There are very few married (or unmarried) couples who have not heard of the proverbial “7 Year Itch”. This titular phrase is even coined by psychologists to describe a decline in interest between couples who have been monogamous for a number of years. The words come from a romantic comedy of the same name, made in the US in 1955, starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell. The most iconic scene in this movie is – Monroe standing over subway grate as her white dress is blown up by the rush of hot air made by a train passing below.
Despite the blanket acceptance that many couples have that the 7 year itch is real entity, there are many very simple ways to keep love alive. No matter how many years people have been married. It takes lots of praise, affection, attention, time for rejuvenation, and of course sex.
While many experts agree to disagree around the phenomenon of the seven-year itch, there is some consensus that the arrival of children may factor. Getting them through their infant years can be quite trying. Other pundits such as Rudolph Steiner suggest that both minds and bodies, change every seven years. In fact he based an entire theory regarding human development founded on his astrology observations.
Some theories suggest that after seven “long” years of marriage, couples just don’t find one-another exciting any more. Little traits, habits and silly things that really are not that important at the start of the relationship, now become more irritating than nails on a chalkboard. We have all heard the jokes about drinking milk out of the container, leaving the toilet seat up, leaving dirty clothing on the floor and more.
Don’t for a minute believe that because this phrase might be uttered by experts, that it is a proven phenomenon. However, studies have also proven that couples do go through cycles of difficulty, most often the 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 12th year of marriage. It is noted that a more rapid decline takes place in couples with children, however, being armed with this knowledge, could be the precise knowledge required to nip any ‘itches’ in the bud.
There is absolutely no magic number to time when a marriage might fall apart. We need to be aware at all times, that we might be the next statistic in a divorce percentages survey. But there is a light at the end of what might seem like a very long and dark tunnel and it is very simple really; we have to work at it to keep marriage alive.
Have sex, date nights without the children, ship them off to their grandparent for a weekend, or for the whole summer if you like. These people were good enough to bring you up, what harm can they do to your children? Basically couples need to make the extra effort required to prioritize their relationship, and do this every single day. In this instance the old proverb is right, it does take two to tango, and generally speaking when a couple dances, we women do this in high heels backwards.
Springtime brings many opportunities to brighten up our lives. As we shed the dark evenings and cooler temperatures of winter, new life emerges into the warmth, bringing bright and beautiful colors into our lives. It is a great time to look to the natural world to lift our spirits and re-invigorate our relationships. Take energy from the signs of new life all around us and use this energy to revisit goals which may have been set at the start of the year or to take a more positive look at challenges ahead. Fall in love with springtime and it can bring many ways to brighten up your life. Let negative thoughts and emotions subside with winter, take an active decision to leave them in the past. Go forward embracing a positive, colorful, exciting new perspective on life and spring will reward you with more energy from the world and people around you.
Taking some time to appreciate the changing of the seasons and connecting with nature has enormous benefits. We are still attuned to the cycles of day and night, the seasons and the environment around us, despite technology and urban living. The lengthening days, increasing warmth and sunlight and inclination to spend more time outdoors have a physical effect as well as benefitting us mentally and emotionally. The positive effects that springtime brings enable us to breathe deeply and see things more clearly which may have clouded our judgment or view through the winter months. This positive new energy can be seen in the way people relate to the world around them during the spring and as more people benefit from and share that new energy it creates a circle of good will.
Finding clarity from the daily stresses and turmoil requires people to take some time to reflect. Springtime delivers a wealth of opportunities to do this from going on nature hikes to taking a wine tasting tour, there are activities to suit everyone’s personal tastes but which can get you out and about, connecting with the changing natural world outside the office or home. Once out in the world, seeing the beauty around us, it can bring a sense of perspective and new inspiration to deal with issues which have been shrugged aside while energy levels are low and daily life is all consuming.
Going for walks, spending time at the beach or making a romantic picnic can also bring a new spark into relationships. If you want to enjoy a passionate or tender moment with the one you love, then what could be a better backdrop than the feeling of sun on your face and the scent of new flowers in the air? All relationships need some care and attention from time to time and spring provides a great chance for forging a deeper connection with those you love or taking a relationship to the next level. Opening your heart and mind at this time of year and falling in love with spring can enable you to find out what is really important for you to focus on in your life, relationships and environment. By accepting the benefits of spring you can take positive action towards self -renewal and fulfillment.
What is the difference between dating a boy, a guy or a fully cooked adult man? For many people the difference between guys and men is the level of commitment they are prepared to make to their partner. Some women date a selection of guys and wonder why they always seem to find the ones who are not ready to make a commitment or who behave as if they were ten years younger than their actual age. However, everyone is looking for different things from their relationship and if commitment is not on the agenda a guy might make a suitable partner. But when looking to settle down it is important to be clear about the level of commitment required and to find a man who can deliver.
It is certainly true that there are guys around who, no matter what their age, want to live their lives without taking responsibility for anyone’s feelings but their own. However, there are also men who are looking for the deep fulfillment of a truly committed relationship. A man who shows commitment and respect to his partner is demonstrating his own self confidence. Men who are feeling secure about who they are, and have lost the selfish or narcissistic traits of youth, have enough time and focus to value the people around them. Guys and boys can be a lot of fun and if a woman wishes to be part of their journey to self-discovery it can be fun for her too. But both people need to be realistic about what they are likely to get from the relationship and not try to sculpt the other person into being someone they are not.
People move in and out of relationships at all stages in their lives and people are not always looking for the same things. It is therefore important that everyone is clear about what they are looking for in the relationship. Consider the following factors: Is there a big age difference? Do you feel your biological clock ticking? Do you need a stable environment to raise kids from a former relationship? All these factors will determine if someone is likely to be happy with a guy or whether they will need a grown up their life. For a woman to feel ready to become intimate with someone she needs the confidence of knowing that she is in the right relationship for her.
Just to complicate matters, everybody’s needs change with time. However relationships which do not last should not necessarily be considered as failures, as your desires and goals in life change all the time. The right kind of relationship for someone two years ago may not be the right one now. The important part of this is for people to be honest about what their relationship needs really are. It may be fun dating the cool guy who is ten years younger, but if you would sooner be spending time making plans for the next ten years rather than the next ten minutes it may be time to move on.
So with regards to guys, they have their place. For carefree relationships with a spark of passion or excitement then a guy can be a lot of fun. Spending time with someone who is free from responsibilities, spontaneous and different can be a great way to expand personal horizons and experience new ground in a relationship. However, when looking for a long term commitment, someone to raise children with or build a future with, then consider if your partner has what it takes to go the distance. Whichever type of relationship we are seeking, being clear with ourselves about our needs frees us up to have the confidence to enjoy our relationships and be open to a greater level of intimacy with a partner.
With the pressures of daily life, we can easily forget to nourish ourselves emotionally and to nurture the love we have for those around us. All relationships require effort, thought and energy to get the best out of them. Nurturing the love you have is essential for keeping relationships strong or finding a way through a tough patch. Sometimes our experiences of loving someone or being loved have taught us to behave in a way which undermines our happiness or ability to express love. It can be hard to change damaging patterns of behavior which are entrenched but by taking a close look at the ways we express our love and considering how they affect those we care about, it is possible to find new ways to nurture and grow the love we share. It is necessary to find time to reflect on how we express love and to remember how the love we have in our lives helps us to cope with the things that life throws at us. From a point of reflection we can appreciate the strength we gain from compassion, warmth and love.
A good place to start is to acknowledge the love we feel for others and the love we receive. By identifying the love which uplifts us and makes us stronger it is possible to see how an expression of love can be a powerful force for change and improvement in our lives. Learning from those who demonstrate their love in a way which make us feel good and emotionally nourished provides a great opportunity to think about how we too can express love in a way which nurtures our relationships. This can lead to new ways of parenting, communicating in a relationship or caring for someone close to you that brings joy to everyone involved.
If you are in a relationship which is experiencing difficulties, you are struggling to connect with a family member or are finding it hard to be vulnerable and show your true feelings for someone, it is worth investing the time to reflect on your behavior and increase your self-awareness of how you communicate and demonstrate your love. Many people who are experiencing anxiety or insecurities find it hard to step back and view their relationships objectively and see how their behavior is shaped by their problems. In these circumstances it can be beneficial to get some professional help by speaking to a therapist or counselor.
For people in happy, stable, loving relationships there is always space to acknowledge and honor the love you have for those around you. By ensuring the people you care about know just how important they are to you and by taking time to show you value them, there is less chance they will feel taken for granted. They are also likely to reciprocate and learn from your desire to nurture your love and reflect the same behavior back towards you. This healthy culture of nurturing, acknowledging and valuing the love you have is likely to radiate out to everyone you interact with and create a positive, supportive foundation to all the relationships you build.
Valentine’s Day gives us a good opportunity to think about how you show love to those around you and how to make them feel really special. It can be difficult in our hectic lives to find space in the daily routine for a moment of reflection on how important our loved ones are to us. So this February spare a few minutes to come up with some creative ways to demonstrate your love for the ones you care about and show them you are not taking them for granted. There are many fundamental ways in which we can demonstrate our love; through respect, tolerance, appreciation and care in all we do for the important people in our lives. But there is also plenty of fun to be had from the little things which bring a smile to someone’s face and brighten their day. Here are 10 ideas for ways to make this Valentine’s Day special for the ones you love.
Tell your partner how great they look, what a lovely smile they have or what a good job they are doing at raising the family. Then take time to thank them for their efforts too.
- Hugs and kisses
You cannot beat a kiss and a cuddle to brighten anyone’s day!
- Give a smile
Being warm and remembering the fun in your relationship will keep it fresh and enjoyable for you both.
- Fun gifts
It does not have to be big or expensive, but choose something that shows you have thought about it and which will make your loved one smile.
- Give some time
Give up a session at the gym or a day at the shopping mall to spend with your partner and use the time to do something special together.
- Romantic reading
Reading to each other is a great way to share some intimate time and may be the starting point for suggestion number 7!
- Make time for passion
By the end of the day we are often tired and our attention may be on issues from the day. Try to break out of work or parenting roles and make some time to express your desire and passion for each other.
- The romantic gesture
It could be as simple as breakfast in bed or as grand as a mystery getaway together but do not forget to put a little romance in your relationship.
- Write a love letter
In the days of instant communication it can be liberating to take some time and consider your words carefully then set them out to your lover in a letter.
- Make plans for your future together
Nothing says “I’m committed to you” more than discussing openly and honestly the aspirations and hopes you have for your future together.
This February, take some time to show how you feel, build some romance into your daily lives and express your appreciation for the special people in your life. By doing this you are nurturing your relationship for the future and showing the people you care about that they are valued and loved. Who could want for more on Valentine’s Day?
Many single people looking for love are unsure how to find someone to have a genuine, long-lasting, committed relationship with. There are so many ways to meet people that the sheer number of options can be overwhelming. Speed dating, internet dating, lonely hearts columns, new hobbies and evening classes are all great ways to meet new people. However, it is worth thinking about why you want to meet someone, what your expectations from a relationship might be and how much of your time and energy you want to put into your quest to find love.
Keep an open mind
If you have been expecting someone perfect to appear in your life and they have not arrived yet, it is probably time to consider if your expectations are realistic or if you need a little more patience. There is someone out there for everyone but all relationships, especially at the very beginning, require effort, thought and patience. If you have been looking to fall in love for a long time and still not found someone it may be you are not open to falling in love. It can help to take a look at your own views on love, your experiences and ways of showing love and consider how you have been shown love by previous partners, family etc. If you have a very fixed idea about who is right for you, the type of relationship you want or how someone will demonstrate their love for you then it may be time to widen your perspective and start thinking outside the box.
You may be surprised
People are often surprised by where and when they find love. It may be that the person who is your ideal mate lives beyond your area code, has very different interests to you or comes from a contrasting background. If you feel you have been waiting for a long time to find the right person it may be time to challenge yourself and consider some new ideas about what love can look and feel like. Many people wonder about the signs of falling in love or whether they will recognize “The One” when they meet. It is far better to spend your time considering what love means to you, what traits you want from your prospective partner and how you wish to be treated in a relationship. It can help to step back from the surface characteristics and be open to dating people who do not confirm to a specific body type or have a different style to the kind of people you have dated before. Instead focus on their ability to treat you with respect and make you happy.
Focus on your emotional needs
Keeping yourself grounded, focusing on what brings you happiness in life and feeling good about yourself will help to move your frame of mind to a place where you can be clear about your emotional needs and how a relationship will satisfy those needs. With some insight and self-knowledge in place to form a strong base for a future relationship there is a far higher chance that you will feel secure enough to be emotionally open and to give the relationship the energy and commitment it needs to succeed. Being happy with yourself and enjoying aspects of your life outside your relationship will give you confidence to take emotional risks and be vulnerable with another person. By opening up to love in this way you may find yourself falling for someone you did not expect to at all. Once you open your heart to a range of different options anything is possible, it may be that you may already know your perfect partner, you just need to see them in a different light!
Language of sex
Many people find it hard to express their most intimate feelings and desires and it can be particularly difficult when that involves sex. When a relationship moves from romance to a sexual level there is a need to move the conversation onto the next level too. If the relationship is intimate enough for you and your partner to be having sex then it should be the kind of relationship in which you can discuss your sexual needs, desires and boundaries. However, this can be difficult conversational ground for people to navigate. The expressions and language we use for sex can be hard to say out loud without feeling self conscious or as if you have suddenly stepped into an erotic novel! The important thing is to remember your partner is equally likely to find this a difficult area to deal with. If you can be supportive and not judgmental, the chances are that your conversations about sex will help your relationship become even more sexually fulfilling.
The first step to good communication about sex is building the trust between you. In a relationship where you are equals and feel secure to express your thoughts, feelings and ideas without being made to feel a fool it is possible to have an intimate conversation with confidence. Once the relationship is strong enough for you to feel that sex is on the agenda it is essential to start talking to each other about it. Initially conversations about safety, birth control and sexual health issues are necessary, before you have moved on to your specific desires and fantasies. This may seem like a passion dampener but actually if you have the honesty and openness in the relationship to have those initial conversations it is easier to talk about your personal sexual preferences in the future.
All sexual relationships, whether new or old, need to make space for conversations about what is working, and what is not, in the bedroom. New relationships involve discovering what you each enjoy. Have fun exploring the new ideas that come from two different people becoming intimate with one another and the excitement which accompanies that period of experimentation. It helps to keep an open mind and explore the trust in the relationship but always be clear if there are certain sexual acts which are an absolute no-go.
Keep the passion alive
In longer term sexual relationships it helps to remind each other from time to time of what it is you really enjoy and to try a few new things to keep the passion alive. Try to keep the spark alive by continuing to explore and grow sexually together. If something is not working be clear with your partner but try to break it to them gently. The chances are, if something is working, they will already have realized! The important thing is to maintain the conversation, try to have some fun when talking about sex and to create an environment where honesty and trust bring rewards in the bedroom.
Sex Alert! Does size really matter?
This is a question which has preoccupied men for generations! There are those who believe that size is everything and that women can only be satisfied by men with more penis than personality. Ask most women and they would disagree wholeheartedly with this view. Sometimes the best things come in small packages! The difference between men and women’s attitudes to sex may be at the root of this divergence of opinion. It is certainly true that men of all shapes and sizes enjoy fulfilling sexual relationships with their partners.
No matter what size or shape your partner is the core of a fulfilling sexual relationship is building the trust, respect and communication needed to enjoy each other physically and emotionally. Personality and a healthy relationship are central to this and so it is far more important that partners focus on building the best relationship they can rather than dwelling on questions of size or appearance. Most sexual relationships require emotional needs, desires and fantasies to be shared and enjoyed together in order for sex to be truly fulfilling. For that to work it is the communication skills, not the physical attributes, of a partner that are important.
Most people are self conscious when naked and everyone worries about their appearance or parts of their body which they believe to be less than perfect. For those with particular concerns about how their physical size might affect their sex lives it is important to be honest and open with their partner. It is likely that size is irrelevant and that the passion and intensity of a sexual relationship is the most important factor for enjoyment. Remember there are many ways to arouse and excite each other and by trying different techniques and combinations of sexual stimulation it is likely that a satisfying sexual experience will be enjoyed by you both. Be prepared to give your partner feedback and accept it in return to ensure you are both pushing the right buttons.
By talking about what you both enjoy, what you might like to try and sharing fantasies there is a whole world of sexual exploration and enjoyment to discover. Finding ways to enhance each other’s pleasure and reach new levels of satisfaction helps to build a strong sexual relationship. Play-acting fantasies, sharing books which turn you on, buying sexy lingerie for your partner and setting the mood with music, drink and candles can all make a huge contribution to your partner’s enjoyment. They are all things which are easy to do, but may require a little planning ahead. If spontaneity is more your thing then suggest sex in the morning or in the shower as a surprise. The key thing with any sexual adventure is to keep the fun and sense of exploring your sexuality together. Your partner may well surprise you with what they find enjoyable or what they are willing to try. Remember, after all, it is not how big it is but what you do with it that counts!
The media is full of images of the ‘dream man’. If you believe the movies then all women are looking for a tall, muscular, beer swigging, big earning man with twinkly eyes and a sexy smile. In reality, men of all shapes and sizes with different personalities, strengths and incomes make great partners. Most people will admit that there is very little chance of finding a man who fits all their ideal criteria. However, there are usually a few criteria that are considered essential and less likely to be subject to compromise. Unfortunately, as society becomes more focused on external factors like how good looking someone is or what car they drive, it can become harder to remember the really important criteria like trustworthiness and fidelity when looking for a man.
See the person inside
For any relationship to spark into life a certain amount of physical attraction is needed, so physical appearance is certainly not irrelevant. Most people make a judgment based on a person’s appearance within a few seconds of meeting them so it is disingenuous to suggest looks are not important. However once an initial attraction has sparked, the process of getting to know someone should guide whether they are a good potential partner. It is hard not to let looks, charm, power or money influence your view of a man but it is very important to see beyond those things to the person underneath. If you have a clear idea of the intrinsic qualities you are looking for in a partner it may be a surprise what kind of ‘package’ that man comes in!
Personality on top
Everyone is looking for a different set of characteristics in their dream relationship but some qualities are pretty universal. For a relationship to be successful and fulfilling it is essential that you trust, respect and can communicate effectively with your partner. The personality traits which enable you to build a relationship like that will be different for everyone. Some people need opposite but complimentary personalities for a good partnership, others work better with likeminded folk who live life in a similar way.
Whatever the personality and package that your potential partner comes with, it is important to remember that all relationships require patience, good listening and communicating, consideration of each other and trust. At the start of a new relationship each partner should feel confident that the romance is going at a pace that suits both of you and that you can share moments of fun and sexiness but also some of the tougher emotional moments. If the new man in your life does not look like an action hero, drive a sports car or manage a multinational company it really does not matter as long as he makes you happy and treats you with the respect and loyalty you deserve.
If you and your partner decide to try for a baby it can be one of the most exciting and fun times in your relationship. However, if it does not go to plan and you do not conceive as quickly as you would like it can put a strain on your relationship. It is important for all couples who begin on the rollercoaster journey to parenthood that they remember to look after each other and protect the relationship along the way. This is particularly important at the start as conceiving a baby is not as easy as many people think. Trying for a baby often requires patience and relationships need space for disappointment and the wide range of emotions associated with ‘the waiting game’. Be supportive, listen to each other’s fears and concerns, talk openly about feelings and remember to look for ways to remain positive and keep the fun, excitement and romance in the relationship while on the journey together.
Many women find the experience of trying to conceive a very emotional one and assume their partner does not share their feelings over difficulties they encounter on the way. Some women may be anxious or insecure about their relationship and feel that an inability to conceive, or get pregnant quickly, somehow makes them ‘less of a woman’. This can lead to concerns that their partner may look around for a new, younger or more fertile partner. It is far better to discuss concerns or anxieties before they develop into a big problem. It is very likely that a partner is experiencing similar insecurities or concerns about his fertility so be open with each other in order to better support and nurture the relationship.
Sometimes a change of perspective can help to minimise the stress and anxiety, so find creative ways to appreciate life without children. Have a romantic break or spend some time together enjoying favourite leisure pursuits. From a different point if view it may be easier to find the positivity, energy and hope needed for success. It is also likely that conceiving may not happen the way you thought it would and that your journey to parenthood is a little different to that which you expected. Each couple’s path to getting pregnant is unique so enjoy each other and make the most of this intimate time together, before a baby comes along and changes everything!
Remind each other from time to time that it helps to be patient, loving and understanding when trying to conceive. Being relaxed, happy and enjoying the romance and sexiness within your relationship will provide the best chance of getting pregnant. The simple truth is that the more times you have sex; the more chances there are of conceiving. But it should not become a chore or enforced routine. Keeping communication open and honest, sharing feelings and disappointments, may build a closer bond and stronger relationship between the partners. What better way to create the perfect nurturing environment in which to raise a child?