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Research Based Relationship Advice From Couples Who’ve Been Together For 40+ Years

Research Based Relationship Advice From Couples Who’ve Been Together For 40+ Years

Couples today look for relationship advice from many different sources, from celebrities to, unfortunately, clichés. They often follow conventional wisdom like not going to bed angry or that love means never having to say you’re sorry.

In an age where the divorce rate hovers around 50%, the world is running out of couples who have been together for more than a few years. Instead of seeking wisdom from clichés or quitting under even the slightest pressure, couples today should first look to those who have been working on their relationships for several decades.

Rather than looking for inoffensive and fleeting advice about buying gifts or sending flowers, it is better to get solid, working support from people who have been there. Sometimes, collective wisdom from experienced couples is more valuable than advice from anyone else.

Dr. Karl Pillemer is one advocate of seeking the wisdom of those who are older and wiser than his years. He spent most of his career focusing on the setbacks that people face as they grow older. But then he realized was neglecting the wisdom that only those who have lived life can provide.

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As a result, Dr. Pillemer has dedicated the last few years to writing “30 Lessons for Loving: Advice from the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships and Marriage”.

In his book, Dr. Pillemer compiles all the advice that he gleaned from more than 700 people. These people have been married for an average of 43 years. What he learned after hundreds of interviews is that anyone can end up with someone they love. All you need to do is follow a few simple rules in love and life.

Play Games – The Good Kind

Many of the couples interviewed told Dr. Pillemer that watching a potential partner play board games is a great way to tell whether you would be a good fit. When you can see how a person reacts to winning, losing and high-stakes circumstances, you learn a lot about their personality and how you respond to it.

Knowing how someone responds to these circumstances shows you more than whether or not they are a gracious winner or a sorry loser. It often demonstrates larger patterns in the other person’s personality.

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68-year-old Jessica Cruz told Dr. Pillemer, “Young people today search for people in bars. But if you watch somebody play a game like dominoes, you get a good sense of their personality that way.”

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Getting out of your comfort zone is not just essential for personal growth – it is the key to a great relationship as well. Many of those interviewed for the book suggested that a change of scenery will demonstrate whether you are with a person who you can spend your life with.

Going on traditional dates to dinner and the movies is a pleasant way for two people to talk about mutual interests. But getting out and doing something that scares you both is a great way to learn more about the deeper aspects of each other’s personalities.

Grab A Snickers Bar

Many of us have become aware of the term ‘hangry’, which is that compelling and intense way that you feel when you are so hungry that it begins to affect your emotions. Being hangry is all too real for most of us. According to Dr. Pillemer’s interviews, your hunger may indeed drive fights with your partner.

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Many couples reported that remembering that you may need a snack to help calm down is an important part of containing and resolving fights. Being aware of your hunger makes it much easier to say, ‘Sorry for the things that I said when I was hangry.’

Dr. Pillemer wrote that “many seniors talked about how their worst fights came when somebody was really hungry and let’s just say that I’ve used this in my own 35-year-old marriage and it really works.”

Talk About Your Feelings At The Right Time

Some people say that there is no right time to talk about your feelings; others say that the best time to talk is when you feel like talking.

Many of the people that Dr. Pillemer interviewed said that this was the wrong approach. Instead of talking about difficult issues anytime, you should discuss them at a time when both of you are at your best.

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Talking about the hard stuff is never easy. But if you can find a time of day where you are both relaxed, that can make dealing with difficult topics a little bit easier.

The only thing that seems harder than finding love is making it last. The number of couples today that have seen a lifetime of love is dwindling. But if couples today learn from their elders triumphs and failures, they can find themselves on a path to life-long love.

Featured photo credit: Miltos Gikas via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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