Healthy Relationships – The Date Mix Dating and Relationship Advice for Today's Daters Sat, 09 Dec 2017 09:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What Is Romance? And What Does It Really Mean Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:00:23 +0000 Romance is not about the sexual encounters, but about awakening the heart.

The post What Is Romance? And What Does It Really Mean appeared first on The Date Mix.

Romance is the feeling we chase in relationships. Once you’ve experienced romance, you won’t forget it and you won’t stop chasing that feeling until you find it again. In dating, romance can spark chemistry like the butterfly feeling in your stomach. In a relationship, romance can keep things fresh and exciting.

Romance novelist Rachel Hauck says, “Romance is not about the sexual encounters but about awakening the heart.”

What is romance? It’s a powerful force that makes you feel connected to someone in a deeper way. It’s the gestures, both big and small, that make you feel especially wooed and especially cherished by your partner. Romance is what takes your relationship past friendship.

Author David R. Shumway states that romance is the part of a relationship that adds adventure and intense emotions, while also offering the possibility of finding the perfect person for you.

Even the subtlest of acts can be romantic, like the way a man glances at you from across the room or how a woman moves her hand through your hair.

It’s important to note that romance is different for men and women. And it’s even different from woman to woman and man to man. It’s best to ask your partner what they consider romantic in a relationship.

While there aren’t any blanket, one-size-fits-all gestures that signal romance to everyone, these categories should help give you some inspiration.

First, let’s start with what many women traditionally find romantic:

Acts of chivalry
The whole notion that bad boys are more attractive to women is a myth. Most women are looking for a guy who charms her with his courtesy, generosity, and attentiveness. Some good ole’ fashion chivalrous acts include opening doors, giving her your jacket when it’s cold, picking her up for the date that you planned out, calling rather than texting her to ask her out on a date, paying the bill, and walking her to the door.

Why is chivalry still the “it” thing? Because it lets a woman know that she’s special to you. She’s not just any other girl. She’s the one for you.

Acts of kindness
We’re all running around with our heads cut off and it can get overwhelming. That’s why when your special someone offers to tackle one of your to-do lists, it can trigger that romantic spark. Next time you’re around your love interest ask how you can make her life easier for a day. You will score major points and reap the rewards in due time.

Acts of affection
This goes way beyond what happens behind closed doors in the bedroom. She wants to know that you are thinking of her, care for her, and want to be around her. Romance happens between the ears for many women, meaning it’s the deep emotional connection you build with her that’s the highest form of romance.

A man’s idea of romance is different than a woman’s. You typically won’t hear men wanting to be swept off their feet. Rather, it’s often the personal and simple things you can do for a man that signal romance.

Cultivate his interests
Find out what he’s into and share this time with him. Buy him tickets to his favorite concert or sporting event for example. It’s not just tangible gifts that count. Cheer him on from the stands at his soccer match or spend Sunday watching football with him and his friends.

Get to know the real him
Like anyone, men want to be understood. What drives him, motivates him, excites him? Understanding his true core being makes him feel valued and seen by you. He’ll begin to see you as his respite from the stressors of everyday life. Helping him disconnect from external demands translates to romance.

Show him you’re into him
Many men appreciate affection through physical touch. Yes, this means sex, but not solely sex alone. It also can be expressed by holding hands, giving a hug and kiss, and even igniting his imagination for what’s to come. Send him a flirty text about what he can look forward to later on.

There are countless other ideas that could spark the romance in your relationship. In the end, romance kindles between the two of you when you understand how to make your partner feel seen, heard, and understood.

The post What Is Romance? And What Does It Really Mean appeared first on The Date Mix.

10 Signs He Still Loves You Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:00:42 +0000 If he likes to include you in mundane decisions, it could be a sign he's in it forever.

The post 10 Signs He Still Loves You appeared first on The Date Mix.

If you’re a female in a relationship, chances are you’ve come across an article or 300, ruthlessly targeted at you, that’s titled along the lines of 10 Signs He Loves You or 25 Ways He Shows He Cares. Unless you’re the world’s most secure human being, chances are you’ve clicked on one or all 300 of them. They all say things like “He puts his phone down when you’re together,” or “He asks you questions about your future,” or, “He goes out of his way to hold your hand or touch you when you’re hanging out.” A quick Google search will turn up literally dozens of these lists. And the lists aren’t wrong, exactly. But… well, they aren’t the whole story either.

A while back, I clicked through a Cosmo story that was a checklist of all the signs that my boyfriend truly loves me and had a hiccup of panic when I couldn’t identify with more than one or two. No, I’m not in a loveless relationship, I’m in an old one. My boyfriend and I live together, and our conversations aren’t often conducted over an intimate dinner with constant eye contact, they’re shouted across two rooms as one of us is unloading the dishwasher and the other is answering work emails. He never inquires about my hopes and dreams because he knows them all. He’s seen me stress cry when achieving one of them was particularly hard. I stay away from him when we’re lounging on the couch because when he gets home from the gym and hasn’t showered yet it’s not the time to snuggle up.

To some this may sound like lowering the bar. But for every new-love behavior that falls by the wayside, there is another that indicates the deep and comfortable love that takes its place.

So for all the long-attached girls out there, here’s a vastly underrepresented list of signs that he still loves you.

1. He reveres the traditions you share.
This can be anything from a standing date night, to the understanding that you two split up at Costco to get double the samples. If he finds these traditions important, it means he’s established a structure in his life that you’re a necessary part of.

2. He senses when you’re feeling off. 
If you’ve had a bad day, watched too many “Colorblind man sees color for the first time,” videos and you’re in a funk, or even if you’re just PMSing, and he senses something is wrong, he’s in tune with your non-verbal cues and can pick them up from a mile away. That’s real intimacy.

3. He respects your routines.
For some people taking an hour-long shower is pure necessity. Or maybe you like to watch E! after dinner blissfully uninterrupted. If he accepts the routines that keep you balanced, even if he doesn’t get them, it means he accepts you for who you really are, and not just when you’re on your best behavior.

4. He pitches in.
Someone who takes on housekeeping duties, or offers to run to pick up the take out, or valiantly kills the bugs you can’t handle wants to be a contributing part in the structure of your life. Letting you lean on him so that your life is a little easier is a non-verbal way of telling you he loves you.

5. He ditches the phone when you need him to.
We all hit a level of comfort with our partners where we know they won’t be offended if we scroll through our twitter feeds at dinner. But if he can identify when you need some quality time, and is willing to put the phone down, it means he values you above whatever the internet has to offer.

6. He talks about your future together. 
Talking about your future transitions into planning to be in it, and voicing those hopes. It shows that he’s not afraid to think about you long-term, and even excited about the prospect.

7. He’s into the comfortable silences.
Being alone together is the hallmark of comfortable love. If you’ve got a clinger who doesn’t seem comfortable with the two of you doing your own thing while sharing the same space, (or if you’re the clinger) there’s a good chance he doesn’t feel like there’s enough love in the relationship, and needs the validation of being paid attention to all the time.

8. He likes to include you in mundane decision-making.
Being in a rock solid relationship means discussing big decisions with each other. But if he still feels like he needs your input when he’s purchasing sweatpants or deciding which setting to use on the dryer, it means that he values your input across the board, and that you add value to his daily life.

9. He’s still playful.
Old relationships sometimes have the reputation of being dusty or joyless, but a loving seasoned relationship still has plenty moments of joy, and aren’t just reduced to two people living parallel to each other. If he’s still exhibiting those traits that charmed you in the beginning, it’s a sign that he still feels that spark that initially drew you to each other.

10. He embraces your less-than-charming habits.
Early on, everyone is still hiding their bad habits and quirks, and when they’re finally revealed it can be a make or break moment. If you and your partner live together, or have been together for a while, there’s a good chance he’s seen the gambit, and if he’s still around, and not nagging you about every hairball on the bathroom floor, or the sleep-yoga you do when you’ve had too much caffeine, it means he loves and accepts every fiber of your being. Even the uncute fibers.

Being in a solid and loving long-term relationship basically boils down to feeling that you’re loved, regardless of how exactly your man shows it. And if you’ve perused this list and you’re not feeling it, it doesn’t necessarily mean the love isn’t there. It may mean that you and your partner just have different ways of communicating love. Every relationship and every love is different. Finding the ways you share and show your love with each other is part of what makes your relationship unique.

The post 10 Signs He Still Loves You appeared first on The Date Mix.

5 Little Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Relationship Mon, 25 Sep 2017 08:00:48 +0000 Science shows that the little things in a relationship go a long way. Here are some ideas to help you build a bond.

The post 5 Little Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Relationship appeared first on The Date Mix.

Making love last has long been a topic of interest for everyone from causal daters to married couples and marriage psychologists. We know that over time couples can lose that initial spark that drew them together in the first place. Even the person that you couldn’t keep your hands off of in the beginning becomes less enticing over time.

“Losing the passionate spark” boils down to science. There’s a physiological response to a new relationship that makes you feel quite literally on Cloud 9. It has to do with a hormone found in your brain called Oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. In 2012 study, researchers found that Oxytocin spikes for at least six months of a new relationship. After that time, you’ll probably start to notice the honeymoon phase come to an end and your once-heightened feelings of attraction for your significant other will be replaced with a more ordinary, even-keel feeling. This new relationship reality shouldn’t put you into panic mode. Instead, you should focus on ways to continue to strengthen your bond and grow your relationship.

Back in 1986, one of the prominent studies on marriage was done called “The Early Years of Marriage Project.” The study analyzed couples through their early years of marriage and, as a result, researchers were able to identify what contributed to happiness in a marriage and what caused stress in a marriage.

Study researcher, Dr. Terri Orbuch, found that one of the most important keys to a happy marriage was how cared for each individual felt in the relationship. “Doing or saying small things frequently to make your partner feel special, cared for, and loved … is very predictive of staying together, being happy, and [preventing] divorce,” she says.

Putting Dr. Orbuch’s research into practice means that you can strengthen your bond by making the little things count.

Here are five small actions you can take to strengthen your relationship and the bond you have with your spouse:

1. Make coffee for your special someone.
Or translate this action into something that your partner would appreciate. If she doesn’t like coffee, make tea instead. Or, if tennis is his thing, make a point to watch a match with him each week. These small actions take cognitive effort and help you build a deeper connection with someone.

“Making a partnership is about making moments, not about creating a lifestyle,” says Psychologist Dr. Cooper Lawrence. “Small things are easier to do, and if you string them together over the course of a day, week, or lifetime, what you have is a much larger message that speaks to your feelings towards the other person.”

2. Porch sit.
In established relationships, so much of our communication happens over daily household tasks like doing the dishes or cooking dinner and it’s easy for that type of environment to dictate the type of conversation you have about daily minutia things such as paying bills or taking care of other life necessities. Although these conversations are important, they don’t contribute to a happier partnership. What does, however, is communication that allows each of you to get to know one another better.

Whether you use the chairs on your back porch, go to the park and sprawl out on a blanket, or sit on your couch with the TV off, the key is to find something to talk about that helps your partner understand your core being.

3. Create a bucket list together.
Comedian Aziz Ansari wrote a book called “Modern Romance” in which he uncovered some important discoveries about modern relationships. He found several studies which concur that when couples participate in activities that are novel and exciting, they show an increase in relationship quality.

You may not be ready to bungee jump with your special someone just yet, but listing out what the two of you would like to experience together in the future is a fun way to create a shared vision for the future and learn more about each other.

4. Celebrate the milestone moments.
We go through life mostly checking off things on our to do list, solving problems, and dealing with mundane affairs, Too often we don’t celebrate our milestone moments, both big and small. However, it’s our milestone moments that make us the happiest and that keep us excited to keep pursuing our goals, ambitions, and dreams.

You can get closer to your partner by celebrating his or her life moments. And it’s fun to think creatively about how to celebrate these milestones. Anything goes— balloons filling the living room, a celebratory dinner, or a weekend gateway. It all counts. What matters most is your thoughtfulness and helping your partner take some time to be proud of the important milestones in his or her life.

5. Use technology the right way.
While technology can distract people from engaging in face-to-face interactions, it can be a helpful tool that brings us closer too. For example, when your partner sees something funny, he can snap a photo and send it to you. You can also build upon your intimacy while you’re apart by sending flirty text messages or a, “I’m just thinking about you,” selfie.

What other small actions can you imagine that will help you get beyond the surface and into a more personal, deeper space with your partner? This is the key to strengthening your bond and increasing the happiness in your relationship.

The post 5 Little Things You Can Do to Strengthen Your Relationship appeared first on The Date Mix.

How to Tell Someone You Love Them Thu, 14 Sep 2017 08:00:45 +0000 What really matters when you're ready to say those three little words.

The post How to Tell Someone You Love Them appeared first on The Date Mix.

As the founder of the company Love Notery, I’ve written love stories for couples at every committed stage of their relationship, from their engagement through their 10-year anniversary and beyond. In learning about how my clients fall in love, I always ask how they said “I love you” for the first time. And what I learned about how to tell someone you love them for the first time may surprise you. You might think that the first, “I love you” is said in a romantic setting—and it often is—but it also actually happens quite a bit during arguments.

It’s nerve-racking to say those three little words for the very first time. Will he reciprocate? What if she doesn’t feel the same way? All of these questions swirl around in your head while you have this unrelenting desire to express your love for your partner and when emotions are highest, like during an argument, those words can just pour out.

As you can imagine, saying “I love you” for the first time in the middle of an argument stops it straight in its tracks while each person considers the weight of those words and how they feel about what has just been said. Though saying “I love you” during an argument may be more common than you would think, there are also other more fulfilling ways to get this emotional declaration off your chest.

First, let’s address the timing issue.

When should you say, “I love you?”
Say it only after two months. Go on at least seven dates. Never say it first. These are only a few examples of some of the rules you may have heard about when it’s the right time to express loving feelings for your partner, and they all focus on timing. But the truth is that there’s not a specific right time to say “I love you” because the right time is when you feel it.

The better measure of when to say “I love you” is to evaluate how emotionally vulnerable you feel with your partner. Do you trust him? Does it feel good to disclose deeper aspects of yourself with her?

How you feel is the thermometer to tune into rather than any relationship “rules” you’ve heard of.

How do you say “I love you” for the first time?
Words without actions cannot adequately express your feelings for another person. When you’re ready to say “I love you” to your partner, carefully consider how your actions up to this point have reflected your feelings toward him or her.

If all you do is fight, “I love you” may be received by your partner with an eyebrow raise. If you’ve been building intimacy along your dating journey, then “I love you” may likely be received in a more mutual way.

How you decide to say “I love you” is best communicated when you two are connecting in a romantic way, and with eye contact and true sincerity behind your words. Make sure you consider who your partner is. Do they prefer romantic gestures in private for example?

Here are some ideas of intimate moments to say “I love you”:

  • Cuddling on the couch
  • On a romantic vacation
  • During a fireside chat
  • Holding hands while taking a stroll in the park or on the beach
  • While having breakfast in bed

After you’ve expressed your feelings, you may not have those feelings reciprocated at the same time and that’s ok. Each person has his or her own way to express their love and will do it on their own time. So long as the intimacy keeps building, love is growing.

Saying “I love you” and actively expressing your love has the amazing ability to bring two partners closer together. Over time, with more experiences and emotionally intimacy, your love for one another will go to new depths.

The post How to Tell Someone You Love Them appeared first on The Date Mix.

Dating Someone with ADHD: What You Should Know Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:20:57 +0000 Experts explore the effect of ADHD on romantic relationships.

The post Dating Someone with ADHD: What You Should Know appeared first on The Date Mix.

Dating someone with ADHD can bring on certain challenges and misunderstandings, but dating someone with a dynamic personality who thinks and acts differently from you brings its rewards as well. If you’re not familiar with the traits associated with someone with ADHD, many people can underestimate the impact it can have on a relationship.

“ADHD, at its core, is an impulsivity disorder,” says Dr. John Paul Garrison, a clinical and forensic psychologist. “It is a neurological issue with a consistent group of traits and characteristics. Some of those characteristics include disorganization, impulsive behavior, stimulation seeking behaviors, difficulty concentrating, and significant fluctuation in emotions. Anxiety is also a very common trait in individuals with ADHD.”

But not all adults with ADHD act the same. Many may have had the disorder since they were younger and have learned to identify and regulate the characteristics that once game them problems. For others, the case may be more severe and they may have more obvious symptoms they need to manage.

Since ADHD is a disorder that comes on a spectrum with a variety of intensities, it’s good to talk to your partner about their individual experiences with ADHD and learn how he or she thinks about it.

In more severe cases, you might not even know your partner has ADHD, which can lead you to misinterpret their feelings for you. For example, if they’re distracted when you’re together it may have nothing to do with them not being interested in you or what you’re saying. Though this can happen with all couples, when you’re in a relationship with someone with ADHD, some of these common issues can feel more intense.

“Messiness and disorganization are very common problems with couples where one has ADHD. No matter how many times you tell someone with ADHD to pick up their clothes, maintain a clean kitchen, or to keep an organized living space, it may just not happen. It’s not because the person doesn’t care about you, but that they are just wired differently and those seemingly simple tasks are very hard to prioritize. Procrastination and lack of motivation are also significant hurdles. They often wait too late to buy birthday gifts, forget important anniversaries, and make last minute plans,” says Garrison.

Being with an ADHD partner can also affect your sexual relationship and social interactions.

“The sexual needs of someone with ADHD can be significantly more than others due to their constant stimulation-seeking behaviors. And when they drink, they might drink too much,” says Garrison.

Despite the challenges, individuals with ADHD tend to be unique thinkers and can be very energetic—characteristics that work well for a lot of relationships and attract people with similar inclinations. If you find out your partner has ADHD, the first thing you should do is educate yourself about the disorder.

Marriage consultant and author of The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps, Melissa Orlov, said in a recent interview that knowing how ADHD manifests in adults helps you know what to expect. “When you know that your partner’s lack of attention is the result of ADHD, and has little to do with how they feel about you, you’ll deal with the situation differently. Once you start looking at ADHD symptoms, you can get to the root of the problem and start to manage and treat the symptoms as well as manage your responses.”

Orlov also suggests setting up external structural cues to help with procrastination and disorganizations issues.

“It’s important to pick an organizational system that works for you and includes reminders. For instance, it’s tremendously helpful to break down a project into several actionable steps on paper and set cell phone reminders regularly,” she says.

Remember that ADHD is a disorder and without proper treatment, it can really impact all areas of your partner’s life, including your life and relationship. Orlov adds to seek support when needed, and at the same time, empathize with your significant other.

“Understanding the impact that ADHD has on both partners is critical to improving your relationship. Put yourself in their shoes. If you don’t have ADHD, try to appreciate just how difficult it is to live every day with a slew of intrusive symptoms. If you do have ADHD, try to understand how much your disorder has changed your partner’s life.”

The post Dating Someone with ADHD: What You Should Know appeared first on The Date Mix.

7 Surprising Things That Keep Your New Relationship Strong Fri, 08 Sep 2017 08:00:11 +0000 When's the last time you did the dishes?

The post 7 Surprising Things That Keep Your New Relationship Strong appeared first on The Date Mix.

When you’re having problems with someone you’re in a serious relationship with, advice from well-meaning friends and family who don’t know the particulars of your situation sometimes aren’t as helpful as you’d like them to be. You might be willing to try anything to strengthen a relationship that means the world to you, but if all you’re hearing is Say I love you more and Don’t go to bed angry you won’t have a lot to go on.

If you’re looking for new relationship advice you can use every day, check out these seven surprising ways you can strengthen your relationship.

1. Fold laundry with each other.
According to Mary Sambrosky, founder of Be Plus One, “Working side by side on a mundane task creates a connection and symbiotic feeling” because it pushes you to function as a team. Sambrosky suggests that couples regularly fold laundry together to achieve that symbiotic feeling and couples who follow this advice typically report back to her that they even forward to that time.

You don’t necessarily have to fold laundry, but pick a household chore that you can work on together. Maybe one of you can wash the dishes while the other one dries, or you can both spend time pulling weeds in the garden. Whatever the task, focus on accomplishing it together.

2. Send each other calendar invites.
People who are comfortable in their relationships sometimes fall into the trap of assuming that their partners will always agree to spending time together, no matter what. Have you ever made a plan for you and your loved one to attend a party, then told your partner about it after the fact?

Relationship expert Wendy Newman advises against making those assumptions. Instead, she suggests sharing online calendars with each other and sending invites for any activity you plan, allowing the other person to accept or decline the request. “When it comes down to it,” Newman explains, “everything we do for each other is better when it’s a choice, and we’re giving our time and energy freely.”

3. Go to bed at the same time.
Relationship therapist Kimberly Hershenson stresses the importance of maintaining physical and emotional intimacy with your partner, “which is often difficult when kids need to be fed, we are tired from working all day, and the house needs to be put in order.”

Hershenson suggests that couples should hit the hay together at least one night a week. Doing so will provide you with extra time to cuddle and talk about each other’s days.

4. Get more sleep.
Sleep expert Sarah Brown of Sleep Train says that, “People who don’t get enough sleep can sometimes see their relationships suffer due to increased irritability.” She points out that you also tend to appear less attractive to others when you are running on insufficient sleep, and you may each find yourselves less interested in physical intimacy as a result.

Brown encourages couples to support each other in healthy sleep habits by avoiding screens for the hour before bedtime, quitting the afternoon cup of coffee, and maintaining a somewhat regular bedtime. (Ideally at the same time, as Hershenson suggested).

5. Be your partner’s gym buddy.
Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak writes that, “couples that do physical activities or challenges together are more satisfied in their relationship.” Not only does working out together keep you both motivated, but over time the exercise will likely help you both feel better about your health and appearances, and you may find yourselves even more attracted to each other.

Wearable fitness tech is one great way to connect with your partner even if you can’t align your schedules to visit the gym together. You can engage in some healthy competition as well as stay accountable to each other for your individual goals.

6. Ditch your phones.
Shamyra Howard, relationship expert and owner of Conquest Counseling, recommends that couples turn off their cell phones at a designated time every day. “Cell phones keep us connected in so many ways,” she says, “but can keep us disconnected in our relationships.” Howard explains that establishing a cell phone curfew as a couple can help remind both partners to tune in to each other while tuning out the rest of the world.

Rather than scrolling through Facebook or liking your friends’ photos on Instagram, put your phones away for an hour and find an activity conducive to conversation or bonding. You might play a board game, go for a walk, or just chat—but the important thing is that you are substituting the time on your phones with time together.

7. Play video games together.
The keyword here is together. A study by researchers at Brigham Young University found “when husbands are heavy gamers, it clearly has a negative impact on their marriages”—but when both partners played equally, and even interacted together in the virtual world, a greater percentage reported higher marital satisfaction.

Tread carefully if you want to go this route, because the study does point out that too much competition between partners can cause friction. Researchers also confirm that going to bed at different times might lead to diminished intimacy in a relationship, as Hershenson suggests—so try not to let the gaming get between you.

No relationship is perfect or without disagreements, but as you start to engage more with your partner and grow more deliberate in the way you spend time together, you will likely see a renewed connection.

The post 7 Surprising Things That Keep Your New Relationship Strong appeared first on The Date Mix.