have Chemistry With

Dating wasn’t any level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. But it can sure feel like one sometimes. We generally think it’s a natural process. It’s all about chemistry. You meet someone. You like them. They like you and boom! The magic happens. Cue music. Except it doesn’t always work that way. Not in real life. Sometimes you date someone and they drop off the face of the planet, right when things were just getting interesting. What was it a fear of commitment? Did they meet someone else or get back with their ex? Or else they owed money to the mob. There isn’t much you can do at this point, except pick yourself up and keep going. Then there is for some a worse situation, a kind of dating purgatory. This is when you meet people all the time. You date and date and don’t have chemistry with any of them. What do you do? Some say chemistry is over-rated. It is compatibility you are looking for. Chemistry fades as soon as the “honeymoon phase” has worn off. Then if compatibility isn’t there, there are few things to keep the couple together. Others think you should hold out for someone who knocks you off your feet. So what is the best way forward if you aren’t finding chemistry with anyone you are dating?

You shouldn’t spend a significant amount of time with someone just because you want someone there. But if you have been on a significant number of dates or spent time with lots of would-be suitors and have no feelings at all toward any of them, consider where you are. What is your selection process like? Are you being too picky? Sometimes we want everything in a mate and refuse to settle. But we forget that each of us is a human being. We all have our faults. Consider giving it a rest for now. Focus on yourself. Then come back at it fresh. But begin looking at your dating life from another point of view. Some people are very goal oriented. But one’s love life rarely fits into the plans we’ve made for it. Usually, we say we want something specific and someone comes along and mucks it all up. There are those who have started to realize that their choices in past lovers may have not been the best. Chemistry can sometimes push us toward those who are not healthy for us. It is best to resist it then. But don’t think you will be stuck in limbo forever. Your system only has to be reconnoitered. Just be patient and wait for someone who gives you that “wow” factor and is also good for you.

There are those who find that nerves get in the way. It is often those people who are very reserved. Others are shy and introverted and take time to get used to others. Chemistry cannot be formed when one is experiencing high anxiety, or when one’s date is. Spend a little time with the person who is nice but whom you aren’t sure about. If you or they are nervous or seem to be, spend time in a setting that is comfortable for the uncomfortable person, on their home turf. If you just aren’t sure about them and nervousness doesn’t factor in, try and see them from a different vantage point. A new context or different environment can bring out other sides of a person, ones you may be more attracted to or less so. Take them out with friends, bring them along on a hike or do some volunteer work together. Realize that compatibility with a little bit of chemistry makes for a better long-term relationship than the other way around. You can do novel things together to turn that spark into an inferno. But compatibility on the other hand is an either have it or you don’t scenario. Realize that a love life just doesn’t work the way other aspects of our life like family, friends, or our career does. Those things are relatively straightforward. But a vibrant love life takes patience, confidence, and a great attitude and the ability to start over, to come out the other side unscathed and smiling. Just be yourself. Be happy, open, curious, and practice nonjudgment towards others. Sooner or later someone you fancy will be knocking on your heart’s door. For more on better ways to travail the often bitter landscape of the human heart readThe Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner.

Are your Ready for a Long-term Relationship?

 

According to society, the media, our family, and perhaps even friends, a long-term, monogamous relationship is the only legitimate kind. Dating around is considered something for impetuous youth, and for the eternal playboy who flaunts societies rules and fails to slow down. Women are judged even more harshly if they do not want to find “The One.” Though many powerful, innovative female role models in the past never settled down, the fact is gleaned over, if not forgotten. Even after a painful breakup or divorce, folks will reach out, try to set you up with someone, ask when you are going to “get serious” with someone again, or merely inquire, whether politely or otherwise, why you are still single. The fact is, there is no right or wrong way to manage a love life. It is really all up to each, particular individual, what works for them, and where they are in life. No one can tell you if you are ready for or even want a long-term relationship, right now or ever. Only the voice in your own heart can tell you. If you rush into one with the wrong person, or with the right person at the wrong time—failing to allow things to develop at their natural pace, tragedy can ensue. It really is out of anxiety for others or societal expectations that we jump into a long-term relationship when we do not want one, or when we are not ready. So if you are interested in a long-term relationship, and that is your goal, how do you know when you are ready?

Did you just get out of such a relationship? If so, jumping into another may not be the smartest move. If you are seeing someone to get over your ex, to make them jealous, or if you know in your heart of hearts that this is just a rebound, do not move forward. You would be doing so not because you want to but out of expectation. A house of love built on a flimsy foundation will sooner or later come crashing down. You will have broken the heart of someone you had no intention of truly loving. Do not set up false expectations. Let the person you are dating know where you have been, where you are at, and how you aren’t looking for anything serious right now. Do not open the door to future seriousness with them if you have no intention of doing so. You will only set up a false expectation.

There is nothing wrong with a rebound or dating casually, as long as each party is aware of exactly what is going on and everything is consensual. Another time to avoid a long-term relationship is when you are expecting big changes soon. If you are moving away, starting a new job, entering into medical school, or taking some time off to take care of a sick relative, your time will be limited. Do you really have the time and energy to make this relationship work? Spreading yourself too thin will only cause arguments, derision, and heartache. A Long distance relationship needs even more of an investment. Talk it over with your love interest and let them know where you are at, and where you are going.

Some people love singledom and hate being tied down. Then they meet someone that they like, and even though becoming a unit doesn’t feel right, they do it to not lose the person. But they are never truly happy in captivity. Whether it is a temporary thing such as you are at a transition point and need to do some soul searching, or you have always been a lone wolf and will always be, do not settle for what you know in your heart will never work. State who you are and what you like clearly. If they won’t take no for an answer, you probably shouldn’t be dating this person to begin with. Perhaps you feel as though you need to keep your defenses up. You cannot trust anyone to get close. This is not the time to get serious with someone. They will attempt to get closer to you, while all you will be doing is pushing them away. This situation makes both of you dissatisfied. Instead, work on yourself. Why do you have these trust issues? Where do they stem from? Get yourself where you need to be, and once you get there, you will know how to manage your love life in the way that is right for you.

For more up a copy of Every Single Woman’s Battle: Guarding Your Heart and Mind Against Sexual and Emotional Compromise (The Every Man Series) Workbook by Shannon Ethridge.