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6 Golden Rules For Strong Relationships That Are Backed By Science

6 Golden Rules For Strong Relationships That Are Backed By Science

Love is perhaps the most studied – and yet, still the most confusing – of human emotions. It is not surprising that scientists have yet to concoct a love potion. However, one important thing that scientists have done is provide helpful tips, backed by scientific studies, to improve our chances of finding true love and build strong and lasting relationships.

It doesn’t matter if you are in a new relationship or if you consider yourself an expert in relationships, the following scientifically proven rules for building strong romantic relationships may come in handy.

Keep in mind that there is a distinction between romantic love, which can endure, and passionate or obsessive love, which often fades after the beginning of a relationship.

1. Cultivate positive thoughts about your partner

Scientists have found that having positive thoughts about your partner is vital in relationships. When you focus on the good in your partner’s personal qualities and character, it strengthens your relationship.

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Bianca Acevedo, Ph.D. and author of a 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of California in Santa Barbara, noted that couples in good relationships engage in “positive sentiment override.” That means they remember more of the favorable than the unfavorable experiences they’ve shared together, and also give each other the benefit of the doubt.

These couples seem to be able to resolve conflicts better because they don’t dwell on things that bother them. Ruminating about these things can only lead you to magnify the small foibles which will make your partner even more irritating to you.

2. Express your affection to your partner physically

Feeling love and affection toward your partner is important, but so is expressing that love and affection in physical ways. Studies suggest it’s not wise to play hard to get when your goal is to build the passion in your relationship.

Expressions of affection don’t have to be overly gushy or elaborate at all. A kiss on the cheek or touch on the shoulder is often enough to build intensity in your relationship. Similarly, in secure, long-term relationships, having more sex is often a positive expression of love’s intensity.

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Researchers Michelle Russell and James McNulty of the University of Tennessee say frequent sex could be the answer to maintain feelings of love and happiness that endure over time.

Even if the sex isn’t good now, keep it up. Other studies indicate sex may get better with age, despite a lower sex drive.

3. Talk with your partner face-to-face

You probably already know that communication is a vital component that determines the quality of any relationship. But, did you know that the method in which you communicate is also critical to the quality of your relationship?

Scientists have found that couples who talk face-to-face are more likely to stay together. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found that women are generally happier the more they communicate with their partners face-to-face.

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Calling, texting, Skyping, and the like are OK, but communicating via electronic means does not correlate with greater relationship satisfaction. For stronger and more satisfying relationships, have more face-to-face conversations with your partner.

4. Explore novel and challenging activities together

Spending time with your partner is important, but studies show it’s how you spend your time together that influences your relationship satisfaction most.

Psychologist Arthur Aron, Ph.D. and collaborator in a study reported in the prestigious journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, found that couples can improve their love for each other when they spend their time together exploring new and challenging activities. The study identified this factor as especially relevant for men.

So, if you’re going to go bungee jumping for the first time, researchers say your relationship will benefit when you and your partner face this challenge together. On the other hand, if you’re not up to bungee jumping, seek out mentally challenging ways to spice up your daily routines.

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5. Give each other space — but not too much

No matter how much you adore each other, every couple needs a little elbow room. It’s best to understand each other and how much space you both require in a relationship, and to give each other that space.

Giving your partner too little space and smothering them in the relationship is just as bad as giving them too much space and coming across as distant. In fact, a 2013 study published in the journal Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin found that if a partner wants more closeness than what they get in a relationship, they are more likely to be unhappy. This leads them to think about breaking up more, and they tend to feel depressed.

6. Maintain other passions outside of the relationship

This may sound counterproductive, but don’t give up on your passions just yet. People who approach their daily lives with zest and strong emotion seem to carry these intense feelings over to their love life as well, according to the findings of the study collaborated by Arthur Aron.

Your brain’s reward centers respond similarly to love as to getting excited about your other interests and passions. So, if you want your relationship to have passion, put that emotional energy to work in your hobbies, interests, and even political activities. Getting “fired up” in these areas of life translates into firing up the feelings you have toward your partner. The study found this rule seems have more impact for men.

Remember, the formula for keeping love alive isn’t always straightforward. But, by making conscious changes in thought and behavior, you can boost your relationship and keep it fresh and vital for years.

More by this author

David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur. He is also the founding editor of Web Writer Spotlight.

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Last Updated on September 17, 2018

7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.

Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.

When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).

Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:

1. You’re depressed about your home life.

No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.

However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.

If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.

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When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.

You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.

2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.

Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.

If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.

You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.

If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.

3. You can’t stop snooping.

Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.

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I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.

Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.

So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.

It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.

If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.

4. You’re afraid of commitment.

If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.

Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.

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No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.

If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.

Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.

5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.

If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.

Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.

Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.

Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.

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If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?

6. You resent, rather than love your partner.

When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.

When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.

If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.

7. You chase past feelings.

It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.

You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.

When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.

Final thoughts

If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.

Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com

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