wise love words: being single during a recession ain't so bad after all

While perusing the Internet, I sometimes come across articles that I find to be insightful, intelligent, or fascinating. Then, I bookmark those articles for the "wise love words" section of this blog.
And then other times, I find articles that are just too damn cute. Check out this cute article about the benefits of being single during this tough economy.

Click HERE to read all of my "wise love words" posts

wise love words: be aware of motivations when dating online

There are many reasons why people decide to engage in online dating. Maybe you're too busy to go out on the weekends, maybe you like to learn something about someone before you even talk to them, or maybe you've tried everything else and feel like this is the best option for you. Whatever the reason, the online dating scene has become an extremely popular way to meet new people.

Jeremy Dean, the author of PsycBlog, recently wrote this interesting article about a study conducted which identified a few common motivations that people have when dating online. The moral of the story: "be aware that not everyone's motivations are as pure (or as debased) as your own."

If you liked that article, check out this other article (which is hilarious) about how NOT to approach someone when dating online.

Click HERE to read all of my "wise love words" posts

working through jealousy

Jealousy can easily ruin a great relationship. For instance, the jealous individual can become so preoccupied with these feelings of hurt, mistrust, and fear that he or she is unable to fully commit to a relationship. Or, individuals who have jealous partners can become irritated by the lack of trust and constant hounding that they may encounter. Although some feelings of jealousy are normal in a relationship, when those feelings begin to consume one or both partners, relationship dissolution may be right around the corner.

What are some things you can do to alleviate jealousy in your relationship?
  • Offer assurances to your partner. Remember to tell your partner that you're "in it to win it." Expressing your commitment and love can enhance feelings of togetherness and intimacy in your relationship, reassuring your partner that there is no one else in your life.
  • Build trust. If your partner can trust you, there is a lower chance that your partner will be overly jealous.
  • Boost your partner's ego. One reason why your partner may be jealous is because he or she has low self-esteem. Tell your partner how wonderful he or she is.
  • Last, but certainly not least: talk about it. Sit down and actually talk about your partner's feelings of jealousy. Be open and understanding during this conversation. This is not the time to say things like, "that's ridiculous" or "you're crazy for thinking that." Your partner has these feelings for a reason. Find out what that reason is and discuss solutions to this issue, together. Many times, your partner's jealousy can be alleviated by the two of you changing a few simple behaviors.

Remember that relationships are about give and take. Both of you need to change some of your old ways so that you can effectively adapt to this new life as a couple. You and your partner are on the same team. Working through, instead of against, jealousy can help your relationship grow, and maybe even reduce those feelings of jealousy that you or your partner once had.

managing tension: novelty vs. predictability

Almost every weekend, Hus and I make waffles. We love waffles! And, making them together on a regular basis is a predictable part of our life that we both highly enjoy. He knows that I'll put the waffle maker and other ingredients on the counter and I know that he'll mix the ingredients together. We are both able to predict how the morning will play out. Every once in awhile, however, we'll spice things up by making cinnamon rolls or french toast or sausage and eggs instead of waffles. This novelty tends to keep our Sunday mornings interesting. 

Not surprisingly, many couples struggle to balance the tension between their need for stability and their desire for excitement. This relational tension has been referred to by researchers as the novelty vs. predictability dialectic (Baxter, 1988, 1990; Rawlins, 1992).

When individuals are involved in a developing relationship, there's a lot of comfort that comes with being able to know what's going to happen next (e.g., how your partner will behave and how your relationship will progress). On the other hand, always knowing what's next can become extremely monotonous.

So, what can you do to spice things up? Well, you could change up your routine by going out on a unique date, surprising your partner with a small gift, making something special for your partner, or even spontaneously taking your partner on a vacation. There are a multitude of things that you can do to keep things interesting in your relationship (see the resources below).

What about those relationships that are always unpredictable? Just like highly predictable relationships, extremely exciting relationships may be in trouble as well. Having stability in your life as a couple is very important. How would you feel if you could never figure out how your partner would react to conflict? Or, what if you never knew where your relationship was headed? Being able to predict your partner's behavior and the status of your relationship is a good thing. You want to know that your partner is going to be there through thick and thin.

Whatever you decide to do, working towards having a healthy balance between novelty and predictability will help to maintain your relationship. 

  • Baxter, L. A. (1988). A dialectical perspective on communication strategies in relationship development. In S. Duck (Ed.), Handbook of personal relationships: Theory, research, and interventions (pp. 257- 273). Chichester, England: Wiley.
  • Baxter, L. A. (1990). Dialectical contradictions in relationship development. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 7, 69-88.
  • Rawlins, W. K. (1992). Friendship matters: Communication, dialectics, and the life course. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

For more information about managing this tension, see these other love lesson posts:

wise love words: love drills

I heart Wendy Strgar. She inspires me. Whether she's writing about love, sex, or the trails and tribulations of everyday life, she never ceases to amaze me with her insight, candor, and eloquence. Check out her article on Love Drills; it's great!

Click HERE to read all of my "wise love words" posts

trust is key

It probably comes as no surprise that one of the most important characteristics of true intimacy in any great relationship is trust. We need to trust that our partner will keep our deepest darkest secrets, will always be there for us when we need someone to listen to our problems, will help us pick up the pieces when our world comes crashing down, and will not intentionally screw us over or hurt our feelings.

"As partners develop increased trust in one another, they are likely to become increasingly dependent on one another--that is, they are likely to become increasingly satisfied, increasingly willing to forgo alternatives, and increasingly willing to invest in the relationship" (Rusbult et al., 2001, p. 107). When individuals trust their partners, they feel safe, secure, and content.

So, what affects trust in relationships? Susan Boon (1994) identified four key issues that impact the development of trust, which include dependability, responsiveness, faith, and conflict resolution.

  • Dependable partners are always there for each other when one or both of them are in need. Whether partners are happy or sad, healthy or sick, or rich or poor (sound familiar), dependable partners will be there for each other through thick and thin.
  • Individuals should also be responsive and sensitive to their partners' needs. Responsive partners are willing to sacrifice their own needs for the needs of their partners. Additionally, responsive partners are willing to help their partners achieve their goals, even if that sometimes means that their own goals have to be put on hold.
  • Faithfulness is also important. Faithful partners are in it for the long haul. Not only are faithful partners not going to leave or cheat on each other, but they are also not consumed by the fear that their mates will leave them or that their mates are cheating on them. Furthermore, faithful partners are not jealous of the relationships their mates have with friends of the opposite-sex or of the same-sex.
  • Lastly, couples need to be able to resolve conflicts effectively, which involves being collaborative and constructive. "If partners tend to withdraw from potential conflicts, constantly give in to preserve the peace, of force their goals on each other, trust weakens" (p. 98).

These four characteristics combine to enhance feelings of trust in relationships. So, if you want to work on building or maintaining trust with your mate, you need to be there for your partner whenever he or she needs you, have faith in your relationship and in your mate, be responsive to your partner's needs, and be willing to work towards actually resolving conflict. And, always remember that trust is key to a healthy relationship.

  • Boon, S. D. (1994). Dispelling doubt and uncertainty: Trust in romantic relationships. In S. Duck (Eds.), Dynamics of relationships (pp. 86-111). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Rusbult, C. E., Olson, N., Davis, J. L., & Hannen, P. A. (2001). Commitment and relationship maintenance mechanisms. In J. Harvey & A. Wenzel (Eds.), Close romantic relationships: Maintenance and enhancement. (pp. 87-113). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

To learn more about trust in relationships, see the following resources:
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