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Both of these strategies help guarantee you'll get your point across.Ever notice how many compliments we give children — and how few we give adults?En español | One of the surest predictors of a breakup, says psychologist John Gottman, is when a couple comes to feel that certain problems have attached themselves to the relationship like crusty, stubborn barnacles.After turning this truism over in my mind for some time, I decided to collaborate with psychologist Lana Staheli to see if we couldn't find some everyday solutions to relationship stalemates.When one partner in a relationship isn't getting his or her way, the person often simply raises the topic again — and again and again and again. Imagine that something truly painful (say, an affair) has broken the trust that once existed between two people.Understandably, the injured party may be unable to resist citing the violation over and over.Or you could provide each other your passwords, contact lists or the like — whatever it takes, in other words, to reestablish Total Transparency. Spinning your wheels at this point will only bog you down further.
But when you have something truly important to say about your union, write it out beforehand, rather than relying on spur-of-the-moment eloquence.Compliments create positive emotions in much the same way that touch helps release endorphins.The more authentically positive feelings you manage to express to your partner, the stronger the bond between you will grow.Though the book was written primarily with long-term couples in mind, we both feel it applies to daters — and even extended family members.And because many of the issues in the book are experienced almost universally in ongoing close relationships, I thought I'd share our five most widely applicable strategies.
A study I did for my book The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples showed that compliments gradually decline over the life cycle of a relationship.