Romantic Relationships

Soulmates: Why They’re Worth It

If Disney is anything to go by once you’ve found your soul mate you walk into the sunset and live happily ever after. Sadly, this version of soul mates really is the stuff of fiction. Whilst finding your soul mate is beyond wonderful real life tough times still happen and inevitably conflict will occur. The fundamental difference is that when you are with your soul mate and these tough times hit, you both have an unshakable resolve to work through any difficulty – you both are committed to making things work, no matter what.

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Why the notion of wrong and right can kill relationships

Have you ever been in an argument with your partner and inside your head thought ‘but your so wrong’? I have. It’s one of the most natural reactions when in conflict with a partner. Over the years and especially since my assertiveness training I’ve tried to change my perspective to understand that there is very rarely one person who is wrong and one person who is right – rather there are just different opinions. I stumble sometimes but seeing things from this perspective has really helped me. After all, unless something is backed up by scientific fact, aren’t opinions invariably all we have?

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How to ensure you don’t lose yourself in a relationship

Wow, I have ample experience of this one! When dating someone who is possessive and controlling or even when in a perfectly happy and healthy relationship it can be easy to adopt your partners way of thinking, behaving and even possibly feeling. In the honeymoon stages this can be natural as you are on your best behaviour and want to impress. Let me be clear though, this article doesn’t relate to the honeymoon stage – what I am referring to here is later on down the line when the rose tinted glasses are off and you are in a fully fledged relationship.

 

What I am speaking about is when your partner expresses a different opinion to you and you don’t vocalize your differing opinion, or when you agree to let your partner dictate what you do and when you do it. It might seem harmless enough but it is a slippery slope that can make you feel lost inside over time.

 

Here are my top tips for not losing yourself in your romantic relationship:

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Why spending time apart can be a good thing

Far from being a sign of a weak relationship, spending a healthy amount of time apart can actually be a really good thing. As the healthy relationship model in the series posts highlighted, the healthiest relationships are actually those where each partner has half of their life inside the relationship (or rather spent together) and half outside of the relationship (or spent apart).

 

Spending time outside of the relationship can be invaluable, it teaches us not to take our partner for granted, to value quality time, it allows us to share experiences outside of the relationship in conversations with one another and it allows us to retain our individuality and independence whilst not undermining each partners healthy level of dependence on one another.

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Why showing appreciation is key – positive exchanges vrs negative exchanges

Research has long since shown that the most successful long term romantic relationships have, on average, five positive exchanges for every one negative exchange. It has literally been proven that those relationships where the negative exchanges are greater than one to every five positives are more than likely to dissolve quicker.

 

 

I remember when I first read this research. I was in a relationship with my ex at the time and we must have had 20 negative exchanges for every one positive! Although that definitely wasn’t the right relationship for me, perfectly happy couples can easily get into a rut of mentioning the negative and ignoring the positives. So if you want to ensure a longstanding intimate relationship make sure to compliment your partner and show appreciation for them, their contribution to the relationship and the thoughtful or kind things they do as often as possible.

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Why true love is selfless – when the others happiness means more to you than anything

I thought I was in love once before meeting my now boyfriend but looking back I now know it wasn’t true love. How do I know? It wasn’t selfless, in many ways it felt like love, but it was immature – it wanted what it wanted. Since meeting my boyfriend, I can now see that the old cliché that true love is selfless really is true. I want him to be happy no matter what, and finding ways of making him happy brings me more happiness than I ever could have imagined.

 

When you want the person you love to be happy beyond anything else, it is a good indicator that you share the selfless love many seek. But what if you’re not quite there yet? Try to find ways of making your partner happy and see how happy it makes you in turn – it’s a great exercise and often develops the kind of selfless thinking true love inspires, at the very least you will put a smile on your partners face.

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How to preserve the romance in a relationship

One of the best ways to preserve the romance in any relationship is to let your partner know how much you appreciate them. Do thoughtful things that let them know you are thinking of them. If you are married with kids have designated date nights when it is just you in a romantic setting. Show each other your love in practical ways by doing the chores the other hates. Never ever forget to tell the other how much you love them, often and sincerely. And always remember their likes and dislikes.

 

For example, my boyfriend knows I find it hard to wake up in the morning so he keeps some galaxy chocolate beside my bed because he knows once he points to it in the morning I will wake up. Funny I know, but very thoughtful and sweet too.

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How to use humor to test the waters with burning issues

Laughter really is the best cure, and also quite revealing too! Have you ever heard the expression ‘never a truer word is spoken in jest’? Well one of the best ways to find out if something is going to be a contentious issue or to find out if you are both on the same page is to bring up the issue in the guise of a joke. I often joked I would move to be closer to my boyfriend and he seemed receptive to the idea whenever I joked about it, after a few jokes we both felt comfortable enough to talk about it seriously. Thankfully – as his reaction to my jokes suggested – he was in favor of the idea!

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Why men should take the lead with the first move and commitment

Let me be straight, I’m all for equality and the feminist movement but when it comes to dating call me old fashioned but I think men should take the lead. This isn’t because I’m afraid to approach men, nor is it that I think it’s unladylike to do so, I simply think that for dating to work the man needs to pursue the woman and feel like he’s got a bit of a catch.

 

Moreover, if the woman pursues the man they will never know whether the man is genuinely interested or just looking for an easy date. When the man makes the first move with dating and commitment both partners know it is because there is a shared deep connection and a genuine desire to take the relationship to the next level. So next time, if someone tells you to go ahead and give that guy your number, maybe think twice before you do.

 

 

 

Why calm excitement trumps sweaty palms any day!

 

The sweaty palmed, racing heart, and adrenaline fueled love of the movies has a lot to answer for. The movie portrayal of an all or nothing romance often means a turbulent and high conflict relationship in real life, which all too many of us try to pursue only to be left with something comparable to a champagne hangover – good at the time but generally not worth it at all.

 

Research of healthy, successful, long term relationships that have stood the test of time has revealed that these couples shared one thing in common – calm excitement. Sound like an oxymoron? Well it actually makes a lot of sense. Calm excitement refers to feeling a sense of calm around your partner, a sense of being completely at ease whilst also having a quiet inner excitement that stems from wanting to make your partner happy and share your life together. It is this quality that research has shown to be an indicator that the relationship will be successful in the long term.

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