How to Keep a Happy Relationship

How to Keep a Happy Relationship. It’s important to know what you want so you know what you want in a relationship. Do you wonder how some couples stay married for several decades?  A developed sense of self can make better choices when looking for a life partner. When you listen to your intuition and follow up on it you are more likely to select the right partner. It’s important to be self-reflective and independent. There are two people with individual wants and needs in any relationship. Being independent in an interdependent relationship while getting each other’s needs met is the determining factor for a happy marriage. A happy marriage is what makes a “happily ever after” marriage.

What Keeps A Relationship Happy?  There’s an internet-based study of 2201 participants which was cited in Time Magazine that poses the question that has been asked by Couples for centuries.  How do you find Love and how do you make it last?

Relationships aren’t just about sex and good communication although that is a good place to start.

Scientists have found while both can have a big influence on a happy relationship, other factors such as knowing how they take their coffee or what their favorite food is, along with maintaining employment to be able to support oneself also matter.

Top 10 Areas Important To A Happy Relationship:

  1. Communication (free of criticism and contempt)

  2. Conflict resolution

  3. Sex or Romance

  4. Stress Management

  5. Life Skills

  6. Knowledge of Partner

  7. Self-Management

  8. Know Your Partner Well

  9. Know How To Make Them Feel Special

  10. Maintain Employment (self-sufficiency)

Couples were asked to rate the qualities they thought were vital to keeping a relationship healthy and happy.  They were then asked questions that tested their competency in these areas and were asked how satisfied they were in their relationships.

Researchers then correlated each partner’s strength and weaknesses in each area with their relationship satisfaction.

The study showed Couples who communicated the best reported having the most satisfied relationships. But knowledge of your partner which included knowing their favorite pizza toppings, as well as their future plans and holding down a job, were the next biggest factors rated just as important.

The study also showed men scoring low in the area of knowing their partners.  Robert Epstein, the lead author, suggests men write simple information about their partners to better learn and share with them what they have learned about them.

Call me at (858) 735-1139 if your relationship isn’t where you’d like it to be.

Intimacy – You Have To Love Yourself First

Intimacy – You Have To Love Yourself First.  Intimacy is a state of closeness with another human being.  Our capacity for intimacy determines our ability to participate in a mutually fulfilling and satisfying relationship.  People I work with in Individual Therapy are afraid of getting too close to anyone.  They fear that if they open up and take a risk they’ll be vulnerable to pain.  Yes there are some risks, yet people who are able to achieve intimacy feel that a close relationship is worth the risk of getting hurt.  They can handle the risk because they tend to have high self-esteem, a sense of independence and a healthy respect for others.

Intimacy – You Have To Love Yourself First

Self Esteem

People who succeed in intimate relationships usually start out with a high level of self-esteem.  While they cherish closeness, they already feel complete before they enter a relationship.  They are not looking for someone to complete them or make them feel whole.  They understand they have value whether they are not in or out of a relationship.  The relationship may enhance the way the persons feel about themselves but the person already accepts themselves as an Individual.  They are also able to accept the partner’s individuality and enhance that person’s self-esteem.

Independence

People who are successful with intimacy understand the difference between that state and one of Mutual Dependency. While there is some mutual dependency in every relationship those who constantly rely on someone else are unable to see that there are two unique individuals within each relationship.  There is Oneself and there is the Other Person. Mutually dependent people are able to see themselves only as each is reflected by the other.

Respect

People who succeed in Intimate Relationships understand that Intimacy flourishes in an atmosphere of respect. Respectful partners accept  each other’s individuality but also carry it a step further.  Neither tries to change the other. Discovering what makes one’s partner unique can be one of the prime rewards of an Intimate Relationship

The Couples I see in Couples Counseling typically come in with good self esteem, however, they tend to concentrate on one another and not so much on how they as individuals are contributing to the conflict areas of their particular situation.  In my work in Couples Therapy I help the Individual develop a greater Sense of Self increasing their Self Esteem, encourage Independence within the relationship so that they enhance and not change one another, and learn to love and respect themselves so that they can appreciate the love and respect they receive from their relationship.

Intimacy – You Have To Love Yourself First

Think about whether or not you have the kind of Intimacy you want in your relationship. Are you an Independent person within your relationship where there is Mutual Dependency?  Does your partner have the same Self-Esteem you hold for yourself?

If you would like a deeper level of Intimacy please call me at (858) 735-1139.

The Sex Date

The Sex Date. This is not a normal Date Night where you go out to eat a big dinner and have a couple glasses of wine.  Usually, after a night like that, you come home full and just want to go to sleep.  Make a date with your partner for SEX.  Sex dates are an important part of creating spontaneity and special time with your partner so scheduling a weekly date shows that the relationship is important.

When the date night arrives know that you will have some type of Sexual Contact, even if you don’t feel like it at the moment. Sometimes arousal comes before desire….don’t wait for the desire to hit.  You are creating the environment where desire can flourish once it is aroused.  Sexual contact can mean a lot of different things.  Laying naked together, soft touching, massage, or pleasure through touching your own body while your partner watches are all erotic connections.

Leading up to the date make sure you put effort into preparing for your special night. Starting about four days prior to the Sex Date use small acts to help create anticipation for the big night.  For example, show your partner physical affection at least three times the first day.  Attempt to connect on the second day by whispering in your partner’s ear the things you want to do to him or her on your Sex date.

On the third day bring home a surprise like a card or small gift you can use for the date.  The fourth day is the important day so create an atmosphere in the bedroom that will remind both of you that this is a sacred and erotic space for you to play safely in together. Light candles, put fresh flowers by the bed, put soft sheets and blankets on the bed. Make extra effort to pick music your partner will like.

When the big night finally arrives keep your expectations open and reasonable.  If the evening goes well then wonderful.  If it doesn’t live up to your expectations, remember that this night can be anything that works for you and makes you feel connected to one another.  Massage, communication, and sharing fantasies can make this an important night of Sensual Pleasures.

In Couples Counseling I help Couples with specific exercises in preparing for their Sex Date nights utilizing techniques and putting systems into place.  As a Marriage Counselor, I have found that incorporating Sex Dates in Couples Therapy help the Couples I work with rekindle their desire for one another.  For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139.

Take Time For Your Relationships

Here it is….another school year.  Labor Day is just around the corner.  Summer has ended.  The kids are back in school. Vacations are a thing of the past.  Hopefully you made nice picture albums to memorialize all the fun you had with the children and whoever else visited you during the summer break.  With all the commotion of kids home and summer activities, it was easy not to concentrate on your relationships…..or conveniently neglect it.  Kids can be a diversion in keeping you from being intimate with your partner.  Not just the physical intimacy but for most males, and females too, that is an important part of a healthy and happy relationship.  I’m talking about the emotional connectedness that comes with mindful and regular attention paid in making your partnership a working relationship outside “family obligations.”  The Romantic partnership rather than the Companionship Roommate you know the two of you have become good at as you’ve had years of practice.

Isn’t it time to make that conscious decision to enhance what you know you want?  A relationship that has the zest of how new lovers feel.  I realize we are all busy with the Details of Life.  In Couples Counseling I recommend making a date with your partner for sex.  Sex dates are an important part of creating spontaneity and special time in your relationship.  As a Couples Counselor I help Couples show each other that commitment and intention to your partnership adds a caring and more erotic element to your connection.  And, ironically, spontaneity only happens when you PLAN it!

I will talk more about the SEX DATE in my next Blog so be sure to check in.

Thank you.

 

 

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful? Recovering from an affair is a very difficult process. The mere disclosure of the affair may set the tone for these kinds of questions:

–  “Are we going to stay together or separate?”

–  “Are we a couple or aren’t we?”

–  “Will I ever be able to trust you again?”

–  “Does the lover know more than I do?”

–  “Did our friends or family members know about this before I did?”

–  “Are you going to continue seeing her/him?”

–  “Where did you two meet”

–  “Where did you have sex?”

– “How many times did you have sex?

–  “How long did it take before you became engaged in the affair?”

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

A partner obsessing about the details of the Affair can be annoying yet hurtful if you are the Affair Partner (the person who had the affair), you continue to feel the pain you created for the Hurt Partner. Hearing about the Affair over and over again can become tiresome and the Affair Partner can become weary and discouraged that the relationship is unable to move on. While the Affair Partner is remorseful and is willing to do anything to repair the relationship, listening to the details about the Affair over and over again is counterproductive.

When two people date they get to know each other. Some fall in love intensely and decide to become a couple. Others are more thoughtful as they consider differences in culture, age, social class, religion, etc. Whether they decide to marry or live together in a homosexual or heterosexual partnership, the decision puts a boundary around the two of them as a Couple. This decision completes the initial bonding stage of a relationship and paves the way for a healthy growth-promoting process to be able to differentiate (that is, become different from one another). It is this security of their bond that provides the support for each other’s differentiation to become whom they will become as individuals within the relationship.

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

In this culture, marriage/committed relationships come with an expectation of Sexual Monogamy, unless otherwise agreed upon. When one partner discovers that the other has had a sexual encounter with another person it is an assault on this security. An affair can be defined as one person secretly violating an actual or implied expectation of the other’s Primacy. The secrecy is more disturbing than the actual sex. The Affair Partner has disrupted the commitment with the Hurt Partner, therefore, this disruption violates this boundary around them as a Couple.

Because the commitment and boundary has been disrupted and violated, everything is open again and the inevitable questions get asked. All the questions that existed before becoming a couple are back on the table again. This time it’s more challenging because there are more dependencies (other people), like children involved. Each partner must re-decide whether he or she wants to start over and reinvest in their previous relationship. This decision can come with soul searching dialogue and self-confrontation of issues with the help of a trained counselor specializing in working with Infidelity.  It is important to seek the help of a trained Counselor to effectively direct the process as continual questioning can become hostile and persecutory and stagnate therapy, which may turn it into “beat up” sessions.  Confusion surrounds how to handle the persistent search for more facts and answering of questions.

Can Obsessing Over An Affair Be Helpful?

Is it valuable for someone to obsess over details of the Affair? It’s a way of working through the trauma of the affair. It is through this process that each partner decides whether to recommit to the partnership. When the Affair Partner answers the questions truthfully without being defensive or belligerent, it helps the Hurt Partner put an end to the “crazy” feeling since he or she is left fantasizing or sensationalizing answers to the questions themselves. When the evasiveness continues, it signals that the feelings leading to the Affair still exist and the Primacy of the committed partnership does not. Being honest about the details of the Affair helps put the blown up fantasies about the “other” woman or man into perspective and they are seen as being human, and not perfect or better.

As the Primary Couple deals with the betrayal of secrecy and deception created by the Affair they may create shared meaning by talking about these questions in detail. This process is essential to rebuilding trust and commitment.  Developing a New Monogamy Agreement also helps with generating a new relationship preventing similar situations from occurring again.  (See my article on The New Monogamy and look for How To Develop New Monogamy Agreements).

 

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