6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 2

In the previous post 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1, we examined the first three of six secrets to keeping long term love and what the characteristics are of successful long term relationships. In this post, we examine the second three of six secrets, and summarise what you can do to ensure that you keep love for the long haul.

4. Show affection & intimacy

It is important to show your love in the form of affection and intimacy. As life goes by, and we become more comfortable in our relationship, we often forget to not only show our gratitude, but to express our feelings and attraction physically. The ‘good feeling’ chemicals in the brain (we’ll address the science behind love in another post) that made us so excited at the beginning of the relationship start to wear off with time and I’m sure there aren’t many longer term relationships that are as physically involved (read sexual) as they were in the first few months. The good thing is that if you’re a couple in this position, you’re not alone! The bad thing is that affection and intimacy requires a little more effort and motivation than before. Dating someone once or twice a week or month is very different to seeing each other every day and seeing their ‘ugly’ side (the morning breath and other bad smells, the bed hair, no make-up, and so on). But it doesn’t have to be too hard – be spontaneous, grab your partner and kiss them occasionally, be playful, have fun doing silly things together, hold hands, hop in the shower or bath together – but maintain some form of physical contact that keeps your love alive.

5. Maintain individuality (“us” time vs. “me” time)

It is essential to maintain a bond of togetherness with your partner with mutual interests. Going on dates together is important (and scheduling them if you’re busy people) and ensuring adequate “us” time, to learn and grow together. But giving your partner freedom to explore their own life is also critically important, by letting your partner have their own friends, their own hobbies and interests, their own “me” time. A relationship is a partnership in love and a journey through life together, but one should never lose their own individuality. The longer you spend with someone in a relationship, the more your lives become intertwined, which can leave you feeling dependent on your partner and depended on, upsetting your emotional balance and making you feel trapped and restricted. Think of the relationship as two individuals joined together by love on a journey towards a common goal (or goals). As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said “Love is not looking at each other, but looking together in the same direction.” You should both be able to do your own thing with or without others, without the other being jealous or thinking that they don’t love or enjoy spending time with them.

6. Trust your partner & be trustworthy yourself

All successful relationships are based on a healthy level of trust for without trust a relationship will not survive. Trust is a two-way street: you must have the correct combination of one partner being trustworthy and the other being trusting. A relationship just won’t last if one is trustworthy and the other untrusting, or one is trusting and the other untrustworthy. Trust is one of the most precious commodities in a relationship and is far easier to lose than to gain. It is earned over time and is built on integrity and confidence in another. Think about you and your personal relationships – do you think you are considered a trustworthy person? Do you have trouble trusting others? If you’re having trouble with trust in your relationship, you’ll want to read our post on 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy and More Trusting.

Practising these six things – along with the suggestions in Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates and Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts – will ensure you and you partner are well on your way to a happy and successful long term relationship. In summary:

1. Show your gratitude
2. Encourage your partner
3. Tolerate their flaws & habits
4. Show affection & intimacy
5. Maintain individuality
6. Trust your partner & be trustworthy yourself

What do you think are the secrets to successful long term love?

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Online Dating – Could A Facebook Dating App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site?

Facebook-Dating-Apps

Something I’ve been wondering lately is why Facebook doesn’t get involved in online dating? One of the biggest problems with online dating is knowing whether or not a site is reputable (after all, you’d be giving them your personal information, including perhaps your credit card details), but another problem is working out how many of the users they claim to have are actually active (and REAL). Having a large and active user base is the holy grail for most dating sites.

There are a number of sites who exaggerate their numbers, but there are even worse sites who create fake profiles to seem more popular than they are (then disappoint their customers when they don’t get many replies!). This is more common with adult sites, and it’s even harder to tell on those kinds of sites, as people try to be as anonymous as possible, creating further doubt.

I’m sure someone else has already thought of this idea long before me (I know there are some apps already not sanctioned by Facebook themselves though), but with a database of users as large as Facebook’s why don’t Facebook themselves try their own dating service? Users could opt in to the service, which could be in the form of an app, and like other apps, users can choose their own privacy settings depending on whether or not they want their friends (and the general public) to know that they’re looking (you might get unwanted date invites from your friends and colleagues!). You could create a dating profile using the details from the user’s Facebook profile with the click of a few buttons… and if anyone’s used online dating before, you’ll know that writing an online profile is really tedious, and selling yourself in this respect is an art form in itself (there is a business in writing online dating profiles!).

Your Facebook page would already have quite a lot about your likes/dislikes, your interests, and maybe even more (like your religion if you have one, your political views, and so on). It would only take someone to write a smart matching algorithm to match potential mates using the wealth of information available on Facebook. Facebook users could opt in or out of the service at the click of a button. With reportedly over one billion active users, it could potentially be the biggest and most useful dating app/site in the world. Food for thought perhaps?

Imagine personalised recommendations, for a potential partner or even just a friendship, that partnered you with relevant people. For example: Matt, you and Belinda both enjoy mountain biking and hiking, watching action movies, travelling around Asia, eating at Italian restaurants, and are looking for a long-term relationship with a view to marriage. Much better than “Hey, you have 10 friends in common! How about it?”, I think.

Some existing Facebook dating apps include ZooskSpeedDate and Online People, but there’s much room for improvement (none of these are actually very good). For traditional online dating websites and smartphone apps, check out our post on Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love.

What do you think? Do you think a dating site spun off from Facebook profiles – like Facebook Dating – is a good idea?

6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1

As discussed in the post Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts, all relationships should be maintained to keep them fresh and mutually beneficial. Modern times are busier and more unpredictable than ever and sometimes relationships can suffer as life flies by (see Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates). In the next two posts, we’ll examine six secrets to keeping long term love and what the characteristics are of successful long term relationships. Are you doing the right things in your relationship?

1. Show your gratitude

Be gracious for the things your partner does for you and never take anything for granted. Appreciate even the small things. As a thought experiment, imagine waking up tomorrow and not having your partner there. How would you feel? Think about the things your partner does for you or provides for you and your relationship. What would you miss? If you appreciate them, a few words of thanks go a long way. Tell them – or better still, show them – how you feel. For tips on how to do this, have a look at 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner. This is also a good opportunity to thank other loved ones in your life: your friends and family. Too many people leave it until the last minute – or until it’s too late – to tell the special people in their life that they are appreciated, and regrets like these can last a lifetime. It can be awkward at first – many of us are not confident or comfortable expressing our feelings – but start with something simple (thanks for a meal, for example) and work your way up to feelings of more substance.

2. Encourage your partner

Encourage your partner’s pursuits, hobbies or interests: the things that make your partner happy. As long as their interest does not harm others (or themselves), and keeps them happy/amused/sane, then you should proactively support their pursuit of happiness. Make them feel supported, and help them maintain their own individuality (see Maintain individuality in Part 2). We should all encourage each other to pursue happiness in our own unique way, express ourselves, and enjoy the journey of life, which can be harsh and challenging. Feeling supported and encouraged makes us feel safe, loved and important – no matter what life throws at us.

3. Tolerate their flaws & habits

You must be able to tolerate character flaws and bad habits – everyone has them, this is part of human nature (again, as long as these aren’t harming them or others). I had an ex-cricket team-mate who couldn’t be around his wife when she made a cup of tea or coffee because the rattle the spoon made when stirring her tea irritated him so much. This is something I’d suggest to tolerate. Guys, for example (in general), have a lower standard for cleanliness and organisation than girls do. We must tolerate and understand that these small differences exist. I, personally, have learnt to leave the toilet seat down. The benefits of doing so outweigh the effort required to put the seat back down after I’m done. With tolerating behaviour, remember the saying “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff“. Think about the things you and your partner might argue about – are they really that important? For the bigger issues – these can be financial, job- or career-related, or to do with another interpersonal relationship – it is important that you communicate with your partner about the issue. The smaller issues – dirty clothes on the floor, leaving things in what you deem to be their ‘incorrect’ location – can be sorted out with some compromise from both sides. For the perpetrator, can you make a slight modification in the habits or behaviour that annoys your partner without too much effort? For the annoyed party, can you see past and accept your partner’s ‘misbehaviour’?

Be sure to read the second part of this post, 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 2, which examines the second three of six secrets, and summarises what you can do to ensure that you keep love for the long haul.

What do you think are the secrets to successful long term love?

Online Dating – The Best Dating Websites & Apps To Look For Love

A few weeks ago, I posted Step 3. (Where To) Start Looking For Love, and one of the places to start looking for love is online, otherwise known as online (or Internet) dating. There are a number of advantages to online dating: you can browse profiles without having to interact with anyone, and do so in the privacy of your own home. You can match up yourself with your preferred type of partner (and if you’re not sure of exactly what you want, see Step 2. Know Yourself & What You Really Want From A Partner for some help).

Online Dating Websites

A number of websites now use matching algorithms – some sophisticated, some not so – to help you find your ‘perfect match’. A couple of particular sites that use decent matching algorithms are eHarmony and OkCupid, and Plenty Of Fish claims to have the “world’s most advanced matching system” and has over a million users worldwide. The best thing about Plenty Of Fish is that it is free to use, but many dating websites are either free to browse (paid membership required to contact others) or have an inexpensive trial membership. Also, with reportedly over one billion active users, Could A Facebook App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site? Badoo uses your Facebook login details and has over 180 million users for new friends, chatting and dating, and is linked with the smartphone app Blendr (see below).

Another popular, reputable (and well advertised!) dating site is Match.com, and in the UK, a number of newspapers have their own dating websites where you can meet like-minded individuals. For example, The Guardian has Soulmates and The Telegraph has Telegraph Dating.

Specialist/Alternative Online Dating Websites

There are also a number of less mainstream, more specialised dating websites to find someone of a particular type:

Smartphone/Mobile Dating Apps

And finally, with smartphones becoming more and more popular, there are now a number of phone applications that can help you meet new people, and perhaps your future partner. Skout is an example of a smartphone app that uses GPS technology to find someone near you when you’re out and about. You can chat (and flirt) with someone, and exchange photos, until you’re ready to meet in person – and Skout never reveals your exact location or phone number. You can stay relatively anonymous until you’re ready to give more information out. The Skout app is free and available from the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. For the gay male community, there’s Grindr. You might also like to check out Joseph Atkins’s post on the 25 Best Free Gay Dating Apps. Blendr is patterned after Grindr and is the “straight” version of this app. The online dating sites Match.com and eHarmony have also joined the smartphone revolution with their own apps: Match.com mobile and eHarmony mobile.

So with all those tools and websites at your disposal, all there is left to do now is go for it! You can also check out our post on Online Dating – Could A Facebook Dating App Become The World’s Biggest Dating Site? and learn how to perfect your online dating profile in Online Dating – Creating A Successful Online Dating Profile.

Part 2: Keep Love. Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates

Modern times are busier and more unpredictable than ever and sometimes a comfortable relationship can suffer as life flies by. There are a number of different reasons for our busier lifestyles; our modern digital life – with its smartphones, social media, blogs, and so on – has improved our productivity immensely, but we are now inundated with emails, distractions, and even more work. Things are getting more technical (if you’ve ever seen the guts of an iPod or smartphone you’ll know what I mean) and capitalism has created a subtle force, known colloquially as ‘Keeping up with the Joneses,’ that compels us to keep up with the latest trends.

These trends change faster than ever, and we are constantly bombarded with new information that we are expected to understand and absorb almost immediately. The cost of living is more expensive, too, and many couples now both work. Some couples have children and are trying to raise a family, whilst both working. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in all these things that we forget to nurture the real relationships we’ve formed with real people.

One thing that can really help busy couples is to schedule dates or alone time together. It might sound silly and somewhat unromantic to schedule time with your partner, and older generations might scoff at the thought, but as someone who is very busy and always juggling a few balls at once, and dating someone equally as busy, it is something we really benefit from (Friday night is ‘date night’ for us).

As you might hear on an aeroplane, “All electronic devices should be switched off,” meaning shutting laptops and turning off phones/tablets. Mono-tasking is the new multi-tasking. And it’s true that actions speak louder than words: giving your partner your focused attention speaks volumes. As Simone Weil once said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

How do you cope with the stresses of modern life and maintain a healthy relationship with your partner? Do you schedule dates?

In the next post of Part 2: Keep Love, Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts, I discuss relationship maintenance and avoiding relationship ruts that can creep up on us before we know it.