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By Nadia Persun, PhD


Small talk. That smile. You are special. How sweet. Be mine. Love you. I am yours. Only you. Soul mate. True love. Marry me. Live happily ever after.


You got together with your life partner for many reasons: shared perspectives and outlooks, physical attraction, shared spirituality, shared professional lives, etc. But you also enjoyed one another’s company because it’s fun! In the beginning, you did not have much but each other, but it was enough. There were sweet words, long phone talks, walks and candlelit dinners. You had meaningful conversations, shared your dreams and goals, planned your future together.


What is your relationship like today? Does it still include fun times and romance? Or have you resorted to talking about and handling chores and responsibilities related to children, career and other duties of adult life?

 

When fun leaves a relationship, it can be a sign that the relationship is heading toward the rocks. Fun is a part of life and it’s definitely a part of any healthy relationship. It’s something that brought you together, made you want to stay with each other. It is something that helps you stay together, survive life’s hardships and forgive each other in bitter moments.


When life gets difficult, it puts a heavy weight on your scale of marital balance, dragging it down. Good times together is the weight that you put on the other side of the scale, to give you a much-needed internal lift. It helps you put things in perspective, balance it out and feel good about yourself, your partner, and your life together.


The way you and your significant other define fun is up to you, but it’s important to keep doing it even as your relationship matures. Love to dance but haven’t been in years? It’s time to make a new dance date. Liked watching movies together, but haven’t made time to do it in months (or years)? Pick a night and head to a theater or rent a movie. Have dinner in a restaurant or cook a meal together at home.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/02/09/is-it-time-to-start-dating-your-spouse/

What is Life Like for Singles Who Wanted to Marry?


By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D


I am single at heart. I love my single life. There is not a day in my life when I wished I were married – though there are many days when I wish I had all of the perks and protections of married people, or that I wouldn’t be excluded from events simply because I am single.


Other singles, though, do want to marry, including some who are in their 40s and beyond and have been single the whole time. How do they feel about their lives? That’s the topic of a cover story in this Sunday’s Washington Post Magazine.

 

You might think that people willing to tell a reporter for a national newspaper that they wanted to be married and they are still single, would tell life stories full of sorrow and loneliness and woe. That’s not at all how they described their lives. I quoted some of them elsewhere, so here I’ll just mention one more person from the article – James, who is 48.


James has dated often throughout his adult life. For a long time, he was “certain his time would come.” Here’s how the story continues:


Read More …

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/02/what-is-life-like-for-singles-who-wanted-to-marry/

Living Alone: 12 Things You Didn’t Know

By Bella DePaulo, Ph.D


Think you know what it means to live alone? Even if you are have your own personal experiences living solo, and know lots of other people who do, too, chances are that you have been misled by the media and other myth-makers about what solo life is really like.


The most significant, intensive, and far-reaching study of solo living is described in Eric Klinenberg’s book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone. Due out tomorrow (February 2, 2012), it is a thoughtful and engaging book, and I highly recommend that you read every word. Here, I’ve plucked out just a dozen of the many revelations about solo living that you can find in the book. Enjoy!

 

  1. 1.  In the United States, there are fewer households comprised of mom, dad, and the kids than of single people living on their own. About 31 million Americans live alone.

  2. 2.  Have you heard the one about how single people need to “settle down”? Well, singles living solo are already settled. Follow them, and people in other households types, over a five year period and you will find that the solo-dwellers are one of the most stable types.

  3. 3.  Do you think that living solo is mostly for the very young adults and the very old (typically women who have outlived their husbands)? Wrong on both counts. The majority of people living on their own are between the ages of 35 and 65.

  4. 4.  The percentage of single-person households in the U.S. is high. But the 28% figure is far outpaced by the 40 to 45% of single-person households in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. In Stockholm, almost two-thirds of all households consist of just one person.

  5. 5.  Living alone is not the same as feeling alone or isolated. In fact, “cities with high numbers of singletons enjoy a thriving public culture” (p. 18). If you live solo in a city and want to be with other people, often you can just walk out the door.

Read in Full:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/02/living-alone-12-things-you-didn%e2%80%99t-know/

Online Dating Can Be Improved


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 7, 2012


The growth of the online dating industry has been nothing short of spectacular. But a new Northwestern University study suggests the current science behind the industry is weak as cyber matchmakers use ineffective algorithms and profiles for finding potential love interests.


Researchers say improvements are on the horizon as mobile dating, the latest iteration in digital dating, holds promise as it brings together potential partners face-to-face fast to see if “sparks” exist.


Although the research on mobile dating is scarce, Eli Finkel, associate professor of psychology at Northwestern and lead author of the study, is optimistic about this approach.


“GPS features on smartphone apps can tell you who is nearby and willing to be browsed,” Finkel said. “With a little bit of basic information, potential daters can get together right away for a quick face-to-face meet-up.”


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/02/07/online-dating-can-be-improved/34529.html

Young Love Really Can Hurt: Parents Can Use Valentine’s Month to Teach Safe Dating for Teens


ScienceDaily (Feb. 7, 2012) — Teen dating: it’s a subject that causes many parents to shudder and shy away. But romance is a fact of life for young people, and parents can use Valentine’s Day to start important conversations with their teens or pre-teens that can make dating and relationships safer for them — not just now but throughout their lives.


The experts at Youth Villages say there’s a dark side to puppy love.

 

*Approximately one in three adolescent girls in the United States is a victim of physical, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.

 

* One in four teen girls in a relationship says she has been threatened with violence or experienced verbal abuse, and 13 percent of teens say they were physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

 

* Forty-five percent of girls know a friend or peer who has been pressured into having intercourse or oral sex.


These statistics were compiled by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.


The Internet, social media and cell phones have opened up new avenues for improper, even illegal behavior, among teenagers. Teens can be harassed or ridiculed through texts or Facebook posts. And one in five teen girls has electronically sent or posted nude or nearly nude photos or videos.


What’s a parent to do? Kristin Landers, a clinical program manager for Youth Villages, a private nonprofit with the mission to help children with emotional, behavioral and mental health issues and their families, said to help teens date safely, lines of communication have to be open, and parents must pay attention. Here are some tips:


Read More …

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120207095535.htm

9 Tips For Building a Loving Relationship


By YourTango Experts

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Lynda Klau. 


How many of us have learned how to build loving relationships? Where did we learn? At home? At school? There is an art and science to building strong relationships. These indispensable tips were written with romantic relationships in mind, but with a little modification you can apply them to your friendships, family and even work relationships.


1. Create a safe environment where you can trust and share openly without being afraid.


Don’t interrupt, even if you need to put your hand over your mouth to stop yourself. Learn to fight fairly. No name calling. Don’t make threats. Apologize when you know you should. If you’re too angry to really listen, stop! Go into another room, take space for yourself, breathe and “calm down.”


Remember: your partner is not the enemy.

 

2. Separate the facts from the feelings.


What beliefs and feelings get triggered in you during conflicts? Ask yourself: Is there something from my past that is influencing how I’m seeing the situation now? The critical question you want to ask: Is this about him or her, or is it really about me? What’s the real truth? Once you’re able to differentiate facts from feelings, you’ll see your partner more clearly and be able to resolve conflicts from clarity.


3. Connect with the different parts of yourself.


Each of us is not a solo instrument. We’re more like a choir or an orchestra with several voices. What is your mind saying? What is your heart saying? What is your body saying? What is your ‘gut’ saying? For example: My mind is saying ‘definitely leave her,’ but my heart says ‘I really love her.’ Let these different voices or parts of you co-exist and speak to one another. In this way, you will find an answer that comes from your whole self.


4. Develop and cultivate compassion.


Practice observing yourself and your partner without judging. Part of you might judge, but you don’t have to identify with it. Judging closes a door. The opposite of judging is compassion. When you are compassionate, you are open, connected, and more available to dialoging respectfully with your partner. As you increasingly learn to see your partner compassionately, you will have more power to choose your response rather than just reacting.


5. Create a “we” that can house two “I’s”.


The foundation for a thriving, growing, mutually-supportive relationship is to be separate and connected. In co-dependent relationships, each person sacrifices part of him or her self, compromising the relationship as a whole. When you are separate and connected, each individual “I” contributes to the creation of a “we” that is stronger than the sum of its parts.


The differences between you and your partner are not negatives. You don’t need to be with someone who shares all of your interests and views. We may sometimes fear that these differences are incompatibilities, but in fact, they’re often what keeps a relationship exciting and full of good fire.


6. Partner, heal thyself.


Don’t expect your partner to fill your emotional holes, and don’t try to fill theirs. Ultimately, each of us can only heal ourselves. Your partner, however, can be supportive as you work with yourself, and vice versa. In fact, living in a loving relationship is healing in and of itself.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/02/04/9-tips-for-building-a-loving-relationship/

The Seven Year Itch: Theories of Marriage, Divorce, and Love


Why many couples fall in love, get married, and then get divorced

 



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