quick love tip: accept your partner

When Hus and I first met, we clicked rather quickly. We just seemed to mesh well together. And, like many relationships, for about a year after beginning to date, I thought that Hus and our relationship were absolutely perfect. We loved everything about one another, we hardly ever fought, and to top it all off, we were one of those mushy couples. You know, the ones you gag at in public? We were one of those couples. Everything was great and no one could have told us differently.
Then, about a year into our courtship, we started to notice all of the little things about one another that we didn’t like, found to be annoying, and could have even been deal-breakers. When we moved in together, they became even more noticeable. Over the years, these irritants have caused many arguments and a good deal of conflict in our relationship. I wanted to change Hus and he wanted to change me. We both wanted one another to mold into these perfect, idealized people. What a mistake. What a HUGE mistake.
It is completely unrealistic to think that anyone is perfect or has the potential to be perfect. It’s additionally impractical to believe that you somehow have the ability to create the perfect partner. Recognizing your partner’s flaws (everyone has them) and accepting your mate for who he or she is (good and bad) is major component of healthy relationships. You cannot change your mate. If by chance the behavior, personality trait, or habit that irks you is beyond your acceptance, you may need to seriously reevaluate your partnership.
When Hus and I finally came to the realization that we could not change one another, we grew closer as a couple. I love him for who he is and he loves me for who I am, regardless of the fact that he is consistently late and I am habitually bossy.

let's talk: 3 strategies used in initial interactions

The initiating stages of any relationship are characterized by information seeking and sending by both individuals. In this stage, people are seeking demographic, attraction, compatibility, and similarity information. Individuals will seek information from their potential romantic partners in the form of question asking, self-disclosure with the intent of gaining reciprocal disclosure, and relaxing the target by creating a comfortable environment for the sharing of information (Berger & Kellermann, 1983).

The first few minutes of an initial interaction are generally filled with questions (Berger & Kellermann, 1983). Specifically, researchers have noted that the first 4-5 minutes of an initial conversation tend to be filled with 10-22 questions (e.g., Berger & Kellermann, 1983; Douglas, 1994). Individuals use this time to get to know each other and to determine if they want to pursue a relationship. Researchers have even noted that this decision can be made in the first minute of a conversation (Afifi & Lucas). While question asking is a very efficient way to seek information from others, some may feel that it is a bit intrusive and aggressive, sometimes making individuals ultimately feel uncomfortable, which could lower the possibilities of relationship development.

Another interaction strategy described by Berger & Kellerman (1983) is self-disclosure, which has been described by many as the primary means by which individuals become acquainted (Dindia & Timmermann, 2003). While self-disclosure is less efficient at seeking information (since it relies heavily on whether the other reciprocates), it seems to help people feel less like they are being interrogated and more like they are involved in an actual conversation. As explained by social penetration (Taylor & Altman, 1987) and communication privacy management (Petronio, 2002) theories, self-disclosure plays a vital role in the initiation and development of close relationships. SPT explains that initial interactions tend to focus on disclosing more superficial information (i.e. hometown, job title, basic hobbies, etc.), and that during these conversations, individuals evaluate the costs and rewards associated with disclosing information about themselves. “The greater the ratio of rewards to costs, the more rapid the penetration process” (Altman & Taylor, 1973, p. 42). Thus, self-disclosure is very important in initial interactions.

A third interaction strategy involves relaxing the other person by creating a comfortable environment where people want to share information (Berger & Kellermann). Individuals may use eye contact, head nods, smiling, or forward body leans to make people feel more comfortable. Like self-disclosure, however, this strategy is not always effective. Individuals may not pick up on these nonverbal cues, feel pressured by the sender of these messages, or not be impacted by this type of communication.

Overall, question-asking seems to be the most efficient form of information-seeking in initial interactions, but self-disclosure and relaxation tactics are also quite useful. Information gathering is likely most successful when a combination of these three strategies is used.

So the next time you're talking to someone new, don't be shy, ask him/her some direct questions to determine if you want to take this relationship to the next step.

  • Altman, I., & Taylor, D. A. (1973). Social penetration: The development of interpersonal relationships. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.
  • Berger, C. R., & Kellerman, K. (1983). To ask or not to ask? Is that a question? In R. N. Bostrom (Ed.), Communication Yearbook 7 (pp. 342-368). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Dindia, K., & Timmermann, L. (2003). Skills for dating, courtship, and romance. In J. O. Greene & B. R. Burleson, Handbook of communication and social interaction skills. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Douglas, W. (1994). The acquaintanceship process: An examination of uncertainty, information seeking, and social attraction during initial conversation. Communication Research, 21, 154-167.
  • Petronio, S. (2002). Boundaries of privacy: Dialectics of disclosure. New York: State University of New York Press.
  • Taylor, D. A., & Altman, I. (1987). Communication in interpersonal relationships: Social penetration processes. In M. E. Rolloff & G. R. Miller (Eds.), Interpersonal processes: New directions in communication research (pp. 257-277). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

a private affair game winner!

After using random.org to determine the winner, one lucky reader was chosen to receive the Private Affair Game! Drumroll please..........................

Brooke is the official winner of the Private Affair game!

Congrats Brooke! All you have to do now is send your name and email address to jenslovelessons@gmail.com by 5 p.m. on July 19 and then I will send you your prize!

Not Brooke? It's okay, there will be more giveaways soon!

giveaway: a private affair game!

Let me begin by saying that I've read a lot of books, perused numerous websites, and encountered many games over the years that all claim to help enhance intimacy and closeness in a relationship, with only a few of them actually achieving this goal (in my opinion). Well, when I was sent this game a few weeks ago, I have to admit that I was a little skeptical at first. But, my opinion of this game changed (for the better!) after Hus and I played it.

This game has it all. It's enticing, enjoyable, and filled with a ton of opportunities for intimate disclosure and playful experiences with your mate. As explained on the game's website, while playing the game, you'll "enjoy a refreshing experience of risque, revealing, heart-warming and encouraging conversation. A Private Affair cards offer an amazing short-cut into deeper and compelling conversation with your beloved."

It's very easy to play with each partner carrying around a few cards at a time and playing the game together by engaging in the activities on the card. The best part is that you can play anywhere; over the phone, in the bedroom, through an email or text message, at dinner, or anywhere else in between!

So that you don't get bored, there are six different types of cards. Specifically, these cards will get you to talk with your partner on an extremely intimate level by asking you to:
  • reveal secrets and disclose details
  • make very specific wishes and detailed requests
  • consider various erotic scenarios and vignettes together
  • share your expert opinion and offer personal definitions
  • respond to romantic and sexual quotes
  • suggest and explore various fantasies together
In the end, you and your partner will feel closer, more connected, and you'll likely even have a better sex life because of this game!

Want more information about the inner-workings of this game? Check out the FAQs section of the game's website by clicking HERE.

This giveaway is for the complete Private Affair Game (a $34.99 value!) with FREE shipping! Don't miss this opportunity to win this amazingly simple, yet extremely effective intimacy-enhancing game for you and your partner.

Here are the giveaway prize details:
  • One Private Affair Game
  • FREE shipping
  • Eligibility: US residents only

Want to win? Here's how to enter (you can enter once or twice):
  1. Become a fan of Jen's Love Lessons on Facebook (Already a fan? Great! Not a member of Facebook? Skip to step 3).
  2. Find the link to THIS GIVEAWAY on my Facebook fan page and make a comment about the giveaway (anything will do).
  3. Go back to this giveaway on Jen's Love Lessons and make a comment about the giveaway (again, anything will do).

All entries (comments on My Facebook Fan Page and on Jen's Love Lessons) will be combined based on time of entry (so technically, if you comment on both, you're increasing your odds of winning). Then, the winner will be chosen using random.org.

You have until FRIDAY July 16, 2010 @ 4:00 p.m. EST to enter. The winner will be posted on the Jen's Love Lessons homepage later that night. The winner will then have until 5:00 p.m. EST on MONDAY July 19 to email me at jenslovelessons@gmail.com with his or her contact information.

*All entries received after the cutoff time will be deleted prior to choosing a winner.

Good Luck!
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