Why a Bad Day Can Make You Hate Your Relationship

moods affecting relationshipTwo questions:

  1. How are you feeling right now?
  2. If you’re in a relationship, do you think you’ll be happy with your boyfriend in a year’s time?

Most of us would assume these questions have nothing to do with one another.

After all, how you feel at this very moment is irrelevant to how you think you’ll feel about your boyfriend in a year. Right?

Wrong.

A classic study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology[1] found that people report greater satisfaction with their lives when the weather is nice or when they’ve been thinking about something happy.

As everyone on vacation knows, life looks better when it’s sunny and hot.

How we feel right now also affects how we think we’ll feel about the future.

If someone interviewed you right after you’d had a particularly nasty argument with your boyfriend, you’d probably express serious doubts about your long-term compatibility. Spend the rest of your life with this monkey? Not likely.

But if someone interviewed you right after a Valentine’s Day in which your boyfriend pulled out all the stops, you’d probably have a decent idea about what style of wedding dress you want and how many guests you’ll invite.

Knowing this gives us some fairly important information about what not to do in relationships.

Don’t decide to marry your partner on the spur of a moment, just because you’ve had the most amazing weekend away with him.

Don’t break up in the middle of an argument, just because he’s made you mad.

In fact, try to avoid making any long-term decisions when you’re in the midst of strong emotions, because how you feel in the moment could prejudice your view of the future.

And feel free to use this psychological trick on him.

If you want to ask him something that involves a future commitment, wait to ask until he’s in a stellar mood. The better he feels, the more likely he is to say yes.

(All children know this trick. They save their big requests for when Mommy and Daddy are in a good mood.)

But there’s something else I need to show you. How we feel about the present also affects how we feel about the past.  Let me point out why this matters in your relationship.

Continue reading

3 Ingredients for a Spicy Relationship

how to keep your relationship passionateBad relationship advice is everywhere.

Not too long ago, I read an article[i] in a well-known women’s magazine that was full of shady suggestions. Here’s one of the worst.

The writer claimed you should never have to ask how to stoke the passion in your love life. “Really, really good relationships” are always spicy, she claimed. “If you’re not seeing fireworks every time he walks into the room, it might be time to move on.”

Um, no.

There’s only one time a lack of passion is a red flag—right at the beginning of a relationship. If there’s no spark while you’re getting to know him, maybe he’s not the guy for you.

But if you’ve been with someone a while, there are going to be lulls. It’s inevitable. A dip in passion doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed.

Keeping the passion alive takes work.

As you get comfortable in your relationship, it’s easy to slack off a bit. If that’s happened to you, here are three easy ways[ii] to put a little oomph back into the mix.

Continue reading

Do You Make This Online Dating Mistake?

online dating mistakesI used to have this friend. He would initiate plans for us to hang out. But at the last minute a more exciting opportunity would come up. Something he thought sounded more exciting.

Time after time, he ditched plans he already had with me or his other friends.

Here’s the important part. I USED to have this friend. After putting up with his flakiness for a while, I got tired of it.

I moved on. Invested in other friendships.

From what I hear, he’s still on the prowl for the bigger, better deal. It’s almost like he’s addicted to the hunt for the most “happening” social scene. Sadly, he’ll continue to miss out on real friendships as long as he keeps up this nonsense.

I know you’re not like this guy. But digital dating has a way of pulling people toward a similar trap.

The digital age has changed how we date. Today there are all kinds of websites, matchmaking services, and even mobile apps that promise the possibility of romance.

And that’s great!

People used to be ashamed to admit they met someone online. That’s silly. Meeting someone is hard. If there’s a website or app that makes it easier, use it.

But be careful you don’t develop an unquenchable craving for the bigger, better deal.

There’s a very real psychological effect to techno-dating. Take one popular app, Tinder, as a prime example. As one article put it, “With Tinder, the pretext is to hook-up, but the real pleasure is derived from the Tindering process.”[i]

In other words, a lot of folks who use dating apps tell themselves they’re looking for a partner. But really, they’re falling in love with the selection process.

Continue reading

How to Keep Worry from Capsizing a Date

How to be calm during a dateDoes self-doubt get in your way? Does it take some of the fun out of dating?

For me, one of the hardest things to see is wonderful women who doubt themselves.

They can’t see all the qualities they have that would make a man fall in love.

They worry about how they come across. They chastise themselves for messing up. They just want to do everything perfectly, so he’ll fall for them and they’ll have a shot at happily ever after.

One of my hardest challenges is to convey a new mindset to dispel worry.

Because worrying causes more problems than it solves, especially on those first few dates.

It’s natural to worry, but that doesn’t make it a good idea.

Worrying takes you out of the present moment and puts you in your head. It makes you self-conscious, which makes you more likely to stumble and make mistakes. It makes you tense up, which can cause you to speak faster and louder than normal.

That’s not even the worst part.

The worst part is that tension is contagious.

He’ll pick up on your tension. He’ll start to feel it, too. He’ll become uncomfortable. He’ll start to worry that he’s doing something wrong to make you so uncomfortable.

And the whole date is pulled toward a less genuine level of connection between the two of you.

All of us, men and women alike, put so much effort into a first date. We make sure we’ve chosen the ideal place to meet. We make sure our appearance is perfect. We practice saying witty things in front of the mirror.

Then, when the time comes to actually meet, we blow it. We’re so nervous and anxious that we stick our foot in our mouth, spill the water glass, say something offensive when we were trying to be funny, and slink away at the end of the night without suggesting a repeat.

This is not a gendered problem. Men do it, too! (And probably more often.)

So how can we keep worries from destroying a first date, both for you and for him?

There’s a simple solution:

Continue reading