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.

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.

The Happiest Couple’s Secrets According to Science

date

The Happiest Couple’s Secrets According to Science

Is your relationship as happy as it could be? Thanks to some recent breakthroughs in research we have some indicators of what the most sublime duos do to perpetuate their love locked bliss. So if you want to know how to bump up the contentment quotient in your relationship, read on to see what the happiest couple’s secrets are according to science.

First, research has shown that celebrating one person’s good news fortifies the relationship considerably. In one particular experiment couples who celebrated small benchmarks three times a day for a week increased their bliss and decreased depression in their relationships. According to another study a happy marriage or long term relationship is worth $105,000 per year in terms of satisfaction. Who knew? Joyful couples have been found to have five positive interactions per day to one negative one. This is being called the “happy couple ratio.” Those who divorced however had eight tenths of a happy interaction to one negative one. It seems that if you increase the positivity, your marriage or long term relationship gets happier. This may sound simple to some. But look at your own relationship. How often do you interact positively versus neutrally or negatively? Observe your own relationship for a few days and see what conclusions you have.

Some of the ways to increase positive interactions within your relationship could be paying your sweetie a compliment. Just a simple text saying “Hi handsome” or “How’s it going gorgeous” would suffice, though doing a little more when something noteworthy comes along would be even better. A small gesture or gift from time to time is a great way to show your appreciation and love. Another positive move, reminisce together, bring up great memories you both share. Lastly, do something nice for your partner like cooking them dinner, giving them a massage, doing a chore for them, or watching the kids to give them a break. The biggest influence that determined the quality of a relationship was found by a whopping 70% to be the quality of the friendship between partners. Part of that close friendship includes talking more and spending more time together, five hours per week more actually.

Couples who spent more time in the bedroom were happier too. Those who had sex two to three times per week were the happiest. In fact, 55% reported being happier when they had intercourse every few days. When congratulating your significant other for accomplishments large or small, research suggests asking questions, saying congrats, showing enthusiasm and reliving the experience along with them. For more advice read, The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal about Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship by Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., and James Witte, Ph.D.

Should you Rebound with an Ex?

Couple-In-Bed

Should you Rebound with an Ex?

Some people need a rebound after a bad breakup. It validates them and makes the hurt go away quicker. You have someone else to focus on. But should you rebound with an ex? A surprisingly large number of women end up in bed with an ex after a painful breakup. Why is that? There are lots of reasons. Though it may have ended badly for them before, he is familiar and she feels safe with him. She can not only feel sexy with him but some of the old love may still be there too. There’s an emotional bond, a closeness as it were.

The comfort level is the main thing. You two can be thick as thieves sharing laughs and reminiscing about old times before getting busy. You may even wonder why you broke up in the first place. Here’s the problem with having an ex as a rebound. It makes things more complicated in the long run. You may start to wonder whether you should be with this ex or not. Lots of people in this situation forget why it is they broke up to begin with. If a new relationship with this person starts without any of the old problems being solved, you may just be rehashing an old scene. That would compound your problems.

The question really becomes how emotionally involved are you? If you aren’t at all and it’s just for fun and old time’s sake, then it may be okay. But you have to make sure that your ex feels the same, or else there could be serious complications. You may have a heartsick ex on your hands, in addition to dealing with your own problems. The next question, if you and your ex are considering getting back together, is what were the issues that broke you up to begin with? Are these fixable issues that just weren’t addressed or are these deep seeded problems that cannot for the life of the two of you seem to be undone? That’s a really important question.

A few nights of passion may be fine but you have to know and feel out exactly where everyone is emotionally in this situation or else you will have even more trouble on your hands than you started out with, the cure you sought will become an even greater problem. Learn to let go and be by yourself. Or perhaps try someone who is nice and trustworthy but emotionally isn’t ready for a relationship. A rebound doesn’t have to be an ex. It can be but should only be if the conditions are right. For more advice, read The Rebound Journal: Breaking Up and Bouncing Back with Style by Jennifer Worick, Kerry Colburn, and Neryl Walker.

The Key to a Lasting Marriage

inbed

The Key to a Lasting Marriage

When you look at another couple, how do you evaluate them? Can you tell how they feel about each other, the level of respect they have, their friendship and how deep their bond goes? If you have a pretty good pulse on how people jive, next consider your own relationship. When out to dinner do you sit there quietly, are you constantly on your phone or are you two engaged in conversation, focusing only on each other? If you answered one of the first two this is a warning sign that your relationship is in trouble. If you answered the last one, your relationship is where it should be. The two should be reconnecting all of the time. You should be finding excitement, joy and feel a deep warmth when around one another. The truth is after that initial honeymoon phase wears off you have to work a little harder to reconnect. But there is also something deep and profound in a relationship where you’ve been together a long time, a comfort that cannot stand against puppy love. The key to a lasting marriage is friendship. Find ways to have fun together. What interests or hobbies do you share? Another thing you can do is try new things you’ve always wanted to try together. Make a list together and cross them off as you go through. Here are some other ideas on how to infuse your marriage or relationship with a deep, loving, profound friendship.

When you interact with your partner, be mindful of your tone. Are you communicating to your partner how much they mean to you? Does the attitude you approach the relationship with reflect the kind of relationship you want? If not, start incorporating the right tone and attitude into it and see if it comes back to you. It’s all in your approach. People react to the attitude you give them. So if you approach the relationship with a sweet, loving and lighthearted attitude that is generally what you should receive in return. Are you more critical of your spouse or lover than you need to be? Do you treat them worse than your friends? If this is the care, or the case of your partner sit down and think about it. Approach your partner with your concerns. Describe the phenomenon you are seeing and ways to fix it. For every criticism you have for your partner find two nice things to say. Use a strategy corporate trainers called “sandwiching.” Sandwich a negative comment between two positive ones. It takes the sting out. “I really loved the dinner you made. Could you use a little less pepper next time? But I loved the sauce!” Be patient with your partner and expect them to be patient with you. Find times to laugh and have fun together. Reminisce. Go through old photo albums and talk about old times together. Try to incorporate how you would treat a friend with how you treat your partner, only with more love, warmth and understanding. Expect the same from them in return. For more on this topic, read Hidden Keys of a Loving, Lasting Marriage by Gary Smalley.