29
Feb


Compatibility of values and goals reduces conflict, which may cut down the urge to part, says David Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire.

But there’s something more compelling than compatibility that has kept couples together throughout history and just might offer a kind of staying power to modern-day marriages.

Picture the husband felling trees and moving rocks while the wife sows and weeds. This is the economics of a bonding. Interdependence is a prescription for a successful relationship, according to Fisher, author of Anatomy of Love.

If interdependence worked to keep things friendly on the farm, perhaps collaboration keeps couples together in modern society – collaboration other than children, that is. Studies have shown that couples who have one or two children are no likelier to soothe the seven-year itch than those with no children.

We’re talking about raising plants in a greenhouse together, working as a team to campaign for your favorite candidate or playing the piano while your spouse sings. More than sharing common interests, you share a common goal.

A little lovin’ doesn’t hurt

Of course, romance is another invaluable component to a successful relationship. Why not live like it’s your first year together? For guys, that means gifts, winning her love. Remember how hard you used to work for her attentions? For women this means stroking his ego, listening with interest and responding to his loving gestures. In short, stop taking each other for granted and break the stagnant pattern.

The later the marriage, the less scratchy the itch

The peak age range for divorce and remarriage is from the late 20s to the early 30s. Couples who hook up in their 40s and 50s are more likely to stay together than their younger counterparts, says Fisher.

Today’s baby boomers, she writes, “seem to be entering this final state, searching for a soul mate. Most will marry or remarry and remain together. It’s in their genes.”

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Category : Blog
22
Feb


You can pretend you are immune. You may go around singing I Only Have Eyes for You. Even if you’re on key, you’re probably lying.

The Seven-Year Itch is reality, folks — for men and women.

“The cross-cultural data are pretty clear we are designed for serial monogamy,” says Dean Hamer, a biochemist with the National Institutes of Health.

The urge to merge is at some point replaced by the urge to split, and studies worldwide confirm this.

Evolutionarily speaking, men seek sexual variety and ample mating opportunities to “spread the seed.” Women seek to secure the best provider possible for themselves and their children.

This “pattern of decay” in sexual relationships is particularly strong for men and women in their prime reproductive years, according to researcher Helen Fisher.

But while some would say we’re biologically and historically destined to experience the seven-year itch, there are enough success stories out there to convince us straying is not mapped out in our DNA.

Wake up and smell the post-paleolithic world

Most men don’t want to fulfill their erstwhile biological mandate. “Social commitment is as important as any rush of testosterone,” says Jim McKenna, professor of biological anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. You may find women other than your wife attractive, but that doesn’t mean you’ll act on it.

Hollywood and some anthropologists would have us believe that women would trade in their husbands for a wealthier model if given the chance Demi Moore’s character had in the movie Indecent Proposal. But the reality is most women have more invested in their relationships with their husbands than a bank account. Not to mention the fact that many women also earn their own living.

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Category : Blog
17
Nov


Reader Question:

I used to have an active sex life, but lately I have no interest in sex with my girlfriend. Part of it may be because I feel criticized and unappreciated by her. She often compares me to ex-lovers. I’ve turned to magazines and fantasies to fulfill my needs. Is something wrong with me or what?

My Answer: Your question seems to be, “Since I’ve been feeling sexually pressured I’ve lost my desire for my partner. What should I do?”

This is a common experience. Of course it’s alarming. But it’s only confusing because, like many people, you assume that your sexual desire for someone should remain constant in the face of strong, repetitive, unpleasant emotions. This is simply unrealistic.

You mention many reasons to be turned off to your girlfriend: feeling criticized, unappreciated and compared to ex-lovers. I’m sure you feel angry, hurt, powerless and defensive.

Notice, however, that your sexuality has not turned off altogether: You still masturbate and fantasize about other women. It sounds as if you are functioning quite reasonably under the circumstances. You feel sexual, but you hesitate to connect sexually with a girlfriend with whom you don’t feel safe.

There is important information in this experience. When you stop desiring someone — or your body stops cooperating — there’s a reason. It’s a good sign that you’re sensitive enough to be so bothered by the hostility and lack of intimacy in this relationship. What should you do? First you need to decide if you want to try to repair the relationship. If you do, ask your girlfriend if she will do it with you. If she insists that the problem is all you, or demands that you fix it yourself, ask her again — urgently and without criticism. If she still won’t agree to work with you, the relationship is shot and it’s time to move on.

If she is interested in working on things with you, a couples counselor may be able to help. Go see one right away. Fortunately, there’s plenty two people can do without a counselor. Talk honestly about the kind of relationship you each want. Talk about what you need from each other. Talk about what gets in the way of giving that to each other.

For example, you can tell her that you love sex with her, and imagine having it, say, once a week or so. If this contrasts too drastically with what she wants, it’s time to separate. But if she’s interested in great sex about once a week, or you can imagine wanting sex more often when you’re feeling close, then you two can talk about how to create that. In your case, feeling accepted for exactly who you are and establishing friendly ways of talking to each other are important aspects of feeling sexually alive and available.

This kind of conversation is often difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. But grown-up relationships cannot thrive without such conversations. The only alternatives are an angry, drama-filled relationship, or a very quiet, lonely house.

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Category : Blog
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