Tag Archive | passion

How to Get the Most from Your Relationship

AAA Relationship

 

The secret behind all successful relationships, the one that will take you to an even deeper connection with your partner, revolves around three key words all of which start with ‘A’. They are Accountable, Authentic and Affectionate.

Accountability

‘Accountability’ involves taking absolute responsibility for your power to bring joy and happiness into your relationship. Consequently it also means having the power to learn from your mistakes. Instead of blaming or defending this means being willing to find forgiveness and start over when these mistakes are made. ‘Accountability’ also involves a willingness to make an effort by learning and practicing effective communication and negotiating skills and by becoming an informed and creative sexual partner.

Authenticity

‘Authenticity’ involves continuing to be open to discovering who you really are and being willing to continue to promote yourself and your self-esteem. This will continue to happen by being totally honest at all times with yourself and your partner and by being open to that person’s responses to you as they might be constructive for you. ‘Authenticity’ is also about communicating in an assertive way, not in an aggressive or in a non-assertive way. This means having the courage to speak up when needed and knowing when it is time to be quiet.

Affection

Lastly ‘Affection’ involves creating ways to have fun and relax together both sexually and socially. ‘Affection’ also involves being aware of sharing the real you in moments of intimacy whether that is in deep one-on-one conversations or in just spending time close to each other in an unhurried quiet way. Finally, ‘Affection’ is about encouraging and praising and caring for your partner in a way that builds their self-esteem while cheering them on to reach all of their potential, as you strive to reach yours, both as individuals as well as a couple.

Happily Ever After

This then brings us down to what is the best thing about being part of a couple. It is in being truly close to another human being that we create the very real possibility of being more than we ever imagined we could be.

On our own we can achieve incredible things but by being part of a loving couple we can create miracles. This is where 1+1 becomes 11, not just 2. It is where the whole becomes really much greater than just the sum of the parts.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Ending a Relationship (Part One)

Ending a Relationship - Five Tough Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Relationship

Five Tough Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Relationship

In all relationships there comes a time when you will come to ask questions about whether it’s time to end it or not. The hardest question of all to answer is how can you know for sure when your relationship is just not working and it may be time to get out?

To help those of you, who think you might be at that point right now, let me see if I can make it a little easier for you.

There are five really tough questions that you can ask yourself to see how close you are to that point of no return. And, while you answer these questions you also need to remind yourself of what the real truth of the situation is.

Also as you answer these questions keep in mind the definitions I spoke about in an earlier article/blog of the five keys to an enduring relationship relating to our basic needs. If you remember, they were recognition of our emotional, physical, spiritual, social and security needs.

The answers must be based on your partner’s recognition of your needs in those areas, as well as your recognition of his or her needs in those areas, and the rights of both of you to have your needs met.

  1. Would you say you behave in a way that reflects that you are in love with your partner and if so, why? And, using those same keys is your partner in love with you and why do you say that?
  1. Knowing what you now know about your relationship, would you still get involved with the same person if you had to do it all over again and why?
  1. When comparing yourself to other people in relationships do you feel that you have been cheated or have settled for second best, and why?
  1. If you could break off your relationship or get a divorce from your partner right now without any inconvenience, legal costs or embarrassment and without any undue hardship on yourself or your children, would you do it? And then why have you answered that way?
  1. How bleak are your feelings about your relationship and just how negatively do you think about yourself and your partner?

You need however, to be very careful here because when you are in a negative place, in your personal lives, you can also get caught up in the negative aspects of your relationship and forget about all the good things. You can even begin to think that it is your relationship that is at fault when the truth is it is more about you as an individual rather than you as a couple.

Look out for part two in these series of article/blog entries to learn what to do with the results of this questionnaire. If you can’t wait till my next entry you can subscribe to my mailing list. Then you will receive the free e-book that this questionnaire comes from. It’s titled “Relationships – A Couple’s Journey”.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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It’s a Hormone Thing

It's a Hormone Thing

Generally men are turned on sexually more easily than women. Men are also turned on more easily by sexual stimuli, including fantasy. And in addition nature also causes a build-up of sexual tension in a healthy male which will seek any means of release. This build-up of sexual tension actually begins again immediately after ejaculation. In the younger man this sexual tension can return quickly but with age it usually takes longer for this to happen.

Men not only turn on faster they can also complete the full sexual response sooner. Ejaculation can occur on penetration or even before. Male orgasm, however, is another matter – that takes longer and requires a man to learn to control ejaculation and to want to explore a fuller involvement of his total self.

Women are turned on more by appropriate conversation and touching within a relationship filled with emotional warmth and love. But, just as for a man, this response, and the accompanying sex drive levels, can vary from woman to woman and from time to time.

These different means of building sexual desire can be one reason why, particularly, a woman’s desire might be blocked if she feels distrust of her partner or anger towards him. This however is not isolated to women, men can also be put off if the conditions aren’t right but generally less so than for women.

While on average the male orgasm is not as strong as in the female, it is none-the-less a part of the experience for some men – those who are willing to take the time to allow the sexual tension to build up, and who love being with their partners, will also love the experience of surrendering to those strong sensations of ecstasy. For these men, the driver is their love for their partner and for the quality of their sex rather than the frequency.

Also men are generally not multi-orgasmic as are many women. Women take longer to reach the peak of excitation where for many, orgasm occurs. After orgasm, many women who remain high on the plateau stage can have second or even more orgasmic experiences if they wish.

There are also many women who have great difficulty achieving orgasm and some who never do, and perhaps never will.

For many women orgasm, however, is not what having sex is about. Rather it is about being emotionally and physically connected to another human being in as close a way as possible.

Some of the things that will influence how responsive a woman is to a man’s sexual approach are the physical environment the couple find themselves in. The environment must be conducive to love-making and all of her senses are employed in deciding this – color, temperature, sounds, aromas and the degree of privacy afforded them so she can feel safe in a place without interruption. The tone of the male voice and how he communicates with her and touches her, as already discussed, will also be a mood maker or breaker.

The lesson here is to ensure that you keep talking to each other about what you like and don’t like during sex and not just during the act but in all aspects of your relationship. For all you men reading this, your lesson is this: don’t be in a hurry to have sex. Give your woman time to feel like sex. When I’m working with a couple I generally suggest to the men that they should allow about twelve hours for a woman to work up to sex, so be super nice to her and she’ll reward you generously.

The lesson for you women reading this is: help your man out. Don’t make it a guessing competition about what you need – let him know exactly what you need to ensure that you will “feel like it” when the time is right.

Most of all for both of you: make it fun. Sex is a form of play – you can’t play when you’re upset or stressed. Get rid of all that and enjoy being together in this very special way with your whole heart, body and mind.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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The Sex-Stress Barometer

The Sex-Stress Barometer

Many people, and maybe reasonably so, use their sexual relationship as a barometer of what is going on in the rest of their relationship. Consequently if the sex is great then some people conclude, though sometimes incorrectly, that the rest of their relationship must also be great. Similarly some people decide that if the sex is not working then nor is the rest of their relationship.

My belief is that even though how you are sexually may be an effective barometer it should never be considered the only way to assess the health of a relationship.

This is because there will be times in everyone’s life, because of stress or other factors, that their libido levels may drop, or even disappear altogether. They may simply be too tired to make sex good for themselves or for another, or their hormone levels are irregular, or even that there is some other physical condition, such as the development of prostate cancer, that prevents the person, physically or emotionally, from being fully present sexually.

These issues should always be considered with care and in the knowledge that with time and support, all of them can be worked through to revive the couple’s sexual relationship. Sometimes we have to just stop trying so hard and know that being intimate with someone is not just about the sexual act, and that it can be equally enjoyable to just be close physically to another, whether this is in bed, in the bath, or just by touching each other in a loving way as you brush past them.

The most important point to note in all of this is that sex should never be allowed to become boring or be used to push someone into something that they do not wish to do.

Therefore, it is important that you regularly explore new ways of connecting with each other, using all of your body and all of your senses, and by enjoying what the exploration of those things can generate for you.

It may also be important to note here as well, that your sexual attraction to another may be linked to your ‘script’. In this regard as your family and community reacts towards sex then this may also become your unconscious instruction and subsequent belief about sex. So if you are born into a family that sees sex as “dirty” or only for the purpose of reproduction then that may affect your belief about sex. Similarly if you have been sexually abused as a child then that may also impact on your belief about sex.

On the other hand if you were raised in a family that believed sex should be freely talked about and practiced, in an appropriate way, then that will also affect how you then respond to sex as you enter into adult relationships.

The most important thing to remember here is that as you grow personally, and start to modify, or even change, your ‘script’ beliefs about sex, it opens for you the possibility of seeing your partner in a new and different light, thereby creating an opportunity for every sexual experience to also be new and different.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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Creating Great Conditions for Great Sex

Creating Great Conditions for Great Sex

Great sex is vital to the continuing development of all great relationships and vice-versa; having a great relationship will ensure that the sex is also great.

Men and women often think that sexual responses and satisfaction are reflexes that automatically leap into action once the right buttons are turned on or when the light is switched off.

In truth, sexual response is most likely to occur when we have taken the time to ensure that the ‘conditions’ for sex are just right. These conditions are about what increases our sexual interest and responsiveness.

Maybe I can describe this best by using the analogy of driving a car. When I drive my car, that is; if I want to get to my destination safe, well and happy, I’ll need certain conditions to be present. I do this automatically without thinking about it, most of the time.

For example, I sit in the front seat with my hands on the steering wheel, not in the back seat or in the trunk. I keep my eyes open; I drive on the correct side of the road, not through a muddy paddock or down a cliff. When it is raining I use the wipers, when its dark I switch on the headlights. I put my feet on the pedals, using the brake to stop and the accelerator to go ahead. I use my blinkers and ensure there is petrol and oil in the car and organize a regular service. If I neglect to do any of these things I would not expect to have a good driving experience. These, then, are my conditions for a great driving experience.

Similarly, you all have your own conditions for great sex and they may be different from those of your partner. Consequently, in your relationships, it is important for you to know yourselves well enough to know what those conditions for great sex are. And, just as importantly, you also need to be curious about what conditions make sex great for your partner.

We mostly know our own conditions for great sex because of our past experiences, positive and negative. To ensure we get our conditions for great sex met then, it is essential for us to let our partners know what things really turn us on and what things really turn us off. Some of you would like to believe that your partner should just know this. But guess what? They can’t unless you tell them.

It is important to regularly check this and then, with your partner or on your own, experiment with something that may be new, to see how that might also feel for you. This is what will keep the sex not just great but novel and exciting every time you come together. And of course ditto for your partner. They say; ‘variety is the spice of life’, and in great sex, especially over the many years of a relationship it is absolutely essential.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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5 Ways to Put Some Energy into Your Relationship

5 Ways to Put Some Energy into Your Relationship

Giving your mate gifts for no reason at all is a way to get your relationship back on track.  You may have lavished gifts on your partner early in the relationship but as the relationship progressed you may not have done so as frequently.  Small, meaningful gifts given just to make your partner happy will let them know that they are still always on your mind just as they were in the beginning of the relationship.

The simple act of holding hands can also add excitement back into a relationship.  This intimate gesture conveys a sense of security but it also lets your partner know that you want to be close to them at all times.  Many couples hold hands everywhere they go early in a relationship but don’t do so later on.  Try grabbing your partners hand as you are out running errands together.  They will be touched by the sentiment and will be happy to be sharing a sense of closeness with you again.

A kiss is still another way to bring the excitement back into your relationship.  You may have gotten into the habit of giving your mate a kiss on the cheek or a quick peck on the lips when you see them after a long day of work.  Trying kissing them with passion the next time you see them to catch them by surprise and really let you know not only how much you love them but how attractive you find them as well.

Having a common interest can also promote excitement in a relationship.  If there is an activity that you both enjoy doing, make it something that the two of you do together often.  For example if you both enjoy hiking make plans to go hiking every Saturday morning and each time you go out make it a little different by exploring a new location or setting new goals for yourselves.  This will give the two of you a chance to reconnect while enjoying each other’s company.  Having a ritualistic activity that you and your partner enjoy together creates closeness and intimacy that can help put the excitement back into your relationship.

Offering your partner a massage when they are worn out and tired can also bring the excitement back to your relationship.  A massage can be a very sensual and intimate experience.  Additionally offering a massage lets your partner know that you can see that they are stressed out and exhausted.  They will appreciate your putting them first in the relationship and this will help bring back the excitement in your relationship.

Over time a relationship may lose some of the excitement that it had in the very beginning.  While this may be troublesome it is also completely normal and also reversible.  Noticing the lack of excitement in your relationship is the first step to restoring that excitement.  It may take a little work but with a few simple actions you can be on your way to an exciting relationship.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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If You Were Someone Else, Would You Marry You?

If You Were Someone Else, Would You Marry You?

I started this article by considering a question sent to me by a client, and echoed by many others, who wanted to know what was reasonable to expect from a partner in marriage. As I was scouring other emails to see what related questions there were on this topic I came upon this pearl I just had to use it as it summed up so beautifully exactly my thoughts on the topic of expectations.

The email started with the line that is the title of this week’s article and then went on to say: “Worry less and be happy. Because the happier you are with yourself and your life, the more attractive you are to your partner. .. Start today to work on being the kind of person you would want to know, date, and marry. If you’re not that kind of person, how can you expect your spouse to stay attracted or stay passionate?” I absolutely agree with these sentiments.

What can I expect from marriage?

The way to live this is simple: remember when you first met and what it was that attracted you to your partner in the first place. It might have been their smile, their easy laugh, their care and consideration of you or their willingness to listen to you ad nauseam.

Now contemplate how you responded to that.

Your response would naturally have been happiness, in being paid so much consideration, and joy at being the centre of someone else’s attention pulling you even closer to each other.

While we all start our relationships this way the sad thing is that somewhere along the way we returned to our selfish habits and forgot what it was we did at the beginning that endeared us so compellingly to the other.

So the way back to that special place is, as my client suggested, by being the best and the happiest you can be and behave in the way that you did when you first met every day of your life. In addition expect no less than that from your partner.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

A famous Couples Counsellor by the name of John Gottman speaks of four distinct ways of interacting that doom your marriage to failure. These are the absolute contradiction of how you should relate to your partner and expect your partner to relate to you.

  1. The First HorsemanCriticism – this involves attacking with blame someone’s personality or character, rather than a specific behaviour. If there is something you don’t like about what your partner is doing let them know what that is and what you would rather they do instead.
  2. The Second HorsemanContempt – this has a conscious or subconscious intent of insulting or belittling your partner with words or actions. Just remember your partner has all the faults and failings of all human beings, yourself included, and deserves to be treated with the respect that everyone deserves.
  3. The Third HorsemanDefensiveness – This has to do with denying responsibility or making excuses or whinging and whining when things don’t go your way. Stand up and be willing to accept your part in any misunderstanding that comes up between you and do what you need to do to repair the damage done.
  4. The Fourth HorsemanStonewalling – This happens when you refuse to respond to your partner or even to get into a conversation to find a resolution to an issue. Of course there are going to be times when it’s not good for you to respond because of high emotions. If this happens simply let your partner know that now is not a good time to have this conversation with a promise to return and/or even a time to make that happen.

So be yourself the person you would want to marry each and every day. There really is no greater joy as, in being that, so can your partner be.

So until next time – Relate with Love

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