Thursday, May 11, 2017

Long Distance Relationship? Ways To Stay Connected And Close

So you're involved with this amazing person.
He is everything you want in a love partner. She is so exciting, loving, and beautiful.
When the two of you are together, it's magical. You want to spend every moment together learning more about each other and deepening your intimacy.
But there's just one problem . . .
You live far apart.
Not just across town far apart. I'm talking hundreds of miles away far apart. In another city, another state, or even across the country.
Both of you see the potential for a serious, committed relationship. Maybe you already are serious and committed.
But you don't get to spend much time together due to your careers, education choices, or simply the uncertainty about whether you are committed enough for one of you to pick up and move to be with the other.
You might see each other every other weekend, or maybe once a month for a long weekend.
The physical separation is gut-wrenching for both of you. It's hard to be apart from the person you love or care about deeply.
By the nature of being separated for long periods of time, your relationship is bound to develop more slowly and haphazardly.
You don't have hundreds of daily face-to-face opportunities to connect, touch, reassure one another, and work through the inevitable differences and conflicts of any relationship.
You don't get to observe one another often enough in the real-world situations that give you insight into your lover's character, personality, and ability to deal with stress.
There are so many built-in strains and potential pitfalls with a long-distance relationship that can tear the two of you apart.
Miscommunication, jealousy, boredom, and frustration can take a toll on your motivation and commitment to stick it out.
But even with these difficulties, it is possible to make a long distance relationship work and to thrive as a couple.

If you are in a long distance relationship, here are 20 ways to stay connected and nurture your love:

1. Discuss your levels of commitment.
A long distance relationship can't work unless both of you are on the same page about your commitment to each other and to keeping the relationship healthy.
If one of you is completely committed and monogamous while the other wants the option to see other people, the relationship is doomed to fail.
Talk honestly about your willingness and motivation to make the relationship work, and define specific ground rules related to monogamy, communication, and visits.
2. Communicate daily.
Make the effort to connect every day, even if you only have time for a quick call or text. Staying in touch keeps you in each other's thoughts and hearts so that “out of sight” doesn't devolve into “out of mind.”
If possible, try to use Facetime or Skype so you can see one another when you talk. This makes your communication more intimate and real, as you can see each other's expressions and gestures.
In the morning, share your plans for the day. In the evening, talk about how your day went, your feelings about interactions and events of the day, and anything interesting, funny, or unusual that you experienced.
Even in regular relationships, communication takes some time and effort, but it is key to building intimacy and growth in the relationship.
3. Schedule frequent visits.
Try to spend time together as often as possible. There's no substitute for face-to-face interactions.
Make a plan together about how often you will visit one another and who will travel when. Discuss the costs of traveling and how you both can to contribute to a travel fund.
If money is tight, brainstorm ways to make travel more affordable (ie: driving rather than flying) or how you can save or earn extra money to see each other.
Schedule your trips far in advance so you both have something to look forward to.
4. Ask each other questions.
When you aren't together (and even when you are), one of the best ways to get to know one another and to become closer as a couple is through mutual questioning.
By asking each other insightful and probing questions, you'll learn more about your partner's deepest desires, fears, motivations, and needs. You'll also become more self-aware as you look within to answer these questions yourself.
If you'd like some great questions for couples to build intimacy and trust, check out my book, 201 Relationship Questions: The Couple's Guide to Building Trust and Emotional Intimacy.
5. Know each other's love language.
You may have heard about the five love languages, popularize by Dr. Gary Chapman in a book by the same name.
Our love language is the way we prefer to give and receive love, and they include words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.
Both of you can take Dr. Chapman's quiz to determine your primary and secondary love languages. Once you do, discuss your love languages with each other and some of the specific ways you'd like your partner to express these to you.
Brainstorm creative ways you can give your partner what he or she needs, even long distance.
6. Deal with your own fears and frustrations.
Being in a long distance relationship is going to exacerbate your relationship fears and anxieties. You may worry that your beloved will forget you or grow tired of not seeing you.
You may worry that he or she will meet someone else, someone who isn't “geographically undesirable.”
You may feel frustrated, lonely, and unhappy with the situation at times.
All of these feelings are normal and expected, but unless you have a real reason to worry that things are on the rocks, try to find ways to manage your feelings.
Talk to friends or a counselor about your feelings. Try to keep your thoughts positive rather than dwelling on negative possibilities or frustrations.
7. Share mutual interests — even long distance.
Just because you're apart doesn't mean you can't do things together.
You were probably attracted to this person in the first place because of your mutual interests. Even if you can't participate in these interests side by side, you can both pursue your interests and discuss them when you talk.
Maybe you both love movies or reading, so share what you have watched or read. Maybe you both enjoy running or playing a sport. Support one another in these efforts.
Cultivate closeness by cultivating these interests, so when you are together, you can pick up right where you left off.
8. Talk about your hopes, dreams, and fears.
Vulnerability and openness are key to emotional intimacy in a relationship.
By sharing your innermost fears, desires and dreams with your beloved, you are drawing him or her closer to you.
Discussing your hopes and dreams together and actively listening to each other's thoughts helps you build trust and attachment.
When you share your insecurities, you create a loving, safe space that only the two of you can enter.
9. Discuss your approach to conflict.
Conflict is part of being in a relationship. There will be areas of disagreement and misunderstanding between the two of you.
In the early stages of a long distances relationship, you are still showing your best side to the other person.
Everything is new and exciting, and since you see each other infrequently, the time together is more like a honeymoon than a seasoned connection.
But at some point, something will happen that causes conflict, and it may take you off guard. That's why it's important to talk about how  you both will approach conflict before it happens.
Discuss how you've approached conflict in past relationships and what your mutual goals are related to dealing with it going forward. How can you manage conflict in an emotionally mature and healthy way?
10. Work through big problems in person.
If you bump into some major areas of conflict or disagreement, don't try to sort through them by text or phone. This is the time when a face-to-face discussion is necessary.
Don't avoid these conversations or minimize them because you don't want to upset the fragile equilibrium of your long distance connection. If you do, you'll open the door for resentments and simmering frustration.
Handle big problems as quickly and forthrightly as you can — in person.
11. Continue to discuss your couple status.
From time to time, take the pulse of your relationship by discussing your status as a couple.
How are things going between you? What might need to shift or change?
Do you both still feel the same way you did when you first agreed on a long distance relationship? Do you feel things are growing closer between you, or are you stagnating?
Make sure you are still both on the same page related to your commitment, and if you are, discuss how you can make the connection even stronger.
12. Develop your personal interests.
When you miss your partner during times of separation, it's easy to put the rest of your life on hold until the next time you see him or her.
You might neglect some of your previous interests and passions because life just seems bland and empty without your beloved.
For your own mental health and for the sake of the relationship, don't neglect your outside interests. Even if it feels like nothing else matters except your lover, you will be a more engaging, interesting person when you are engaged in life.
13. Spend time with family and friends when together.
Reinforce your “coupleness” by spending time with one another's friends and family when you are together.
These important people may hear a lot about this amazing person in your life, but if you hide away when the two of you are together, you won't feel like a real couple experiencing normal couple interactions.
It's valuable for your special people to get to know the man or woman you love and for you to see how he or she interacts with them. It's also important to see the kinds of people your guy or woman has chosen as friends.
14. Spend time with family and friends when apart.
Your friends and family can be a great support for you when you are separated from your partner.
Don't neglect these important relationships because you are “biding time,” waiting for the next visit from your beloved, or because you feel sad and lonely without him or her.
When you're involved in an exciting, new relationship, it's easy to get so wrapped up and distracted that you spend less time with the other important people in your life.
With a long distance relationship, you have the time to maintain your friendships and connections — so take advantage of that.
15. Keep the sexual spark going.
Absence can make desire grow stronger, but the times in between can be frustrating and difficult. You both need physical intimacy to keep the fire in the relationship going.
Depending on your comfort level and creativity, use technology to have long-distance dates that involve virtual physical intimacy.
Send each other suggestive texts or talk on the phone to relive your last real encounter. Maybe even mail old-fashioned love letters that spell out your desires and fantasies.
16. Avoid tempting situations.
If you are committed to maintaining your long distance relationship, then don't put yourself in situations where you are tempted to stray.
Yes, it does get lonely, and it is challenging to be so far apart. Yes, there are many other attractive and interesting people who surround you every day.
But if you compromise the trust and integrity of your commitment, then your relationship won't survive.
17. Be a “safe space” for each other.
The emotional intimacy and security you create for one another will help protect your long distance relationship from the challenges you face being apart.
Says Chris Prentiss, author of The Laws of Love: Creating the Relationship of Your Dreams, “Creating Safe Space requires nothing less than becoming the kind of person who looks with perfect equanimity on the shortcomings of your loved one – the kind of person who sees the seeming mistakes, omissions, blunders, failures, and even the intentional hurts and transgressions and makes them all okay.”
When you offer this safe space, you empower each other to be authentic, secure, and completely honest. You both feel accepted, cherished, and embraced even when you're miles apart.
18. Do something surprising.
Did you know that being surprised activates the pleasure centers in your brain? Novelty, mystery, and a feeling of anticipation builds excitement and attraction by increasing dopamine levels.
Surprising each other can enhance your long distance connection and protect it from the “out of sight, out of mind” infection that occurs when boredom and loneliness sets in.
You need predictability and comfort to build trust in your relationship, but too much predictability can be boring and bland.
Do something unexpected and out-of-the-blue for your partner when you are apart. Send a singing telegram or a care package. Create a CD of love songs or send your favorite sweatshirt for your guy or woman to sleep with.
The ultimate surprise? Show up at your lover's door unannounced and deliver the sweatshirt yourself.
19. Never assume.
If you begin to feel disconnected or maybe a little paranoid that your partner is pulling away, don't assume that things are on the skids.
It's hard to read your partner's moods and reactions when there are miles between you. What you might be reading into a certain tone of voice or fewer daily texts could just mean he or she is having a bad day.
Rather than assuming the worst, check in with your partner in a non-accusatory way. You might ask, “You seem a little distant. Is everything good between us?”
Keep the lines of communication open so you don't fret about things that may not be true.
20. Have a plan for being together permanently.
A long-distance relationship is not an ideal permanent situation, at least not for most couples.
If you want to build a life together and remained a committed couple, you need to be in the same location.
Having an open-ended date for being together is unsustainable. According to some statistics, 70 percent of long distance relationships break up when the couple has no plans for changes in the situation.
Discuss how long you can handle living far apart before you make a decision about being together for good — or at least living in the same city.
If you are married or engaged, have a plan for ensuring you are together as soon as possible so you have a solid date to look forward to.
The good news is that many studies show that long distance relationships can be happy and satisfying, especially if the couple maintains a positive attitude about the situation.
If you and your partner work to stay connected, committed, and optimistic about the success of your relationship, your time apart might even bring you closer.

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Joseph Montes

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What is LOVE

Love is as critical for your mind and body as oxygen. It's not negotiable. The more connected you are, the healthier you will be both physically and emotionally. The less connected you are, the more you are at risk.
It is also true that the less love you have, the more depression you are likely to experience in your life. Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Most depressed people don't love
themselves and they do not feel loved by others. They also are very self-focused, making them less attractive to others and depriving them of opportunities to learn the skills of love.
There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But love doesn't work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and be active and learn a variety of specific skills.
Most of us get our ideas of love from popular culture. We come to believe that love is something that sweeps us off our feet. But the pop-culture ideal of love consists of unrealistic images created for entertainment, which is one reason so many of us are set up to be depressed. It's part of our national vulnerability, like eating junk food, constantly stimulated by images of instant gratification. We think it is love when it's simply distraction and infatuation.
One consequence is that when we hit real love we become upset and disappointed because there are many things that do not fit the cultural ideal. Some of us get demanding and controlling, wanting someone else to do what we think our ideal of romance should be, without realizing our ideal is misplaced.
It is not only possible but necessary to change one's approach to love to ward off depression. Follow these action strategies to get more of what you want out of life—to love and be loved.
  • Recognize the difference between limerance and love. Limerance is the psychological state of deep infatuation. It feels good but rarely lasts. Limerance is that first stage of mad attraction whereby all the hormones are flowing and things feel so right. Limerance lasts, on average, six months. It can progress to love. Love mostly starts out as limerance, but limerance doesn't always evolve into love.
  • Know that love is a learned skill, not something that comes from
    hormones or emotion particularly. Erich Fromm called it "an act of will." If you don't learn the skills of love you virtually guarantee that you will be depressed, not only because you will not be connected enough but because you will have many failure experiences.
  • Learn good communication skills. They are a means by which you develop trust and intensify connection. The more you can communicate the less depressed you will be because you will feel known and understood.
There are always core differences between two people, no matter how good or close you are, and if the relationship is going right those differences surface. The issue then is to identify the differences and negotiate them so that they don't distance you or kill the
You do that by understanding where the other person is coming from, who that person is, and by being able to represent yourself. When the differences are known you must be able to negotiate and compromise on them until you find a common ground that works for both.
  • Focus on the other person. Rather than focus on what you are getting and how you are being treated, read your partner's need. What does this person really need for his/her own well-being? This is a very tough skill for people to learn in our narcissistic culture. Of course, you don't lose yourself in the process; you make sure you're also doing enough self-care.
  • Help someone else. Depression keeps people so focused on themselves they don't get outside themselves enough to be able to learn to love. The more you can focus on others and learn to respond and meet their needs, the better you are going to do in love.
  • Develop the ability to accommodate simultaneous reality. The loved one's reality is as important as your own, and you need to be as aware of it as of your own. What are they really saying, what are they really needing? Depressed people think the only reality is their own depressed reality.
  • Actively dispute your internal messages of inadequacy. Sensitivity to rejection is a cardinal feature of depression. As a consequence of low self-esteem, every relationship blip is interpreted far too personally as evidence of inadequacy. Quick to feel rejected by a partner, you then believe it is the treatment you fundamentally deserve. But the rejection really originates in you, and the feelings of inadequacy are the depression speaking.
Recognize that the internal voice is strong but it's not real. Talk back to it. "I'm not really being rejected, this isn't really evidence of inadequacy. I made a mistake." Or "this isn't about me, this is something I just didn't know how to do and now I'll learn." When you reframe the situation to something more adequate, you can act again in an effective
way and you can find and keep the love that you need.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

How Do You Know When You're in Love? Check These 12 Signs

The feeling of falling and being in love is one of the greatest feelings one could ever feel and experience.
You feel motivated, driven, and secure having someone in your corner to support and comfort you.
However, some of us may become confused when trying to figure out what it is that we are feeling exactly–Do I just like them a lot, or is this love?
According to science, your brain will be able to figure it out before you’re able to realize it.
Arthur Aron, a psychologist at State University of New York at Stony Brook says, “Intense passionate love uses the same system in the brain that gets activated when a person is addicted to drugs.”
Here are 12 signs that will let you know if you really are, in love.

1. You want your family and friends to be accepting of them

When you start seeing someone you really like, you’re going to want to bring them around your parents and close friends. Your social circle typically plays an important role in the success of a relationship. Of course, the opinion of friends and family probably won’t decide whether or not you continuing seeing them, it’s nice to know that they like and accept the person you’re spending your time with.

2. You’re happy when they’re happy and sad when they’re sad

You start to almost feel exactly how they are feeling whether it’s up or down. the person you like gets a promotion and they’re overjoyed when they tell you about it. You’re able to share his/her success and experience feelings of pride and positive emotions. Seeing them so happy just makes you melt inside.

3. You want to see them every SINGLE moment

It’s almost like one day away from them feels like a week. When they say goodbye to you after dinner, you’re already thinking about the next time you can see them which is hopefully soon after. The second they leave for home, you’re already texting them to continue the topic you haven’t finished over dinner.

4. You want to know everything about them

You become so intrigued you can’t help but have a laundry list of questions for them. You want to get to know them under the surface. They may be a little emotionally guarded and have difficulty talking about their feelings, so you find yourself wanting to know why they are that way. As you learn more about the person you like and make them feel safe, you open the doors wide open to connect and bond on a much deeper level.

5. You don’t feel so great when they get close with someone else

Seeing the person you like being friendly with someone of the opposite sex will have you feeling pretty uneasy. Over time you’ve become pretty close to them, and you don’t want to see them or someone else sending out flirtatious vibes. The little jealousy tells a lot. It means you don’t want to be just friends with the person.

6. What they do or say is special to you

Things that they say or do may seem insignificant to others, but they’re very significant to you. What they see as an imperfections, you see as unique qualities that you love about them.

7. You’re willing to do anything for them

The list of things you aren’t willing to do for the person may not even exist. You never think twice about doing anything for them to put a smile on their face. They may be craving their favorite food for lunch so you use yours to surprise them at work.

8. You’re more careful about what you say and do

You learn to be a little bit more sensitive around the person you like. You’re much more careful about what you say and do. You begin to understand that every action has a reaction. You think twice before talking because you don’t want to hurt their feelings or make them angry.

9. Your behavior is a bit out of control when you’re with them

A friend may tell a joke and you may be mildly humored by it. But if the person you like tells the same joke, you can’t help but laugh a little harder. Your emotions are magnified. They make you feel good, and it sometimes comes out uncontrollably in your actions.

10. Your confidence level is boosted

They make you feel like you’re on top of the world and vice versa. You go into work feeling like you can accomplish every task thrown your way. They make you feel great about yourself. If your friends and co-workers have been saying you’re glowing lately, he/she is probably the reason why.

11. You can see a future with them

You’ll start to envision what your life would be like with them in the future. Dare I mention the thoughts that go through your head when he/she picks up a baby.

12. You have more drive to become a better you

You have always felt pretty secure and happy with yourself and all that you’ve accomplished. But somewhere along the way this person unknowingly sparked something inside of you to push and strive for more. For months you’ve been putting off getting into the gym and eating healthier, but now doing that doesn’t seem like such a chore anymore. You aspire to be better everyday, and they’re the inspiration behind it.
You definitely know when you start liking someone. The tricky part is knowing when you’re in love with them. All in all, you know he/she is the one for you when they challenge you to be a better person every day, and you can’t imagine your life without them.

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Article by: Erica Wagner

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dating Tips For Men

Dating has always been and will continue to be a complicated process. Where should you go for your date? What should you wear? Who should pay for the date? These are all good questions but can be very confusing.

First Impressions Are Extremely Important:

Women expect you to look your best when taking her out on the town. Being well groomed, clean and donning clean clothes will give a great first impression from the start. You might consider your worn-out old jeans lucky, but your date might feel the same way.

You Should Choose The Location:

You need to pick a place where you will both be comfortable. Letting her make the decision could backfire. Women like to think their date is able to take charge and they enjoy being surprised. Picking a place that is familiar and comfortable for both of you will make the date much more pleasant. Preferably choose a place that is relatively low-keyed, don’t pick a popular, loud nightclub. The idea is to get to know each other.

Show Self Confidence:

Confidence is a very appealing aspect to women but steer clear of being cocky! Strutting your stuff is not a sign of confidence it’s actually a sign of insecurity! Pick a subject that interests you and your are enthusiastic about. If you talk about something that you are passionate about, it will show and she’ll respect that. Just because you are not an Adonis, doesn’t mean you are not comfortable in your own skin. Women are attracted to men who feel good about themselves and show it.

Don’t Hog Up The Entire Conversation:

Sometimes it just happens that you keep right on talking because you are nervous. If this starts to happen, check it and take a deep breath. You don’t have to cover your entire life in a first date, let her get a word in edge-wise. If you just hog up the entire conversation you are going to bore her to tears. Ask her some questions to bring her into the conversation and then listen to what she has to say.

Keep The Conversation Light:

The last thing you want to do is get into a heavy conversation. Stay away from negative areas such as someone you dislike or an issue you are dragging around. Women love to laugh, so keep keep it light. You can always have heavier conversations later on.

Do Not Bring Up Your Ex:

The subject of an “Ex” should never be brought up on a first date. You will place your date in a very uncomfortable situation and your evening will probably not go over very well. Should your date bring up the subject, offer a short answer and let her know that your past is exactly that – the past. Swing the conversation back to getting to know her.

Turn Your Phone Off!

There is nothing more irritating then listening to someone’s phone going off every 5 minutes. Phones are very distracting and could easily leave your date believing your calls are more important than this date. Turning your phone off will show her you want to focus entirely on her and that will be a very positive sign.

Pay The Bill:

Let your date know that you want to treat her, it’ll make you look like a true gentleman. If she insists on paying, offer to let her pay on the next date but this one is on you!

Follow-up After The Date:

You should contact her within a few days after the initial date. If you don’t, she’s probably going to believe you are not interested. Let her know in a short period of time that you had a great time. If the date did not go well, don’t tell her you will call her! Simply let her know you had a nice evening and leave it at that.

Get Advise From Female Friends:

If you are uncomfortable about a first date, talk to a female friend to get some pointers. You cannot learn dating from a text book but a good friend might be able to help you out. Tell her about your last date, where you went, what you did and what you talked about. Hopefully, she will be able to give you some helpful tips to improve your next dating experience.

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