The concept of dating, relationships, marriage—even divorce—can evoke feelings of anxiety in many. This is a natural component of relationships with others; after all, we are sharing ourselves with somebody else, and that can make us feel vulnerable at first.
In my last post, I described how “every important relationship we have shapes our brain, which in turn shapes our very relationships.” This still holds true. Now imagine that the anxiety of one particular relationship transcends into our overall psyche, and consequently gets transferred to our other relationships. This knock-on effect can have a pretty significant impact on our happiness, making us feel a bit out of control for the most part. What’s more, the anxiety we experience in childhood (even in the womb!) can stay with us for a lifetime if we don’t take an active course in diminishing it.
Hollywood movies, cheap sitcoms, and glossy magazines are often blamed for muddying our perceptions of sex, love, and relationships. Fortunately, there has been some empirical study on the matter to separate gossip from reality.
Social psychologists from the University of Toronto investigated the sex lives of 1,900 participants, including both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, in the hopes of answering the age-old question: what makes a happy sex life?
In essence, their study found that sex satisfaction in long-term relationships all centers around our desire to work on our sexual problems and our sexual expectations (or “sexpectations” as the researchers call it). Those who held less rigid and idealistic views of “soul mates” and other implicit theories of sexuality tended to be happier with their partner in the bedroom.
Like any other annual holiday, Valentine’s Day is a chance to reflect on everything that’s happened — and all the ways you’ve grown — in the last year.
In this case, it’s an opportunity to consider how your relationship has evolved, and (gulp) whether you think it’ll last.
Psychologists have spent years studying the traits that are fundamental to successful long-term relationships and have come up with a few key ideas. We rounded up some of their most surprising insights below.
A few years ago after her wedding, my friend sheepishly admitted that she and her husband didn’t even hook up on their wedding night because they were too tired. Another friend piped in, “Me neither! My husband was drunk and hanging over the toilet once we got back to our hotel suite. It wasn’t too sexy…”
In fact, research shows that most American couples that have consummated their union before marriage skip sex on their wedding night. This discovery led me to explore more things that a number of us may not readily admit about our sex lives. (No judgment here. The average couple may not feel like divulging their sexual insecurities, questions and secrets over a coffee catch up.)
You love him or her, but you love saving money, too? Here are a half-dozen ways tech can help you show your love for less, without coming across like a total cheapskate.
Tokens of love
This is a tried and true totally free gift idea, with a twist. Gift your sweetheart some tempting tokens that entitle them to some seriously special treatment from you, but give it an air of authenticity by actually printing out these adorable love coupons. There’s an entire pre-made pack available that includes breakfast in bed, massages, a candle-lit dinner, and more, or if you have some of your own ideas, just print out these blank tokens and fill them with whatever you want.
Sunday Times bestselling author, The Unmumsy Mum, bares all. Prepare to lower your weapon, gentlemen.
There’s no doubt about it, having kids changes what goes down (or not) in the bedroom. The impact of Hurricane Baby extends to pretty much every aspect of your relationship, and sexytime is the most obvious hit. But just what, in tangible terms, is the deal here? Is it all doom and gloom? Should you be honest if she asks whether things feel a bit slacker down there? And does she really have another headache? Let’s talk about sex, (after a) baby.
Learn how to cope with anxious attachment styles in yourself and others.
Based on the size of the US population, there are presently more than 47 million Americans who have anxious attachment styles. That means that if you don’t have this personality style then you are most likely in relationships with people who do. Understanding this personality style and how it impacts emotions and interpersonal behaviors can go a long way to relieving distress and conflict, avoiding unnecessary damage, and promoting healthy and mutually satisfying relationships.
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “once a cheater, always a cheater” – and because of it, you’ve most likely been cynical about people who have gone astray. But according to experts, if you turn your back on people who have cheated on their partners, you are underestimating their ability to change.
“People who say a cheater can’t change have never felt the awful guilt that comes when you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake by having a one-night stand or an affair,” says Tammy Nelson, a couples therapist and the author of The New Monogamy: Redefining Your Relationship After Infidelity.
Relationships can be one of the most pleasurable things on the planet… but they can also be a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and feelings. Relationship anxiety can arise at pretty much any stage of courtship. For many single people, just the thought of being in a relationship can stir up stress. If and when people do start dating, the early stages can present them with endless worries: “Does he/she really like me?” “Will this work out?” “How serious is this?” Unfortunately, these worries don’t tend to subside in the later stages of a romantic union. In fact, as things get closer between a couple, anxiety can get even more intense. Thoughts come flooding in like: “Can this last?” “Do I really like him/her?” “Should we slow down?” “Am I really ready for this kind of commitment?” “Is he/she losing interest?”
“The world is little, people are little, human life is little. There is only one big thing — desire.” Willa Cather
I just finished chatting with a girlfriend of mine who was complaining about her her lack of sexual desire in her relationship. She has been with the same guy for the last 15 years. She is still in love with him and she’s still attracted to him, but she just doesn’t feel like having sex. Not just with him, but with anyone. Her husband, on the other hand? He still wants to have sex on a regular basis and it’s been a problem in their relationship for a long time. She’s come to a point where she just doesn’t know what to do about it anymore.
The common misconception that intimacy is directly related to sex has gone on for far too long. While the two are surely related to one another, they do not define each other. An intimate relationship doesn’t necessarily qualify as one where the couple has sex often. Intimacy refers to maintaining a close personal bond with someone. In order to achieve this bond i.e. have an intimate relationship, a couple has to go through a whole process. This process is governed by several steps, not just one.
1- They talk A LOT:
When two people develop strong feelings for one another and reach a point where they’re ready to let them into each other’s lives, they form a relationship. The very foundation of any genuine relationship is love, which is as intimate as it gets.
The love at the start of the relationship is usually way more than at the end. So, a newly formed relationship might seem more intimate. The reason is that in the start people talk to one another. They like knowing about all the details of each other’s lives. They communicate about feelings and issues. They keep their bond strong by developing more and more love for their partner. Later on, people tend to get bored and the relationship eventually diminishes.
Jealousy is a killer. Relationships end because of jealous conflicts and people kill other people because they are jealous.
Imagine this. You are at a party and someone is friendly and you smile. Your partner thinks that you are betraying her. Or your partner tells you a funny story about a former lover and you feel threatened. You feel the anger and the anxiety rising inside you and you don’t know what to do.
Susan could identify with this. She would glare at her partner, trying to send him a “message” that she was really annoyed and hurt. She hoped he would get the message. At times she would withdraw into pouting, hoping to punish him for showing an interest in someone else. But it didn’t work. He just felt confused.
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