week, we'll be delivering smart and fresh relating
tips. We know you are busy, so let these quick ideas inspire
you to create your ideal relationship! Each edition will include
helpful information in these three categories:
- Dating – tips on finding and keeping the
- Mating – take the Passion Perks challenge
and perk up your love life!
- Relating – tips on making your connection
We'll also be including news of note for singles
and couples, from Coupling Connection and all around the US,
keeping you abreast of relationship happenings you may find
Remember, information is only good if you USE it. Research
shows that if you don't use a new piece of information within
two weeks, you won't ever use it! So if you want an extraordinary
relationship, try something new today!
Dating: Slow Down!
Want to know the biggest and most common dating mistake?
Going TOO fast! Yup, it'll get you in trouble 99 out of 100
times. Why? Because people tend to "fall in love"
before they even KNOW the other person. In the absence of
real information, they plug in the missing pieces with their
own fantasies of the perfect partner. Then a few months later,
hearts are broken when you realize that your new partner isn't
the person you thought they were. Not only does this lead
to disappointment, but often people have a hard time letting
go and moving on when they should because they got too attached.
Don't let this happen to you.
Dating Stat: It takes at least
three months to get a good sense of a person's real personality.
Before then, "love" is only infatuation, driven
by the body's "feel good" chemical response.
Dating Stat: Research shows
that the divorce rate is significantly lower for couples who
date at least 2 years before getting married.
Action Step: Take your time
getting to know someone. Avoid getting excited and thinking,
"They're the one". The infatuation chemicals are
strong, so you may have to set guidelines to avoid getting
overly attached too quickly. What's the best way to do that?
Limit the amount of contact you have with a new potential
partner. Don't start emailing several times daily, talking
on the phone every day and seeing each other all the time.
This makes a person a BIG part of your life and makes it doubly
hard to move on when you realize they aren't the person for
you. So build your contact up gradually as you get to know
a person and only increase time together when you see signs
that this really is a person you'd like to have in your life.
Keep up your hobbies and friendships, don't drop them for
a new love interest, since this too makes you vulnerable for
Want more info on how to make
going slow work for you? The
workshop, How to Avoid Marrying a Jerk(ette)
is all about learning to manage the process of getting to
know someone so that you find the right person for you without
getting sucked into bad relationships. This workshop is available
in the Denver area on March 2 and April 2 and is also conducted
by teleclass nationwide. Email
for more info.
Mating: Libido is Like a Muscle
One of the most common
complaints couples have today is not enough sex, whether because
of lack of time, energy, desire, or emotional closeness. Passionate
sex comes naturally at the beginning of a relationship because
the infatuation and bonding chemicals are in ample supply.
But research shows that those chemicals gradually diminish
over a period of two years, so it's expected that sexual passion
will hit a plateau. Once you hit the two year mark (or even
sooner), it'll be up to you to keep those chemicals flowing!
And it's important to do so because a satisfying sexual relationship
is critical to keep your relationship strong. Fortunately,
there is a simple (though not always easy) solution: make
having sex a continued priority. Sounds obvious, I know, but
people fail to do it all the time!
The number one culprit
for letting sex slide is: "I'm not in the mood."
That's understandable, because our lives are busy and exhausting.
But here is the key that you have to keep in mind before you
say "Honey, not tonight": your libido is like a
muscle- if you don't use it, you WILL lose it. This means
that the more sex you have, the more you will feel like having
sex. And conversely, the less sex you have, the less you'll
find yourself in the mood. Now THAT's a vicious cycle!
Relating FACT: Research shows
that 50% of woman don't feel like having sex until after
they have been physically stimulated!
Wow! For many women,
that means if you wait until you are "in the mood",
you may be waiting a very long time indeed. So, to keep your
sex life alive and well, you may need to give your libido
a jump start. Here's how.
Passion Perks Challenge: Consider
making the following agreement with your partner:
Say "YES" even if
you are not in the mood.
Just get started, and give
your body 15 minutes to warm up to the idea, if after that
time, you are still not interested, it's ok not to continue.
Passion Perks Bonus Challenge:
Schedule at least one time this week to exercise your libido.
Practice using the above agreement.
Relation Tip: Remember
that the best way to keep your sex life alive is to have regular,
consistent sex. This will keep your libido chemicals active
and help you feel in the mood more often. If this is an issue
for you, don't let sex fall off your radar, put it on the
calendar. You deserve it!
Relating: End the Blame Game
One of the fastest ways to erode your love connection
is playing the blame game. We all do it: point the finger
of blame at our partner whenever something happens that we
don't like. All too often we are saying or thinking: "It's
YOUR fault." This sets up the following cycle: you blame,
they defend, they blame, you defend. This cycle tends to spiral
out of control and leads to both partners feeling hurt and
What's the solution? Take a good look at that pointing
finger picture above. The old adage is true- when you point
a finger at someone, you'll see that three fingers are pointing
back at you. So, it's important to realize that every single
interaction between you and your partner is a two way street.
That means- what I do affects you and what you do affects
me. There is no way around it. Our behaviors affect each other
and you can't ever tell what came first, the chicken or the
Smart partners realize that they have
played a role in whatever the issue is. It's your job to figure
out how YOU contributed to the problem and take 100% responsibility
for it. Then acknowledge this contribution to your partner
and work on changing it yourself. When you change your part
in the problem, your partner will have to change theirs as
well. It's virtually guaranteed. You can't keep dancing the
same dance if your partner changes the steps! It may take
some practice on your part, but learning to take responsibility
will protect your love for the long haul.
Here's an example: Let's say
my partner comes home later than expected from a night out
with the boys. I'm a little angry, but mostly, just feeling
a little sad and left out. Once he's home, I want him to understand
what I am feeling, not have a fight. So I start to tell him
how I feel and he immediately becomes defensive and the tension
shoots up a notch.
This is a choice point.
I could do what a lot of partners get sucked into doing: continue
to insist my point is heard, while my partner does the same.
Neither person is heard and the conflict escalates.
I could notice that my partner's response was more defensive
than I expected. Then I can step back and recognize that if
my partner is being defensive, I must have said something
that seemed attacking. People don't defend unless
they feel attacked.
My choice of words was poor
My tone was more harsh than
Or his previous relationship
experiences have made him sensitive to feeling he is being
criticized, so it's easy to trigger a defensive response.
No matter which explanation
is most likely true, the best response is something like:
"I didn't mean to attack
you, but something that I said seems to be making you defensive.
Can you tell me what's going on for you right now?"
accepting responsibility for your contribution to the interaction,
this comment nips the conflict in the bud . It says, "Oh,
hey, I noticed that something about what I am doing is having
a negative affect on you. Let's stop right here and get back
on track." By having your partner tell you more about
how they feel and REALLY listening (not just reacting emotionally
to what you hear), you'll put the conversation back on a useful
Ending the blame game is tough!
You must be able to:
1. Recognize when things are
taking a turn for the worse
2. Refrain from reacting automatically
3. Pause long enough to objectively
stand back and put yourself in your partner's shoes
4. Put your own need on hold
for the moment
5. Be willing to really listen
and understand your partner.
This process takes patience
and LOTS of practice. If it's particularly tough for you,
you may find that relationship coaching can help you effectively
build the skills needed to end the blame game. Email
for your free half hour consultation session.
Rocky Mountain Singles Summit
The Rocky Mountain Singles Summit in Denver, CO has
been rescheduled for March 11, 20056. Have fun, learn, and
maybe meet a date! Learn more: www.rmsinglessummit.com
*New Book Review*
Dr. Phil is every
where! Now, he's even offering dating advice on Match.com.
See if his new dating book, Love Smart, is worth checking
out. Go to Book Review.
How To Avoid Marrying a Jerk and
They Are Just Not That Into You: Why You Put Up
With Bad Behavior and How To Never Tolerate It Again
See the website for more information on either of
these workshops or email
if you are interested!
News For Couples
Hot New Book
Have you heard about Scott Haltzman's new book: The
Secrets of Happily Married Men? Articles about this
book are all over the media! Haltzman, a psychiatrist at Brown
University, suggests that men can best improve their marriages,
not by trying to act more like women as most therapists suggest
(i.e. talk about their feelings, empathize) but by making
better use on the homefront of the manly traits hard wired
into the masculine psyche. In other words, think of marriage
as a job and use all those finely tuned career skills at home!
This book seems worth a read! Learn more on his website: Happily
The Eight "Secrets" of Happily
1. Make Marriage Your Job.
2. Know Your Wife.
3. Be Home Now.
4. Expect Conflict and Deal With It.
5. Learn to Listen.
6. Aim to Please.
7. Understand the Truth About Sex.
8. Introduce Yourself.
= Get Healthier!
another reason to work on making your relationship extraordinary?
How about improving your health and longevity? Research shows
that happily married couples are healthier and live longer
than single folks, unhappy spouses, or cohabitating couples.
Want to learn more? Read this article from the Mayo health
Article: Marriage and Health
Know someone who could use a little RelationSmarts?
Feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends!
May your relationships bring you happiness,
Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D.
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