Couples without Children are Happier

happy-couple

Couples without Children are Happier

Those couples who are most blissful are childless, according to research out of Open University in the U.K. The study, entitled “Enduring Love?” found that couples without children, whether married or unmarried, were far more satisfied with life in general and felt considerably more appreciated by their partner than their counterparts. Parents who cohabitated but weren’t married were a little happier than those that were married. Over 5,000 people of all backgrounds in long term relationships were studied. Surprisingly, mothers were the happiest group while women without children were the unhappiest.

Having children did affect intimacy among partners. Fathers were 50% more likely to claim that lack of physical love was the biggest problem in their relationships. Meanwhile, mothers stated that they wanted to experience physical intimacy less often than their partners. This study found that showing appreciation for your partner was one of the biggest factors in making a marriage fulfilling. Giving compliments, thanking one another and other seemingly minor gestures added up to a lot. The takeaway here is that when a couple starts taking each other for granted, things go downhill fast. But if they constantly renew their love, commitment, fondness and appreciation for one another, their relationship will remain strong, sturdy, healthy and fulfilling.

The British library will soon release the results of this study. If you are a couple with children, or planning to have children, don’t let this study upset you. Instead, make plans on how you will find time to invest in your relationship. Perhaps have a date night where a sitter comes over or you leave the kids with the in-laws. If you know other couples with kids, watch their children on their date night and they can watch yours on theirs. Write each other little notes or texts at least once per day. Make it a point to spend some time chatting together, enjoying each other’s company without having to fulfill some chore. Thank one another for what they do, whether it’s their assigned job or chore, or not.

The real takeaway is that just because you have children doesn’t mean you should take one another for granted. In fact, it’s more important that you show how grateful you are that that person is in your life, loving you, supporting you and standing by you. Show them how much you care, a little each day and they will reciprocate. For more advice read, The 2 Minute Marriage Project: Simple Secrets for Staying in Love by Heidi Poleman.

Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met

THOUGHTFUL-COUPLE

Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met

Everyone has needs. And if you are in a long term relationship you realize that it’s transactional as much as it’s interactional. We have emotional, sexual, and physical needs such as hugging and cuddling, spiritual, financial and social needs too. There are eight elements in all. When a relationship is doing well the two interact in these realms meeting each other’s needs in full measure. There’s no holding back, no splurging. If they’re lucky there is an “element equation” or a surplus on the part of both partners. If there is an imbalance, the couple can choose to acknowledge it, discuss it and work through the problem. A deficit in emotional availability could by tackled by telling one partner that they aren’t feeling their full presence in the relationship. Instead of reacting, the other partner would agree to discuss it at a certain time. Both parties could then come up with solutions on when the best time is to discuss their feelings, say at a meeting once per week or something like that.

So how do you work on meeting your partner’s needs while getting yours met? First you need to recognize the imbalance. Something doesn’t feel right. Define the problem. Talk about it with yourself. Investigate. Is one person overspending or the other holding back? Where is this imbalance coming from? Next, find the proper words to address the problem. Bring it up with your partner and find an appropriate time to discuss it. The key is open and honest communication, without ego or blame stepping into it. Both parties have to communicate effectively, honestly, and from a point of respect toward their partner. Nothing is solved by screaming matches or finger pointing sessions. But the couple who can have a calm, cool discussion and come up with concrete solutions enjoys the strongest and happiest type of relationship. Find out the reason of the withholding or the overspending. Is there some guilt or feeling of inadequacy? Why does your partner feel this way? It’s important to validate their responses. Always begin from a place of wellness. Make your partner understand that you care about your relationship and want it to be healthy. Let them know that you are invested in them and invested in “us.” For more advice read, The Rules of Love: A Personal Code for Happier, More Fulfilling Relationships by Richard Templar.

How to be More Loving

loving

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.

How Available Should You Make Yourself for Someone You Like?

computer

How Available Should You Make Yourself for Someone You Like?

In comedian Aziz Ansari’s Live at Madison Square Garden standup special on Netflix, he talks about a common problem many of us who are single often run into, scheduling inconsistencies and how to bridge them. Oftentimes, we start texting with someone. There is a mutual interest. But since many don’t date one-on-one anymore, but meet in groups of friends instead, scheduling a meetup becomes nearly impossible. By the time one group arrives at said bar or club, the other has already moved on. Each side is too afraid to show any real interest. They are each apprehensive of making themselves too available and so lowering their market value. But without accommodating one another or by making the social paradigm so intricate, it becomes almost impossible for the two to get together. Some decry this new paradigm. Others say that when things are right, they will just fall together. But is that true?

Certainly those social butterflies who come complete with an entourage will want to dovetail their newfound love into the fold. But what happens when two people have an entourage? Perhaps you can combine them into a might army. Otherwise, this social paradigm is prohibitive. Rather than a way to take the pressure off, show a person’s social standing and benefiting from that, they are shutting the other out before seeing whether they have something together, before anything can even begin. So what’s the alternative? Certainly you shouldn’t make yourself too available. But others get caught up in the winds of their own social microcosm and miss what could be a terrific romantic opportunity. Consider keeping your options open for one or two nights per week. A little flexibility is required. But if you are bending over backwards without reciprocity, move on. Also think about seeing this person without your other friends, or if that makes you cringe even a smaller subset than the normal group. It’s okay to go on an old-fashioned date now and then too. You don’t have to look like a movie star with a huge following. But alone, if things go awry your friends aren’t there to see it, which is a huge plus.

You could bring up something you both are interested in. Say you are both movie fans and looking forward to the premiere of a certain independent film. You can just invite them because you share a common interest. It’s somewhere you would have been anyway. You can play a little hard to get. But don’t be unavailable or unapproachable either. You may look intimidating, even arrogant. It’s hard to strike a balance. There’s a feel to it. You want to telegraph interest without being too interested. The problem today is people try so hard not to look needy that they end up looking completely uninterested. For ladies, though we live in a more enlightened time, it’s often the case that a man likes to chase you. So play a little hard to get, but give a clear opening to allow him a place to move forward. Also, evaluate how shy he is or how perceptive. Sometimes guys miss what to women seems obvious. You might think you gave him a chance when he didn’t even recognize it. Experimentation is the only way to figure it out, trial and error. For guys, watch her carefully, get to know her and woo her. When things are right, they usually fall into place. But sometimes you have to goose things along a little bit. If you’re doing all the goosing though without anything from the other end, go out with your friends instead. This person is not worth your time. For more on the state of love today read, Modern Dating: A Field Guide by Chiara Atik.

Good Relationships Lead to Personal Growth

couple-living-together

Good Relationships Lead to Personal Growth

Positive relationships are good for our health. That’s no surprise. We’ve been hearing that for a long time. Happily married people live longer, are healthier and wealthier. In fact, a person’s relationship is the single most important factor in determining mortality. Two researchers, Brooke C. Feeney of Carnegie Mellon University and Nancy L. Collins of the University of California, have discovered some ways that good relationships can also lead to personal growth. The two most important factors are helping use to cope with adversity and helping us to pursue our goals, and other opportunities that cause growth. Good, healthy, strong relationships help those that inhabit them reach their objectives and pursue their dreams. The first person we usually turn to for comfort, and perhaps seek advice from would be our spouse, or significant other. Feeney and Collins liken this process to a home knocked over by a violent storm. The next house erected in its place should be far sturdier. If one person is having a problem establishing themselves for instance their partner may help them to feel more confident. This confidence will help them interact with others, their social networks will become more vibrant and more opportunities will arrive.

Our partner can help us to see what our strengths are. They can help us relieve stress and put things in perspective. Our partner can also help us learn new skills that can help you survive and even thrive at work, school or one’s life passion. Those who are supportive can become a “launching function.” They help their partner pursue their goals. They show them the positive aspects, help them to see opportunities, prepare them to face new challenges, and help them to celebrate victory or to cope with defeat. Feeney and Collins found eight specific ways in which a supportive relationship helps.  Our emotional state improves. Acceptance of one’s self increases and resilience expands. We are better able to perceive and interpret events. Our supportive partners help motivate us toward goals, help us to cope, adapt to new situations and improve our psychological and immune functioning. Positive relationships steer us away from unhealthy lifestyles that may sap our strength, hurt our bodies or minds, not to mention our reputation and mood. Lastly, supportive relationships help people to learn how to trust, feel close to someone and feel loved, positive vibes that carry over in other types of relationships.

So how can you make your relationship more supportive? The best way to do that is to become more supportive yourself. Learn how to listen carefully, be able to accept and understand your partner’s perspective, control your emotions and provide the type of support that will help your partner, and make them feel good. Use your resources. These can be tangible resources like money to say buy your lover a new outfit for an interview. Or they can be intangible ones like compassion, patience and understanding, providing emotional support. Being able to understand your lover’s needs and meet them will motivate them to do the same for you. At the same time, you will want to make sure that you will be able to make your own needs known. Clear communication is pivotal. Reciprocate to show you support them and appreciate the support they give. Then a virtuous cycle can commence, where you both constantly initiate and receive support. Don’t overtax your lover however. If they have many demands at this time, you could be a catalyst in them spreading themselves too thin. You need someone you can rely on. But a strong social network to draw from is important too. To build a supportive relationship, you must first know how to effectively communicate. This is in many cases the hardest skill for couples to develop. If you and your partner need to work on this, pick up a copy of the book, Communication in a Relationship: Top tips on how to improve your communication skills to build a long lasting, loving relationship by Lyn Hunt.