Remember when you first learned about magnets? Someone showed you than when you put two of the opposite charges or sides of a magnet, they’ll attract. In its basic form, this concept applies to everything that has two opposing factors. One example that comes to mind is the north and south pole’s electromagnetic polarity. But let’s hold off on the science of magnetism part for another day. Let’s get back to how that applies to dating and relationships today.
Unless you’ve lived under a rock for the last few decades, it’s likely that you’ve either been or currently in a relationship with someone that may seem like your complete opposite. According to Hudson and Fraley, what we seek from others to fulfill the role of our partner, stems from our needs of support during the infancy stages of our lives. Individuals who experience consistent love early in their childhood develops a secure attachment vs. those who receive harsh and/or inconsistent love early in their childhood may develop insecure attachment. Therefore, if our dependency for others is directly correlated to how we view our needs when we we’re kids, how does that apply to whom we choose to be our partners as an adult? In her blog, Dr. Vinita Mehta explains that our dependency for others in a relationship should not be based on the how we look for those with personality to ourselves. Instead it should be based on being in a relationship where you can complement each other’s personality, as well as understand the differences. In other words, by being with a person that’s somewhat or completely opposite of your characteristics and nature, you can both address each other’s weaknesses by the other’s strength. This opposite attraction creates the harmony and balance that help us grow and evolve to better ourselves, and those we love and care for.
At some point in your relationship, there will come a time when the initial concept of dating will transform into something more meaningful for you and your partner. Between that time, you’ll have a deep conversation about the importance of learning to grow together. But what does that mean really? According to Psychology Today growing together means having a partner to help support and uplift one another during difficult challenges in your journey together. In addition, growing with partner offers benefits to your mental and physical well-being that would otherwise be more difficult on your own.
Some of the benefits to your mentally include:
Stability & Security when dealing with the uncertainty that life offers
Constant Support that helps motivate you to be better by seeing it through your partner’s perspective
Physical representation of someone by your corner acts as a deterrent to fear and provides you with a piece of mind that you’re not alone
Some of the physical benefits include:
Reduces of passing or carrying a sexually transmitted disease
More likely stay healthy for the sake of each other
Stress reduction based on activities you enjoy together such as sex, exercises, and any other physical activities
Growing together offers you and your partner the chance to live your life with someone you that understands you, your dreams, and your goals. It’s something that we all hope to have, and should be something we cherish and hold dear in our hearts.
Growing up in the 90’s, I’ve seen jealousy as a negative instead of a positive. Of course, it didn’t help that many of the popular TV series shows we’re really dramatic when a couple deals with what I use to call a “relationship poacher” or couple thief” whose primary purpose was to disrupt a normal couple by making physical or emotional moves to create an opportunity to steal your or your partner out of the current relationship. Watching that, and then allowing my overly high teenager emotions to kick into overdrive didn’t help me at all. It didn’t help me in identifying the needs of my partner, or the danger that I’ve put the relationship in by being ignorant to that threat.
However fast forward to the present, I no longer look at jealousy the same way. Part of it was growing up. After leaving high school, I’ve experienced dating and relationships in a whole new light. Through trial and error, I’ve come to understand that in order to really appreciate the conceptual value of a relationship, jealousy is a component towards self-worth. Supporting studies state that factors such sexual infidelity and emotional infidelity drives men and women to imagine the worst-case scenario based on his past history of relationships. A good way to approach jealousy is to discuss the driving factors so the pain or frustrations of it can be remedied or avoided. The words trust and respect should not be taken lightly when applied towards you and your partner’s ability to face situations that may test each other’s self-worth. Having an open line of communication helps clear the air on misunderstandings and threats that could hurt feelings and pride. Jealousy should not be based solely on the negatives. It can be good way to understand your value for and from your partner when applied with respect towards one another.
We’ve recently spoke w/ a couple regarding their challenge in intimacy. They’ve been struggling to understand each other causing the male of the relationship to shut down and disconnect, and the woman feeling like she’s not being heard at all. According to a Neil Strauss’ interview with Bustle, 70 percent of relationships starts to falter after the initial projection period of the relationship. This revelation occurs when the initial fantasy provided by being with you partner turns into a harsh reality of unmet expectations. When we’re at this stage of the relationship, one of two things occur.
1. We assume that the root of the problem at first is us.
2. We place blame on our partner for not living up to the expectations we had of them.
There are plenty of other articles in the internet that further elaborates on each one, as well as why we feel that way. But here’s something to think about. Have you ever thought about the financial consequences when deciding to stay in an unfulfilled relationship? You’ve probably considered these as emotional consequences, but in actuality, it affects much more than that. Below are some examples of the financial impact:
You constantly buy things in the internet to pacify yourself.
One of the couples we were working with mentioned that early in their relationship, they struggled with communication. The husband worked 2 jobs and was always tired. He would sleep when he’s not working and had a difficult time talking to his wife about anything that doesn’t involve his stress at work. His wife was raising their 2 kids while doing all the chores, cooked and takes their kids to their afternoon activities. Because she’s not getting any support from her husband, she is often stressed to the point of just not caring. She loves her husband, but anytime she brings something that bothers her, they argue which leaves her feeling worse. So, she shops and shops for things to make her feel better. On average, the purchases we’re only $5-$30 per. But looking at it long term, she spends about $3,000 a year for the last 5 years. This puts a dent into their finances because it lessens the available money.
Spending too much money on your hobby.
For this example, we’ll use the name Jane and Joe. Joe has been with his spouse Jane for 8 years. Every night he comes home stressed from his job. To unwind, Joe eats and goes straight to the game room to play call of duty with his friends. Jane hates that, she feels that he doesn’t pay any attention to her, which causes her to constantly picks fights to get his attention. On top of that, they haven’t gone on a vacation for 2 years since they don’t make enough money to travel. Jane sees it as a never-ending expensive hobby. Joe sees it as a time for him to relax, however he ignores the fact that it’s contributor to the problem. So far, Joe has spent over $1000 a year on new games, and online gaming purchases.
Over indulge in food and or alcohol.
At some point in our adult life, you may have been in a rough relationship. At first everything is fine, however after a year or so, you start arguing with your partner over things like trust, and honesty about each other’s past relations. These are usually the biggest reasons why couples fight or argue aside from money. You argue to the point that you may be yelling and it usually ends with you stressed out. According to Shahram Heshmat at Psychology Today, stress is a psychological symptom that motivates the value to consumption of alcohol as a temporary relief. Research also states that the same can be said about junk food in replacement of alcohol when associated with stress. The average American spends $232 a month on junk food. Add that to the average of 3 drinks a day, five days a week at around $10 a pack, comes up to $650 a month as mentioned in an article by Ann Brenoff. That’s $10,584 a year to stay in a relationship that does not make you feel healthy or happy.
In the modern age of dating, one thing that’s constant is our need to be acknowledged for our efforts. Because we’re so deep in the muddy waters of the emotional stress, we may not see or even associate the financial burden of feeling unfulfilled, unheard or disconnected. This result in unknowingly carrying additional baggage of unwanted pressure as icing on the cake of an unfulfilled relationship.
With the holidays slowly approaching, I’m reminded of a romantic comedy movie titled “Meet the Parents.” This 2000 film is a remake of the 1992 original with the same title. For those of you that have not seen the movie, the 30 thousand ft. view went something like this: The man of the relationship decides that the time has come to get serious with his girlfriend. With the proposal set in his mind, he decides that the ideal way to propose is during the weekend trip to her parents’ house in support of her sister’s outdoor wedding event. Instead, the weekend turns into an onslaught of nightmares due to misunderstanding and miscommunications between the couple and her parents resulting in the man being shunned out by his girlfriend and her family. At some point in the revised 2006 movie, the couple makes up and her parents decides that it’s time to meet the man’s parents. While this movie creates extremely outrageous examples, it does beg the question, is meeting your partner’s parents still a “thing” today. Does it matter to you or your partner based on your culture? Are the ways of the old traditions of asking the parent’s permission to allow you the opportunity to grow with your partner still relevant? If you’re already serious in your relationship, and have not thought about this yet, it may be a good time to understand each other’s view about what meeting the parents may mean for each of you. Knowing this ahead of time, is a good way to ensure that if and when that time comes, you’re ready.
If you research this topic, you’ll get a response of over 26 million articles, blogs, and case studies supporting both the acceptance and rejection of the idea. In this wonderful digital age we live in, you’ll likely date individuals that provides you more reasons to say YES to friends with benefits because meeting Mr. or Ms. Right is difficult to find in the minefield of modern dating. Match conducted a study in 2017 of a population of singles living in the United States. Their research of 5000 participants states that 69% are really looking for a serious relationship. What’s interesting about their analysis is that 55% of the singles are or have had “friends with benefits” relations that stemmed from just “being friends”. That’s in comparison to, only 40% who preferred to build a “friendship” first or 44% of those who prefer to go on official dates where they skip the sex and prefer to just hang out.
So what does this mean? Well, on one hand, you might be thinking that it’s a great way to get your sexual fix without the hassle of commitment. On the other hand, you may be asking yourself, if it’s really “OK” that the benefits are temporary and that person isn’t really just for you. To know where you stand on this topic, ask yourself how you would feel if you had to share your cell phone, or toothbrush with others. How about your vehicle, clothing, expensive designer bags, or shoes? For most of us since birth, we’ve been taught to take anything and make it our own. You’ve done it when you’ve consumed milk as a baby, you’ve done it again as a child when you received something you really like, and you’ve done it as an adult when you’ve invested time, money or energy towards something you really enjoy. Bottom line is when you want something that makes you happy, there’s a higher possibility that you’ll claim it for yourself.
Now don’t get the wrong idea, sure we share. It just depends on what that is. You decide if friends with benefits are the way to go, or if you want it to be more exclusive. Once you’ve crossed that line and go from just friends to friends with benefits, it may be challenging to revert back to just friends. Just remember that the longer you decide to just be friends without pursuing it further, the higher the possibility that your friend can be swooped up by someone who wants them exclusively for themselves. After all, it’s only human nature.
First dates can be full of surprises and unexpected moments. While there’s no such thing as a cookie cutter formula to the perfect first date, there are questions that can tip things in your favor. There’s something really attractive about a date asking well thought out questions that keeps you engaged and interested. Below are some of the best used questions that focus on learning more about your date’s personality, compatibility and gauge of connection. Remember to keep it conversational. The questions below should come out naturally, and really be based on what you may already know about your date, or want learn about during the date. This way you minimize that awkward silent moment that kills any shot of a promising first date. Use these conversation initiators and see where the conversation takes you. Leave a little room for the unexpected, pay attention to their responses and body language when you ask the questions.
What’s a typical day like for you?
This is great question to learn more about your date. It’s much more personal than the old “So what do you do for work?” question. The response gives you a bird’s eye view about their careers and what they spend their free time on. This can lead to follow up question such as, “how long have you been doing that?” which can be interpreted as how long they’ve been working on a specific job or career, as well as hobbies or passions that take up their time.
What’s it like to do (name one thing that your date mentioned when talking about their typical day)
This is nice follow up to show interest in the conversation, and show that you’re paying attention to them. It’s also a good way to get them to open up more by saying back what stood out to you, which can make your date feel good about your interest towards them. This works really well when you follow your own curiosity about the topics that your date is telling you. Once you’ve felt that they’ve described it a bit, you can follow up with question like “that sounds amazing I’d like to know more about it?” it also puts out the impression that your attentive. It’s a sexy trait to have, and counts towards extra brownie points to a potential second date.
What sort of vacations do you like to take?
This is a good lead question to get your date to open up about the details regarding their getaway destination spot, and activities that interest them. You can also follow up with questions like “what’s your favorite thing about that vacation? Take the time to gauge your date’s level of interest. If it’s starting to look like you’re beginning to get them to open up, feel free to start asking more interesting questions to really get to know the other person.