should i stay or should i go?: three tasks to complete when you're at a crossroad in your relationship



Many times, people get to a crossroad in their relationship. They get to that point where things aren't great anymore and sometimes, they're down-right bad. Once a couple realizes that they have reached this point, they have to make some tough decisions. Why has our relationship taken a turn for the worse? Can I deal with the causes of our dissatisfaction? Are these problems fixable? Are we motivated to do the work? Is this relationship worth saving? Should I stay or should I go?

If you've been at this place (or if you're currently living there), these questions have likely crossed your mind 1, 2, or a gazillion times. And, you have likely become overwhelmed by them. These are tough choices to make. Maybe you don't want to think about this stuff or maybe you've just become so used to the way things are that you don't want to do anything. Well, before you decide to throw in the towel, try these three ideas.



Step One: Figure It Out
Sit down and determine what's really going on. Why is your relationship status in limbo? What has your partner done? What have YOU done? Why do you think the two of you have behaved in this manner? Write these things down. Make this list include very specific things that have been bothering you about your partner and your relationship. Write about things that your mate has done in your relationship and how he or she has made YOU feel. Then take a few minutes to categorize these behaviors by answering the following sentence for each offense: "In the grand scheme of things, that was ___________________." Were the behaviors in question specific or general, significant or trivial, important or unimportant, hurtful or annoying? Lastly, figure out if you would ever be able to forgive and forget (i.e. get over) these actions if your mate sincerely apologized for them.


Step Two: Make a Love List
Make a list of reasons why you love your partner. Think about why you started dating, what he or she has done in the past to make you happy, and maybe most importantly, what he or she still does to make you happy. Why were you initially drawn to your mate? Maybe you love your partner because he or she has some admirable personality traits or because your mate does things for you or because your partner is smokin' hot; I mean, has a great smile. Whatever the reason, write it down. Sometimes, thinking about why you liked your relationship in the beginning stages can help rekindle some of those feelings and maybe help you appreciate your partner now.


Step Three: Create an "If" List
Create a "I would absolutely love our relationship if" list. Write down things that you would like to see change. Write down some specific "directions." Make a set of directions for your partner AND a set of directions for yourself. For example, "I would really like to hear that you love me more often," "I need to work on complimenting you," "I wish that you would put me first and actually want to hang out with me," "I want to love you unconditionally and for you to do the same for me," "I want to hold you at night and know that no one else is on your mind" are great projections for the future of your relationship. Remember that it's not just your partner who needs to change- you likely need to change as well. Just as it takes two to tango, it also takes two to fix a broken relationship.


Once you have created these lists, share them with your partner. Tell him/her that you'd like to talk about some things. Set aside an hour or two to talk; with no distractions. Tell your mate that you created a few lists that you'd like to share. Tell your mate that you'd like to read the lists without any interruptions and that you'd like him/her to really listen to what you have to say. Share your lists and then talk about them together. Ask your partner how he or she would complete some of the sentences that you completed. What would be on your mate's "love list"? Also, talk about what each of you can do to fix things. And, if you think that your relationship is not fixable, calmly discuss where your relationship will go next.

I can't promise you that this conversation will save your relationship, but it might at least give you an idea about where you want to go with it. You may decide to stay together or break up . In the end, it's really up to you and your partner.

a sunday kind of love: finding someone who will last past saturday night




We've all been able to relate to Etta James in her song "Sunday Kind of Love" at some point in our lives. I'm sure that you've all felt felt like you "can't seem to find someone to care" or like you've been on the "lonely road that leads to nowhere." You've probably also felt like your search for that special someone was all-consuming at times, where you did your "Sunday dreaming and all your Sunday scheming every minute of every hour of every day." The truth is: we all want a love to last past Saturday night; a Sunday kind of love.

As humans, we have an innate desire to pair up with another person. And there are many ideas out there about why we want to do this. Evolutionary theory is one of those ideas.

Evolutionary theory (Buss, 1994) argues that individuals have an innate desire to reproduce so that their genes can be passed down to a new generation. In other words, we want to find a partner so that we can have children. The theory also contends that men and women attempt to achieve this goal very differently. Men, according to evolutionary theory, maximize their chances of passing down their genes by mating with multiple women (the more women men mate with, the higher their chances are of creating offspring). Women, on the other hand, are more successful at passing down their genes when they can attach to one male who can provide resources and protection for them. Although this is a rather sexist way to view how men and women look for mates, it's definitely something to think about. This may be ONE reason why some women obsess over finding a husband. Their desire to pass down their genes is so strong that they search and search and search for that perfect someone.

Unfortunately, this obsession can cause a few problems. From drastically changing who you are to make a bad relationship work to settling with someone who you know is not right for you to making excuses for your potential husband's behavior so that you can make others believe that he's "the one," sometimes our obsession with finding a lifetime partner can cause us to make bad relationship decisions. On the other hand, this obsession can also cause women to be so picky that they never find their ideal mate.

Recently, I was talking with a few of my favorite ladies about this exact subject. How can we know when we've found the best match for us? What are some things to look out for when searching for a life partner? What makes a good husband? Below is the insightful, practical, and sometimes funny list that my girlfriends and I came up with (Thanks girls!).


A man is husband material if he...
  • ... respects you.
  • ... accepts you for who you are and does not want you to change.
  • ... wears the shirt you bought him, even when he doesn't really like it.
  • ... let's you pick the movie and restaurant.
  • ... is willing to take multiple pictures so that you can be happy with one.
  • ... calls to make sure you're okay when you're a little late getting off work.
  • ... loves your family.
  • ... starts your car for you in the morning to warm it up.
  • ... does your laundry, even unfolding your filthy socks.
  • ... kills the spiders.
  • ... can happily sit through a "Twilight" conversation with a crazy family member at Thanksgiving.
  • ... is on your team.
  • ... loves your meatloaf.
  • ... puts you and your relationship first in his life.
  • ... gives you the remote when the movie gets too scary.
  • ... actually wants to spend time with you.
  • ... goes to functions that are important to you even if he doesn't want to.
  • ... supports you in your decisions, even if he doesn't think they're the best ideas you've ever had.
  • ... drives you all the way from Boston to D.C. after you freaked out when the man over the loudspeaker said, "we will board the plane after the rain water is cleaned from inside the cabin."
  • ... calls you before he makes any big (or small) decisions.
  • ... always eats the drumsticks because he knows how much you love the wings.
  • ... listens to you- about anything.
  • ... laughs with you and not at you.
  • ... does the dishes; or any household chore for that matter.
  • ... wants what you want out of life.
  • ... is patient.
  • ... is honest.
  • ... loves the hell out of you.
  • ... talks about his love for you to other people.

What do you think is important for a Sunday kind of love?



Reference
  • Buss, D. M. (1994). The evolution of desire: Strategies of human mating. New York: Basic Books.


wise love words: acceptance vs. change

Lately, I've been really busy finishing up my dissertation (I know, it's exciting!). This has subsequently caused me to not have much time for blogging. But I have been reading a lot of research about relationships (as per "finishing up my dissertation"). Yesterday, while searching for some research on gender communication, I came accross a brief snipet in a book entitled "Exploring Gender Speak: Personal Effectiveness in Gender Communication" by Diana Ivy and Phil Backlund  that struck me. You see, I've been wanting to do a series of posts about "dealing with change" over the last few months, but I just can't seem to find the time. These few paragraphs reminded me about this back burner goal of mine. I thought I'd start off this series of posts by giving you those wise love words by Ivy and Backlund:


Consider this stereotypical belief in romantic relationships, "I can change this person. I know he/she has faults, but I can fix those faults." This is such a part of relational folklore that, even though your friends will warn you that you can't change a person, deep down inside you might be saying, "I'll be the exception; I'll be the one to do it." Family communication expert Kathleen Galvin (1993) describes this phenomenon in relation to the early stages of marriage. She contends that "in the beginning, couples frequently make allowances for behavior that isn't quite acceptable because new spouses focus on what they are getting, and differences seem enhancing. Later, differences become annoying and call out for resolution" (p. 95).

How do you feel when you know another person wants to change you or change your relationship? The tendency is to resist the person's attempt or to view it as one person's power play designed to exert control over another. Consider an example. Anthony and Amy are in the middle of the powerful, exhilarating emotions that exist in a romantic relationship. But the intense romantic feelings subsided for a bit for Amy before they did for Anthony. She didn't care for Anthony any less, but she just wasn't so caught up in the "emotional rush." Anthony was really bothered by this change in Amy; he tried several ways to recreate the initial level of feeling. Amy didn't want to and really couldn't change her feelings. The more Anthony pushed to get things back to the way they had been, the more Amy resisted; she soon began to resent Anthony's pressure. It wasn't until Anthony stopped putting on the pressure and relaxed enough to accept the change in Amy that Amy regained some of her positive feelings about the relationship. They didn't return to the early phase, but they did attain a new level of closeness.

The importance of acceptance in this type of relationship cannot be overemphasized. Having complete confidence in another person is a great feeling, and it's quite disconcerting when your confidence in the other person is lacking. One of life's paradoxes is that real change in people seems to be possible only when a person feels completely secure and accepted in a relationship. It seems that each of us wants to be accepted for who we are. It is within that acceptance that we can change to please ourselves and improve the relationship.

play pack WINNER!


After using random.org to determine the winner, one lucky reader was chosen to receive the Play Pack from Good Clean Love! Drumroll please..........................


Untypically Jia is the official winner!


Congrats Untypically Jia! Your prize will be on it's way soon! Not Untypically Jia? It's okay, there will be more giveaways ! Stay tuned...

valentine's package WINNER!!

After using random.org to determine the winner, one lucky reader was chosen to receive the Valentine's Package from RomanticMarriages.com! Drumroll please..........................

Flygirl165@juno.com is the official winner!


Congrats Flygirl165! Your prize is on it's way!

Not Flygirl165? It's okay, there will be more giveaways ! Stay tuned...

giveaway: play pack from Good Clean Love!

When Good Clean Love contacted me about doing a giveaway on my blog, I was ecstatic! Hus and I have used her products, which are ALL NATURAL, for the last few years now and are absolutely in love with them. 

As her website explains, Wendy Strgar's "business offers all natural love products that will enhance your ability to enjoy the passionate side of life and educational resources to provide the insight to see your relationships with new and loving eyes." From personal lubricants to edible body candy to books to love oils, Good Clean Love has it all!

Let's talk about what you can win:


For this giveaway, you will win a Play Pack (pictured above and valued at $10) which includes 3 one-ounce packs of Good Clean Love lubricant. Specifically, you'll get Almost Naked, Lavender Rose, and Cinnamon Vanilla. As stated on the website, "Good Clean Love organic personal lubricants mimic the body’s natural female lubrication and responds with increased glide. No parabens or petrochemicals. Organic and natural ingredients, all of our lubricants are made with aloe vera, xanthan gum and agar (seaweed) to create a smooth and long lasting glide."

From personal experience (TMI?), these products are awesome! To read more about Good Clean Love, click HERE and to read more about this specific Play Pack, click HERE. Also, to become a fan of Good Clean Love on Facebook, click HERE.



Want to win? Here's how to enter:

You can enter in two ways.

First, you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post on Jen's Love Lessons. Just click on the "Tell me what you think" or "Post a comment" link at the bottom of this post and instead of having you write about why you need these products or what you would do with these products, just leave your first name and email address in the comment.

Second, you could leave a comment (or just click the "like" button) under the link to this post on my Facebook fan page.

All entries (comments on Facebook 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 THURSDAY February 10, 2010 @ 2:00 p.m. EST to enter. The winner will be posted on the Jen's Love Lessons homepage that night and I will send you a personal email (via facebook or otherwise) as well. Good Clean Love will then mail out your Play Pack.




Good luck!!!


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

giveaway: valentine's package from RomanticMarriages.com!

Valentine’s day is just around the corner. If you’re starting to think about what to get your hubby - look no further. I came across a great site called RomanticMarriages.com. They make it easy to have an unforgettable date night with your spouse on Valentine's Day or anytime. I liked their Valentine dates so much I’ve hooked up with them to do a Jen's Love Lessons Valentine Giveaway Package.


Here is what you will win:

1. A Ten Month Membership to the Loving Wives Club, which includes 10 months of digital hot date kits – each kit comes with a date night card, thematic ideas and printables (worth $29.99)

2. An “Opposites Attract” Valentine’s Date Kit (worth $7.99)


3. A Prince of Persian Passion Hot Date Kit for Three Nights of Fun and Frolic. Perfect for your husband’s birthday or anniversary (worth $15.99)


The total value of the giveaway is: $54.00!


Want to win? Here's how to enter:



You can enter in two ways.

First, you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post on Jen's Love Lessons. Just click on the "Tell me what you think" or "Post a comment" link at the bottom of this post and leave a brief comment telling me why you love your partner; a sentence or two will do. And, be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you if you win.

Second, you could leave a comment (or just click the "like" button) under the link to this post on my Facebook fan page.


All entries (comments on Facebook 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 MONDAY February 7, 2010 @ 4:00 p.m. EST to enter. The winner will be posted on the Jen's Love Lessons homepage that night and I will send you a personal email (via facebook or otherwise) as well. RomanticMarriages.com will then email you your digital kits that day.




Good luck!!!


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


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...