for the love of cupcakes

There's no real love lesson here. I was just reading one of my new favorite blogs about cupcakes (I know, it's random; but who doesn't love cupcakes?) and I noticed that they recently had a couple of posts about "heart" cupcakes. I thought it was adorable (and kind of relevant for my love blog? I know it's a stretch, but isn't it a fun stretch?). So I looked for a few more blogs about heart- and love- themed cupcakes. I found this one, and this one, and this one! Not only is it interesting that so many people are blogging about yummy-in-the-tummy cupcakes, but also that they have posts dedicated to love cupcakes. I think it's great that people are making love-themed confections because it probably means that they are sharing them with someone they love. So, maybe there is a small lesson: take a break for the love of cupcakes.

Click HERE to read all of my "quick love tips"

humorous conflict

Have you ever been in the heat of an argument, when your partner suddenly cracked a joke? How did you feel? Did it help or hinder the resolution of your conflict? For me, I think it would depend on a few things: (1) the level of anger I possessed at the time, (2) the strength of my desire to be angry, (3) the severity of the argument, and of course, (4) the hilarity of the joke. In my relationship, I'm usually the one who makes the jokes. So while I haven't experienced this seemingly contradictory event very often, I'm sure that Hus (aka- my husband) has felt both enjoyment and frustration with the random insertions of my jokes during a disagreement.

Recent research by Campbell, Martin, and Ward (2008) investigated how different types of humor used during arguments influence relationship satisfaction and conflict resolution. They looked at four styles of humor, two of which are considered healthy or positive (affiliative and self-enhancing) and two that are considered unhealthy or negative (aggressive and self-defeating) (Martin, Puhlik-Doris, Larsen, Gray, & Weir, 2003).

  • "Affiliative humor involves saying funny things, telling jokes, and engaging in spontaneous witty banter in order to amuse others, to facilitate relationships, and to reduce interpersonal tensions in a way that is affirming of both oneself and others" (Campbell et al., 2008, p. 42).
  • Self-enhancing humor refers to using humor to adjust or change an individual's feelings. People use this type of humor to cope with stress. Individuals will make these jokes or comments during hard times and also during everyday life events.
  • Individuals use aggressive humor to demean or manipulate others. Aggressive humor includes insulting, criticism, sarcasm, teasing, or other form of derogatory humor. Aggressive humor is used to enhance oneself at the expense of others.
  • Self-defeating humor involves doing or saying demeaning things about oneself to amuse others. People who use self-defeating humor often degrade themselves for a laugh and then laugh along with others at their own expense.
Since most previous research has shown that self-enhancing and self-defeating humor has little to no effect on perceptions of relationship satisfaction and also based on the fact that researchers who rated participants in the current study were not able to identify many instances of the two humor styles, Campbell and colleagues (2008) decided to only focus their study on affiliative and aggressive styles of humor.

After 98 couples participated in a three-phase study, the researchers came to many conclusions about the use of humor during conflict:
  • Men used affiliative humor more often than women.
  • Men and women both used aggressive humor to the same extent.
  • People were more satisfied with their relationships when their partners used more affiliative (as opposed to more aggressive) humor during conflicts.
  • People felt a lot closer to their partners after a disagreement when their partners and when they themselves used more affiliative (as opposed to more aggressive) humor during an argument.
  • When people's partners used more affiliative humor during the discussion of conflict, their distress was lowered. Oppositely, an individual's own use of affiliative humor had no effect on their own distress.
  • When individuals used aggressive humor with their partners during conflict, their distress increased, but when people's partners used aggressive humor during the discussion of conflict, there was minimal impact on their own distress.
  • People who had partners who used more affiliative humor during conflict reported that they were more able to resolve their differences, where individuals who used more aggressive humor reported little to no resolution of their conflict.

Although I definitely believe in the power of humor and laughter in close relationships, I'm still not so sure about using it during an argument. Again, for me it would depend on many things. For instance, I think humor would be great in an argument about slacking on daily chores, but it would likely further infuriate me in an argument about infidelity. But, I guess if you're stuck on using humor during a pesky quarrel, you should try jokes that facilitate your relationship or reduce tension and stay away from teasing, insults, and sarcasm. Who knows, maybe humorous conflict is the way to go.

  • Campbell, L., Martin, R. A., & Ward, J. R. (2008). An observational study of humor while resolving conflict in dating couples. Personal Relationships, 15, 41-55.
  • Martin, R. A., Puhlik-Doris, P., Larsen, G., Gray, L., & Weir, K. (2003). Individual differences in uses of humor and their relation to psychological well-being: Development of the Humor Styles Questionnaire. Journal of Research in Personality, 37, 48-75.

book i love: pure romance between the sheets

I absolutely love this book!

Here's the description of the book provided by the author:

Tired of feeling like your sex life has become boring? Frustrated that your sex drive isn't what it used to be? Do you really understand what your body needs to be sexually satisfied?

If you are like most women, figuring out exactly how to spice up your sex life can feel intimidating. Patty Brisben is here to help you learn the secrets behind your body's sexuality and revitalize your intimate relationship with your partner. As the founder of Pure Romance™, the nation's leading in-home party company specializing in romance and relationship enhancement products, Patty has been keeping women's sexual secrets for years. And now she wants to help you. She knows that it can be hard to get accurate, honest, compassionate answers to your most private of questions, but she also knows that if you give up on your sexuality, you're turning your back on an essential part of life.

The first step toward living your best sexual life is learning how to truly tune in to your body's sexual health, its needs, and all the factors that may be inhibiting you from feeling pleasure and sensation. Like no sex educator before, Patty finally offers information that will teach you how to overcome your insecurities, understand your libido, and learn the ins and outs of orgasm.

Once you reconnect with your sexual self, then you can let your partner in on the fun. With Patty's step-by-step guidelines, you can transform your intimate relationship, infusing it with novelty, passion, and pleasure. You will find tips that have helped thousands of women find the right lubricant, introduce a bedroom accessory to their relationship, and expand their notions of orgasm, intercourse, and massage. Using Patty's time-tested techniques, you and your partner will reconnect and reignite your relationship -- forever!

Throughout Pure Romance Between the Sheets, Patty answers questions from real women, covering the full range of common sexual concerns, from the connection between birth control and sex drive to how common medications can impact arousal, and why lubricants and other enhancement products can literally resuscitate sexual desire and pleasure.

Pure Romance Between the Sheets will give you the knowledge and confidence to live the fuller, healthier, and more sexually satisfying life that you deserve.

Click HERE to read about other "books i love"

let's talk about sex, baby

"Sexual communication emerges from a couple's desire to explore and evaluate their own sex life" (Yum & Alicesteen, 2005, p. 6).

From disclosing my sexual history to debating over new birth control options to discussing sexual desires, I've always been comfortable talking about sex. I can easily talk about it with my husband, my mom, and my friends. I think it's important and I'm not shy : )

In addition to my love of talking about sex, there's actually been a lot of research showing that discussing sex with your partner plays an important role in the development and maintenance of your romantic relationship. In fact, people who openly talk about sex with their partners report being more satisfied with their romantic relationships, their sexual relationships, and even report experiencing more pleasure during sex than those who do not openly discuss sex with their partners (see Byers, 2005; Byers & Demmons, 1999; DeLamater & Friedrich, 2002; Haavio-Mannila & Kontula, 1997; MacNeil & Byers, 1997). Specifically, disclosing your sexual likes and dislikes to your partner is positively associated with relationship length, relationship satisfaction, amount of nonsexual self-disclosure, and monogamy (Byers & Demmons, 1999). From preferences about kissing to desires about fulfilling fantasies, telling your partner your sexual likes and dislikes can bring you closer as a couple, improve your sex life, and increase the overall communication that you have with your mate. Despite all of these benefits, however, Americans continue to have a difficult time discussing sex with their significant others (Marble, 1997).

Although research has not yet fully examined how to best disclose sexual likes and dislikes, researchers like myself have begun to theorize about how to engage in this complicated communication task. Below are some guidelines that I've developed during my graduate work.

1. Be direct, but not too direct! You want to explicitly state what your sexual preferences are so that your partner can understand what you want and don't want. Confusion about what you like or dislike could cause the quality of your sex life to decrease. Tell your partner exactly what your preferences are. But, be careful; you don't want to get too direct too early in your relationship. If you're just starting out, directness can also be perceived as negative. While you still want your partner to understand you, you may want to use more indirect strategies. So, instead of saying, "I really like it when you kiss my breast," you may feel more comfortable saying, "I dunno, I think I might like it if you did what they just did," while winking and pointing at the television.

2. Be appropriately risky. Offer risky sexual likes and dislikes at appropriate times. There are two parts to this. First, don't disclose a risky sexual like, such as your sadomasochist preference, on the first date. Wait until your relationship has progressed a bit before telling your partner about something that risky. Second, make sure that your disclosure fits the conversation at hand. You don't want to profess your love of oral sex when the conversation is about baseball. Use your common sense here. Follow the progression of your relationship and the flow of the conversation before disclosing a risky sexual like or dislike.

3. Be clear. Before you communicate your likes and dislikes, focus on what you want and how you want to say it. Using words like "this," "that," "there," or "stuff" are more ambiguous than stating actual sexual behaviors, body parts, or techniques. Try to use clear, descriptive words. This can help your partner understand you and can therefore improve your sex life and your relationship.

4. Be sensitive. Make sure that you are always being considerate of your partner's feelings, wants, and needs. Try to be more person-centered. You can do this by learning your partner's sexual preferences and attitudes about certain behaviors before disclosing your own. Once you know what your partner prefers, you will have a better picture about which disclosures to handle with more care over others. You may need to hedge your disclosure by first acknowledging your partner's feelings about the behavior. This will show your partner that you care about them and their preferences, which is always a good thing.

So, don't be shy. Talk to your partner about your sexual likes and dislikes. You'll be thanking me tomorrow.

  • Byers, E. S. (2005). Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: A longitudinal study of individuals in long-term relationships. Journal of Sex Research, 42, 113-118.
  • Byers, E. S., & Demmons, S. (1999). Sexual satisfaction and self-disclosure within dating relationships. The Journal of Sex Research, 36, 180-189.
  • DeLamater, J., & Friedrich, W. N. (2002). Human sexual development. The Journal of Sex Research, 39, 10-15.
  • Haavio-Mannila, E., & Kontula, O. (1997). Correlates of increased sexual satisfaction. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 26, 399-419.
  • MacNeil, S., & Byers, E. S. (1997). The relationship between sexual problems, communication, and sexual satisfaction. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 6, 277-289.
  • Marble, M. (1997, March 31). Americans find it easier to have sex than to talk about it. Women's Health Weekly, 13-14.
  • Yum, Y.-o, & Alicesteen, R. (2005). The effect of sex and sex talk during pregnancy on relationship satisfaction. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, New York, NY, 1-30.

monday morning survey: money ethic scale

Financial difficulties have long been identified as one of the leading causes for divorce in America. A lot of couples never talk about money before they get married. Later, all hell brakes lose when they find out their partners' real salary or how much debt they've suddenly acquired because of their mates' bad spending habits. Before tying the knot, you should openly discuss any debts you both have, the values each of you place on money, your spending and saving habits, your salaries, and your plans for sharing money. Dr. Thomas Li-Ping Tang (1995) created the Money Ethic Scale to help people identify their attitudes towards money. YOU can find out YOUR money ethic by taking the survey below (of course, you should have your partner take it too).

Money Ethic Scale

Get out a piece of paper. Number that piece of paper from 1 to 30. Rate each of the following statements based on the degree to which you agree or disagree with it, using the following scale:

1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = neutral
4 = agree
5 = strongly agree

1. Money is an important factor in the lives of all of us.
2. Money is good.
3. Money is important.
4. I value money very highly.
5. Money is valuable.
6. Money does not grow on trees.
7. Money can buy you luxuries.
8. Money is attractive.
9. I think that it is very important to save money.
10. Money is the root of all evil.
11. Money is evil.
12. Money spent is money lost (wasted).
13. Money is shameful.
14. Money is useless.
15. A penny saved is a penny earned.
16. Money represents one's achievement.
17. Money is the most important thing (goal) in my life.
18. Money is a symbol of success.
19. Money cn buy everything.
20. Money makes people respect you in the community.
21. Money is honorable.
22. Money will help you express your competence and abilities.
23. Money can bring you many friends.
24. I use my money very carefully.
25. I budget my money very well.
26. I pay my bills immediately in order to avoid interest or penalties.
27. Money gives you autonomy (independence) and freedom.
28. Money in the bank is a sign of security.
29. Money can give you the opportunity to be what you want to be.
30. Money means power.

Now, add up your scores for each group of numbers below. Higher scores indicate higher levels of that money ethic.

Money is Good- Add numbers for items #1-9
Money is Evil- Add number for items #10-15
Achievement- Add numbers for items #16-19
Money Brings Respect- Add numbers for items #20-23
Budget- Add numbers for items #24-26
Money Brings Freedom/Power- Add numbers for items #27-30

Your attitudes towards money lie in the dimension(s) where you have the highest scores.

When it comes to this scale, your relationship is better off if you and your partner share similar ideas about money. Usually, you will have less financial trouble and you will experience less financial arguing if this is true. However, there are definitely similar combinations that do not work out so well. For instance, couples who both score high on the Achievement dimension and the Money Brings Respect dimension with low scores on the Budget dimension are usually going to have financial problems, and therefore, will also argue about it frequently. Anytime that one or both people in a relationship score very high on the Achievement and Money Brings Respect dimensions, there are bound to be problems. It's very important to have at least one person who scores moderately high on the Budget dimension.

If you and your partner have very different scores, don't fret. All is not lost. Tang's (1995) research has shown that most people change their views on money as they get older. Additionally, remember that good relationships and great marriages are based on your ability to compromise and problem-solve. If you and your partner frequently argue about money, taking this survey might help you begin to understand why you have different views. Talk about your differences and maybe you can come to a few compromises about how money should be valued.

  • Janda, L. (1996). Love and sex tests: 24 revealing love, sex, ad relationship tests developed by psychologists. Holbrook, MA: Adams Media Corporation.
  • Tang, T. L-P. (1995). The development of a short money ethic scale: Attitudes toward money and pay satisfaction revisited. Personality and Individual Differences, 19, 809-816.

Click HERE to take another one of my "monday morning surveys."

quick love tip: give a massage

Get out the candles, turn the lights down, play some soft music, and get ready rub hot oils all over your lover. Not only does massage have the ability to lower anxiety, alleviate pain, relax muscles, and increase joint mobility, but romantic, sensual massage can also increase intimacy and feelings of love and trust between two lovers. So, make a sexy playlist on your iPod and give your partner a massage this weekend!

There are many ways you can learn about how to give a perfect romantic massage. For instance, you could watch a video about it or follow these five steps.

Click HERE to read all of my "quick love tips"

quick love tip: write a poem

Take 10-20 minutes out of your day and write a quick poem for the one you love. It can be serious, sappy, romantic, or even funny. It doesn't matter how long it is, just write how you feel. I know this sounds a bit cheesy, but I've written many little love poems for my soulmate over the last 8 years. He loves the poems and I love him. It's nice to look at them now and remember how I felt when I wrote them.

Here are two websites that can help you in this process:

Click HERE to read all of my "quick love tips"

smart chocolate

Earlier today, like many days, I was eating chocolate. Not just any chocolate. Today, I was eating these little bits of delicious dark chocolate heaven. My best friend Rachel turned me on to dark chocolate a few years ago and now I can't live without it. Seriously, anyone who knows me, knows that this is totally true. I could eat these amazing chocolate miracles all day long. 

Well anyways, each individually wrapped piece has a *Promise Message* written inside. Basically, the messages either encourage, entertain, or enlighten. They're a bit like those mass-produced fortune cookies that don't actually tell your fortune. Instead, they just provide you with some wise words or your lucky numbers. You know what I'm talking about.

So, the first of many pieces that I ate today read, "A family that laughs together stays together." What smart chocolate! As you know, I couldn't agree more

just a little small talk

Last week, I was at a store waiting in an absurdly long line. The woman in front of me turned around and said, "Wow, this is going to take forever!" To which I responded, "I know, right? Why don't they open up another lane? This is just ridiculous." Then, the woman procedded to compliment me on my shirt. I said thank you and asked her where she got her shoes. Yadda yadda yadda. To make a long story short, we ended up talking for the entire time we were in line, which was about 35 minutes! Once she got close to the end of the line, she asked me if I wanted to join her for lunch. I said yes and off we went.

We walked down the street to this little cafe and grabbed a table. We ate, we talked, and we laughed. We just seemed to click. We were both good at small talk and self-disclosure, so it wasn't difficult to keep the conversation going. By the end of our lunch, I knew a lot about this woman. I knew that she is originally from Fairfax, VA (which happens to be very close to my hometown of Adelphi, MD), works in marketing, likes watching trashy reality shows (you know, like this one), is married to a fireman, has a dog named Bob, and among many other things, buys a lot of her shoes from DSW. The conversation was great. We exchanged emails and are planning to hang out again soon. Who knew that I could make a new friend by talking to a stranger in an absurdly long line? Well, researchers have known this for quite some time.

According to Kellerman (1991), "conversation is one of the most basic and fundamental means that persons use to become acquainted" (p. 385). Additionally, Dindia & Timmerman (2003) claim that "the ability to engage in small talk is a necessary interaction skill" (p. 692). Small talk is used to initiate and sustain interaction with others. Sometimes we start small talk with the hopes of actually starting a relationship with someone else, while other times, we just want to talk to someone while we are doing something that's boring, like sitting in a doctor's waiting room. Whether we're talking to a stranger about the latest Britney Spears fiasco or the disappointing Redskins game the night before, small talk allows us to get to know people and possibly form friendships, or even romances, with them.

Effective small talk about superficial things (like Britney and the Redskins) can springboard the conversation into more personal questions about your hometown, profession, hobbies, and the like. Disclosing information about yourself is another great way to start and maintain a relationship. However, there are guidelines for self-disclosing (Trenholm & Jensen, 2008):

1. Make sure that disclosures are appropriate to the topic at hand and fit the flow of the conversation. You want to reduce anxiety in initial interactions, not cause it. If your conversation partner is talking about where he or she is from, you probably shouldn't bring up how you broke your foot last year. It doesn't fit or connect with what your partner was talking about. It'll just make the conversation awkward.

2. Begin with safe, nonrisky disclosures. Don't begin a conversation by disclosing that you were in jail for grand theft auto when you were 20 or that you like going to swinger's clubs. Save this information for later. Instead, start off by disclosing where you're from, where you went to school, or what your hobbies are.

3. Disclose in small doses. There are two parts to this guideline. First, don't disclose everything about yourself all at once. Like I said earlier, save some stuff for later. Second, don't monopolize the conversation. Let the other person disclose some information about him/herself too.

4. Match the level and amount of the other's disclosure. Again, you don't want to create an awkward situation by disclosing something very personal about yourself when the conversation is not headed in that direction. For instance, if your conversation partner is talking about his or her hometown, it would be appropriate for the conversation to logically move to how many siblings you have because these two topics are at about the same level of intimateness. However, for most people, it would not be appropriate for the conversation about hometowns to shift towards talking about religious beliefs. In the same respect, you should try to match the other person's amount of self-disclosure. For instance, it would be inappropriate for you to disclose for 10 minutes when your partner has only disclosed for 2 or 3.

5. Remember that style of disclosure is as important as substance. Be conscious of your nonverbal behaviors.

6. Reserve your most important disclosures for significant, ongoing relationships. Don't just tell anyone that you like to watch porn every Tuesday night. You might want to save that one for someone you feel really close to.

My advice: talk to people, make friends, and who knows, you might just find your one true love with just a little small talk.

  • Dindia, K., & Timmerman, L. (2003). Accomplishing romantic relationships. In J. O. Green & B. R. Burleson (Eds.), Handbook of communication and social interaction skills (pp. 685-721). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Kellerman, K. (1991). The conversation MOP II. Progression through scenes in discourse. Human Communication Research, 17, 385-414.
  • Trenholm, S., & Jensen, A. (2008). Interpersonal communication. New York: Oxford University Press.
For more information about how small talk and self-disclosure can initiate relationships, see the following resources:

quick love tip: surprise your partner

Click HERE to read all of my "quick love tips"

I don't know about you, but I love surprises! Big ones, small ones, shocking ones, and even the ones that I find out about. I love them all. Surprise the one you love by doing something out of the ordinary. For instance, you could make your partner's favorite meal (especially if making dinner is not usually your forte), take off one afternoon when your partner doesn't work to spend time together, take the kids to a babysitter and rent a movie at home for just the two of you, go for a drive, park somewhere, and make out in the back seat, or pick a flower from your garden and give it to your partner. Just yesterday, my husband bought one of my favorite candy bars and surprised me with it. Big or small, anything you decide to do shows your loved ones that you were thinking of them, and that's always a good thing.

monday morning survey: what's your love style?

For many of us, love is like oxygen. We can't live without it. We crave the feeling of love and we want others to feel it as well. I've always said that if I could experience half of the love that my parents did, I would be happy. But, I never thought about what type of love I wanted.

Researchers have long examined the concept of love. Love is an important predictor of happiness, satisfaction, and positive emotions in our lives (Anderson, 1977; Diener & Lucas, 2000; Myers, 1992). Over the years, there are have been many different conceptualizations of love. In particular, Lee (1973; 1988) identified six types of love: pragma, ludus, storge, agape, mania, and eros. I know what you're thinking; what the hell is up with these names? Well, many of these are Greek translations of the word love.

YOU can find out YOUR love style by completing the survey below called the Love Attitudes Scale, which was created by Hendrick and Hendrick in 1986.
Love Attitudes Scale
Get out a piece of paper. Number that piece of paper from 1 to 42. For each of the 42 statements, write down the number that most nearly describes your attitudes or beliefs. Some of the items refer to a specific love relationship, while others refer to general attitudes and beliefs about love. Whenever possible, answer the questions with your current partner in mind. If you are not currently dating, answer the questions with your most recent partner in mind. If you have never been in love or in a relationship before, answer in terms of what you think your responses would most likely be.

Rate each item on a scale of 1 to 5:
1 = strongly disagree
2 = disagree
3 = neutral
4 = agree
5 = strongly agree

1. My partner and I were attracted to each other immediately after we first met.
2. I try to keep my lover a little uncertain about my commitment to him/her.
3. It is hard to say exactly where friendship ends and love begins.
4. I consider what a person is doing to become in life before I commit myself to him/her.
5. When things aren't right with my lover and me, my stomach gets upset.
6. I try to always help my lover through difficult times.
7. My partner and I have the right physical "chemistry" between us.
8. I believe that what my lover doesn't know about me won't hurt him/her.
9. Genuine love first requires caring for a while.
10. I try to plan my life carefully before choosing a lover.
11. When my love affairs break up, I get depressed.
12. I would rather suffer myself than let my lover suffer.
13. Our lovemaking is very intense and satisfying.
14. I have sometimes had to keep two of my lovers from finding out about each other.
15. I expect to always be friends with the one I love.
16. It is best to love someone with a similar background.
17. Sometimes I get so excited about being in love that I can't sleep.
18. I cannot be happy unless I place my lover's happiness before my own.
19. I feel that my lover and I were meant for each other.
20. I can get over love affairs pretty easily and quickly.
21. The best kind of love grows out of a long friendship.
22. A main consideration in choosing a lover is how he/she reflects on my family.
23. When my lover doesn't pay attention to me, I feel sick all over.
24. I am usually willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let my lover achieve his/hers.
25. My partner and I became emotionally involved rather quickly.
26. My partner would get upset if he/she knew some of the things I've done with other people.
27. Our friendship merged gradually into love over time.
28. An important factor in choosing a partner is whether or not he/she will be a good parent.
29. When I am in love, I have trouble concentrating.
30. Whatever I own is my lover's to use as he/she chooses.
31. My partner and I really understand each other.
32. When my lover gets too dependent on me, I want to back off a little.
33. Love is really a deep friendship not a mysterious, mystical emotion.
34. One consideration in choosing a partner is how he/she will reflect on my career.
35. I cannot relax if I suspect that my lover is with someone else.
36. When my lover gets angry with me, I still love him/her fully and unconditionally.
37. My partner fits my ideal standards of physical beauty/handsomeness.
38. I enjoy playing the "game of love" with a number of different partners.
39. My most satisfying love relationships have been developed from good friendships.
40. Before getting very involved with anyone, I try to figure out how compatible his/her hereditary background is with mine in case we ever have children.
41. If my lover ignores me for a while, I do stupid things to get his/her attention back.
42. I would endure all things for the sake of my lover.

Now, add up your scores for each group of numbers below. Higher scores indicate higher levels of that love style.

Pragma- Add numbers for items: 4, 10, 16, 22, 28, 34, & 40
Eros- Add numbers for items: 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 31, & 37
Ludus- Add numbers for items: 2, 8, 14, 20, 26, 32, & 38
Storge- Add numbers for items: 3, 9, 15, 21, 27, 33, & 39
Mania- Add numbers for items: 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, 35, & 41
Agape- Add numbers for items: 6, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36, & 42

It's okay if you don't have one clear winning love style. Many individuals have a combination of 2-3 love styles.

So, what does your love style mean?
Individuals w/ a pragma love style...
1. are practical-minded
2. seek compatibility in social and personal qualities
3. objectively search for certain qualities they want in a mate
4. are cautious about commitment
5. want to know someone well before becoming intimate
6. feel that seeking an optimal match is the only logical way to find a mate
7. do not value physical attraction as much as other attributes

Individuals w/ an eros love style...
1. feel intense, passionate emotions about their mates
2. usually have a strong commitment to their relationship
3. believe in love at first sight
4. want intimacy, including sexual intimacy, early on in a relationship
5. are very affectionate
6. feel secure when they are in love
7. are not usually obsessive or jealous
8. communicate openly
9. value physical attraction

Individuals w/ a ludus love style...
1. crave the "game" of love
2. like variety in their partners
3. have no problem dating more than one person at a time
4. believe you can love more than one person at any given time
5. are not very emotional
6. don't usually involve themselves in serious relationships
7. avoid commitment
8. can be manipulative and views as deception as acceptable

Individuals w/ a storge love style...
1. enjoy a dependable, down-to-earth love with others
2. value friendship and stability
3. believe that love is an extension of friendship
4. are intimate, sharing activities and common interests
5. do not value physical attraction
6. like to feel comfortable in a relationship
7. are not involved in emotionally charged relationships
8. can keep couples involved in a relationship when eros dies down

Individuals w/ a mania love style...
1. are obsessive and jealous
2. are very emotional
3. are insecure about their relationships
4. desire intimacy quickly
5. are preoccupied by their fear of rejection or abandonment
6. like spending too much time with their lovers
7. are often described as being "in love with love"
8. require a great deal of affection
9. are often in relationships with incompatible others because f their desire to be in love

Individuals w/ an agape love style...
1. are often referred to as individuals with selfless or altruistic love
2. believes in giving love because everyone is deserving of it
3. love others without expecting anything in return
4. do not have any physical attraction requirements
5. are usually non-demanding, very forgiving, and supportive
6. believe in honesty in relationships
7. are not highly emotional

Among college students, the most desired love styles are storge and agape, and the least desired love style is ludus (Hahn & Blass, 1997). Furthermore, most individuals prefer, and are happier with, a partner with the same love style(s) as themselves (Davis & Latty-Mann, 1987; Hahn & Blass, 1997). Similar love styles is an important predictor of satisfying, long-term relationships. So, test your significant other too!

  • Anderson, M. R. (1977). A study of the relationship between life satisfaction and self-control, locus of control, satisfaction with primary relationships, and work satisfaction (Doctoral dissertation, Michigan State University, 1977). Dissertation Abstracts International, 38, 26389A, (University Microfilm No. 77-25, 214).
  • Davis, K. E., & Latty-Mann, H. (1987). Love styles and relationship quality: A contribution to validation. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 4, 409-428.
  • Diener, E., & Lucas, R. (2000). Subjective emotional well-being. In M. Lewis & J. M. Haviland-Jones (Eds.), Handbook of emotions (2nd ed.). New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Hahn, J., & Blass, T. (1997). Dating partner preferences: A function of similarity of love styles. Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 12, 595-610.
  • Hendrick, C., & Hendrick, S. (1986). A theory and method of love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50, 392-402.
  • Lee, J. A. (1973). The colors of love: An exploration of the ways of loving. Don Mills, Ontario: New Press. (Popular Edition, 1976).
  • Lee, J. A. (1988). Love-styles. In R. J. Sternberg & M. L. Barnes (Eds.), The psychology of love (pp. 38-67). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
  • Myers, D. G. (1992). The pursuit of happiness: Who is happy and why? New York: William Morrow & Company.
For more information about Lee's six love styles, see the following resources:

Click HERE to take another one of my "monday morning surveys."

quick love tip: just say it

If you feel it, then say it. Tell your partner that you love him/ her everyday. The real tip, however, is to spice it up by saying it in unique ways. You could call them while at work, write it on the sidewalk, send an email, leave a note on their car, text your love message, spell it out on a cake, tell them when they least expect it, put a note in their lunch, or even say it in person. Any way that you decide to do it, you will make your partner feel appreciated, significant, and loved by telling them every single day.

Click HERE to read all of my "quick love tips"

i want your relationship advice

Everyone has given it and everyone has received it. Sometimes it's good, while other times it's really bad. I'm talking about relationship advice. Whether you've been told not to kiss on the first date or that "love at first sight" relationships are the most passionate, we've all heard relationship advice before. Even though a lot of common relationship advice has been supported or unsupported by research, nobody knows about it.

I want you to share with me the good, the bad, and the ugly. What advice have you heard? What's the best or worst advice that you've ever given or received? Do you think this advice is helpful or harmful? I want to know it all.

So, how can you share your relationship advice with me? Just leave a comment on this post. You can let me know who you are or you can post anonymously. Either way, I want to hear your relationship advice. Your advice may be featured on my blog, along with research to back it up of course. 

Never posted on a blog before? Don't be shy. Just click the "comment" button below this post, choose an identity (i.e. google account, anonymous, etc.), and send me your advice. I can't wait to hear from you!

actually being supportive

Imagine this scenario: It's Friday night and you have big plans. You're getting ready at home, when your friend calls to say that she just broke up with her boyfriend and she's on her way over. When your friend arrives at your house, you can tell that she has been crying a lot. You say, "Tell me what happened." Your friend begins to sob while she tells you all about the breakup. She says that last week she found out that her boyfriend of 2 years had a one-night stand with a stranger and that she broke up with him during an argument tonight. How do you comfort your devastated friend?

Before I went to graduate school, my answer to that question would be something like, "I can't believe this happened to you! What a #%$@ jerk! I know it sucks now, but you're so much better than him. You can get through this. He is not worth your tears." After reading some social support research, however, I quickly learned that this is a horrible way to comfort someone. Unfortunately, I gave advice like this to many people before I learned how to actually be supportive.

As explained in a considerably large body of research, one of the best ways to be supportive is to make your messages person-centered. Person-centeredness refers to the extent to which messages "explicitly acknowledge, elaborate, legitimize, and contextualize the feelings and perspective of a distressed other" (Burleson, 1994). Individuals who are providing support to another person should try to make their messages high in person-centeredness. Below are some steps to creating person-centered support (Burleson, 2003):

1. Motivate the distressed person to tell and retell his or her story.
2. Ask questions about the problem so that the distressed person can elaborate.
3. Be actively engaged in the conversation. Use vocal verifiers like "uh-hu" and "yeah." Also, maintain eye contact, smile, and nod your head to show understanding.
4. Encourage the expression of thoughts and feelings that they experienced during and after the situation being described.
5. Legitimize the distressed person's thoughts and feelings-- "It's okay to cry." "It's totally normal to feel the way you do." "It's okay to be angry, sad, etc."
6. Reinforce their feelings and emotions-- "I totally understand why you would feel that way."
7. Let them know that you understand why they feel that way-- "I would feel the same way if this happened to me."

There are also many things that you should AVOID when providing support.
1. DO NOT discuss your own experiences-- "I understand. I felt this way when this happened to me last year."
2. DO NOT evaluate the other person, his or her feelings, or the other people involved in the situation--"You're
so much better than him."
3. DO NOT ignore the person's feelings by trying to help them look at the bright side-- "Well, at least you have great friends!"
4. DO NOT tell the person what they should do or how they should feel-- "Quit crying. He's not worth your tears."
5. DO NOT distract the person's attention from their feelings-- "Let's forget about this and go out for a beer."

So, anytime that anyone you love is feeling sad, lonely, or depressed, make sure that you listen to their story, encourage them to elaborate, validate their feelings, and whatever you do, don't call their boyfriend a @!#$% jerk!

  • Burleson, B. R. (1994). Comforting messages: Features, functions, and outcomes. In J. A. Daly & J. M. Wiemann (Eds.), Strategic interpersonal communication (pp. 135-161). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
  • Burleson, B. R. (2003). Emotional support skill. In J. O. Greene & B. R. Burleson (Eds.),Handbook of communication and social interaction skills (pp. 551-594). Mahwah, N: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

For more information about providing support, see the following research articles and books:
  • Burleson, B. R. (1985). The production of comforting messages: Social-cognitive foundations. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 4, 253-273.
  • Burleson, B. R. (1990). Comforting as everyday social support: Relational consequences of supportive behaviors. In S. Duck (Ed.), Personal relationships and social support (pp. 66-82). London: Sage.
  • Burleson, B. R., & Planalp, S. (2000). Producing emotion(al) messages. Communication Theory, 10, 221-250.

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