21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work

Today

Many people believe that long distance relationships are never going to work out. Your family may discourage it, and some of your best friends may advise you not to take it too seriously, in case you get your heart broken.

Nobody says it is going to be easy — the extra distance makes many things unachievable. Things could get complicated, and you could get sad and lonely at times.

However, the extra distance also makes the simplest things the sweetest, being able to hold the other person’s hand, eating together at the same table, feeling each other’s touch, taking a walk together, smelling each other’s hair… these small wishes could suddenly mean so much more in a long distance relationship.

Long distance relationships may be tough but they have their own surprises too. To keep your love alive and strong, here are 21 tips to make your long distance relationship work:

1. Avoid excessive communication.

It is unwise to be overly “sticky” and possessive. You two don’t really have to communicate 12 hours a day to keep the relationship going. Many couples think that they need to compensate for the distance by doing more. This is not true. And it might only make things worse. Soon you would get tired of “loving.”

Remember: Less is more. It is not about spamming — you are only going to exhaust yourselves. It’s really about teasing at the right moments and tugging at the right spots.

2. See it as an opportunity.

“If you want to live together, you first need to learn how to live apart.” – Anonymous

View it as a learning journey for the both of you. See it as a test of your love for each other. As the Chinese saying goes, “Real gold is not afraid of the test of fire.” Instead of thinking that this long distance relationship is pulling you two apart, you should believe that through this experience, the both of you will be bound together even stronger.

As Emma says it to Will in season four of Glee,

“I would rather be here, far from you, but feeling really close, rather than close to you but feeling really far away.” – Emma, Glee Season 4

3. Set some ground rules to manage your expectations.

Both of you need to be clear with what you expect of each other during this long distance relationship. Set some ground rules so that none of you will do things that will take the other party by surprise.

For instance, are you two exclusive? Is it alright for the other person to go on dates? What is your commitment level? It’s better to be open with each other about all these things.

4. Try to communicate regularly, and creatively.

Greet each other “good morning” and “good night” every day — this is a must. On top of that, try to update your partner on your life and its happenings, however mundane some of the things may seem.

To up the game, send each other pictures, audio clips and short videos from time to time. By putting in this kind of effort, you make the other person feel loved and attended to.

5. Talk dirty with each other.

Sexual tension is undoubtedly one of the most important things between couples. Sexual desire is like a glue that keeps both parties from drifting apart. Not only is sex a biological need, it is an emotional one as well.

Keep the flames burning by sending each other teasing texts filled with sexual innuendos and provocative descriptions. Sexy puns work pretty well too.

6. Avoid “dangerous” situations.

If you already know that going to the club or going drinking with your group of friends late at night will displease your partner, then you should either 1. Not do it or 2. Tell your partner beforehand so as to reassure him/her.

Don’t be careless about this sort of matter because your partner is only going to be extra worried or extra suspicious, and of course, very upset, because you are putting him/her in a position where he/she feels powerless or lacking in control.

Also, It could be easy for you to fall into the trap which you, unconsciously or not, set up for yourself by “hanging out” with your office eye-candy after work, or going out with a girl or guy from your past who has been flirting with you. You need to recognize the dangers before entering into the situation.

Don’t just listen to your heart. Listen to your mind too.

7. Do things together.

Play an online game together. Watch a documentary on YouTube or Vimeo at the same time. Sing to each other on Skype while one of you plays the guitar. “Take a walk together” outside while video-calling each other. Go online-shopping together — and buy each other gifts (See #13).

8. Do similar things.

Recommend books, TV shows, movies, music, news and etc. to each other. When you read, watch and listen to the same things, you get to have more topics in common to talk about.

This is a good to create some shared experiences even though you are living apart.

9. Make visits to each other.

Visits are the highlight of every long distance relationship.

After all the waiting and yearning and abstinence, you finally get to meet each other to fulfill all the little things like kissing, holding hands, etc. which are all common to other couples but so very special and extra intimate for people in long distance relationships.

It will be like fireworks, glitter bombs, confetti, rainbows and butterflies everywhere.

10. Have a goal in mind.

“What do we want to achieve at the end of the day?” “How long are we going to be apart?” “What about the future?” These are the questions you two need to ask yourselves.

The truth is, no couple can be in a long distance relationship for forever. Eventually we all need to settle down.

So make a plan with each other. Do up a timeline, marking down the estimated times apart and times together, and draw an end goal.

It is important that you two are on the same page and have the same goals. So that even if you are not living in the same space and the same timezone, both of you are still motivated to work together in the same direction towards a future that includes one another.

That’s right, you need motivation to make a relationship lasts too. Find out more about what motivates you here.

11. Enjoy your alone time and your time with your friends and family.

You are alone but you are not lonely, unless you choose to feel like it. You don’t have to let your world revolve around your partner — you still have you, your friends and your family. Take this time apart to do more with your friends and family. Go to the gym more often. Get a new hobby. Binge-watch shows. There are plenty of things for you to do that doesn’t involve your partner.

12. Stay honest with each other.

Talk about your feelings of fear, insecurity, jealousy, apathy, whatsoever. If you try to hide anything from your partner, that secret will sooner or later swallow you up from inside out. Don’t try to deal with things all by yourself. Be open and honest with each other. Let your partner help you and give you the support you need. it’s better to look at the problem during its initial stage than to only disclose it when it’s all too late.

13. Know each other’s schedules.

It’s helpful to know when the other person is busy and when he/she is free, so that you can drop a text or make a call at the right time. You wouldn’t want to disturb your partner when he/she is in the middle of class or halfway through a business meeting. Know the small and big events that are taking place or will take place in each other’s life e.g. college mid-terms and exams, important business trips and meetings, job interviews and etc. This is especially essential when the both of you are living in different time zones.

14. Keep track of each other’s social media activities.

Like each other’s photos on Facebook and Instagram. Tweet each other. Tag each other. Share things on each other’s walls. Show that you care. Be cool about stalking each other.

15. Gift a personal object for the other person to hold on to.

There is power in a memento. Be it a small pendent, a ring, a keychain, a collection of songs and videos, or a bottle of fragrance. We often attach meanings to the little things and items found in our everyday life, whether knowingly or not. This is what we all do — we try to store memories in physical things, in the hope that when our mind fails us, we can look or hold on to something that will help us remember. This is why something so simple can mean so much to a person, when others may see little or no value in it.

16. Get a good messaging app.

This is extremely important because texting is the most frequent and common way of communication the two of you have. You need a good messaging app on your phones that allow interactions beyond just words and emoticons.

17. Snail-mail your gift.

Mail each other postcards and hand-written love letters. Send each other gifts across the globe from time to time. Flower deliveries on birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine’s Day. Shop online and surprise each other with cool T-shirts, sexy underwear and such.

18. Stay positive.

You need to be constantly injecting positive energy into the long distance relationship to keep it alive. Yes, the waiting can be painful and you can sometimes feel lonely but you need to remind yourself that the fruits at the end will be sweet as heaven.

One good trick to staying positive is to be grateful all the time. Be thankful that you have someone to love — someone who also loves you back. Be thankful for the little things, like the hand-made letter that arrived safely in your mailbox the other day. Be thankful for each other’s health and safety.

19. Keep each other updated on each other’s friends and family.

Because gossips and scandals are always the best things to go on and on about.

20. Video-call whenever possible.

Because looking into each other’s eyes and hearing each other’s voices can make everything feel alright again.

21. Give each other pet names.

Because it’s cute. It keeps the lovey-dovey going.

Continue Reading

8 Sex Tips For Long Distance Relationships

Today

While being in close physical proximity to someone you’re dating is pretty ideal, you can still experience love and sexual satisfaction without being side by side every single day. Couples in long distance relationships know this to be true. As much as you’d like to be in the same bed every night, commitments, careers, and life in general sometimes pull the both of you in different directions. It doesn’t mean you’re any less serious about each other, though — or any less attracted to each other. It just means that when it comes to sex, people in long distance relationships have to get a bit more creative.

In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that there are currently seven million couples who consider themselves to be in long distance relationships. At least 3.75 million marriages are between two people who live in different places. One out of every 10 newlywed couples have experienced a long distance romance at some point in their early marriage, and staggeringly enough, 75 percent of all engaged couples have played the long distance game at some point. If your partner lives in some faraway land, you can sleep well tonight knowing that you’re not alone in your misery.

One of the things that, quite frankly, sucks most about living in a different city than your sweetheart is the fact that you simply can’t your hands on one another as often as you’d like. Still, that doesn’t mean the fire has to die out. There are plenty of ways to get down and dirty, regardless of how far away you might be.

Here are eight sex tips for long distance relationships.

1. Create Sexy Email Accounts

First of all, you know to never use your work email for anything related to your sex life, right? OK, glad we got that out of the way. Although you do have your personal email to use for whatever you wish, consider instead opening up a brand new email account using a super sexy alias that you only use for long distance foreplay. Encourage your partner to do the same. It makes for a new, exciting way to communicate with each other, without having to worry about anyone at work accidentally seeing something over your shoulder.

Besides, acting under an alias strangely gives you more confidence to say pretty much anything, since there are less inhibitions soaring through your mind. You might even feel safer to send naughty pictures to each other this way, knowing that you won’t accidentally send it to someone in your address book who definitely hasn’t earned the right to see you in your lace undies.

2. Surprise Each Other With Dirty Gifts

Hopefully you’ve already been sending each other goodies while you’re apart to keep the romance alive, but you could up the ante by spontaneously sending a few seriously sexy gifts to one another. Do some online shopping and see if there are any sex toys, X-rated comic books, or DVDs your partner might enjoy on their own. Have it gift wrapped and sent to their house, with a little note attached that encourages them to think of you whenever they’re playing around all alone.

Even better, if you’re short on cash, just mail your sweetheart a pair of your favorite panties. Spritz it with your signature perfume (or if you’re really dirty, wear them and send them as is), sprinkle some flower petals on it, and let your SO’s imagination do the rest. You don’t have to spend tons of money to let them know you’re thinking about them. Plus, the element of surprise adds an extra dimension of sexy that heats everything up even more, ensuring your next reunion will be a busy one.

3. Set The Mood For Phone & Video Sex

With the latest technological advances, there’s no way you and your SO aren’t engaging in some kind of phone or video sex while you’re apart. But you both lead busy lives, so there may be times when you start a session a bit unprepared. The lights may still be on in your room, your email is still open on your computer, and your mind is still slightly preoccupied with that deadline you were just working on. You two still reach a happy ending, but the lack of preparation might mean you’re missing out on some truly mind-blowing long distance whoopee.

Set the mood for yourself and your partner before you kick off phone sex. Decide on a time when you’re both free from any distractions and then get ready for it. Dim the lights, light a few candles, and maybe even draw yourself a bath to ease into when the time comes. You’ll feel much more comfortable dishing out the dirty talk than you would if you were wandering around your kitchen trying to finish your dinner. Finally, charge your electronics so you don’t get cut off just before you arrive at orgasm central.

4. Tell Each Other Erotic Stories

If you’ve never been into erotic narratives before, this is the best time to get your hands dirty, because a little sexy storytelling can go a long way when you’re apart. Tap into your wildest imaginations to get the fire going, and keep in mind that there are all kinds of ways you can trade sexy stories. You can recite them to each other on the phone or a video call. You could even start by writing one chapter of a story, then pass it on to your partner to complete the next, until the whole story is complete.

We’re so used to relying on senses like touch and smell to get turned on, but don’t underestimate the value of listening to or reading something arousing. You can get just as stimulated by picturing certain steamy scenarios in your head as you would if your SO were there to personally rip your clothes. The great thing about sexy story time is that it gives you a little more room to experiment with your own fantasies without feeling embarrassed. Writing out your most enticing thoughts without anyone around you can actually be a valuable exercise for your own sexuality.

Have no idea where to start? No worries. Read through some erotic fiction on your own and get a sense of what turns you on and what doesn’t. Send some required reading to your partner, too.

5. Get Creative With Your Sexting

The bedroom and bathroom are wonderful places to strip down and snap a few racy pics — just don’t let those be the only places you get your nudies from. You and your partner love variety in the bedroom when you’re together, so you could both benefit from mixing it up with your sexting game. Find new and improved ways to show off your body, whether it’s in your own kitchen or at the end of a hike outside when there’s nobody around. Think about all the different ways your SO is turned on by you when you’re next to one another, and try to apply that to how you take pictures of yourself.

Remember that being completely naked isn’t always the most seductive move. Experiment with different ways to reveal yourself to your partner. Put on half your clothes and expose one small part of your body you know will get them excited. Be creative as you can and send your favorite shots. There’s no way they won’t love every second of it. And, of course, you can always use your words.

See more seductive moves you can do to seduce your partner.

6. Engage In Some Digital Role-Playing

Try this: Call up your SO out of the blue and tell them they’re being punished for misbehaving in history class earlier that day. Instruct them to sign in for detention at a certain time, and to sign onto a private chat room you’ve arranged wearing nothing but his school uniform blazer. Sure, it’s a bit corny, but don’t doubt for a second that it won’t get the job done. The more playful you are in your role playing, the more you can play with each other’s fantasies and build each other’s trust over time.

7. Send Each Other Sexy Playlists

Music can amp up the mood in the bedroom on pretty much any occasion, so you might as well employ this tactic when you’re sexing it up from afar. Gather your favorite songs or albums that really put you in the mood and share them with your SO. Ask them to do the same, too. You can play them in the background when you’re flying solo or when you’re making home videos for one another. It’s not a bad way to feel like they’re right there in the room with you the next time you’re getting off together on the phone.

8. Don’t Forget About Snail Mail

Time to get out your stationary. Emails, texts, and phone calls all pack a sexy punch, but there’s something wildly intimate about handwriting a letter to your SO about what you’d like to do to them the next time you see each other. This is actually the perfect way to start your erotic storytelling as well —your partner won’t even know what hit them. Write your sexiest fantasies out on paper, and maybe even draw some pictures to go along with it. Not only is it a fresh way to rev up the passion, it’s a thoughtful way to show your partner that you really care.

Continue Reading

13 App-Controlled Sex Toys for Couples in Long Distance Relationships

Today

With advances in technology, it is far easier to be in a long distance relationship than ever before. We have texting. We have FaceTime. We also have sex toys that your partner can control from 3,000 miles away. Is it as good as having sex with your partner in the same room? Well, maybe not. But at least you can have a fulfilling sex life with your partner, even if you don’t live in the same city (or if you’re quarantined separately amid the coronavirus pandemic).

Picture this: You’re video calling your loved one with a vibrating prostate massager in your butt, and your partner says, “I’m going to make you cum in three, two, one.” Then she turns up the knob on the app, the vibrations intensify, and you orgasm—while she’s watching it happen on her laptop.

As businesswoman extraordinaire Paris Hilton says, “That’s hot.”

The only real issue, then, is finding a sex toy that’s bluetooth or wifi compatible and has an app where you can control your partner’s sex toy (and vice-versa). That’s why I’ve compiled a list of the top 13 app-controlled sex toys ideal for couples in long distance relationships. These toys can be controlled from anywhere.

Hush Vibrating Butt Plug

Lovense is the long distance sex toy manufacturer. In fact, all of their toys connect to an app, allowing either you or your partner to control the toy from thousands of miles away.

The Hush is their vibrating butt plug. I like this one because it actually has stronger vibrations than the majority of other vibrating butt plugs currently on the market.

Max 2 Male Masturbator

This is the only masturbation sleeve on the list, and to my knowledge, this is currently the only masturbation sleeve on the market that can be controlled by your partner from hundreds of miles away. The Max 2 has vibrations and constrictions, so it will feel like your partner is giving you a handy from across the globe.

Svakom Ella Love Egg Vibrator

This powerful love egg vibrators comes not only with 10 vibration modes and app-powered abilities, but an extra vibration setting, Climax Mode, that is designed to take your pleasure over the top. It’s both quiet and water-proof, making it ideal for your partner to wear out of the house.

Desire Panty Vibrator

This panty vibrator is something your partner can wear throughout the entire day. Surprise her as she’s in the middle of a boring meeting by turning up the vibrations to level 12.

Esca 2 App Love Egg Vibrator

Esca 2 is a versatile wearable massager that your partner can wear out to work, if she so chooses. The illuminating LED lights sync to the vibrations, providing visual feedback to your partner.

Moxie Clitoral Panty Vibrator

Moxie is a new wearable clitoral vibrator that can be controlled, like the other We-vibe products, with the We-Connect app. It’s designed to be worn discreetly underneath clothing, staying in place with a magnetic clip and providing powerful-but-quiet vibrations, so it can be worn out and about – to the grocery store, the club, a restaurant, etc.

Osci 2: The Oscillating G-Spot “Vibrator”

Lovense puts “vibrator” in quotes because this product is slightly different, and there is no word yet to describe this category of sex toy. Instead of vibrating like other traditional toys, Osci 2 rapidly oscillates, moving the vibrations in and out—uniquely pleasuring your partner’s G-spot.

Vector Prostate Massager

The Vector is an adjustable prostate and perineum massager. I actually reviewed the toy here, and spoiler, I loved it. It has firm but gentle pressure and rumbling vibrations that hit all the right spots. While I didn’t have a partner control it from another city, you absolutely can.

Desire Prostate Vibrator

Desire’s prostate massager has 8 vibration patterns and 12 intensity levels. The desire app makes it simple to use by yourself or with your partner in a different time zone.

Couple’s Vibrator

This device works when you partner’s alone or while you’re having sex with her. The device hooks around her vulva, stimulating both her G-spot and clitoris.

Nova G-Spot Rabbit Vibrator

The We-Vibe Nova rabbit-style vibrator stimulates both the clitoris and G-spot with 10 different vibrations patterns. The “arms” of the device are flexible for her pleasure.

Ditto Butt Plug

Ditto is an excellent intro to anal play that can add new stimulation to your masturbation, foreplay and intercourse routines. Its slim shape, flexible neck, and un-intimidating size make it comfortable to wear and fun to explore with, especially since it can be controlled from anywhere via the We-Connect app.

Clitoral Stimulator

This clit stimulator is the perfect toy to help her orgasm from miles away. It’s quiet and water-proof in case you want your partner to use it in the shower.

Continue Reading

7 Ways To Let Go Of Insecurity In Your Relationship

Today

I have felt unworthy of love for a lot of my life. A common question that replayed in my head during my high school years was:

Why would anyone be interested in me?”

My relationship insecurity made me see problems where they didn’t exist, turning what could have been a successful relationship into a short-lived, dismal failure. Know the feeling?

If so, here are 7 ways on how to stop feeling insecure:

1. Stop thinking it is all about you.

A self-centered worldview will have you chasing boogeymen where they don’t exist. If your partner doesn’t feel like going out, don’t assume it is because of you when they just as easily could have had a really bad day at work that drained their energy.

Stop psycho-analyzing every word choice your partner makes and be more present in the moment so you can notice the message behind their tone, physical presence, and posture. Obsessing with hidden meanings is a sure-fire way to miss the point.

Don’t berate your partner for being too quiet, or continuously ask, “What are you thinking?” during every lapse of conversation. An overwhelming urge to fill every second of silence with needless words is a habit of an insecure person. Take your partner’s hand, breathe in, breathe out, and enjoy the silence together. Who says you can’t enjoy simply being with each other without words?

2. Stop psyching yourself out.

Your thoughts could be your relationship’s best friend or worst enemy. The quality of your thoughts has a direct effect on the quality of your relationship.

Have you ever found thinking negative thoughts like, “I know they’ll get sick of me someday,” or, “How could they love me?” These thoughts have little to do with realitybut a lot to do with fear.  In other words, the problem you are concerned with doesn’t exist—you invented it!

Any time you find yourself feeling insecure about your relationship, tell yourself, “The thing I’m worried about only exists in my head. I have full control.”

3. Stop lugging around all that baggage.

Ever been in a relationship so terrible that you would love to just wish it all away so you never have to think about it again? Join the club. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn’t have a bit of baggage because this love thing is an unpredictable (and sometimes rocky) ride.

A little baggage is totally okay, but you need to lighten your load before jumping into any new relationship. Let go of any left-over hurtful feelings that might be lingering and realize that your new relationship is a new opportunity to put all of that behind you.

The lovely thing about life: you can re-start as many times as you need to!

4. Stop seeing things in black and white.

How do you react when someone blames you for something that you don’t think is your fault? Survey says: you get defensive.

Likewise, confronting your partner over a problemno matter how obvious it may be to youwill most likely cause them to become defensive. This usually leads to a knock-down, drag-out fight that is the opposite of productive because you’re both too busy trying to prove you’re right to resolve your conflict.

If you have a problem, don’t immediately point the finger, but instead approach your partner with compassion and understanding. Be comfortable in the fact that neither of you is fully “right” or “wrong.” The true answer lies somewhere in the middle.

5. Stop feeling paranoid over nothing.

Let’s face it: we all talk to people of the opposite sex. Just because a boy and girl (or boy and boy, or girl and girl) are friends doesn’t mean there is more to the story.

Avoid the temptation to snoop your partner’s phone, Facebook messages, or email account. While this could temporarily calm your nerves when you see nothing afoul, it is also a behavior that could quickly become addictive, not to mention damaging for relationship trust when they find out Big Brother is watching. Worse, don’t put them on chastity cages avoiding booty calls when you are both far away from each other.

6. Stop putting off uncomfortable conversations.

While conflict is stressful for your relationship in the short-term, it will build the strength of your relationship in the long-term.

Facing your problems without fear will help you grow closer to your partner. Never mince words with each other and you will develop trust so strong that you can tell your partner anything that is on your mind.

7. Stop being dependent on anyone but yourself.

Having someone to hug, kiss, cuddle, make love to, and share your life with is nothing short of wonderful. But before you march off into the sunset in search of love, you need to learn to love yourself.

Just like you shouldn’t invite a friend to your home while it’s a disorganized wreck, you shouldn’t invite a partner into your life while it is in disarray. Take care if your inner-house before you invite anyone else to it.

If you let go of insecurity, you can expect the side-effects of reduced stress and increased relationship satisfaction.

Continue Reading

How Your Smartphone is Ruining Your Relationship

Today

Nothing kills romance faster than pulling out a smartphone, and now, research confirms it. Being attached to your phone seems to sabotage your attachment with your loved one.

Plenty of research has been done on how cell phones affect relationships. Some suggests that they’re a positive influence—that being in easy, intimate touch with a partner through calling and texting makes people happier and more secure in their relationships. Other research reveals the dark side of cell phones. Real-life interactions are dulled when a person feels the urge to check their phone, and the distraction a phone affords one partner doesn’t make the other person feel good.

But smartphones are far more invasive and demanding of our time, connecting us to the world in vastly more ways than the flip phones of yore. A team of researchers thought that smartphones might be making relationships worse, so they wrangled 170 college kids who were in committed relationships to see what role their phones were playing.

In the study, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, the college lovebirds were asked to report on their own smartphone use: how dependent they felt on their device, and how much it would bother them to go without it for a day. They then answered similar questions about their own partner’s smartphone dependency.

It didn’t matter much how much a person used their device, but how much a person needed their device did. People who were more dependent on their smartphones reported being less certain about their partnerships. People who felt that their partners were overly dependent on their devices said they were less satisfied in their relationship.

In other words, people get jealous of their partner’s smartphone. “I’m more likely to think my relationship is doomed the more I believe my partner needs that thing,” explains Matthew Lapierre, assistant professor in the department of communication at the University of Arizona, who authored the study with his former undergraduate student Meleah Lewis. “It’s not use; it’s the psychological relationship to that device.”

The researchers are now doing a followup experiment to try to understand the causal mechanisms behind their findings and to see whether or not smartphone dependency affects other areas of life, like academic performance, and whether factors like self-esteem predict a person’s smartphone obsession.

“Smartphones are fundamentally different from previous technologies, so their effect is much more powerful,” Lapierre says. “I don’t want to say it’s uniformly negative, but it definitely hints in that direction.”

Continue Reading

4 Typical Solvable Relationship Problems

Today

Any seasoned counselor will tell you that even the happiest couples have problems. In fact, Dr. John Gottman, famous marriage researcher and author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, has identified four of the most typical areas of solvable marital conflict: technology, work stress, money, and housework.

While something such as housework may seem like no big deal, there is emotional importance attached to these tasks that deepens our bond when they are accomplished. When these tasks are not accomplished, partners no longer feel like a safe haven for each other in the chaos of life—rather they make life for each other feel even more chaotic.

Here are four solutions to the most common relationship problems.

Disconnecting from distractions

Cultivating emotional connection and intimacy in the age of our attention economy has become a difficult task for couples. Take a moment and ask yourself: how much time do you think couples spend or should spent talking with each other? How much time have you both spent in working with butt plugs, or just bringing anal toys in hotels?

In a research study on young couples in Los Angeles, the average amount of time partners engaged in face-to-face conversation was 35 minutes… a week! Even worse, the majority of these precious minutes were spent discussing errands—who takes out the garbage, who takes the kids to school, or what needs to be picked up at the grocery store—instead of the relationship. This mindset of relationship-comes-second leaves couples feeling lonely.

While communication issues have many causes, a common culprit in today’s world is the seemingly endless number of notifications from our digital devices. They have become a distraction from the real connection right in front of us.

Solution: If your lover is complaining that you’re more focused on your phone than your relationship, that’s an issue you need to take seriously, even if you don’t agree. The fastest solution is to sit down together and create a tech agreement.

This could be an agreement that both partners will not text, check email, or update their social profiles during specific times of the day or particular events, such as date night, mealtime, or when either of you needs to talk. It’s vital that this agreement feels fair to both of you.

Bringing work stress home

Many couples never think to discuss how they de-stress after work, but the way we handle—or don’t handle—work stress at the end of the day can cause unnecessary conflict.

Take, for example, Steve and Ashley:

Steve has a deadline for a big project and knows he’ll be up late. When he gets home from work, he feels angry because Ashley has moved his well organized notes from the previous day into a big pile. Ashley, who has a micromanaging boss, gets frustrated when she opens up the fridge to find leftover pizza and nothing else. “Where is the food? You promised you’d go to the grocery store. What’s wrong with you?”

The real question they should be asking each other is “What’s going wrong between us?” The truth is they are bringing their work stress home and allowing it to sabotage their relationship.

Solution: Discuss your end-of-the-day routine with each other. Dr. John Gottman calls this a ritual of connection.

One of the amazing things about relationships is that our attachment bond with our partner gives them the power to co-regulate our emotions. This means when we leave our baseline state and are upset or sad, our partner has a keen ability to bring us back to baseline. On the flip side of the coin are couples who only intensify the already upset feelings, making it feel worse for both partners.

To develop co-regulation, I’ve had to figure out what distresses me. As a result, I ended up developing a soothing ritual: when I get home after a long day I hug my partner until I relax (2 to 4 minute hug). Usually by the second minute, my body relaxes and I let out a big sigh.

By this point, I’m ready to connect. After I’m feeling calm, we come together to complain to each other about our day. During this time we each get to complain about the difficulties that occurred, while the other is understanding and supportive. This is formally known as the Stress-Reducing Conversation.

Scheduling formal whining sessions can prevent the spillover of everyday stress into your relationship.

One of the fastest ways to relax is to enlist your partner, but don’t be afraid to decompress by yourself before connecting with each other. Go for a run, meditate, or watch funny cat videos—whatever feels right to you. Then, when you’re ready, find your partner for your end-of-the-day ritual of connection.

Money

One of the most common areas of conflicts in marriage is about money, how to spend it, and how to save for the things that truly matter. Whether your bank account is full or you’re just getting by, you are bound to have conflict over money since money is so symbolic of our emotional needs. Balancing the emotional realities of money can be work for any couple since our feelings about money are so personal.

Solution: Most arguments about money are not actually about money. So, go beneath the dollar value to understand what money means to each of you. Before budgeting take time to have a constructive conversation about money and discuss any financial gridlock issues. After that, take time to prioritize your spending and then lay out an action plan for financial freedom.

Housework

When couples don’t do their agreed-upon share of the housework, issues in all aspects of the relationship may be impacted. One partner is left feeling disrespected and unsupported, which leads to resentment and ultimately a less satisfying relationship.

Often men are labeled the “slacker” around the house. From the men I’ve talked to in heterosexual relationships, they are not intentionally trying to be rude, they just don’t understand why housework is such a big deal to their partner. A man may agree that it’s unfair for his partner to work a second shift when she gets home, but many of them were raised in homes where their father did no housework, even if the mother worked, and old ways die hard.

British sociologist Ann Oakley documented that men tend to overestimate the amount of housework they do. Sometimes the man feels he should be applauded for his “help” but insteads finds himself being asked to do more, which makes him defensive and likely to do less.

Solution: Have a conversation about housework and split up chores so it feels fair to both partners. Create a list to determine who should do what. Use this list talk about how things are currently handled and how you would like them to be handled. Some items to include: car care, child care, finances, food, house cleaning, and house projects. For a detailed list, check out The Seven Principles That Make Marriage Work.

According to Dr. John Gottman, “Women find a man’s willingness to do housework extremely erotic.” When the man does his share to maintain the home, both partners report a more fulfilling sex life than in marriages where the wife believes her husband is not doing his share. How’s that for motivation to get off the couch?

Continue Reading

The Most Common Relationship Problem

Today

“Jake doesn’t talk to me, and he doesn’t let me know what he’s thinking.”
“He doesn’t answer my texts.”
“I can’t trust him. Sometimes I catch him in lies.”

   “I feel like he doesn’t care about me.”

   “Kala is always asking me a thousand questions.”
“She doesn’t trust me — she’s always looking at my phone, asking me where I’m going.”

   “She is always telling me what I should do, giving me advice I don’t want or need.”
   “I feel like she is always trying to control me.”

You’ve undoubtedly heard this kind of talk from friends — maybe you’ve experienced it yourself. Though there are variations on the theme, in my years of doing couple therapy this is probably the most common problem couples present with.

Kala feels that Jake never steps up. He rarely initiates things — ideas of things to do on the weekend, even sex. She is always playing offense — trying to get him to open up and talk to her, to show more interest in her, to let her know what is going on inside him. She sends him a text, but he takes forever to respond, and she’s seen texts on his phone to other women. She feels like he is always hiding or shutting down, and that she is doing the heavy lifting in the relationship.

From his side, Jake feels that Kala is always coming at him — questions about his day, where’s he’s going, what he’s thinking. He doesn’t answer the texts, because he is busy at work; those texts from women are from work colleagues, and they’re about work, although she doesn’t believe him. When he does initiate something — something to do on the weekend, even sex using dildos — she more often than not shoots it down or criticizes or over-reacts. He’s learned it’s better to keep his mouth shut. He’s feeling micromanaged and mommied.

Where this conversation now goes in my office is toward a stacking of evidence, each partner working to make his or her case. They argue over the words in the texts and what they mean; who was or was not avoiding sex; who always feels ignored or attacked; who is too sensitive, who is blowing things out of proportion; whose reality is right.

It goes nowhere.

Where the partners differ is in their needs for closeness and space. What they have in common is anxiety.

What’s Going On

This is the well-known approach/distance, pursue/avoid, neglect/intrusion pattern. Kala gets anxious when those close to her go too far away. She may have past experiences with guys who cheated on her, had affairs, or suddenly left, or she maybe (and likely) experienced loss and neglect in her childhood, creating an emotional wound.

Jake, on the other hand, may have had bad experiences with women who were too intrusive, or, like Kala, maybe he developed his own emotional wounds as a child and became sensitive to criticism and control. While anecdotally this seems to be a more common female/male split — women desiring more connection, men sensitive to control — this can obviously flip with the man being the one needing closeness, and seeking sex and time together, and the woman needing space.

But it is the pattern that is the problem: When she begins to get anxious because of their lack of connection, she goes on offense. This triggers his anxiety, which he handles by retreating, ducking and weaving, or shutting down, only increasing her anxiety and offense, creating a downward spiral. When they do try to talk about it, it turns into a power struggle with each digging in, trying to get the other to change. We can easily imagine that this will eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy: he will get fed up and leave or have an affair, confirming in her mind what she suspected and feared all along.

The Way Out

The way out of this deadly dynamic is to break the pattern, and that means stopping the standoff and meeting in the middle.

1. Both need to understand what each is sensitive to. She needs sensitivity to his feeling of control, criticism, need for space, and he to her need for more connection, interaction, and intimacy.

2. Both need to redefine the problem. He needs to stop thinking that he is being controlled or mommied, but rather say to himself that she is anxious. She needs to see that it is not that he doesn’t care, but that he, too, gets anxious when she goes on offense. Each needs to stop feeling like a victim or martyr, stop feeling trapped, and realize that the best thing they can do is to let the other know what they need.

3. He needs to step up. Rather than shutting down, he needs to be proactive. This means initiating ideas, even though he fears she will shoot him down. It means reaching out to her — texting her or giving her a quick call during the day — telling her about his day, what he did, who he talked to, what is going on in his head — before she asks. He has to step outside his comfort zone, approach his anxiety, go against the grain and habits, and do it because he cares about their relationship.

4. She needs to step down. This is the way to give him space to step up and stop turning into a turtle; it also gives him more of the space that he needs. And when he says what he thinks or initiates something, she needs to resist overreacting, arguing, or sounding critical. This will make it safer over time for him to take more such risks. This does not mean she now has to become the doormat and agree with whatever he says, just that she needs to not pounce on it or shoot it down as a first response. She, too, has to go against her grain and resist the urge to go on offense when she begins to feel anxious.

5. They both need to think outside the box and come up with alternate ways of each getting what each needs — and to stop confusing means and ends. Are there things he can do to reassure and stay connected with her besides having sex more often or responding to her text within 30 seconds? She needs to think about this and tell him. Likewise, are there ways he can get some of the space he needs besides her just leaving him alone? He needs to think about it and let her know.

6. They need to have an honest conversation about their individual visions of the relationship, their expectations, and their needs. This is about determining how compatible they really are, as well as what needs to change to tweak the relationship so both are satisfied. This ends the power struggle and resentment. If it’s too hard to talk about, they can write it down, share it, then discuss. If that is too hard, they need to seek outside help and support.

7. They need to come up with a plan for concrete behaviors that each is willing to adopt to break the pattern. Then they put their heads down and do it, without keeping score or having high, unrealistic expectations. They have to try it for a few weeks, and then circle back and fine-tune.

It’s about changing the emotional climate, ending the power struggle and resentment, and healing emotional wounds by stepping outside your comfort zones. Are you ready to do it?

Continue Reading

DIY: Throw a crazy onesie party

Today

If you tend to feel slightly melancholic around important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, we know of a way that will make you feel amazing. What can it be? An awesome onesie party!

When you’re feeling down, you need something fun to do. Something that will make time fly by, something that will activate your creativity, and keep you busy.

So, this time, we have a whole lot of tips and tricks that will help you to throw an awesome onesie party. Whether it’s your birthday, your friend’s or your partner’s, or a simple feel-good party, these will be helpful.

DIY Onesie party:

* Onesie time!

You need to prepare your favorite onesie, and make sure every guest shows up in theirs. You know, it won’t be a onesie party if your guests aren’t wearing their own onesies! Also, tell people that cute pajamas are also allowed if they don’t own a onesie. This part is also handy – you get to know who still doesn’t have a onesie so you can buy them one for their birthday or for Christmas.

* Don’t forget about the food

No party can be good without good snacks. We recommend the classics in this case – crisps, pizza, popcorn, cupcakes… Go wild, but make sure you have several different snacks at any given moment so that everyone can enjoy themselves. If you’re uncertain about what your guests love, just ask them to bring their favorite snacks with them.

* Decorate!

For a onesie party, you’ll want to pull off the old-fashioned slumber-party kind of vibe. So, pull out all the blankets, cushions, and pillows you can find, and arrange a chilling area around the couch. If you want to go the extra mile, make a pillow fort – your guests will love it for sure!

* Be ready to shake things up a bit

We love letting things flow naturally at a party. We adore seeing the crowd getting its own vibe, and conversations developing spontaneously. But, sometimes, your guests might need a little push. That’s why it’s smart to have some activities in mind, things that can bring life to the party. A game of Truth or Dare is an excellent choice, as so is Pictionary. If you’re out of ideas, you can always turn to Netflix. However, if you really want to bring people together at your slumber party, pull out your Twister – there’s nothing like playing this game in a onesie!

* The next morning

A real host knows that a slumber party doesn’t end after midnight, but after breakfast the next day. So, make a bagel bar for your guests. Prepare a load of bagels and a wide selection of different toppings so that everyone can make their own favorite breakfast. Consider getting cream cheese, tomato slices, some cucumber, hummus, nut butter, and lettuce. Don’t forget to prepare fresh orange juice, and your slumber party will be a success from A to Z.

In the end, we think that you can never be too old for a sleepover onesie party with your friends. Go wild, have fun, and don’t forget to take pics!

 

 

 

Continue Reading