Romance, Guy Style

Couple-Relaxing

Romance, Guy Style

We all know what women find romantic. But what about when it comes to men?  How you do sweep a guy off his feet? Flowers, candle lit dinners and moonlit buggy rides aren’t it. It can be difficult to guess what gifts or gestures he’ll appreciate. But not to worry, here are some ideas. Here’s romance, guy style. First, when you do something nice for your guy, don’t expect something automatically in return. It kills the mood. You don’t want him to show up with a bouquet of your favorite flowers and just after you swoon say, “Hey, what are you going to do for me?” Instead, make sure a gesture or a gift is just that, an expression of your affection. Of course he’ll be overjoyed and won’t be able to wait to shower you with gifts and appreciation. But let it come naturally. Don’t force it or expect it.

For gesture ideas, why not cook him his favorite meal or bake his favorite dessert? Not so handy in the kitchen? Take him out to his favorite restaurant. If he’s a sports guy, take him to a sports bar where they have the best burgers for the game. For guys, it isn’t about a one size fits all thing like flowers or candy. It’s really about tailoring what his hobbies or interests are to your gift or gesture. Get to know your guy and what he likes and ideas will come up.

Tickets to the game or the concert, a nice watch, a weekend away, a ski trip, a party on the beach, a surprise camping trip to a national park he’s been itching to make it to, a massage, all of these will show him how much you care. Guys often plan dates, outings and so on, though certainly not always. But why not turn the tails on him and plan something that will knock his socks off? If you want to do something little, why not leave a little love note for him, or even a steamy one? Leave them in his briefcase, knapsack, jacket pocket, in a book he’s reading, his luggage or his satchel. Some guys don’t like it when things are too sappy. Others are the sensitive type. Know which type your guy is and write your notes accordingly. Why not write something funny or witty?

Sometimes just lazing around together can be romantic. Sitting by the pool with drinks, easing into a hot tub or coffee and a long brunch in a great café will do the trick. Don’t forget that for guys the physical aspect is an important part of romance. Surprising him in lingerie is always a great way to wow him. And it will make you two closer, too. Isn’t that what it’s all about? For more advice read, 31 Days to a Happy Husband: What a Man Needs Most from His Wife by Arlene Pellicane.

A Happy Marriage is a Choice

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A Happy Marriage is a Choice

Marriage has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’re jiving and sometimes you’re bickering. There are times when you can’t get enough of each other. And other times when you can’t wait until they leave the house. There are people in sexless marriages, people just sticking it out for the kids, and people absolutely miserable but feel as if they are cornered. The truth is that a happy marriage is a choice. Though things could have turned out bad, they didn’t start out that way or you wouldn’t have gotten married to begin with.

First, you have to realize that happiness comes from within. Sure, we all have needs and some of them we can fulfil ourselves, others we need from our partner. But no matter what happens in life, you choose your perspective. You choose how to react to it. So happiness is all a matter of outlook. You decide one minute to the next whether to focus on your spouse’s good points or their less than stellar qualities. You decide whether to own your happiness, or unhappiness, or to export these to your spouse. So decide to be happy. Don’t focus on the flaws. If they are insignificant or something you can come to terms with do so. If not, then rethink your marriage.

Find ways to negotiate. Agree to disagree on little things. Trust your partner to handle things and don’t give them the third degree to see if they did so to your specifications. Make time for each other, even if it’s just a little each day. Choose to consistently put forth the effort and invest time and care in your relationship. Choose to make you your best self and to encourage your spouse to be their best self. Be friends and lovers at the same time. Friends enjoy each other’s company, laugh together and do things together. You should too. Laughter is one of the most essential things. If you can laugh together, really laugh and have fun, you are golden. If you are merely trading sarcastic barbs across the coffee table, you’re doomed.

Remember that your spouse is not your adversary. They are your teammate. They are on your side. And if it gets to the point where it starts to feel adversarial, remind them. And remind yourself if you stray too far off too. Remember that real happiness is centered inside you. It is a long term process, not a short term elation. It takes time, practice and effort. No one can make you happy. You can only do it yourself. Choose to be happy. Choose to make your mate happy. And choose to let them make you happy too. For more advice read, 47 Little Love Boosters for a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are by Marko Petkovic, M.Sc.

How to be More Loving

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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.

Sorting out Mixed Signals with Science

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Sorting out Mixed Signals with Science

Mixed signals can be unbearable. But they don’t have to be or at least, not for long. Some people are good at reading others. Then there are those who are completely hopeless. Most of us lie somewhere in-between. But whether you’ve got top rate interpersonal skills, or find the opposite sex is a mystifying enigma, everyone sooner or later runs into someone they can’t read. Is she playing hard to get? Is he interested and not showing it, or just being aloof? Usually we can tell with someone’s proximity. If they enter your personal space, that’s good. If they touch your arm, the back of your hand, your back or shoulder when talking, or when you first meet, this too is a good sign. Eye contact and leaning in when you talk are good signals too. When you are leaving the person you are trying to read, wait a few seconds and look back after departing. Often if they look back too, they’re interested. Even then, perception does play a role, as may our gender. A new study gives us insight into how each sex perceives mixed signals. This one studied straight people only. Generally, men overestimate a woman’s interest. A woman however will underestimate a man’s. Moreover, while men think female friendliness equates to sexual attraction, women believe men’s passes are mere attempts at being friendly.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science recruited 127 men and 181 women between the ages of 18 and 30 to take part. Each participant answered a questionnaire surrounding misunderstanding in the person’s level of interest when interacting with the opposite sex. Respondents were asked how many times such occurrences happened to them within the last year. Questions included, “Have you ever been friendly to someone of the opposite sex only to discover that he [she] had misperceived your friendliness as a sexual come-on?”, “Have you ever been in a situation with a member of the opposite sex in which you were sexually attracted to him [her] but he [she] assumed you were just trying to be nice?” and “Have you ever been in a situation with a member of the opposite sex in which you were just trying to be nice but he [she] assumed you were sexually attracted to him [her]?” Researchers found that women were sending out “let’s be friends” signals, and receiving “oh-baby” in return, while men were sending out the “lookin’ good sugar” and getting back “let’s be friends.” So what should you do if you are getting mixed signals?

First, act like a memory detective. Think back to all the time you spent together. Consider their behavior, no act is insignificant, no gesture no matter how subtle should be overlooked. Have they shown you any special interest, waited for you or done something just a little above and beyond what normal people do? Then they are interested in you. If it’s someone you have been sort of dating, or made out with that went lukewarm, don’t invest so much time in that relationship. This goes for men and women. They are either having fun playing the field or they just aren’t that into you. Lots of people get caught up in a kind of wishy-washy, do-they don’t-they limbo that’s excruciating. Though there are those who like to gnaw their knuckles pondering the possibilities for hours on end, for who knows why. For most of us, if things are going on for too long it’s best to either state your intentions or fade on out. Don’t be someone’s sometime thing if you are looking for something serious. If you’re not, just enjoy the adventure. Protect yourself and your heart, and let the journey lead you to its end. You’ll know it when you get there, and you’ll know when someone really likes you by how they treat you. For more on the near Vulcan approach to love pick up a copy of, The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions about Dating, Marriage, and Family by Gary Lewandowski and Timothy Loving.

A Lasting Relationship Comes Down to Two Things

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A Lasting Relationship Comes Down to Two Things

How many married couples make it to happily ever after? According to psychologist Ty Tashiro only three in ten marriages contain health, happiness and longevity. So what makes some marriages toxic while a slim few stick it through? John Gottman might have the answer. He is a prominent psychologist who has been studying relationships for only about four decades. He along with psychologist Julie Gottman—his wife, run their own institute figuring out what it takes to make love last. “The Love Lab” at The Gottman Institute in New York City has run many a fascinating study. In one, newlyweds were hooked up to electrodes and asked a series of questions including how they found each other, what was a big problem they faced together and to share a cherished memory. The electrodes measured their heart rate, blood pressure and sweat response to signify the level of stress each was experiencing. The couples were followed up with six years later, to see if they were still a couple. Soon a pattern emerged. Gottman separated newlyweds into two groups: the masters and the disasters. Those who were still together six years on were masters, those who had broken up disasters.

Couples who had activated systems where their heartrate was racing, their blood pressure was high and their sweat glands were active were the disasters. Those whose systems were calm were masters. The reason was, those disasters just sitting next to their spouse and answering questions made them nervous. Their body was in a state of hyper-arousal, the fight-or-flight response. This raised their heart rate and blood pressure, and perhaps that of their partner. This physical response made them more likely to lash out at their partner which made the couple unstable. As a result of following thousands of couples over a long period of time, Gottman found that the quicker their system was during these initial interviews the less likely they were to have staying power. Masters were generally well connected, and calm during these interviews. Now the researcher wanted to know what aspects of masters helped them to keep intimacy flowing and how they stayed so close and connected. In the inverse, how did disasters shutdown channels of intimacy? What he noticed was when interacting, those couples that showed an interest in one another’s interests had a closer relationship. When one mentioned something they were interested in, called “bidding” if the partner responded positively, this helped build connection. But those who turned away or responded negatively missed a chance at connection.

Couples who had staying power looked for places where their significant other did something well and complimented them on it. They built an atmosphere of respect, tenderness, curiosity and love. The masters would notice things about the partner and compliment them on it. It came down to two things really: appreciation and kindness. Conversely, the end of a relationship was near when one or both partners showed contempt. Being kind bound couples together. Contempt and being taken for granted tore couples apart. Kindness should be thought of not as a trait but as a skill we all have that we either hone or do not. Some are kinder than others but we all have the capacity for compassion. It’s what makes us human. In our technological world we often get caught up in emails or social media. But instead of just muttering a response to our spouse, we should really listen to them and find elements of interest, when we don’t we miss an opportunity to grow closer. If we can remember to keep kindness and appreciation in our relationships, according to Gottman’s research, then we have the best chance of success. For more on the logic of love read, The Science of Happily Ever After by Ty Tashiro.