In long-term relationships it can be easy to fall into a lazy lifestyle, filled with late nights on the couch and take-out dinners—especially if you cohabitate. These comfortable habits can quickly turn into stale patterns that make life less than exciting, and whether your relationship is new or seasoned, no one likes boring.
I can still remember the moment I audibly gasped reading the breakup note from one of my favorite #couplesgoals – Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan. We all watched in awe as sparks flew during they’re first on screen appearance in Step Up and cracked up when Jenna impersonated Channing with the infamous “Magic Mike” dance on Lip Sync Battle.
The hallmark of a strong relationship is being able to weather the storms of life – some minor and some major – and come out on the other side stronger. One of the most stressful times for a couple is the home buying process, and that’s true of new couples and of those who’ve been together for ages. A recent survey found that 60 percent of couples said they had disagreements at some point during the hunting/buying of their home. Here’s how to ensure the process goes smoothly and your relationship stays strong.
Living together is fun and exciting, but it can also be stressful. Merging your life with someone else’s puts a lot of pressure on both of you. If you’ve always been messy and your partner is a exceptionally clean, suddenly one of you is always annoyed.
Instead of letting these typical cohabitation issues get in the way of your relationship, use services to relieve some of the stress.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. If you used up all your gift ideas for Christmas, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! While a cute card and flowers can go a long way, we want to give you some out-of-the-box ideas to consider. From inexpensive, sentimental gifts to pricier items to surprise your sweetie, here are 10 Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your significant other.
Netflix and chill is so last year, especially when you’ve been dating for a while. Smart home technology can help you take date nights to a new level. Most people were exposed to the possibilities when, onFriends, Pete brings Monica home from a date and says, “Lights. Wait, no. Romantic lights.” The ability to control the mood of a date with just your voice was once far-fetched, but now using tech to inspire romance is something everyone can do. Here’s how:
Planning a wedding is certainly exciting, but it’s also downright exhausting. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, or rather, sunlight…and perhaps a sandy beach kissed by turquoise blue waters and a hammock built for two, where you and your new husband can melt away all the stress that you endured while planning your dream wedding.
So many people are meeting through online dating these days. It is a great, sometimes easier way to find each other with less intimidating first introductions and more opportunity to get comfortable as you take steps toward creating a bond. But there is a lot of navigation that needs to go on in order to progress from that immediate (but not yet very personal) connection to taking the relationship into the real world. In my experience working with couples, there are three common, essential “dos” to pay attention to if you want your online relationship to make it offline, too.
Jump back online so you can carry on your search in picking a partner with potential!
Keep it real.
It is easy to feel close to someone when you communicate with them regularly through texts or emails, offering tidbits of your lives, censoring what you’re sharing. It is important, however, to not fall into what I call “Creature Comfort Contact,” where you feel like you are already in a relationship with that person because you’re touching base at the end of each day or week. The real connection comes in making plans to actually meet and spend time together. I have seen a lot of patients keep the relationship online for months, lingering with messages and texts but never taking it into real time. If you meet someone this way, it is fine to give yourself a little while to get to know each other and become comfortable. But unless there are circumstances you can’t control, such as travel or an illness in the family, a two to three week block should be all you allow before taking the next step.
Keep the flirty at bay.
Along the same lines, make sure your focus is not simply on making each other feel good with lots of flirting and sexy repartee. Lots of times online connections feel so powerful because they are driven by desire, loaded with a strong dose of sexual energy, and about making one another feel hot and excited. It also feels safer to flirt behind the mask of a purely digital interaction. The risk, though, is if this defines your interaction, it can perpetuate itself and continue to be all you share. So instead of letting that happen, think of flirting as a beginning point of attraction from which to grow, not as a destination where all you are looking to do is maintain a feel-good, sexy relationship.
If you have been dating someone you met online but have decided it is not working with each other, get on with it. Given how easy it is to look in and see what people are up to, curiosity can pull you backward and keep you hanging on. If you said good-bye to someone, whether you wanted to or not, now is the time to look forward to a new person whom you would like to get to know instead of spending your time checking out your almost-ex on POF or Twitter. If you continue to track who you were pining over before, you are going to use energy that can be better invested in checking out someone new who might end up being the real deal.
Tune into the Doctor on Call radio hour on HealthyLife.net every Tuesday at 2 PM EST, 11 AM PST. First and third Tuesdays are Shrink Wrap on Call, second Tuesdays are HuffPost on Call, and the last Tuesday of the month is Let’s Talk Sex! Email your questions dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships to Dr. Greer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.
We usually focus on offering Valentines Day advice to singles, but we know that this Hallmark Holiday can be rough for couples, too. That’s why we’re doling out the advice to those who happened to be attached this February 14th.
Will you be one of the 6 million couples who get in engaged (if you’re not already engaged or married) on Valentines Day? Will you be the recipient of one of the 36 million heart shaped boxes containing some of the 58 million pounds of chocolate sold? Or will you toast the special occasion with some of the 174,000 gallons of bubbly consumed? Are you going to be doing…absolutely nothing? However you plan to spend this special day of love here are some tips to insure a more pleasant experience:
1. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind and fulfill your unspoken fantasies for Valentine’s Day. If you have very specific desires then communicate them to your partner. Which brings us to the next tip…
2. Engage in clear need expression to avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Make sure that what you are asking for is reasonable given the duration and depth of your relationship.
3. Be open to accepting expressions of love from your partner that might not match up with yours. Stay in the moment and appreciate any meaningful or thoughtful effort even if it falls short of your expectations.
4. Maintain reasonable expectations. If your partner isn’t the romantic type then your shouldn’t expect a trail of rose petals leading from the front door to your bedroom where you find a bottle of champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and a heart made out of rose petals on the bed.
5. Identify and focus on your partner’s strengths and what you love and appreciate about them. Keep those in mind if your lover falls short of your expectations on Valentine’s Day. And, remember that those are the gifts that keep on giving throughout the year.
Michelle Skeen, PsyD is a therapist and the author of LOVE ME, DON’T LEAVE ME: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships (New Harbinger, 2014). For more information, go to www.lovemedontleaveme.com.