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With her book Fantastic after 40!, Pam Farrel encouraged me years ago as I entered my "seasoned" years, but this Relationship UPGRADE is a. Unleash Your Dog on National Dog Day and Love Them Lavishly Most of the time, our schedule and relationships determine who dogs play. Two people that are loyal & committed to each other are what make a union. It has nothing to do with the marriage license, the ring, the dress, or the wedding.

Science of Relationships This is a data driven look at fixing relationship problems. Their Valentines cards are great too.

She offers relationship-counseling blogs, courses, events, a book and even a series of podcasts to those who need them. Love in 90 Days Dr. Diana Kirschner is a bestselling author, relationship advice and dating tips expert and she would like to be your master mentor for love. Relationships Reality Love Life Coaching with Sarah and Sophie offers some frank advice on when a relationship is too toxic or too damaging to continue.

Subjects like boundaries, affairs, control, communication and breakups are all covered. Modern Love Long Distance Being separated from your lover can complicate your relationship. Lisa McKay understands this but she also believes that long distance relationships can give you time and space to work on your communication skills and to get to know each other better.

If you want to know how to deal with long distance relationship problems this is the site for you. As marriage includes an added legal element there are plenty of legal tips on offer as well as forums, quizzes, videos and a blog. It is series of forums set up by its users covering all sorts of subjects and themes.

And, just as the infant must one day push against her mother to become herself, we, too, need to eventually create boundaries in our relationshipsand make sure to preserve the edges of our individuality.

Particularly at the beginning of a relationship, during the so-called "honeymoon phase," pushing our lovers away is the last thing we want to do.

It feels so magical. Some lovers try to stay inside the love bubble as long as they can by creating their own private culture. They invent a language of their own that nobody else can understand. They share jokes with punch lines that are funny only to them.

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  • Top 50 Relationship Blogs And Websites To Follow in 2019

Within the perceived safety of the bubble, their merge feels at once total and eternal. It was in just such a bubble that film star Ingrid Bergman and her husband, Peter Lindstrom, named their daughter Pia, with the three letters standing for Peter, Ingrid, Always. Alas, the marriage fell apart, but Pia's name remained a reminder of love's possibilities and its fragility — always.

Or they enjoy an initial hit of ecstasy that quickly dissipates. Some people enter love slowly, with a friendship that gradually leads to an intimate partnership — one that may or may not be spiced with romance. Still others focus on similarities based on ethnicity, race, religion, education, class and life goals. Indeed, in many cultures, selecting a mate has little or nothing to do with falling in love.

Nonetheless, so much of our culture — songs, movies, fairy tales, novels — leads us to believe that idealized love is the norm. We await the hero or heroine who will kiss us awake. A Kind of Madness This first stage of love has been chronicled for as long as human beings have been on the planet.

We hear most often of "lovesickness," a series of anxiety-related symptoms brought on by the intense changes associated with falling in love. Ibn Sina, tenth-century physician and father of modern medicine, viewed obsession as the principal cause of lovesickness. We now know that he was right. The biochemical changes that take place in new lovers produce symptoms similar to in those with obsessive-compulsive disorderincluding loss of appetite and sleeplessness.

Ah, and how well we know the signs of obsession Fantasies of the beloved fill our days and crowd our nights; when we're apart, we feel incomplete. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, it also leads to constant chatter about the missing object of affection.

All the Best Relationship Blog Websites

This fixation and preoccupation are what others find tiresome about the love-struck. People roll their eyes and think us temporarily insane. Which, of course, we are. In psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the term limerence to describe this temporary state of madness and described the conditions associated with it: Overestimation of the good qualities of the beloved and minimization of the negative Acute longing for the object of one's affection Feelings of ecstasy in the presence of the loved one Deep mood swings from ecstasy to agony and back again Involuntary, obsessive thinking about the other Deep agony when the relationship ends The list reminds me of an old client of mine named Stu, a recovering alcoholic.

Once, he told me an anecdote about the first time he got drunk at age fourteen. I passed out that night and got really sick, and yet still couldn't wait to have another drink.

The sun would rise and the longing set in. I craved the next drink the way my friends longed for a girlfriend. The reason for this is simple, if a bit surprising: Magnetic resonance imaging reveals that the nucleus accumbensthe part of the brain that is activated in lovers, is the same part that lights up in cocaine users and gamblers when they act out their addiction. This recent discovery brings to mind the old adage: What we do know, however, is that the craving associated with romantic love is very real.

Greek mythology provides us with imaginative and amusing ways to describe the felt intensity of romantic love. Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, had a son named Cupid.

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His job, as an archer, was to dip arrows into his mother's secret love potion before he took aim. Once Cupid's arrow hit its target, the victim fell madly in love with the next person he or she saw. This myth has given rise to some of the most extraordinary love legends of all time, including those of Apollo and Daphne, Helen of Troy, Antony and Cleopatra, and Romeo and Juliet. Science tells us that the pounding heart that leaves us breathless, trembling, and longing to be with our beloved signifies an overabundance of particular chemicals and hormones in the brain and blood, including PEA phenylethylaminea natural amphetamine also found in chocolate and marijuana.

This cocktail infuses us with euphoria and extraordinary energy, which is why sleep and nourishment seem unimportant. Our perspective becomes so skewed that we see only what is good and beautiful in our lover; we're blind to all else. To fall in love is arguably a passive process. For love to last is not. Long-lasting love results from the necessary work that two people do — the self-work, primarily — to create a strong, durable partnership over time.

Of course, we are all wired to protect ourselves — so most of us get defensive at least sometimes. But if you find that either you or your partner is always on guard, waiting on the front-lines to pounce into a defensive mode of communicating, it can be deeply harmful to the relationship. Here are 12 truths about defensiveness — what it is and why it happens — that can help us better understand this self-protecting impulse and especially when it gets precarious.

In understanding defensiveness better, we can learn to dismantle it as a habit, and begin engaging more compassionately and openly in our relationships. There are several ways to define the term defensive. My favorite is by author Sharon Ellison: Rather than listening with an open heart, we respond with our metaphorical shields up and weapons drawn.

All relationships experience hiccups now and again. Be they with a lover, a child, your mother or a co-worker, all relationships will inevitably suffer at some points from a breakdown in communication.

Your husband forgets to pass along a message, your wife forgets to pick up milk at the store, or your partner says something that inadvertently hurts your feelings. Getting defensive in response to disruptions like these in your relationship is natural. But it's all about your recovery time: When issues come up, someone needs to protest. If your partner forgets to call, you need to express how you feel. How can I make this situation better?

Conflict allows for reconnection and more. Working through conflicts explicitly and openly assure both partners that they can trust each other; they can be honest and acknowledge that any relationship is a work in progress, not fixed or defined on just one person's terms.

Remember, when it comes time to protest, be sure your complaint is stated considerately enough not to punish or shame your loved one.

Why Healthy Relationships Always Have Boundaries & How to Set Boundaries in Yours

Not speaking up is dangerous. Of course, it's difficult to give and receive healthy criticism if we're clinging to a defensive attitude. If you feel yourself become defensive, try to see if you can simply acknowledge it, and work through the conflict as honestly and generously as possible. If your partner is giving you criticism that is making you feel defensive, can you express why? Our brains are wired for connection. In the first stage of love, when we're infatuated by the freshness and excitement of new romance, we anticipate the best in our new partner.

And we're rewarded, because each thing they say and do activates the connection center of our brain. We view their actions, intentions and language through the lens of our positive vision. That said, it turns out that we're wired for self-protection as well. So in times of defensiveness, see if you can tap into our naturally coexistent desire to connect. Remember the enduring connection from that first stage of love, and try to access the feelings that first made you predisposed toward generosity and understanding at the outset of your relationship.

Withdrawal is not actually a great way to protect ourselves. When we experience our partner as a threat, we withdraw to protect ourselves from further injury. Yet withdrawal and disconnection are what continue to create trouble. At the heart of our vulnerability lies the feeling that we've lost our best friend.

Our heart and body ache for their return. Yet our behavior often is the last thing that would invite them back. So when you least feel like reaching out to connect, take a risk and try it; the results will pay off much more than isolating yourself. Books about communication don't do a great job at teaching us to receive criticism.

Sure, books on healthy relationships often emphasize the importance of expressing anger and complaints, but seldom do they tell us how to cope with being on the receiving end. How do you sit calmly and quietly while your partner laments that you're neither emotionally available nor trustworthy?

How do you silence your inner-lawyer's constant stream of counterarguments? Ask yourself these questions, even if your self-help books aren't. Keep this in mind. Some people have nervous systems that respond more frequently and intensely to sensory stimulation. They may have a more exaggerated startle response than other people do, even in the same family. Often their bodies remain on high alert, and they perpetually scan the environment for danger.

Experiment with viewing the situation from different vantage points. Your childhood history has a lot to do with how you respond to criticism. If your parents shamed you often and punished you harshly, it's likely that, as an adult, you quickly feel self-protective whenever you see someone upset and angry about something.

The reasons for defensiveness are myriad and important to understand, but they don't take away the need to learn how to rewire ourselves away from the impulse to immediately self-protect.

Resentment doesn't do us any good. The cost to our intimate relationships when we aren't willing to protest whether out of fear, self-doubt, an impulse to people-please and so on is that we literally make it impossible for the issues in the relationship to heal. The relationship begins to smolder with resentments that undermine us in ways they wouldn't if expressed freely in the first place.

Remember this when you're thinking of burying issues under the rug instead of dealing with them. Our love connections are all spiritual practices. Relationships give us opportunities to grow in ways that make us more loving, accepting, and whole. Learning to hear our partners complaints with curiosity and openness not only deepens the connection between us but helps us be more open in all of our relationships.

It can be especially difficult for most of us to think about happiness in today's age, as we're constantly checking our social media accounts only to find more and more updates about how we're living on a planet full of pain. I no longer think of happiness as fuzzy-wuzzy.

We need to conceive of happiness more like well-being, a sense of stability that is not contingent on the external, and can exist regardless of whatever turbulent events happen in the world. Happiness, like all emotions, comes and goes. Still, there are behaviors and attitudes we can adopt to help us remain calm and content, even in difficult times. Our success may even allow us to radiate enough well-being to spread the joy, so we all receive fewer updates on how much reality bites.

Here are five reminders that I like to think of as five facets of happiness. These reminders show us sensibilities we can foster to enhance our quality of life in a sustainable way. Connection is a prerequisite to happiness. The values of connection are exalted in health articles everywhere: Connection strengthens our immune system, lowers our blood pressure and enables us to live longer.

The introduction of pets as companions into nursing homes enriches the lives of residents and reduces their calls on doctors and their visits to the emergency room. Couples that make love boost their self-esteem and sleep better, while our friendships expand our sense of pleasure in ways too numerous to capture. One of these benefits is chemical: In one recent studypeople with heart disease or cancer reportedly had a higher survival rate if they were social than if they were isolated.

The social people recognized their connection to everything on the planet, whereas isolation was identified as a symptom of distress.

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Many things connect people to life besides other humans: Our senses connect us: People with well-being feel that connection on a regular basis.

They know they are a part of a world that is much greater than they are. Solitude actually feeds our connections. Paradoxically, solitude enhances connection. We must be happy in our own company to bring our best to others. If we take the time and space to silence our inner noise, we can listen to our truest perceptions, deepest dreams and wisdom.

Meditation, contemplation and walks in natural settings are just three ways to hear the sound of our deepest voices. When we remember we're already completewe're not as vulnerable to the desire to look to other people to make us whole.

Appreciation of the here-and-now is what we are all looking for. Research by Robert Emmons, Lisa Aspinwall and others shows that people that practice an attitude of gratitude reap benefits that include better immune systems, healthier diets, and mental alertness, to name a few. The more we appreciate what we have, the more we can actually retrain our brain and thinking process to notice what's right in our world. This appreciation makes us more hopeful, positive and caring to the world around us.

Our performance at work increases, our sense of self-worth expands and so do our relationships with others. Generosity is a power. I was a newly divorced woman who was going to be without her kids at Thanksgiving.

I couldn't imagine how to get through the holiday alone. A friend suggested I volunteer at a soup kitchen, which seemed like a perfect solution. I contacted one nearby in Portland, OR and anticipated that I'd be greeted with great appreciation for my service.

Instead, I was stunned to find a two-year waiting list to be allowed the privilege of helping to serve the meal: Generosity includes the first four qualities discussed here: A generous spirit can be used in many ways: By demonstrating generosity, we put ourselves in touch with a world bigger than we are and continue to open our eyes to life's deeper meanings.

The journal BMC Public Health reviewed 40 studies on the effect of volunteering and found that volunteers experienced a decrease in depression, a lower risk of dying early and an increase in their satisfaction with life. Generosity has been found to be the most important factor in a thriving marriage.

Linda Carroll

Yet to be generous is not just a matter of giving time or giving things. To be generous is also a matter of giving of yourself: Acceptance is the only way to respond to uncertainty. Each time a journey has ended, another one begins. Life surprises us with a delight and then a challenge. Something we expected doesn't happen. The path to well-being, so essential for real, sustainable happiness, is a trek that takes dedication, patience and resilience.

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Like a caterpillar's metamorphosis into butterfly, cultivating our personal growth takes time — and lots of work. We're forever standing on new ground. Change is, ironically, the only certain thing there is. We receive messages from our culture, which point to wealth, material possessions, and eternal youth as the keys to sustain happiness.

Yet the research clearly points in a different direction. We have a better chance of sustaining real pleasure by engaging fully in all aspects of our lives, finding our purpose and staying connected to those experiences that feed our deepest needs.

The Five Essential Stages of Lasting Love, I collected the most profound, compelling and even surprising quotes about love that I could find, and thought a lot about how they corresponded to different stages of relationships. For Valentine's Day, I'd like to share my current favorite 14 with you along with brief explanations of the various relationship stages. The Merge This first romantic stage is mediated by chemicals and hormones. Everything feels magical and certain: It was as sweet as sugar.