Reminiscing Can Renew Your Relationship

Senior Couple Lounging on a Wood Deck

Reminiscing Can Renew Your Relationship

Of course we have to discuss the day-to-day upkeep of the household and so on with our partner, but this can get dull fast. However, sometimes when you’re sitting around, talking about the old days you can get to laughing and really get the old engines purring. Reminiscing can renew your relationship, so says a study out of the University of Queensland.

Just last year psychologists Kim Halford and Susan Osgarby sought out to test positive reminisce as a tool to boost relationships. Participants were all married for at least one year and ranged in age from 21 to 65. They all had varying degrees of marital satisfaction. None were in couple’s therapy. Two groups were created from this one pool. There were 27 put in one group and 25 in the other. Each person was asked to describe a “really positive relationship memory.” Then each partner proceeded to spend five minutes explaining one. Important events in their life together such as the birth of a child, their wedding, holidays, and shared successes such as buying their home.

Happy couples were more intimate than distressed ones as shown by this study. Happy couples became even happier sharing their reminiscences together, while distressed couples became sad. Researchers believe this is because they realize how much happier they had once been.  Happy couples seemed to be telling the stories jointly, joining in and adding facts or color as the other went on.  They elaborated on one another’s comments and this seemed to make them happier too. For happy couples even negative things that happened in their life were recalled positively. Happy couples even hugged and shared close behavior, which was absent in the distressed couples.

A lesson to learn from this study is not taking part in negativity in your relationship. Distressed couples criticize, invalidate and take part in negative behaviors towards one another. This reminiscing can make you sad if you are in a distressed relationship. If so, realize when negative behaviors pop up. Agree to take a time out at these times, and come back later with clearer thoughts and discuss calmly the issues at hand. Reminisce often. Get those old feelings flowing again. If reminiscing makes you happy let it renew your relationship. If not find out why and fix it. For more advice read, Renewing Your Wows!- Seven Powerful Tools to Ignite the Spark and Transform Your Relationship by Jeffrey H. Sumber.

What’s the Best Way to Breakup with a Hookup?

hookup

What’s the Best Way to Breakup with a Hookup?

Whether you are dating again after a divorce, staving off marriage, are too busy for a serious relationship or believe monogamy is antiquated system with no place in the modern world, you are immersed in the exciting albeit confusing, hookup culture.  And anyone who has spent any amount of time in it comes to a point where they have to break up with someone that they aren’t actually dating. The whole experience can feel like a double edged sword. You didn’t get the benefits of a relationship exactly but you still have to go through the worst part. Some people try to hint around as if they are all-of-a-sudden completely unavailable. But lots of people, of both genders, fail to take the hint. Of course, you may ask what the best way to breakup with a hookup is, but it all comes down to who you both are and how you relate. Do you do normal couple things but are still in the incubator stage of your relationship? Or is this a drunk dial booty call on a Friday night? Just as the punishment should fit the crime, the type of non-relationship you share with this person should determine the way you break up with them.

If you shared meals, hung out in bars or spent a significant amount of time together, this person is owed a face-to-face breakup. Just be honest with them. Sit them down and let them know that you want a plutonic relationship and still want to remain friends. If you aren’t feeling it anymore, say so. When you act like a couple the lines between hookup and relationship tend to blur. You’ll want to clear things up in a way that leaves no room for confusion. If this is the drunk hookup, let them know that it’s been fun but you just want to be friends from here on out. If you really aren’t attached a phone call might suffice, if it’s just a case of text and grind. Then there are those times where you just went out on one date and you are 100% sure the chemistry isn’t there and never will be. Just tell them so. Here perhaps over the phone might be alright as well. If you two have been hanging out a long time, or worse yet were at one time thick as thieves, this is the serious, sit-down breakup.  Perhaps they said or did something that soured you. Maybe you met someone else who flips your switch and lights you up like Las Vegas, or things just coasted into boringsville fast. Whatever the case, you have to sit this person down in a quiet, comfortable setting and explain why. Don’t let it feel like you are stomping on their heart. But they do deserve the truth. If you think they’ll make a scene, do it in a public place like a restaurant or coffee house.

Do go out of your way to let them down gently. Don’t gossip with your friends. Word does get around and then how will you look when it reaches your former hookup? If you are dropping this person, drop them. If you drunk dial them a week later and get it on, you’ll be in the same situation all over again. Erase them from your phone and email. Maybe keep them on your social media pages or else your actions may seem hurtful. Resist the urge of calling them and starting the cycle all over again, or don’t break up with them at all. Don’t dwell on the situation. Learn from this experience and integrate it into your future pursuits. Certainly even the most short-lived relationships can leave you with a good memory. Sometimes it helps to close with that memory and how you’ll cherish it. It leaves both of you feeling good. For more on traversing the harrowing landscape of love read, Sex at First Sight: Understanding the Modern Hookup by Richard E. Simmons III.

Falling Back in Love

oldhappy

Falling Back in Love

In a marriage or a long term relationship that has been going on for a while, way past the normal comfortable phase, sometimes things become far too common and routine. You’ve lost that spark. You start to feel numb about this person. You get confused. You still love them but you wonder if you are in love with them. One or both of you feel taken for granted. And at this juncture it is crucial to turn things around, and reinvest in one another. You can fall back in love, reignite that spark and show each other how much you care. There are ways to shake the cobwebs out of your relationship and get your hearts racing again. It doesn’t take more than some creativity, consideration, caring, time and enthusiasm. And you’ll be racing back toward one another in no time.

The first step is to find what attracted you to this person to begin with. Was it their laugh, their smile, the way they tilt their head, a great sense of humor or just the way they looked at you? Talk about these times. Be sentimental. If you used to play guitar and serenade your lover do it again. Go through old photos and recall old times. If you used to write love notes, love letters or the like do so again. Spend some time together. Go away, or just go on a date. Spice things up in the bedroom. Bring home a little gift for him or her, something romantic. Surprise them with a candle lit dinner, a secret trip or a body massage.

Next, come to terms with your partner’s shortcomings, even come to love them for it. And expect them to do the same. Tell them about it, that you love them no matter that they leave their underwear in the wrong place, or whatever the issue is. And have them accept whatever your faults are. Recognize what problems you bring to the relationship. No one is innocent completely. See if there are things you can do to mitigate these problems. Brainstorm with your partner. They will be so delighted that they will be willing to think about ways to lessen the impact their shortcomings have. Instead of focusing on the negative, make a list of things you like, love and appreciate about your partner. Are they kind and considerate? Do they cook or clean? Do they make you laugh when you’re down, listen to you and help you with your problems? Share this list with them.

Recognize that if you are stuck on some fairytale version of love, that your expectations are way too high. Realize that a relationship is going to take some work, caring and commitment. Instead of creating a vicious cycle where you criticize him or her and get negativity back, invest in a virtuous circle, where you say positive things to them, encourage them, cheer them on and do things to make their life easier. They’ll return the favor. For more advice read, I Love You, but… I’m Not IN LOVE With You: 7 Steps to Saving Your Relationship by Andrew G. Marshall.

Why Dating at Summer Camp was the Best

camp

Why Dating at Summer Camp was the Best

Remember those great summers at camp with swimming, horseback riding, canoeing, sports and arts and crafts and singing around a campfire at night? Camp was also a place a lot of people experience their first summer romance. Here are some reasons why dating at summer camp was the best. First, you never had to get dressed up, especially for a date. No cologne, perfume, makeup or serious clothing. It was come as you are and everybody was cool with that. You didn’t have to coordinate dates as to where you’ll meet, who is driving where and so on. You were right where you needed to be.

You could be seen at your worst physically, sweating and beaten, and they’d still love you. You could totally lose it emotionally being homesick, angry at your friend or just from being tired, and they still wanted to be with you. You didn’t have to worry about who pays or what it meant. Everything at camp was free. You both had the exact same schedule so no trying to awkwardly coordinate dates. That first crush at camp was always so real. Some people only dated over the summer. Others dates back at school or saw each other every summer until summer camp faded away. Some became counselors and some moved away. Some are probably even married today.

Whatever was going on at summer camp, your relationship was free. There was no pressure from inside or from without to make it become something or see it go somewhere. But that summer camp crush, just when you first saw them, or got up that morning and thought about seeing them that very day, made you all soft and gooey inside. You all hung out together. You all had the same friends and you never had to coordinate around people who didn’t like each other or had dated and broken up. You had to hang out together so everyone got together and made the best out of everything.

You already knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses by seeing one another operate around the different activities through the course of the day. There wasn’t really any privacy so you were forced to take things slow. But in that there was a kind of magic every time you got together, every time you kissed and each time you went a little bit further. There was lots of cuddling. Also, if you got stuck on any point you had camp counselors to guide you when you had problems in love. There was closure at the end of a camp romance, and great memories would inhabit your mind and theirs for all the days and years to come. To learn more about young love and the various experiences we go through in relationships, read Lena Dunham’s book, Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned.”

Being More Present in your Relationship

Happy Couple

Being More Present in your Relationship

It’s so hard to completely be there with your partner when there are so many things in today’s world calling for your attention. Most of us feel like we’re being pulled in several directions at once, all day every day.  Text messages are going off, we’re thinking about that big presentation we have to do at work, a child is sick and the cat pukes on the carpet. All of this and your spouse is mad at you for zoning out when they just told you a funny story about their work.  Sure there are lots of things clamoring for your attention. But what is going to sustain you? What gives you more love and joy than your relationship? It really deserves much more than most of us give it on a daily basis. A relationship needs time and energy invested in it to grow and prosper. Otherwise we fall into a rut. So how can we be more present in our relationships? First, stop multitasking. Researchers at Stanford University uncovered recently that multitasking doesn’t work. It just makes you do so many things poorly. Instead, focus on completing one thing at a time. Delegate and prioritize. Find ways to organize yourself and manage your time wisely. That way when it’s couple time you’ll have more time for it and less on your mind so you can stay more focused on that special someone sitting before you.

When it’s time to spend time with your partner, turn off your electronic devices. Unless you are gaming together, no one should be looking at their smart phone or tablet during date night. You should be staring into each other’s eyes instead. Why not relax together? Find a hobby you are both interested in that you can pursue together. Have fun, be lighthearted, get excited about something and go for it. Laughing out loud and enjoying things together are a great way to be present, live in the moment, reduce stress and strengthen your bond. How about a romantic weekend away? You could stay in a B&B in the country, a bungalow by the beach or go camping in a national park. Look for shows, concerts, plays, sporting events or stand-up comedy shows that interest you. Throw them on the calendar and talk about how excited you are getting as it draws near. Why not go to the spa together? Enjoy a couple’s massage. Cook together and really focus on the sensual pleasure of cooking, the sights, smells and tastes. Dance around the house and act silly sometimes. Spend time talking about each other’s day. Eat dinner together and discuss things. Instead of veging out in front of the TV at night, turn it off and talk to each other. Go through old photo albums and talk about the past. Taking time to really be present is one of the greatest joys you can have as a couple. To learn how to become more present read, Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment—and Your Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.