Tips for Your Love Life

Tips for Your Love Life

Science-driven methods for increasing the amount of meaningful connection and intimacy you have in your life.

Having more love will benefit you: research tells us again and again that having high-quality relationships makes us happier and healthier while having few relationships or unhealthy ones stresses us out and decreases our well-being (Baumeister & Leary, 1995; Uchino et al., 1996).

Love Tips for Dumpees

If you have recently been dumped, how you choose to look at the situation matters a great deal (Tashiro & Frazier, 2003). Seeing the situation as either “all my fault” or “all their fault” is a natural tendency when emotions are running high, but it is likely neither accurate nor helpful. If you can see the gray area in the situation – the ways that the breakup was a reflection of where both you and your ex were at – then you are more likely to experience post-breakup growth.

When two people break up, it is because the relationship was not right for either of them at the time. You can try to recognize how the relationship was not right for you because of who you are and who the other person is. Nobody is right or wrong – the situation is just not ideal for the two of you to keep going. When we acknowledge how the circumstances made the relationship hard to maintain, we have an easier time letting go of our own role in the breakup, as well as resentment toward the other person (Tashiro & Frazier, 2003).

“The sadest part of love life is when you cannot live with and without the one you love”
― Amit Abraham

Love Tips for Couples

The quote above is akin to the idea of “love as a social tie”. That tie only exists as long as we are choosing to act on our love. Relationships take work, and that work can be measured in moments, weeks, and years.

An important love tip for anyone in a long-term, committed relationship is to stay attuned to your partner. This means being aware of what is happening in your partner’s life and staying in steady, effective communication with each other (Eckstein & Goldman, 2001).

Here are six behaviors that couples report make their relationships more satisfying (Shumway & Wampler, 2002). There is nothing groundbreaking here, but these behaviors represent the foundation of a healthy relationship, so putting them into practice will increase the love in your life:

● Greeting each other consistently. This might sound a little basic, but being acknowledged when we come home, or even just enter the room, really matters. It sends the message, “Things feel different when you are here.”

● Talking about daily life. Telling your partner about your day – and actively listening to the little details of their day – shows investment in understanding each other’s experiences.

● Giving praise. Daily appreciations of your partner matter so much: they show that you are paying attention and that you are aware of the effort your partner is putting in. Try your best to show your partner that you do not take them for granted.

● Sharing memories. Remembering what you have done together builds a sense of “we-ness”, reminding you of where you have been together and perhaps inspiring you to think more about where you want to go.

● Doing things together. Your relationship exists independently of your job and your family, and making time for shared activities is a great way to honor your relationship.

● Giving feedback. Last but certainly not least, love grows not just with praise but also with constructive feedback. If you can tell your partner when something they do bothers or upsets you, while also communicating your care for them, they get a chance to grow as a person – and your relationship gets to evolve in positive ways, too.

Tips for When Love Starts to Fade

When conversations are good, a relationship tends to go well. When negative interactions begin to multiply and reinforce each other, a relationship will start to suffer (Gottman et al., 1998). Couples that cannot break these patterns often find staying together too difficult to keep up. My love tip here is to recognize when defensiveness, contempt, or hostility are starting to appear in your relationship (Gottman, 1994) and do your best to break the cycle!

Love can also fade because partners drift apart in their interests (Carswell et al., 2021). Relationships stay healthy when partners share their novel interests together – doing new things together has been experimentally shown to bring couples closer together (Aron et al., 2000). This can be another way to stop love from fading.

In Sum

Hopefully these love tips have helped you identify a couple of ways to increase the love connection and feelings of love in your life. It is always worth it to dedicate more time to loving yourself and loving others.

References

● Aron, A., Norman, C. C., Aron, E. N., McKenna, C., & Heyman, R. E. (2000). Couples’ shared participation in novel and arousing activities and experienced relationship quality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78(2), 273-284.

● Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497-529.

● Carswell, K. L., Muise, A., Harasymchuk, C., Horne, R. M., Visserman, M. L., & Impett, E. A. (2021). Growing desire or growing apart? Consequences of personal self-expansion for romantic passion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 121(2), 354-377.

● Eckstein, D., & Goldman, A. (2001). The Couple’s Gender-Based Communication Questionnaire (CGCQ). The Family Journal: Counseling and Therapy for Couples and Families, 9, 62-74.

● Gottman, J. M. (1994). Why marriages succeed or fail. New York: Simon & Schuster.

● Gottman, J. M., Coan, J., Carrere, S., & Swanson, C. (1998). Predicting marital happiness and stability from newlywed interactions. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 60, 5-22.

● Shumway, S. T., & Wampler, R. S. (2002). A behaviorally focused measure for relationships: The Couple Behavior Report (CBR). American Journal of Family Therapy, 30, 311-321.

● Tashiro, T. Y., & Frazier, P. (2003). “I’ll never be in a relationship like that again”: Personal growth following romantic relationship breakups. Personal Relationships, 10(1), 113-128.

● Uchino, B. N., Cacioppo, J. T., & Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K. (1996). The relationship between social support and physiological processes: A review with emphasis on underlying mechanisms and implications for health. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 488–531