Arguing with your partner is inevitable, right? But here’s what you didn’t know: its also healthy (if you do it in the right way).
A couple that agrees on everything might be a couple that doesn’t challenge each other. And conflict might lead to change, and even growth in your relationship.
But there’s a difference between couples that argue in a toxic way and couples that argue in a constructive way – and the latter, of course, is preferable.
Here’s 8 ways to disagree with your partner – without being disagreeable:
- They make the time to communicate in person: a study from Brigham Young University suggests that couples who argue and apologize over text aren’t nearly as happy in their relationships as those that communicate in person. In fact, a wealth of research also supports that in-person communication is key, as physical touch can build trust and nonverbal communication that can only be exchanged in person also helps partners to empathize with and mirror one another’s feelings.
- They think before they speak: partners who think before they speak have an easier time articulating their feelings and expressing their concerns. Rather than blurting out their thoughts in a jumbled and overwhelming way, they’re able to clearly explain why they’re feeling the way they are, and how those feelings are impacting their overall wellbeing. Of course, this kind of effective communication helps the other partner to understand and empathize.
- They don’t place blame: they say “i” instead of “you.” In other words, instead of saying “You make me feel inadequate in this relationship,” they say, “I feel inadequate in this relationship,” and they take ownership and accountability for their own feelings. When they present their feelings in this way, instead of placing blame, it’s easier for their partners to see their concerns because they’re not blinded by defensiveness.
- They practice active listening: active listening refers to mindfully, attentively hearing and truly attempting to comprehend the meaning of the words spoken by their partner. Instead of just listening to what they say and taking it at face value, active listening means paying closer, they practice active listening by paying closer, deeper attention to the root of their partner’s concerns so that they can address them more directly. This also helps their partner to feel heard and understood, which, of course, helps the conversation go smoother.
- They mirror each other’s body language: a ton of research suggests that mirroring other’s body language helps to establish rapport. Mirroring refers to the social phenomenon in which a partner mimics the other’s posture, gestures and words. Of course, mirroring their partner’s words helps their partner to feel heard. But by mirror their partner’s body language, they can actually get a better sense of how their partner is really feeling. That’s because psychological research tells us that adopting another person’s body language helps us to understand their experience from their perspective.
- They reflect on toxic patterns: partners who have constructive conversations are able to reflect on toxic patterns — they can recognize and admit to the repeated issues in their relationship. This recognition helps them to trace and tackle why these issues keep coming up and, ideally, correct these toxic patterns.
- They’re present but think ahead rather than dwell on the past: rather than dwelling on their past, couples who have healthy dialogue surrounding any conflict will look to their future. Instead of asking each other, “Why did you do this?” they’ll ask each other, “What can we do so that this doesn’t happen again in our future together?” After all, they know that the cost of rumination is a painful one. Research suggests that when you’re constantly over-thinking the past — in your own head seeking answers — you’re not actually pursuing goals, nothing is happening and you’re, ultimately, stuck.
- They don’t hold grudges: holding grudges get nobody anywhere. While many couples may find themselves bringing up past issues in current arguments, mature couples will stick to the present. If they’ve forgiven incidents in the past, they won’t bring those incidents up again; what’s in the past is in the past. Besides, they understand that the emotional toll of holding a grudge can actually manifest physically — and that only exacerbates their situation.
Dating – it is sometimes said – comes down to one thing: “Chemistry”.
Do you feel it, do they have it, what creates it, will I ever find it?
Although chemistry sometimes feels like magic, it’s actually far more basic than that – a connection you feel with someone that goes beyond the physical.
Here are 5 facts you need to know about dating chemistry:
- Oh yes you can: you can’t change the way you look, but you can change they way you act on a date. By creating more positive dating habits, you’ll make a better impression on your date, and increase the chances of a real connection even if there’s no immediate ‘wow’.
- Two kinds of chemistry: short term and long term chemistry aren’t always the same – the short term kind works well for while (ie. extreme physical attraction), but the long term kind (which can grow over time) is more important in lasting relationships.
- You need it, eventually: successful relationships need chemistry, but it doesn’t have to happen right away, and it doesn’t have to be ‘knock you off your chair’ chemistry (which can fade quickly anyway). If you’ve met someone interesting, give it enough time (ie. more than one date) to see if chemistry will develop .
- What’s inside matters: if you find yourself growing more attracted to someone over time, its unlikely that you are just finding them better looking (although that’s what it feels like); you’re likely connecting at a deeper level which makes the person seem more ‘attractive’ to you.
- Not all connections need to be ‘the one’: of course meeting someone special is the ultimate goal for most singles, but that’s not to say it’s the only desirable outcome from dating. If you do meet someone great, but just don’t feel that special ‘spark’, then consider friendship as a possible option. Although there may only be room for one ‘special someone’ in your life, you can never have enough friends.
In dating, as in life, there is such a thing as trying too hard.
Yes, making an effort on your date matters – but when you try to over-complicate things, you can end up being a ‘turn-off’ for your date.
Your best bet is to keep things simple on a first date – here’s 4 questions to make you more likable and, therefore, more successful on your date:
- How’s your day?: everyone likes to talk about themselves, and that means your date does to. Asking easy, open-ended questions gives them the chance to start a conversation about something they feel comfortable about. It also shows that you’re interested in them, which is exactly the image you want to project on a date.
- What do you think?: having a two-way conversation on your date is an essential part of getting to a second and third date and beyond. Instead of just talking about yourself the whole time, find a fun subject that interests you both (movies, music, travel, etc.) and ask their opinion about it. This shows you respect their opinion, and respect is a very sexy quality.
- Why?: asking follow up questions shows you’re date that you are listening to them, and actively interested in getting to know them better. Why do they love travel? Why did they choose their educational or career path? Why did they love that movie? Avoid more personal questions like ‘why are you single’ – there’ll be a time & place to ask that, but a first date is not that time.
- Would you like to catch a movie next week?: the single biggest reason why first dates don’t go anywhere is because one or both people don’t ask for a second date. Don’t be that statistic. If the dates going well (even if it’s just going okay), ask them if they’d like to go on a second date. You’ve got nothing to lose but your single life.
The end of summer has arrived, so what does that mean for YOUR love life? Basically, you have two options:
You can keep the fire burning with your special someone, even as the temperatures start to cool down.
Or, your romance can fade along with the backdrop of sandy beaches and starry skies that came with it.
Here’s 5 signs your summer relationship is built to last past Labour Day:
- You’re planning events for the future: when people see someone as short-term, they deliberately keep all plans within a 48 to 72-hour window, in case something better comes along. If your partner is making plans to spend post Labour Day time with you (and time thereafter), it’s safe to say they see you in their future. Bonus points if you’ve bought [future] concert tickets or invested in any type of prepaid date.
- You’ve met their family and friends: being introduced to your significant other’s loved ones is a sign that things are serious. If your partner regularly brings you around their friends and family, then there’s a chance they see you in their immediate future. When you see someone as a long-term option, you want to make sure everyone in your life gets used to them being around.
- There’s a healthy amount of communication about your relationship: if your partner is willing to discuss both the good and bad aspects of your relationship, all signs point to them being in it for the long haul. It’s easier to ignore real issues as long as you’re not concerned with how long your partner will be around.
- You survived your first argument: having a healthy argument is completely normal in relationships, as long as you both are willing to compromise. The first argument says a lot about where you are – if you’ve argued and made up, this shows your partner isn’t the type to run at the first sign of discomfort. This means they understand arguing is a part of relationships, and they’re willing to work through it in order to stay around.
- Summer lovin’ happened so fast?: if your relationship has remained consistent and you’ve become even closer after being intimate, its a strong indicator your relationship will last beyond summer. Yes, your summer fling just might be the real thing.
In dating, looks matter – who are we kidding? But if you’re seeking a long term relationship partner, looks aren’t the most important thing.
Matchmakers will tell you: “Beware the person you find EXTREMELY attractive when you first meet them – you may be blinded to the fact that they’re not actually a great match for you.”
Here’s 4 dating red flags to look out for on your date:
- Just not that into you: if your date is constantly checking their phone, or seems distracted during your date, it may be a sign that there’s no real spark. By all means, try and get things back on track (ask about something that interests them; or go see an event you’re both interested in), but consider pursuing other dating options if that doesn’t work.
- Not relationship-material: if you’ve got your life together (career, health, finances, etc.), its natural to want to meet someone who’s in the same place. Looking at a pretty face will only go so far; once you discover that you’re not really a good relationship fit, even the strongest chemistry can fade in time.
- All sizzle, no steak: being physically attracted to someone is great, particularly if you’re on a first or second date. But after a while, you should find that you have other things in common; and have good conversations about a variety of topics that interest you both. Ask yourself this question: does being around them make you feel good about yourself?
- Different life-goals: if you value family and want to have one of your own some day – but your partner doesn’t – it may be a sign of problems ahead. Similarly, shared feelings about education, travel, views on the world, etc. can be an important part of a relationship where chemistry GROWS over time. You don’t have to date someone exactly like you, but where there are major differences be sure to talk through them before committing to something long-term just based on physical chemistry.
In love and in life, you’ll get better results if you have a plan. No, you can’t just make the perfect person appear in your life – but you can be truly ready once they do.
The key to being open & ready to meet your special someone is to understand exactly what you want in a relationship and why.
Here’s 5 questions to help you find your special someone:
- Are you ready to spend your life with one person?: part of being ready to meet someone special, is being ready to commit to one person. Relationship minded singles want the same in a partner – if you’re not there yet, consider a change of attitude.
- What does happiness look like?: not everyone wants the same thing from a relationship – some want marriage and a family right away, others may already have kids, others may be open to having kids or not, etc., etc. Understanding what your ideal relationship looks like is a good place to start – but be open to some flexibility if/when you meet someone great who doesn’t necessarily fit all your ideal criteria.
- What are your life goals?: thinking through what you really want from life can help you zero in on the right person once you’ve connected. Once you get beyond the first few dates with someone new, having some shared goals in life is an important aspect of finding your special someone.
- What are your ‘must haves’?: are there some things that you just can’t compromise on when it comes to a relationship partner? Is having kids a must? Or not having kids? Or meeting someone with a similar background? Keep this list as short as possible, as you’d be surprised how many successful relationships are created between people who don’t necessarily have ‘all the boxes ticked’!
- What are your ‘deal breakers’?: similar to point #4, are there some qualities that you’re simply not willing to bend on – someone who smokes, someone who already has kids (or doesn’t have kids), someone who doesn’t share your relationships goals (ie. they want something casual and you don’t, etc.).
Its hard not to take rejection personally, especially when its from someone you really liked – and maybe even saw as “relationship potential”.
But here’s the truth: relationship success requires both parties to be equally committed. If that’s not the case, you’re better off finding out now (for whatever reason) than later on down the road.
Here’s 7 tips to help you move on from rejection & find your (truly) special someone:
- One step in a journey: no, its not the worst thing in the world. In fact, there’s something worse – not putting yourself out there at all. Don’t stop.
- It wasn’t the right fit for you: it may not feel like it now, but it wasn’t the right fit if both parties weren’t equally into it. Be sad for a while, but move on.
- Reach out: reach out to friends or family in your inner circle who can remind you of the bigger picture. Their support can be helpful.
- Be thankful: its probably the last thing you feel like doing after being rejected, but do your best to be positive to the other person. There’s little benefit in burning bridges with anyone. Who knows, you may even develop a friendship out of it.
- Be self-aware: if this isn’t the first rejection, it might be time to look in the mirror and see if there’s anything you need to change about your dating approach. Perhaps you’re going too fast, or too slow, or maybe you need to freshen up your look, or hire a personal trainer, etc, etc. No-ones perfect, and that means you (and me) too!
- Be open-minded: when you do get yourself back out there, try this – open up the criteria of what you’re looking for in a relationship partner. The best thing you can do for yourself is to start meeting new people again; and the more open are your criteria, the more people you’ll meet. Yes, its that simple.
- Hire a professional: the online dating game can be a grind, especially if you’re a busy single or professional looking for a relationship. Consider hiring a professional matchmaking service like Executive Search Dating to get your love life moving in the right direction again. Contact us today to find out more!
Are you dating & looking for something serious?
Then know this: good dates start well & get better. Bad dates start poorly & get worse.
So how can you make sure your date gets off to a good start? Use one of these five perfect opening lines:
- “You look fantastic”: sincere compliments are a sure-fire dating winner. But there’s a catch – it has to be a SINCERE compliment. So don’t compliment someone on how great they look if they’re soaked from the rain; compliment them on how good they look in spite of being soaked by the rain.
- “Its so great to see you!”: again, this should be heartfelt – but if you’re not completely feeling it (yet), then fake it! Your date wants to be appreciated – if they don’t feel that way at the start of your date, why should they appreciate you?
- Talk about the weather: I know, I know – how boring could an opening line possibly be, right? But here’s the thing; people are generally a bit nervous on a first date – launching into some detailed story or joke at first sight will likely fall on deaf ears. Talking about something simple like the weather (‘isn’t it beautiful out tonight?’) is easy to answer and will likely relax your date. Once you’ve ‘warmed’ each other up, there’ll be plenty of time to talk about more important things.
- “Have you been here before?”: on the same theme of ‘keeping it simple to start’, get your conversation started by talking about your date location. Hint: find something POSITIVE to say about the place (ie. ‘the staff are great’; ‘they make fantastic martinis here’; ‘its a great people watching place’, etc.) – saying something negative at the start of a date (about anything) is a sure-fire first date chemistry-killer!
- Less cheese, more meat: cheesy opening lines don’t work at a bar, nor do they work on a first date. Ditch the “Do you have a name or can I call you mine?”, and their kind. Be in the moment and comment on something real – “Wow, its really busy out tonight!”, or “I’ve heard they have great appies here – can’t wait to try one!”, or “Must be my lucky day, I found a parking space right outside!” It doesn’t matter what you say, just make it real (and positive).
Question: what is the most exciting and terrifying thing at the same time?
Answer: flirting with someone you’re attracted to.
And, in spite of what you’ve heard, there’s this: flirting is important for couples as well as singles.
Here’s the 11 key flirting facts you need to know today!
- People flirt for six different reasons:
- Sex: trying to get in bed.
- Fun: treating it like a sport.
- Exploring: trying to see what it would be like to be in a relationship.
- Relational: trying to increase the intimacy of a relationship.
- Esteem: increasing one’s own self esteem.
- Instrumental: trying to get something from the other person.
- Couples need to flirt, too: why? As a means of maintaining and emphasizing intimacy. Oftentimes, married couples flirt to “create a private world with the spouse.”
- People feel connected when they get past the small talk.
- Men overestimate how interested women are.
- The most attractive characteristics depend on gender, studies show:
- Happiness was the most attractive female expression, but one of the least attractive for men.
- Pride was the most attractive male expression, but one of the least attractive for women.
- Interestingly, an expression of shame was relatively attractive on both men and women.
- Flirting can enhance your attraction: in fact, flirting is a “negotiation process” that happens after the first moments of attraction.
- It’s not about being the most attractive person in the room: for example, women who smile and make eye contact with others are more likely to be approached than those who were simply good looking.
- There may be four main styles of flirting:
- Physical flirts tend to subtly touch the person they’re interested in.
- Traditional flirts believe men should make the first move.
- Sincere flirts get other people to open up to them.
- Playful flirts see the interaction as a game and may be using the flirtation as a means to another end.
- The best flirters shift their strategy depending on context: for example, if you’re flirting with someone perceived as higher status than you, being more subtle will lead to more success, according to research.
- If you’re flirting on an app, there are some words that work better than others: for men, calling a woman “beautiful” led to a conversation 20% of the time. Women messaging men first receive responses less often, but using the word “nice” works best.
- Flirting could be all about biology: flirting may have less to do with words or body language, and more to do with biology. Pheromones, or chemicals released by your body, have an impact on people around you and can contribute to physical attraction.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in dating is to judge someone too quickly on a first date. The reality is this: you’ll likely not know if someone is your perfect match on a first meeting.
The key to successful dating is focusing more on a second (or third) date with someone to determine whether they are a good match for you or not. But how do you know if your date is interested in you, and open to going on a second date? Look for these 5 signs:
- It’s in the smile: a smile is a person’s most basic way of showing their interest in you… if your date is smiling easily and often consider it a very good sign. On the other hand, if your date is frowning consider it a sign that you need to change topics.
- Doesn’t feel like a date: when conversation is flowing freely its typically a sign that the date is going well… avoid turning the date into an ‘interview’; keeps things casual, and you’ll increase the chances of a second date.
- Body language: as important as words, a person’s body language can often tell you how the date is going… if your date’s body language is open, warm and inviting its a sign that they are enjoying your company. If they are exhibiting ‘closed’ body language (arms crossed, body pointing away from you, tense, etc.) its likely a sign that the date isn’t going well.
- Fun times: if you are having fun on your date, it likely means your date is having fun as well. Focus on enjoying yourself and being positive on your date and your chances of a second date will be good.
- When in doubt, ask: the single biggest mistake singles make on a first date is not asking for a second date. There’s no need or reason to wait for days before contacting someone again. If things are going well on your first date, ask for a second date (something casual, a coffee, movie or an upcoming event that interests you and them, etc.). You’ll never have a better chance to ask for a second date, then at the end of a good first date.