Year Two Can be Hard on a Relationship

That sheer rush when you fall for someone can be so exhilarating. Every insight they share fills you with awe, their jokes are hilarious, and every idiosyncrasy tickles you pink. But some two years later some find their partner’s insights stale, their jokes lame, and the little habits you used to find so cute are now positively irritating. What happened? The biochemical that kept you high on this person this entire time has leveled off. This is what some people call limerence and others the “honeymoon phase.” After about six months it begins to wear off. The two year point is heavy for most people. Some never want to settle down. They just want to jump from person to the next, chasing the feeling of newfound love. But many people want a life partner to share things with. So in this case to keep those feelings alive takes a lot of work. It takes a considerable investment in time, effort, thinking and planning for any relationship to run smoothly. Once those feelings end you have to evaluate it for what it really is, and consider whether you indeed have a deeper connection with this person or if it was all just infatuation.

Take a good look. Is there good communication? What about affection and tenderness? Do you treat each other with respect? Can you work through problems constructively? If the thrill is gone and you can’t for the life of you figure out what you saw in this person, be happy that the fog of love has lifted and cut your losses. Don’t keep trying to breathe life back into the corpse or you will waste a lot of time and effort, and frustrate yourself to no end. If you have been through a series of these relationships and are always let down in the second year or thereabouts, take a look at your standards. Are they perhaps too high? Some dating experts say apps and websites have made it seem like we can find someone perfect, when it’s really in our foibles and our acceptance of one another’s that we find acceptance and through it, love. Another aspect may be a fear of intimacy. Those who fear commitment often find their fears bubble up to the surface once the feel good chemicals of love wear off. Take it slow, communicate and seek help so as not to sabotage a good relationship if you are indeed in one.

As things develop, that frantic intensity might be gone. But there are other advantages not available before. Sometimes we forget how those dizzying first days, weeks, and months give us tremendous anxiety. But relationships in later stages are more comfortable. Partners who know each other better are closer. Though the instant need to gobble one another may be gone, many married couples say sex is better once you get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and perhaps what kinks you share in common. You have your technique down too. Sometimes relationships and sex can get dull and need some sprucing up. Having a date night, plan a vacation, consider tantra, learn a hobby together like cooking, rock climbing, yoga, or salsa dancing. These are novel experiences which will invigorate your relationship. Talk about what you want to explore together. Also, partners who spend too much time together can get on each other’s nerves. Spend a little time apart to explore different hobbies or spend time with friends. You can talk about something new over the breakfast table. Consider your relationship carefully. But if you have all the right things to make it great, try and infuse a few changes and you’ll be able to reignite the spark. For more readHow to Keep Your Relationship Exciting: 85 Tips to Keep the Romance in Your Life! by Kate Anderson.

Get Over the Stigma of Singledom

Single people get a bad rap. In the media, they are depicted as sad and lonely. Rarely do we see someone strong, well-adjusted and independent without a love interest lurking in the background. Then there is the butting in of certain well-meaning friends and relatives. They may come under some kind of delusion from time to time, and talk to you as if there is something wrong with you. “Why haven’t you found someone?” they ask. Or give you not so good advice like, “Maybe you should just lower your standards a little.” Just relax and remind yourself that you are in good company. The biggest growing demographic in the country today is single women. Sometimes we let what others say get to us. Don’t let them stigmatize you for loving yourself and leading your own life. Get over the stigma of singledom and enjoy flying solo. And in fact, while you are at it, help those other people get over their prejudice against unattached Americans as well.  Here are some reasons why you should feel lucky to be without a plus one. 

Ever see folks who don’t quite belong together try and make it work? It’s just sad. Why would you put yourself through that? Instead, why not wait for someone you can relate to, who flips your switch. Getting turned on is not just a sexual thing. It’s probably more emotional. It’s when you flow with someone. You have that instant rapport. There are different reasons why we are attracted to a person. When you meet that special someone who makes your heart skip a beat it dawns on you that this is someone worth pursuing. But just having a warm body next to you at the movies or on the couch isn’t worth it to those who have a brilliant mind, a full agenda and an independent spirit. There are people who jump from one relationship to another like frogs across Lili pads. These people are generally scared of being alone. But they don’t get a chance to really dig down deep and learn some personal truths about who they themselves are. A pause between serious relationships can give you time to breathe, slow down and focus on your own issues, where you are going and what you want in life. The person you have to love first and best in life is really yourself.

When you aren’t attached you can date around and see what you really like. Why not have some adventures? You can open up your social calendar and allow yourself some time to be a free spirit, sprint off without having to check in with anyone, or babysit someone who can’t keep up. Singledom is not a dilemma, it’s a rare opportunity that most people don’t have and some are downright jealous of. Now is the time to do the things you’ve always wanted to do. Go teach English in Asia. Volunteer in Africa. Explore your passions. Learn a new language. Start a business. Discover your family history or completely transform yourself into the person you’ve always wanted to be. Being single can feel lonesome at times. But at least you won’t ever feel trapped by or disgusted with your lover. You won’t feel smothered or neglected, rejected or treated unfairly. Jean Paul Sartre said, “Hell is other people.” Anyone who has ever been in a bad relationship knows what he is talking about. Instead, reconnect with yourself and find your own inner light. Once you are glowing like a beacon, someone worthwhile is sure to notice you. If you’re still not convinced or are just giving up the single game read,“Best Dating Advice I Ever Got”: 3000 Women Pick Their Favorite Love Tips by Ali Binazir MD.

Why You Aren’t Finding Anyone You Have Chemistry With

Dating wasn’t any level of hell in Dante’s Inferno. But it can sure feel like one sometimes. We generally think it’s a natural process. It’s all about chemistry. You meet someone. You like them. They like you and boom! The magic happens. Cue music. Except it doesn’t always work that way. Not in real life. Sometimes you date someone and they drop off the face of the planet, right when things were just getting interesting. What was it a fear of commitment? Did they meet someone else or get back with their ex? Or else they owed money to the mob. There isn’t much you can do at this point, except pick yourself up and keep going. Then there is for some a worse situation, a kind of dating purgatory. This is when you meet people all the time. You date and date and don’t have chemistry with any of them. What do you do? Some say chemistry is over-rated. It is compatibility you are looking for. Chemistry fades as soon as the “honeymoon phase” has worn off. Then if compatibility isn’t there, there are few things to keep the couple together. Others think you should hold out for someone who knocks you off your feet. So what is the best way forward if you aren’t finding chemistry with anyone you are dating?

You shouldn’t spend a significant amount of time with someone just because you want someone there. But if you have been on a significant number of dates or spent time with lots of would-be suitors and have no feelings at all toward any of them, consider where you are. What is your selection process like? Are you being too picky? Sometimes we want everything in a mate and refuse to settle. But we forget that each of us is a human being. We all have our faults. Consider giving it a rest for now. Focus on yourself. Then come back at it fresh. But begin looking at your dating life from another point of view. Some people are very goal oriented. But one’s love life rarely fits into the plans we’ve made for it. Usually, we say we want something specific and someone comes along and mucks it all up. There are those who have started to realize that their choices in past lovers may have not been the best. Chemistry can sometimes push us toward those who are not healthy for us. It is best to resist it then. But don’t think you will be stuck in limbo forever. Your system only has to be reconnoitered. Just be patient and wait for someone who gives you that “wow” factor and is also good for you.

There are those who find that nerves get in the way. It is often those people who are very reserved. Others are shy and introverted and take time to get used to others. Chemistry cannot be formed when one is experiencing high anxiety, or when one’s date is. Spend a little time with the person who is nice but whom you aren’t sure about. If you or they are nervous or seem to be, spend time in a setting that is comfortable for the uncomfortable person, on their home turf. If you just aren’t sure about them and nervousness doesn’t factor in, try and see them from a different vantage point. A new context or different environment can bring out other sides of a person, ones you may be more attracted to or less so. Take them out with friends, bring them along on a hike or do some volunteer work together. Realize that compatibility with a little bit of chemistry makes for a better long-term relationship than the other way around. You can do novel things together to turn that spark into an inferno. But compatibility on the other hand is an either have it or you don’t scenario. Realize that a love life just doesn’t work the way other aspects of our life like family, friends, or our career does. Those things are relatively straightforward. But a vibrant love life takes patience, confidence, and a great attitude and the ability to start over, to come out the other side unscathed and smiling. Just be yourself. Be happy, open, curious, and practice nonjudgment towards others. Sooner or later someone you fancy will be knocking on your heart’s door. For more on better ways to travail the often bitter landscape of the human heart readThe Secret Laws of Attraction: The Effortless Way to Get the Relationship You Want by Talane Miedaner.

How to Tell Your Partner You are Bi-Curious

 

Though still stigmatized, bisexuality is becoming more accepted in our culture. Moreover, people in long term relationships are starting to feel freer to explore different interests and emotions associated with their sexuality. In days gone by these feelings were most often suppressed. If they were acted upon it was hidden and never spoken about. But today, those in long-term relationships want to open up to one another about their true sexuality. One can say that in a way, true love is being accepted by one’s partner as one truly is, while reciprocating this acceptance to the beloved. Discovering and exploring your sexuality together is a way to really get to know yourself and your partner, keep the spark alive, and grow closer. Today, couples feel more comfortable exploring BDSM, tantra, role playing, and much more. But what happens when you are bi-curious? Springing on your plus one that you wish to be tied up, or want to play student and teacher is one thing. But wanting to have a sexual interaction of someone of the same sex is another. First, realize that this experience is actually quite common, for women and men. It was Alfred Kinsey’s pioneering 1950’s research into human sexuality that uncovered that bisexuality was more common than first surmised. Psychologist Eric Erickson later found that sexuality instead of being a dichotomy, is actually a spectrum. Each of us falls somewhere in between heterosexuality and homosexuality.

The next thing to determine is how bi-curious you are. How strong are these impulses and interest? Do you fantasize about other men or women? Do you like seeing their bodies? Consider how often you appreciate those of the same sex. Do you watch videos about it? Do you read articles online? How often do you fantasize about it? There is a difference between a mild fantasy that bubbles up to the surface now and then, and a strong attraction or desire. Have you ever had a crush on a person of the same sex? Ever kissed someone or gone farther? The farther you have gone, the more it is a part of your psyche, and the more pertinent it is to share with your partner. Once you have determined your level of bi-curiosity, consider how far you want to go with it. Is it something you truly want to explore? Each of us are sexual creatures. Exploring our sexuality freely without judgment but curiosity, devoid of shame but with enthusiasm, is part of becoming a fully actualized adult, and loving your authentic self. Learn to embrace this new interest. Do some research. Read articles and consider how far you feel comfortable going.

Now consider your partner. How open are they to the subject of bi-curiosity. Consider how they may take the news. Some people are interested in letting their partner explore their sexuality with another. Others would only enjoy the prospect in the course of a ménage-a-trios. Otherwise, they would feel left out. But of course, these are important concerns. Are you up for a threesome, or only comfortable exploring on your own? If the latter, you are leaving your partner out, which may drive a wedge between you. Consider a nuanced negotiation. Then there is the emotional side. Some people cannot take their partner having emotional intimacy with someone outside the primary relationship. They consider it cheating. Evaluate how your partner will feel. But if this is a marriage or a long-term relationship, it is best that you discuss these feelings with your partner. Perhaps start out slow. You can point out people of the same sex you think are attractive from time to time and ask your partner their opinion. Feel them out. Most couples find this harmless fun. Then perhaps ask them what they would think if you kissed someone of the same sex. Over time, you can work into the conversation so it doesn’t come as such a shock. If this does not work with your partner, go for the direct approach. One day when you are both relaxed and spending time together, let them know about your feelings or a fantasy that you had. You might want to preface it with how much you love and adore them, how precious they are to you, how much you enjoy making love to them, and how attractive they are. This is to assuage their ego and allow them to not feel threatened.

Then you also want to know about these other feelings, who and what you find attractive, what experiences you have had in the past, and if or how you want to act upon these feelings. Just have a conversation about it. Let them ask any questions. If you get a negative reaction, give them some time. Allow them to mull over and sort through their feelings for a while, and revisit the issue later on. Understand that many couples go through this, and it is perfectly natural. Find out what level of interaction is safe, comfortable, exciting, and conducive to the relationship. Keep talking about it, and thinking about. Your sex life is an ever unfolding process not a destination. Enjoy the ride. For more pick up a copy of The Bisexual Option Fritz Klein MD.

How to Date Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder

There are some beautiful, fascinating, magnetic people who just so happen to have borderline personality disorder (BD). That said, the disorder itself can pose unique challenges to a relationship. It is important at the onset to have a well-developed sense of what the disorder is and how it affects that special someone you are dating, before you decide to commit to him or her. BD is actually quite common, affecting tens of millions in the U.S. alone. It uniquely affects interpersonal relationships, so you will continually be in the line of fire. Those with BD have unstable emotions, behaviors, and an ever-changing self-image. They can be paranoid, moody, and impulsive and may take part in risky behavior or those that result in self-injury, such as cutting, substance abuse, suicide attempts, and risky sexual behavior. Usually, it begins in early adulthood. Those with BD are sensitive to environmental or social changes, and often equate them to a fear of rejection. They also carry a fear of abandonment, and experience intermittent and irrational outbursts of anger. Those with BD can have a series of intense and unstable romantic relationships. The condition is more prevalent in women. As one ages, symptoms generally decrease. By the time one is in their 40s or 50s the most extreme behaviors are usually, completely gone. Borderline is treated through medication and long-term psychotherapy.

Most people who have someone special in their life who has borderline say they do not care what the persons suffers, but just want to be there for them and support them. Realize that he or she is lucky to have you. Still, it is important to know what you are dealing with, and to see if the person needs more help than they are getting. For those moving forward with a relationship with someone who has borderline, here is some advice on how to make it as pleasurable as possible, and mitigate any possible situations that could arise. People with BD can take up all of your time and energy. Reserve some of each for yourself. Otherwise, you will feel drained all the time. You may even feel that you are losing your identity. You cannot truly be there for your partner if you yourself are in dire need of some TLC. Talk with your partner in depth about the time you need to yourself, and perhaps to spend with friends. Remind them that it is just to refresh your batteries. Keep in mind, you have to take extra special care so that they do not see it as abandonment. Still, don’t let them take that time away from you, either.

Establish boundaries early and consistently. BD sufferers can sometimes test boundaries. In any relationship boundaries are important, or else we carry resentment in our hearts, which will eventually leach into and poison the relationship itself. Do not over-react to your partner. Those with BD generally go straight to emotional extremes. But if you continually get caught up in this, you will be enabling them. This will devolve into a classic codependent relationship. When your partner approaches you in an emotional tizzy, take a step back. Stay calm. Establish the facts, and piece together the picture. Just because they have BD, doesn’t mean you can label them. Do not hold it over their head, or categorize everything as a symptom of the disorder. Each person is different. It is best to hang back at first and see what their patterns are, before you decide what is a symptom and what is part of who they are. When your partner says hurtful things to you, ignore them. Realize that this is the disorder talking. Consider whether you can handle such a relationship. You will have to have a high level of self-esteem, be able to handle situations, and not take things too personally. Everyone has their own issues, and these will always leak into a romantic relationship. You just have to consider which you can work with, and what you can’t. But for those who can handle a BD partner, having the right mindset and tools in your toolbox makes things so much easier.

For more pick up a copy ofI Hate You–Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality by Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus.