Relationships are often the result of dating. For many that's the driving goal. Once there, it can be another story if left unattended. My take on this as several books help clear the path. "Falling In Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose" by Ayala Malach-Pines and, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love" by Helen Fisher are two that I find both detailed and clear when it comes to explaining dating and partnerships.
DR. KELLER GLEANS RESEARCH ON
Keeping Romance Alive:
- Do novel things together - variety, variety, variety.
- Sexual intimacy.
- Review antidepressant medication.
- Be gender-specific - face-to-face (female) vs. side-by-side (male).
- Space or time apart increases anticipation and pleasure of the reward (to a point).
- Date and stay romantic.
Making yourself fall in love:
- Do novel and exciting things together.
- Banish other romantic distractions.
- Open yourself up to love.
Making a relationship last:
- Commit to one another.
- Have engaging life projects - keep growing intellectually.
- Regular sexual intimacy.
- Listen to each other: Ask questions--Give answers.
- Appreciate one another.
- Stay attractive.
- For men, include your partner.
- For women, give him space.
- Be honest and trustworthy.
- Tell your mate what you need.
- Accept your mate's shortcomings
- Be respectful.
- Mind your manners.
- Have a sense of humor and use it.
- Argue constructively.
- Never threaten to depart.
- Forget the past.
- Avoid affairs.
- Don't assume the relationship will last forever.
- Build and work on the relationship every day.
- Take relationship problems as a chance to grow.
DR. AYALA MALACH-PINES DELVES INTO RESEARCH & THEORY
Trying again--How to make use of past long-term relationships in the next one.
- Intimate relationships can be the best way to help resolve childhood issues and create meaning for your life. So even if you’ve been in a long-term relationship and it has ended, it doesn’t mean you can never be in another one.
- Your old relationship gives you a chance to see where you’ve grown and how you might change things in your new relationship.
- The choice to fall in love is unconscious/unintentional and so is often illogical/emotional. The reasoning part of the brain is called the cerebral cortex-the outer most layer of the brain; and falling in love is decided by the limbic system—where emotions rule in the deeper parts of the brain.
- While illogical and emotional; the choice does seem purposeful in that it provides you a partner best suited to deal with your own obstacles to growth.
- However, the risk is that the first thing that attracts you to your partner may be the thing that causes the most problems later on.
Here are some examples:
- Attraction: He pursued you and you felt desirable.
- Problem: You feel smothered and can’t breathe.
- Attraction: She was perfect and your ideal in a partner.
- Problem: You never get the feeling she desires me.
- Attraction: You always felt secure with him.
- Problem: He is boring.
- Attraction: She has a mysterious air about her.
- Problem: She isn’t really there; no emotional intimacy.
- Attraction: He was ambitions and looked to be a success.
- Problem: He’s gone all the time on business; never home.
- Attraction: She looked to be a great homemaker.
- Problem: She is not exciting; no interest outside the home.
- Attraction: He looks to be very easy-going.
- Problem: He won’t stand up for himself.
- Attraction: She was energetic, very active and exciting.
- Problem: She blow up over little things; has temper tantrums.
- Attraction: He was very smart and assertive man.
- Problem: He makes me feel incompetent and stupid.
- Attraction: She respects me and you feel appreciated.
- Problem: She is insecure and blames me for everything.
- Obviously, the attraction is meeting a need in your own life. When you’ve begun to grow in that area, you may no longer need what it was about them that attracted you. Now, the trait feels more like a problem than something positive and you’re at risk for relationship burnout.
- Some may fall in love, start a long-term relationship, get married and never feel the need to end the relationship. Others find themselves repeating the process over and over again—recognizing they’re repeating the same pattern in their relationships.
- Sometimes, in an effort to not repeat the same pattern, you may try to find the opposite kind of person. If in the past your partner was demanding and controlling, you’ll chose someone who is laid back and is indecisive. Unfortunately, this opposite is just the other side of the same coin and you’re faced with a similar dilemma.
- By recognizing the issue resides within you, you can begin to address it and see your partner as the individual –flawed and imperfect—and not as a projection of your childhood experiences or own self-image. As you learn to accept yourself, you begin to accept your partner as well.
- This doesn’t mean you must stay in your relationship. You can leave a relationship for any reason in most states. And no family court in the county is going force you to stay married to your partner if you don’t want to be married anymore.
- My role as a mental health professional is not to put a value judgment on your decision to stay or leave. But to help you look at the risks and benefits of your decisions and support you in moving in directions you feel are in line with your values.
- The fact is that making long-term commitments usually involve investment of time, energy, and resources. And each time you end and begin again in a long-term relationship, you have costs emotionally and physically; and at times in terms of opportunities.
- Most people recognize this and don’t typically even acknowledge their desire to leave a marriage or other long-term relationship unless they’ve become quite unhappy.
Make sure you read "Falling In Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose" by Ayala Malach-Pines and, "Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love" by Helen Fisher for solid information, research, and theory on falling in love and relationships.
What part have you played in your relationship successes? Failures?