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.

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.

Attractions of Inspiration


Attractions of Inspiration

You cannot control who you are sexually attracted to. And you can’t force it. But you can educate your libido. If all you end up with is a broken heart, can’t stop running after bad girls or bad boys, or always pick someone who’s emotionally unavailable, you can change the course of your love life. You aren’t doomed to failure. What you need to do is to develop attraction to people who are well-adjusted, kind, considerate and supportive, among other qualities. You can develop the skills necessary to have solid, healthy relationships. And these are the same skills you’ll use to keep those relationships fresh and alive.

When we look for a potential mate, we have natural evaluation systems we aren’t even aware of analyzing data and sending us emotions in tune with that data. There are really two systems going on at once. The conscious mind is attracted to the positive things that contribute to a successful, happy relationship. But the subconscious is drawn toward the issues we most suffered from at the hands of our caregivers as children such as neglect, abuse, manipulation, betrayal and anger. To work through these issues we seek a partner who embodies the same such problem we are struggling with in order to have a second chance at moving past the problem and healing psychologically.

This explains why we feel knocked off kilter when we meet someone that we’re really into. It also shows why love affairs can be so exhilarating and so agonizing when they end. Some people solve the problem by dating people that are safe but they have no attraction to. This usually leads to boredom and feeling unfulfilled. Others date those they find highly attractive, and go on constant roller coaster rides of the heart, with thrills and spills which leave you heady or down in the dumps from one week to the next. The trick is to date someone with a midrange level of attraction, but who also has qualities that are good for long term potential such as a good sense of humor, dependability, honesty, hard-working, considerate, kind and all of that good stuff.

Cultivate an attraction of inspiration and not only will you be in the right place romantically, your lover will be one of a high quality, where you can also enjoy a long term, healthy and committed relationship. How do you do that? The trick is to build intimacy. You need to get the heart and the head going in the right direction. Don’t focus on the person’s imperfections; instead focus on their good qualities. Spend lots of time together and talk about everything. Get close and build closeness. Don’t get nervous or take off if it doesn’t get off the launch pad right away. Stick in there with someone you like on an intellectual level and build your attraction to them. If you have an ember of attraction, with a little patience and some deep reflection, you can stoke your own ember into an inferno of passion. For more advice read, How to Get a Date Worth Keeping by Henry Cloud.

Normal Couple Changes that Initially Cause Anxiety


Normal Couple Changes that Initially Cause Anxiety

Have you been in a relationship for a while and you’re worried that you are growing apart? Normal couples go through changes that can initially cause anxiety but are in fact common and are of no actual cause for concern. So if you are afraid that your love is fading or that he or she just isn’t as attracted to you as they once were, read on to see if there is any real trouble brewing or if you are merely going through one of these transitions.  First, if you are physical together, the intensity and frequency of hopping into bed together may slow a bit once you reach that more comfortable stage. This is normal. But some people believe it means the attraction is dropping off. Two to three times a week is average for most couples. But find out what is normal for you two.

Have a conversation if you think there is a problem. And of course, couples who have been together a while need to spice things up sometimes. So recognize when you’ve fallen into a rut and figure out what needs changing, and what spicy and steamy things you’d like to explore together to keep the spark alive and take things to the next level. Have you noticed a drop off in cuddle time? How often do you cuddle? Sometimes we and are partners are on different schedules, are busy and tired at night and fall into bed exhausted, or just get used to climbing into bed and going to sleep. Why not initiate cuddling if you miss it? Do so when you two have a little time, like on the weekends. Or go to bed ten minutes earlier to get in some much needed snuggle time.

Has your texting frequency fallen off? If you used to text each other throughout the day little sweet nothings, steamy sexts, or just things that occurred that you want to share, but this phenomenon has dropped off, why not start it off again? Some couples save things to talk to each other about when they get home, or for dinner table conversation. Also, when you slip into a deeper, more comfortable phase, you don’t need the constant texting to reassure each other. So have a conversation if you feel that this is missing from your relationship. But don’t take it as a sign that the end is near. For in fact, it’s pretty normal for this to occur. When you are doing something fun, do you look for your partner? And do you feel their absence when they’re not around? This is normal in a new relationship. But as time wears on you won’t look for that person to be there every time something amazing happens. It’s a normal part of developing together.

Did you two used to do everything together and now even though you love your partner you want to experience certain hobbies, social events and other things on your own or with your friends? This is a perfectly normal sign your relationship has moved on to a more comfortable phase. Has your date planning dropped off?  That’s normal. Why not have a date night? If you used to brag about your significant other every chance you got, but found this dropping off, it’s okay. You are just used to the relationship. It’s good that you want to take a measure of where the relationship is every so often. That is normal and healthy and means you care about this relationship. Don’t stress. Instead, keep in touch with your partner. Understand who they are, their needs and desires and your own. They may change over time. People change and they either stay the same, grow together or apart. But if you are in love, communicate well, get along and care for each other there is no reason you shouldn’t grow together. For more advice read, Should We Stay Together? By Jeffry H. Larson, Ph.D.

If you get Bored of your Lover, Should you Dump Them?


If you get Bored of your Lover, Should you Dump Them?

Boredom in a long-term relationship comes on when novelty is over. Sometimes comfort can be well, comforting. But after a while your relationship can bore you utterly. And then what?! If you love someone and have exhausted all ways and manners of which to spice things up, if you crave novelty and they “just like the way things are” what can you do? If you get bored of your lover, should you dump them? Now it’s time to really sit down and evaluate the situation. There are really all kinds of changes that can bring about novelty. And have you truly exercised every avenue? Consider whether or not you truly love this person. Though you may need some change, making a radical move merely out of boredom might show you what you’ve lost. They say you only recognize what you’ve truly lost once it’s gone. You don’t want to be in that situation if you can help it.

Sometimes people say that they are bored with their relationship when they are really fed up. There are several unresolved conflicts brewing underneath the surface and they don’t know how to make headway on them. Their so-called boredom is frustration. The only way to deal with this situation is lock yourself and a lover in a room and don’t emerge until these problems are talked out. You don’t have to lock the door per se. If things get heated, you may need to de-escalate the situation, take a break, gather your thoughts and regroup. Still, only clear and honest communication and a plan of action can unstick this situation. In other cases, couples get stuck in a rut and they don’t know how to break out of it. Sometimes we are overwhelmed with our responsibilities. The couple may simply be stressed. A little down time, a date night, some time exploring hobbies on their own or more time with each other’s friends might be the answer. When a couple spends too much time together, they can often get bored of one another. But out of each other’s sight, and they each wonder what the other is doing, or can’t wait to share their own adventure later on with their boo.

The best way to reignite passion is to go to a place where both of you can play, use your imagination, accept one another without guilt or judgment and be free, loving and adventurous. For some that means having to get out of their comfort zone and try something new. For others, it means new antics in the bedroom. Sometimes circumstances change and we see our spouse or partner in a different way. The man she fell in love with used to be the center of attention at the office. But now he works from home, and she never sees him like that anymore. A solution may be to go out with friends, and allow him to work the room again. Really if you are both committed, you can communicate and work toward renewing your life together. Long-term relationships tend to have their ups and downs. If you run into an obstacle, how you work together to remove it says whether or not you will make it, or suffer the dust bin of history. But if your partner is in staunch refusal to change, if they won’t move one iota to please you, if they are dismissive and disrespectful, or if you have tried and tried and tried again with no result, and there’s no way you two can be happy together, don’t be afraid to sit down with them and be honest, and pursue brighter horizons. To learn more about aspects of the modern state of love and how to negotiate it read, In the Name of Love: Romantic Ideology and Its Victims by Aaron Ben-Ze’ev.