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5 Ways to Stay in Love with your Partner

5 Ways to Stay in Love with your Partner

Monogamy may not be for everyone. Where long-term love is concerned it’s probably something the individual must try to discover if it’s something they want before they get in too deep. Many couples seek out counseling, therapy and other remedies to try and repair broken relationships just a short while in, but what if they never got to that point in the first place?

Relationships that last are built on a foundation of all the old adages we’ve heard:

  • give and take
  • not having expectations
  • equality
  • compromise
  • serving
  • commitment
  • hard work

But what if it’s also about going into each day, each moment together with thankfulness and with the realization of the very impermanent business of life? We can argue about the kids, who didn’t pick up the dog poop, leaving the toilet seat up but really, if your life was forever changed and you suddenly lost your partner tomorrow would any of that matter?

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There are two strong warnings to heed : a) Don’t move too fast to shack up and marry – if you marry a stranger how do you cope with the person once you finally get to know them? You can’t fall in love with someone you legitimately despise. Especially when you don’t even know you despise them yet. Ask all the questions, push all the buttons and try your best to pull out every honest character trait (good or bad) this love interest has. B) If you have religious, political or nutritional beliefs that are a big deal to you or your love incumbent, find out how you’re going to live through that. If they’re going to church every Sunday and you are an atheist, is that something you can both live with?

These tips aren’t meant to keep people in toxic situations. If your partner is mean spirited, controlling, not contributing equally, thieving, cheating or otherwise totally removed from a functional relationship with you, it’s time to get out that list of pros and cons, weigh them out and start packing if that’s what is in the cards.

If you can cross these “Big Five’s” off your list, you’re on the right track for forever love, whether that means 15 or 50 years. Use your time wisely.

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1. Be best friends

Some may scoff at this advice but it’s incredibly powerful. Being sexually excited at first will have you seeing a lot of each other (wink wink) often at the beginning, but once the lust wears off and the substance of the relationship is tested, do you have any real interest in each other? After the romantic phase wears off you, begin building the muscle of a powerful relationship on the thin bones that brought you together. This bulking phase of love is the gold standard that most relationships lack. And if you find yourself out with the boys or girls more often than you are with your spouse, or find yourself sitting in a room together without any real heart-centered conversation, you need to work on making plans together to ensure your relationship is full of entertainment so you don’t look elsewhere.

2. Have common interests

You might never want to play 18 holes for half of a beautiful sunny day, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a host of other things you could be doing together. If you share no interests you will spend more time apart than what is healthy for a relationship that isn’t long distance. If there were things that you or your partner “used to do in the beginning” either someone was lying about their perpetual desire to go mountain climbing or you’ve gotten lazy and need to reaffirm your mutual love of the outdoors.

3. Never lie, no matter what

Little cracks will begin to show up when you or your love interest misrepresent yourselves. If you’ve been hearing tales of your significant others downhill ski records last season but have yet to see them set foot on the hill, you know something is up.

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Telling tales about something as trivial as an obsession with outdoor activity can lead to more lies hiding in a nasty, little closet somewhere. It doesn’t matter how much you think you can learn to like something, you both deserve to benefit from knowing the truth about your mutual talents, hobbies, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, past indiscretions or career aspirations from day one. This usually happens in the dating phase so if you tend to fib about these things, it’s necessary that you stop.

4. Set goals together

You could be saving for a house, a trip of a lifetime or working on your long-term fitness goals. Whatever your desires, they are individual and you get to choose your own adventure!

The key is that you are actually having adventures together and grasping after the brass rings you are setting up for yourselves. It’s awesome to watch your partner excel in business or sports or bonnet making, but having unified goals keeps your relationship in a forward motion with a bit of giddy excitement and plenty of conversation around the dinner table. Instead of being a spectator in your partner’s life, be all in, no holds barred and passionate about your journeys together.

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5. Have sex often and be adventurous

If it started out as missionary in the dark, maybe you’ll be ok with it staying that way. Perhaps you’ll be daring enough to turn the lights on or even move into a spooning position. I say go all out and attempt half of the Kamasutra positions if your heart desires.

The important thing to consider about sexuality is that our tastes change over time. Even whips and chains couples will opt for sensual slow and passionate nookie every once in a while because the new experience exposes another layer of closeness that long-term, monogamous relationships needs.

You may not feel it now, but somewhere in the corner of your mind a little voice might be asking for a night of gin cocktails, Maybe some sexy lingerie. Be vocal with your desires (see item 3) and you will build up more trust and intimacy by sharing all of the levels of your wants and needs. It’s exciting to hear whispered confessions and new arousing ideas from a partner. Don’t shy away; this is where the real connection is made when we are most vulnerable.

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Sasha Williams

Plant Powered Lifestyle Designer

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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