5 Ways To Make Your Relationship More Romantic, So Get Ready To Swoon

Author Article

Relationships, like all things, change with time. And while there are many beautiful things about a long-term commitment to someone, keeping the spark alive can sometimes be challenging. After all, when you settle into a routine together, it’s not quite so simple to shake things up and retain that element of surprise. Don’t fret, though — there are plenty of ways to make your relationship more romantic, as long as you’re both creative and resourceful.

I checked in with the experts to get their thoughts on this, and their advice did not disappoint. “Our partner needs to know that we value them and that they have a vital role in our life,” says Susan Winter, relationship expert. “From this foundation of appreciation and gratitude, romantic feelings grow with abundance.” If you want to show your partner how much you care, one of the best things you can do is add some intrigue back into your lives. There’s something about a passionate, romantic evening together that electrifies your chemistry and reminds you why you chose one another. And it doesn’t have to be any huge gesture — even small changes can make a big difference! When you’re ready to get more intimate with bae, put these tips to use and watch your bond deepen in a beautiful way.

1. ACKNOWLEDGE THE SMALL THINGS

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“We tend to underestimate the impact of phrases such as, ‘Thank you,’ and, ‘I really appreciate what you’ve done for me,'” Winter says. When your SO does something you’re grateful for, like buying you flowers or cleaning your room, let them know. After couples have been together for an extended period, it’s easy to forget to thank one another for small daily actions. But according to Winter, “kindness and appreciation are powerful aphrodisiacs.” You don’t have to make huge changes in your routine to make each other feel special — just express your love in little ways!

2. RECREATE YOUR FIRST DATE

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When you’re in a rut and your time together starts to feel monotonous, bring back a special memory you both share. “Break that cycle by randomly recreating your first date at home,” says Clarissa Silva, behavioral scientist. “Candles, rose petals, dinner, movie, anything that can recreate that first date.” Or, try reminiscing in the actual place you first went out together! Think back to that time when you were first getting to know one another, and when everything felt exciting and scary and new. You’ll both be able to look back with fondness and also to see how far your relationship has come.

3. GO ON A TRIP TOGETHER

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If you’re both craving a weekend out of town, consider taking a vacation — maybe even a couple’s retreat. “Not only will you learn new skills for enhancing communication, managing conflict, a renewed sense of commitment to one another, and deepening intimacy. But you also have a built-in vacation filled with romantic settings, dinners, and relaxation,” Silva explains. Sometimes, getting out of your shared space and into a new location can help you feel rejuvenated and more in love.

4. SIGN UP TO HELP A CAUSE YOU BOTH CARE ABOUT

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Shula Melamed, relationship and well-being coach, says that couples who try new activities together end up happier in the long run. “Maybe sign up for a course or cause that requires that the two of you to learn, create, or show up for something you both can be passionate about,” she suggests. If you have a shared love for something, it’ll bring you closer together, and it also gives you something fresh to talk about. Doing good for the world and doing good for your relationship? It’s a win-win.

5. COMMIT TO HAVING FUN TOGETHER

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No matter what you do, the most important thing is that you’re enjoying each other’s company. “Couples who play and explore with each other report higher relationship satisfaction,” Melamed says. “So the ‘work’ that goes into maintaining long-term committed relationships might be more depended on ‘play.’” The human brain responds positively to new experiences, so the more creative you can be, the more fun you’ll have together. Try to make a habit of trying something new together at least once per month! This helps you build a bank of shared memories together that will keep the romance alive.

Try to remember that even on days when you feel bored or out of touch with each other, you both chose this relationship for a reason. When you can reframe your brain to remind yourself, “I choose you,” you’ll be more thankful for your partner and more confident in your love. And at the end of the day, a box of chocolates and bouquet of roses never hurt anyone… so get cheesy with it and have a little fun.

Why Love in the 21st Century Is So Difficult

Author Article

The nature of love in the 21st century has beckoned us to a new cultural and social horizon from which we may be able to learn how to manage our conflicts between love and hate, between dominance and submission, between surrender and self-protection, without creating an enemy. Either we will learn how to grow and develop in this way or our narcissisticlongings for a “perfect love” will defeat us. I believe that the contemporary couple relationship has created an urgent and critical challenge to the stability of our families and our lives. I want this challenge to lead to greater wisdom instead of a failure to love.

Before we can learn to love under current conditions, we need to reflect a bit on our past traditions. Marriage moved relatively quickly from being a vow of impersonal loyalty and a commitment “in sickness and in health until death do us part” for the sake of the family and property to a personal and transitory vow “for as long as this meets my needs.” This shift has made everyone a little nervous, and some people now feel almost obliged to break off a relationship if they no longer find their own image and values reflected in the other person in the way they expect: “How can I be with someone like this?”

Charlie Foster_Unsplash
Source: Charlie Foster_Unsplash

Further, because ideas of the hierarchy are eschewed in our contemporary lives, our relationships are based on ideas of equality and reciprocity, as well as personal desire. Equality, mutuality, reciprocity, and desire are destabilizing influences in a partnership or a family because of the ongoing requirements to negotiate needs and conflicts on a day-to-day or even hour-to-hour basis. Frequent and repetitive negotiations require emotional and communication skills that most of us lack. Our ordinary daily conflicts can soon become exhausting and dispiriting because no solutions are arrived at. These conflicts (even the most benign ones, like “what color should we paint the kitchen?”) may threaten to undermine our commitment to our relationships because they quickly lead us to review whether or not we want to “live with someone who is like this.” On top of all this, human beings (Homo sapiens) may, unfortunately, despite their intentions, simply feel more comfortable and at ease in a hierarchy in which one individual seems to be in charge. Then, the power arrangements are clear even if they rest on oppression—and potentially, abuse.

But in today’s world, you most likely believe that you no longer want a hierarchy in your personal life. Instead, you want to be equal with your partner. You want to be respected, you want to be witnessed and held in mind, and you want to be found desirable and cared for. These are the demands of personal love.

This love is different from romance and from biological attachment bonds. Personal love is much more demanding and challenging than a secure attachment or pair bond because it typically requires functioning together with a partner in multiple roles in our daily lives and using psychological insights, and even spiritual skills, that are unfamiliar and may seem burdensome. Attachment bonds and biology play a role in personal love, but only a minor one. Living together over time and solving problems with someone who is meant to be your best friend, your co-parent, your sexual partner, and possibly your business partner, in a reciprocal and mutual relationship, is a radical new endeavor for which the old archetypes and myths, as well as the current neurological and biological models, do not provide adequate guidance.

In today’s marriage—I will use the term “marriage” loosely here to mean a long-term committed bond—you fall in love with a stranger to whom you then commit in a relationship in which you promise not to dominate, control, or break the trust. Furthermore, you must also remain true to yourself—your own needs and values—or the relationship will not thrive. Personal love, as we will see, breaks all the rules that marriage has followed for centuries. Most radical is that this kind of love requires that an emotional and mental space be created in which both partners can grow and develop psychologically and spiritually. And this process begins with disillusionment after the romance has ended.

While disillusionment is the death knell for the initial romance, it is a necessary development for personal love and romance to mature into ongoing intimacy. Here is a radical idea: when you fall in love you have fallen into your own unconsciousness, and you can only step out of that unconsciousness after you begin to see what you have projected—both in idealization and in disillusionment. It is the nature of projection that you see and feel as though the disavowed aspects of yourself (either idealized or devalued) are within another person, not yourself. You will feel this as a fact, as though it were absolutely true. But initial disillusionment is critically important on the path of love because it is the first opportunity to notice your projection—after it has become sour and negative, when your partner begins to seem like someone you don’t like and someone you must defend against.

You then must develop, as the next step, a more complex picture of your partner and yourself that includes your projected anxieties, images, and desires. The truth is that this other person cannot satisfy all (or maybe even most) of your needs or be your friend in all the ways you had hoped. Embracing this truth (again and again) in a way that does not prohibit intimacy and friendship with your partner is an ongoing commitment. The process of taking back our projections never ends. It means you have to maintain a kind of psychological openness that helps you repeatedly get to know your partner anew and to look at yourself with fresh eyes as well.

For personal love to develop into what I call “true love”—a powerful mixture of reality and desire—you must shift from disillusionment into friendship, from antagonism into cooperation, from your partner being your “intimate enemy” into being your intimate friend. As a result, it requires you to discover and embrace a more complex sense of who you are—your history, vulnerabilities, and so on—since this is the basis of both your idealizations and your disillusionments.

The defenses that surround the pain of disillusionment often keep couples from moving into being intimate after feeling like enemies. Partners, and their friends and relatives, also tend to make critical appraisals of a devalued partner such as “he’s an alcoholic” or “she’s needy” or “he has bipolar disorder” or “she’s an airhead.” These appraisals lead to gathering evidence and grievances to illustrate their circumstantial “truths.” And so, disavowed aggressions and feelings of the “moral superiority” of victimhood complicate many daily conflicts with “proof” that a devalued partner is defective or mean-spirited. True love, however, requires walking through disillusionment without losing your faith and hope of finding your best friend again through a fog of confusion, discouragement, and pain. Sadly, it is at the juncture of defensive disillusionment where most committed couples flounder and become discouraged and feel imprisoned. It is at this point where traditional marriages typically lost their way and entered into the War between the Sexes. Learning to navigate the path from disillusionment to true love is what all couples must learn to do in this new age.

Lip Service: A History of Kissing – In Pictures

The Guardian Article
By Holly Stafford

For the past 25 years, Barbara Levine and Paige Ramey have been collecting amateur photography. Based in Mexico and Texas, the artists have published a number of books together featuring vintage images found at flea markets and on eBay. Their latest is People Kissing: A Century of Photographs (Abrams & Chronicle, £11.99), which charts the evolution of the genre from Victorian postcards to automatic photo booths. Before photography, Levine says, kissing was largely a private affair. “Nowadays it’s a public act. People are encouraged to perform their affection for the camera.”

The Neuroscience of Romance: Your Brain on Love

See Author Article Here
By Sabrina Stierwalt

The Neuroscience of Romance: Your Brain on Love

Falling in love seems to be a basic part of human nature. It’s universalwe all know what love is even if we have a hard time defining it or detailing its complexities. And love transcends cultural and societal differences: in a historical study of 166 societies, anthropologist Helen Fisher found evidence that feelings of love existed in 147 of them. Thus, it appears we are not taught that love is important to us, but rather may be born knowing it.

But anyone who has ever been in love knows that love is complicated. Being in love can calm you down but it can also make you anxious. In our attempts to understand how the human brain works, neuroscientists have studied for decades what the complex mix of emotions we call love does to our brain. Can love cause us to lose focus? Is being in love addicting? And can science weigh in on the question of whether or not love can last?

Let’s find out today.

Our Brains See Love as a Reward

In a 2005 study, researchers compared functional MRI images of the brains of 2,500 college students while looking at someone they love relative to looking at an acquaintance. Scientists were thus able to map which regions of the brain are active when a person is experiencing feelings of love. They saw the most activity in two regions associated with seeking and detecting rewards, namely the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area. These regions are also responsible for an increased production of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that pass information from one neuron to the next. In the case of dopamine, that information is a signal to the brain that the person is feeling happy and finds the current activity rewarding.

Love Can Be Addicting

The increase in dopamine levels can act as a high or even inspire a state of euphoria when around the object of affection. In an effort to continue that lover’s high, you may find yourself wanting to be around the other person all of the time.

The part of our brain that processes attraction, often a precursor to love, is known as the opioid center and is, as you may have guessed, the same region responsible for our response to certain addictive substances including opioids like morphine. For example, in one, albeit smaller, study, a group of 30 men were given either small doses of morphine or a dose of an opioid suppressor. Those given the opioid rated attractive faces more highly and spent more time looking at them, suggesting that our brains can be primed to find others attractive by first stimulating the right region of the brain.

Also running high in love-addled brains are adrenaline, which can make your heart beat faster and your palms sweaty, and vasopressin, which triggers territorial feelings of loyalty and the need to protect. However…