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Are You in Love or in Lust?

Are You in Love or in Lust?

Love or Lust? Or both? Is your relationship headed for long-term success, or is it more of a short-term fling?

Here are 10 ways to find out.

1. Eye contact

Do you and your partner make a lot of eye contact? Partners in lust tend to make less, as the brain’s focus is on gross physical anatomy, as in body shape, the view from a distance, etc. Partners in love tend to do more eye gazing, wanting to travel into each others’ souls. Eye gazing is more emotionally intimate that scanning our partner’s body, and a sign partners are wanting to get to know each other more deeply than just physically.

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2. Games

Partners in lust play more mind games with one another. In dating, partners in lust are more strategic, using manipulations, longing and jealousy to leverage desire. Partners in love dispatch these kinds of games to have a more sincere and transparent communication between them. Partners in love are less concerned with desire, and more concerned with trust and security.

3. Vulnerability

Partners in lust show less vulnerability with one another. Showing vulnerability may be seen as a sign of weakness, something partners in lust can’t afford to do because of the power game still being played. Partners in love want equality, and seek to deepen their emotional relationship by showing more vulnerable parts of themselves.

4. Family

Partners in lust typically are not as interested in one anothers’ past, family members, or complicated aspects of their current lives. They are more focused on physical gratification and pleasure. Partners in lust are not totally in the true friend category yet. They can’t be trusted to really care about the other people important to each others’ lives, they mostly just focus on one another. Partners in love take an interest in each others’ family members, including extended family, and want to understand each others’ past and the nuances of current life experiences.

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5. Communication

Partners in love engage in more ‘meta-communication.’ Meta-communication is exploring the nature of how we interact. Partners in love are interested in making their interactions feel safer, more open and trusting. Partners in lust tend to stick to certain topics, because the nature of conversation is not as important. Conversation, in the case of partners in lust, is more of a prelude to physical intimacy rather than an important intimate experience in its own right.

6. Perseverance & Consistency

Partners in love stick it out with each other and are there for one another even when things get tricky. There is less leaving and being suddenly unavailable when things are annoying or challenging. Partners in lust are less likely to hang in there when the chips are down. Staying consistent during stressful times is a critical part of forming a long-term, stable relationship. For example, partners in lust often leave after sex or during other non-peak ‘filler’ times. Partners in love stay together throughout the day, through the ups and downs of daily experience.

7. Can we have both?

Yes. A relationship can have lust and love. In order to accomplish that, it typically needs to mature in both areas as the relationship grows. For example, as love deepens, do partners keep their romantic lives stimulating, deepening their exploration of physical intimacy as well? Or do their physical lives remain more or less the same as their emotional life matures? Both aspects benefit from tending and attention. A couple needs to focus on deepening their emotional bond in order to expand a sense of love, but also preserve the mystery and novelty that drives lust. A great way to do both is to have a healthy sense of play that extends to both emotional and physical intimacy.

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8. Does love kill lust?

No, not necessarily. But it can. The idea that an emotional friendship will kindle sex drive is not entirely accurate. Feeling safe and connected emotionally is typically good for romance, because both partners need to be able to relax and be vulnerable to deepen their physical relationship. But within that context of overall safety and trust, partners need to know how to turn on the ‘strangerness’ of their physical intimacy as well, to keep things exciting to the more instinctive part of the brain.

9. Does my partner love me?

Tough question. Typically, if people have to think about it, the love is not very strong. On the other hand, there are situations where people do love one another but have trouble being in touch with the part of themselves that feels it. Does your partner consider your needs as well as their own? Do they think about you when you’re apart and do little things they know make your life easier? Do they say sweet things to you about unique qualities you possess that set you part from others? Those are all signs of love. If you partner speaks in generalities about you, using descriptors that apply to half the population (or those with your body type), and doesn’t seem to keep you in mind when apart, it suggests more of a lust-based connection.

10. Can lust turn into love?

Yes. Relationships often begin with lust, then deepen into love. But some relationships don’t deepen into love, because one or both partners are uncomfortable with emotional intimacy, or its not the right fit. If you’re looking for a love relationship, a secure and stable long-term partnership, you want to identify signs of love within the first 6 months. If your relationship has not matured past the signs of a lust-driven relationship by then, chances are it may not, and you should evaluate how ready you both are for a love relationship.

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Featured photo credit: 123RF/pat138241 via 123rf.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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