The Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

long-distance-relationship

The Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

Lots of people argue against long-distance relationships. But if you two are the right kind of people, a long-distance relationship can make love stronger, the relationship deeper and can make each party rise to the occasion, utilizing traits and skills that make them better people. First, a long-distance relationship has automatic breathing room built in. Balancing time for yourself and time together is a great challenge for many couples. Some people like to be together more often. Others like to be apart. Everyone has a relationship style.

If you and your significant other spend more time apart than together, you may be good candidates for a long-distance relationship. It also makes the time you spend together more fulfilling, significant, even magical since it is rarer and therefore, more precious.  In this, you may find that you have a deeper appreciation for your sweetheart and are less likely to take them for granted. Some in this type of relationship claim that a couple sustains the honeymoon phase of the relationship longer. The two aren’t together often enough for it to fade. So each time they see each other the steamy, magnetic giddiness of the honeymoon phase is renewed, at least until they stop being long-distance.

A long-distance relationship builds its own world, for just the two of you through email, Skype, and more. In regular relationships, friends, hobbies, and lifestyles blend together. But in a long-distance relationship, the world is more private, shared only between the two, almost sacrosanct. Excellent communication skills is the number one most important skill for any relationship and long-distancers have it by the boat load. In fact, communication seems to be what they have most of. Affection is also diversified and creatively put forth. If they mention they ran out of Keurig cups you secretly go online and order if for them. If you mention a movie you want to see, your partner will see it too so the two of you can discuss it and have something to look forward to.

Long-distance relationships are more secure in their love. If you’ve seen each other face-to-face for a long time, you start to wonder how committed the other person is. But in a long-distance relationship the fact that the person returns to Skype time and again, calls time and again, and shows their investment time and again keeps you from guessing. If you are considering a long-distance relationship, look at the benefits along with the drawbacks, talk with those close to you, and do some soul searching to see if it’s right for you. For more advice read, The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide by Chris Bell and Kate Brauer-Bell.

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

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Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

We are connected to so many different people, venues and organizations through our computers and mobile devices that today people are overwhelmed with options. This is true of modern day “hookup” culture where young adults, spurning marriage and family planning for the extended education it takes to get a job in today’s market, cycle through one hook up after another, for fear of missing out on an amazing experience with someone new. But the problem is that they are never in a relationship long enough to form any kind of intimacy. Studies have shown that millennials are more frustrated and emotionally unfulfilled than previous generations. People of all ages now serially date. They cycle through one person they met online after another, fearing that they are missing out on “the one.” But with so many options, their standards skyrocket. The result? They are too picky and judgmental. They gloss over each date, never really piercing the surface and getting to know the real person deep down inside. Instead, they usually find a superficial reason to rule the person out and move on. So they may have found “the one” without even giving “the one” a chance.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) is now something of a massive psychological condition brought on by mobile devices carrying the internet. People veer to their Twitter while at work, diminishing their concentration on an important task. They check their LinkedIn while with friends, their Facebook while on a date, they even put their own lives at risk and the lives of others by texting or checking email while driving. Lots and lots of people around the world do this. And when confronted with how wrong that is, they just shrug.

Our fear of missing out has us glossing over what is really important in life, and that’s being there, being in the moment, savoring it and enjoying it. Alone Together by Sherry Turkle has a chapter on this phenomenon and The New York Times covered FOMO in an article by Jenna Wortham. There are singles who go on Facebook and feel bad when they see how happy their married or attached friends are. There are teens who lose sleep and are distracted from their studies constantly checking their social media to see who broke up with who, who is dating who and so on. The truth is, this is an impulse control problem. FOMO makes us hyper vigilant, always seeking for something better for ourselves. Most of the time, however, there isn’t anything on there that’s so important it should interrupt the real, offline life in front of you.

Being constantly distracted is no way to live life. Being constantly unsatisfied isn’t a great way to manage a love life either. Instead, limit your use of social media. Only check it at certain times of the day and stick to your schedule. When you feel the itch to check, notice something in your immediate environment that makes you feel satisfied: a warm smile, a delicious cup of coffee, a beautiful scarlet picture frame with a photo of someone you love. Savor the real world with all of your senses and you’ll soon see that social media just can’t compare.

Apps to help Rescue your Marriage, Maybe

Couple-CellPhones

Apps to help Rescue your Marriage, Maybe

Most people aren’t aware of all the apps available today to help with martial spats. Most of us are aware of the multitude of dating apps, the ones for intimate encounters, those that help plan a wedding or aid in conception. The trouble is it is usually only after this point that most marriages become strained and need help. Once again, we can say with confidence, there is an app for that. One such application is the PAIRS Foundation DTR app. PAIRS stands for Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills. The acronym for the app, DTR stands for Daily Temperature Reading of the relationship. Spouses using this app can take and share their DTRs. Being able to track your relationship and see the trend that is developing can help both of you consider carefully whether or not things are going the right way, light a fire under the lackadaisical and get you two more motivated to figure things out. Sometimes people don’t even know how far gone their marriage is. This app can show them. But that isn’t the only one out there for matrimonial disenfranchised. Do you or your spouse have trouble seeing how often you fight? Marriage Fight Tracker will alleviate this problem. Get to know how often you fight, what about and it will give you insight into your relationship, and perhaps what you have to do to make it better. Fix a Fight is another popular relationship app, offering solutions to marital problems couples often encounter.

The PAIRS DTR is one of the most popular apps. The DTR is really a little message couples send to one another indicating five different points including hopes, dreams, feelings and cares about their spouse. When using the app, PAIRS suggests, “begin by being fully present to the person you’re thinking about as you write.”  The app allows you to put your DTR on Facebook, if you choose, though more privacy minded couples are sure to opt out. An app that creates a more personal experience is Mind Over Marriage. You just email your marital issue to them. Their team ponders it and emails back advice. But while you wait, there is an online library you can browse, using keywords that signify common marital problems. One common theme is to communicate in a courteous manner with your spouse. For some topics, the generic advice offered isn’t the most stellar. For instance, under marital infidelity, it suggests the wife address the issue using the couple’s finances as an entry point. “Money is just flying out the window,” it says. But to many wives, this would be entirely missing the point.

Advice suggested by the app Fight Tracker includes, “Never Use Sex to Win an Argument [sic],” and “Never win.” Although the first one seems to make sense, our more competitive couples may take umbrage with the second. There are buttons that will take you to YouTube videos and other places for marriage advice.  Fight tracker gives you the ability to track a fight in real time. But who wants to record what is happening on their phone when in the middle of a heated argument? In terms of mitigation, Fix A Fight first makes you give your argument a funny name. This is a good way to calm things down, and recognize the silliness that inhabits most arguments. Next, it gives you a roadmap to recover from the argument using a specific metaphor. Steps include, “Letting the air out, preparing the patch, applying the patch…” and more. The tool could be used to help alleviate those types of spats that occur which really aren’t over anything important. Deep seeded issues however will probably need more than this to be resolved. All in all, these apps can be a good way to take the heat out of an argument, and approach problems with your spouse from a new vantage point. They aren’t problem solvers in and of themselves. But they can help get the ball rolling. It is important, if you are going to use one of these apps, to communicate this desire to your spouse, before using it. Don’t spring it on them or they may resist. Talk about it with them and see how they feel. Perhaps win them over or persuade them. If these apps won’t help or the problem is far worse than the normal marital squabble, pick up a copy of the book, Overcoming Anger in Your Relationship: How to Break the Cycle of Arguments, Put-Downs, and Stony Silences by W. Robert Nay PhD.

Where’s the Line between Flirting and Cheating?

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Where’s the Line between Flirting and Cheating?

A certain amount of casual flirting often exists in normal, adult interactions between members of the opposite sex. But where is the line drawn between flirting and cheating? Communication technology has further blurred the lines. Texting, email and social networking sites have made communication and flirting so much more convenient. It becomes far easier to overstep. It may even be easier in today’s world to conduct an affair, with so many sites such as Ashleymadison.com available. Interactions online somehow don’t feel as real. Online flirtation gratifies us instantly without the drawback of being nervous in person, or having someone else overhear. This ease with little consequence not only makes the act of flirting and perhaps something else easier, with less negative effects, and with the technological disconnect from real life, it also can make lovers more jealous, nervous and paranoid as to what their lover is doing online. If they aren’t cheating or flirting outside the confines of the relationship, then they may be spying on one another and using these new technologies to do so undetected. Looking at their partner’s phone or cruising their social media sites are the types of breaches of trust that go on. A recent survey unveiled at the 2013 APA conference revealed that couples even have a hard time determining what is considered infidelity and what is considered normal flirting. Here are some ways to clear up any ambiguity in your relationship so to head off this problem from infecting your relationship.

First, discuss what you think cheating is, and find out what your partner thinks is cheating. If you are entering into a monogamous relationship, you have to understand that this varies from culture to culture and even person to person. Let them know what you are comfortable with and what you aren’t and find out the same from your partner. Remember being monogamous is your choice. No one can force you to do it. If you feel you cannot keep this promise or something is bothering or pressuring you to do otherwise, discuss it with your partner before making any decisions. Make sure you establish what it means to be in a relationship and what it means to still be an independent individual. Display the kind of behavior you want to see in your partner. If you want them to be trustworthy, you yourself should also be that way. Don’t make any rules neither of you can hold up to. If you aren’t allowed to smile and make small talk with the opposite sex, you won’t be able to say work with a colleague of a different gender. Make sure your rules make sense and it’s comfortable for both of you. Understand human behavior. Everyone is attracted to people outside of their relationship. Everyone is going to look. But they shouldn’t stare right in front of you, or ignore you. That’s rude. Understand what is normal and what isn’t. Don’t lie about problems that have arisen. If you were at the office party and kissed someone, tell your partner. Find out why you did it. There is a problem in the relationship that needs fixing. Either work on fixing it, or decide that this relationship isn’t for you. Don’t limit your lover’s world and don’t give up important aspects of yourself to be with this person. Make sure you maintain your sense of self, make rules that make sense and stick to them. For more on this topic read the book Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.

Can a Whirlwind Romance Last?

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Can a Whirlwind Romance Last?

Sometimes we fall for someone so hard our head spins. It can be both scary and exciting. But should you move ahead at lightning pace, or slow things down for fear that it will end and you’ll be devastated? Can a whirlwind romance last? You don’t want to be too cautious and ruin a beautiful thing. But you don’t want to go full speed ahead and crash and burn either.  First, evaluate your relationship. Are you in love with this person or just the feeling it gives you? There is a way to tell. Do you love everything your date suggests? If they try to take you to a restaurant that serves a type of food you don’t like, do you still go without saying anything? Or do you speak up or suggest something different? If you stick with their choice, you may not feel 100% comfortable with this person, and that speaks to the relationship as well. However, if you are comfortable in voicing your opinion, relax; things are going great. If you are overjoyed but are nervous because things are moving too fast, there are ways to slow the relationship down or pace it out without scaring your lover away. Tell them you’d love to meet but you have a project coming up, or a friend is going through some stuff and you want to help them out.

Don’t use worn, tired lines like you need some space if you want to slow things down a little. They’ll think you just aren’t into them. Instead, let them know that you love this relationship and don’t want to ruin it by moving too fast. Just because you’re in love, and the object of your affection is ga-ga over you too, doesn’t mean you have to call or text sixteen times per day. You don’t have to let them know each time you feel that burst of love and excitement flowing through your body. Think of quality over quantity. Don’t text, email or call them more than once or twice during the day. Otherwise, you risk wearing things out. Pace yourself. Don’t talk too much about the future. If you want to go into all the details of the wedding, how many children you will have and so on, take a break from it. You are more in love with the relationship itself and not focusing on the person before you. Instead, go on activity based dates so that you can focus on that, or getting to know each other better, than on where everything is leading. You don’t want to rush down the aisle only for this thing to fizzle out. If you are feeling those three little words, perhaps hold back until the time is right, and make sure your dates going to say it back. You don’t want an early “I love you” to put the brakes on a beautiful whirlwind romance. For more relationship advice, read How to be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving by David Richo.