Should you stay in a Relationship that is Just Comfortable?

too comfortable

Should you stay in a Relationship that is Just Comfortable?

Many of us have been there. You love someone but you aren’t in love with them. The relationship is very comfortable. There may be places where you don’t see eye-to-eye. But by and large, you have fun together, run a good household or just enjoy each other’s company. The person is perhaps a good choice for a mate. They are stable and kind. But that euphoric, weak-in-the-knees feeling has left the building. So should you stay in a relationship that is just comfortable but doesn’t give you fireworks or butterflies? There are really two schools of thought on this. The first is a very practical view. That is, stay with your partner. The reason, there are relationships and even marriages who do have that spark. Also, the candle that burns twice as bright often lasts half as long. Then a terrible breakup occurs and you are left all alone. The other scenario is one waits around forever. Instead of having the loving experiences available, one waits alone for a proposition which may never come. Why not, as the song says, love the one you’re with?

Sometimes these relationships that are comfortable used to have novelty. Kids, careers and a pileup of years have made them too comfortable. Here experts say the spark can be rekindled. One way to do so is to share novel experiences together. Travel to exotic lands, take part in exciting activities like sky diving and bungee jumping, learn a new skill together such as cooking or swing dancing or interact through a new sport such as karate or kayaking. These can reignite the spark. Another way is through reminiscing. Some relationship experts say merely having a date night can do it. This will inject some romance—you know interacting as a couple again instead of the person who takes care of a list of household duties. Then there are those who use their sexual interests to jumpstart their relationship. They may start to talk about and fulfill each person’s deep seeded fantasies, the ones they never spoke to another soul about. Some couples explore tantric sex or BDSM together to reignite that spark.

But then there is another school of thought, held by the fiercely independent who are not afraid of making it on their own. This type is perfectly happy by themselves. They won’t accept anything less than earth shattering love. If they work at it and can’t get it from their relationship then they end it, sooner or later. If the person they are dating doesn’t provide this feeling than they’d rather not be dating them. This type is generally focused on an important passion, mission, artistic pursuit, their children or career. They say if you really aren’t in love then you are just going through the motions, or else settling for a paltry mediocrity. Which interpretation is the right one? That all depends on the kind of person you are. If you are fiercely independent why not go for the love that will fill the space in your heart? See if you can reignite it with your current lover before you do something drastic. But if they cannot fulfill you why stay with them? Those who are a bit more practical and believe their relationship suits their needs should instead try and find ways to rekindle the flames. For more on this read the book, Keeping the Love You Find by Harville Hendrix.

Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

divorce

Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

A divorce can be devastating. It’s one of those pains that you don’t really understand unless you’ve been through it. Not only does it cause tremendous upheaval in your life, it alters how you view yourself and romantic relationships. Some people swear off marriage wholeheartedly, while others jump into the next one as if their last had nothing to teach them. But most of us reflect on the state of marriage and relationships at this time. If a split is anything it’s a great teacher. Here are some things divorce teaches you about marriage. First, marriages are always different for those living them than how they are viewed from the outside. Sometimes when someone gets divorced, others are shocked, thinking they had the perfect marriage. Issues that seem reconcilable to some are end games to others. But some people somehow find a way to make it work. Everyone’s marriage is a bit messy, much like human life, though they may seem picture perfect from where you stand. If we could just break down the walls and talk about what marriage is really like, instead of putting on airs, perhaps we could make everyone’s better.

Another problem leading to divorce is a sexless marriage. Make time to be physical together. Statistics show that 20% of marriages today are sexless. But becoming physically intimate is a way for both people to bond. Being in a sexless marriage itself may be a big warning sign that things aren’t going well for one or both parties. Of course men tend to compartmentalize. With women, if things aren’t going well in the relationship, goings-on in the bedroom suffer. That’s because to a woman the emotional intimacy in the relationship is what’s most important. Though this may be important for a man, most men are more driven by libido. A failed marriage makes us look at other marriages in a new way. What are others really struggling with and how do they make it work? Communication is always crucial. But so is negotiation, not holding grudges, clearing the air and coming to a deep understanding of one another. We also need to accept the flaws in ourselves and our spouse for what they are. Recognition is one thing, acceptance another. One of the common causes of divorce is infidelity. Some people are shocked when they find that their husband or wife was cheating. A person may be an incredible breadwinner, an expert parent, a phenomenal homemaker and still have a spouse who cheats. The reason people go astray is they are trying to heal something wrong inside the relationship through outside means.

One of the problems with modern marriage that experts often point out is that we expect our spouse to take up all of the roles that traditionally an entire village provided. We want them to be our mentor, coach, partner, lover, confidante, best friend, co-parent and more. Find some of these needs outside your relationship if you can, and take some pressure off of your spouse. Spending some time with friends or close family members and becoming more well-rounded people by spending time at one’s favorite pursuits can help replenish each person and the marriage as well. But tenaciously clinging to one’s partner can bring the whole thing down. It’s best when both people are totally fulfilled, realized people who choose to go through life together. Marriage isn’t easy. But for most Americans, they see little alternative. We’ve been called serial monogamists and perhaps it still fits, at least if you are of a certain generation. Statistically, second marriages are less likely to last. Some say the third one is a charm. Be that as it may, don’t wallow in a failed marriage, learn from it and make your next relationship the romance of a lifetime. For more pick up a copy of, Learning From Divorce: How to Take Responsibility, Stop the Blame, and Move On by Robert LaCrosse and Christine A. Coates.

Don’t Marry for Love

wedding

Don’t Marry for Love

We mostly consider those who marry for other reasons besides love sick, depraved, morally bankrupt or in some sort of unenviable position that elicits our sympathy. The truth is people marry for all kinds of reasons, not always for love. Some are trying to escape a rotten home life. Others are afraid of being single. There are those escaping poor financial prospects. And those seeking power and position, the original reason why most people tied the knot historically, procreation notwithstanding. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century that we have the idea of romantic love we have today. And the 1970’s change in divorce laws and focus on the pursuit of personal happiness that made everyone crazy to marry for love. But perhaps our standards for what love and romance are are too high? Are our expectations getting in the way of true marital bliss? People who marry for companionship may marry for a better reason than love. And oftentimes their relationship and their marriage remain stronger because of the lack of elevated expectations.

Of course love is an important human emotion. No one is saying not to marry for love. But there has to be other things to consider. Is this person kind and considerate? Do they really care about you? Do they have any destructive behaviors that will hurt you, themselves or tear down the marriage? Be realistic when choosing a mate. If you are running off for love but everyone in your life is telling you it is a mistake, do some soul searching. Look into your heart of hearts. Is there some reason why things won’t work out? Remember that love changes. People grow and change over time. Marriage is supposed to be forever. But you really don’t know what storms your marriage will weather. As quickly as it comes over you, love may leave. It could be one reason why they have drive-through wedding chapels in Las Vegas. Love is a great motivator. But common interests, common values, a great sense of humor, excellent communication, trust, and respect are all qualities to consider in a mate as well. If you are marrying someone forever they should definitely possess all of these qualities for the relationship to survive and thrive. For more advice read, 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married by Monica Mendez Leahy.

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.

Should you take your Ex Back?

backtogether

Should you take your Ex Back?

No matter the situation, ending a relationship is one of the hardest things you can do. Somebody is getting hurt in one way or another, and probably both of you to some degree. But a harder decision still is whether or not you should get back together with someone you broke up with or even got divorced from. Sure, the situation plays a lot into it. Some couples break up in the heat of the moment only to get back together again, and joke about it later. Another throws dishes at each other one day, only to forgive the next via rapacious bedroom escapades. And we’ve all rolled our eyes at those who get back together after a once-upon-a-time protracted and painful divorce or breakup. You mean they’re back together again?! We screech. But the saner of us from time to time find relationships that are a lot more complex. It’s hard to sort through. So how do you decide whether or not to take your ex back, including your ex-spouse? Here are some important things to take into consideration.

First, it’s high time to evaluate the initial breakup. Remember there is no right or wrong when it comes to reasons for breaking up. But what elements of the relationship led to it? If there was physical or psychological abuse, you shouldn’t go back there. If their snoring was too loud and you’ve found comfortable earplugs, maybe give it a shot. Next, think about what circumstances have brought you back together. Does it have to do with the pressure of responsibility, to piece the family back together? Is it a sense of guilt? Is the other person pressuring you? Or does it just feel comfortable and right? If you two have fallen deeply in love all over again and the problems of the past are resolved, go for it. If you truly love this person and see a bright future together, realize that life doesn’t always give you second chances at happiness. Would everything be great if you got together again, or would the same problems keep creeping up? If you just want to be in a relationship, don’t do it. Learn how to be with yourself first. You can’t be with someone else, if you can’t deal with being with yourself.

Think about what your previous relationship was like overall. Consider different aspects. Was it really a fight over something frivolous, or were there deeper issues at work? If they were controlling, had an anger management problem, a substance abuse problem or something else that’s serious, it’s important to consider who they are now. You may be walking right back into the same booby-trap with open arms. If the person tells you they want to change, be skeptical. If they tell you they have changed, look for proof. If they can prove to you they have changed, move ahead slowly. There’s no problem in being friends first, going slow and watching how things progress. It’s easier to extricate yourself that way. People can tell you all kinds of beautiful words. Remember their actions don’t lie. It is in these you can solemnly trust. Don’t let your guard down at first. Watch carefully. But be open to the possibility. Don’t deny yourself a second chance at love. Your heart is a sacred jewel. Protect it as such, and only give it to those who will treasure it. For a better chance the second time around read, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary D. Chapman.