Restore the Closeness with Repair Attempts

Restore the Closeness with Repair Attempts - repair your relationshipYou’re hanging out with someone you really care about when it happens…

You say the wrong thing.

He goes silent. His jaw tightens. Tension floods the room.

You’re desperately trying to think of a way to take it back when he stands up. “I gotta go. Catch you later.”

He’s gone without a goodbye kiss.

You’re alone, ashamed and angry at yourself. Why did you do that? Just when it was going so well?

It can happen to anyone. Even if you make a point of being the kindest, most thoughtful person on the planet, you can still end up upsetting the man you want to be with.

The words you said meant one thing to you but something completely different to him. Instead of asking you to clarify, he took it the wrong way. His feelings were hurt, you had no idea what you did to cause it, and it’s all a big mess.

This happens in all kinds of relationships, from romantic relationships to professional ones. So, it pays to take a closer look at what we can do when we upset each other.  Let’s talk about how to feel close again.

The Dance of Intimacy

The perfect relationship should be a harmonious dance. He puts his hand around your waist, you gaze into his eyes, and you swirl around the dance floor with sweet music guiding your steps.

A wonderful fantasy, but nowhere close to reality.

The reality of relationships isn’t easy to watch. You move together in step for a short while, then break away. The music comes in snatches, and you’re not always hearing the same rhythm. It’s easier to step back, because moving as one is too much work.

What do you do when you find yourselves on opposite sides of the dance floor? How do you find your lost rhythm and restore the closeness?

The answer is what psychologists call repair attempts.

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Three Ways “Fun Theory” Can Help Your Relationship Thrive

Three Ways "Fun Theory" Can Help Your Relationship ThriveHave you ever tried to get excited about something you didn’t really want to do?

A friend of mine is a runner. Recently I admitted I simply don’t like running enough to tackle the long distances she does, and what she said floored me.

She said she doesn’t like to run, either. But she knows it’s good for her, so she finds ways to make it fun.

For her, that means listening to music, staying connected with other runners, and going absolutely nuts buying running apparel.

The folks at Volkswagen think along the same lines. They launched a program called “Fun Theory.” Fun Theory is the idea that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.”[i]

In one of their experiments, they painted a set of stairs to look like piano keys. The stairs were directly adjacent to an escalator, but they wanted to see if more people would opt for the stairs if the stairs looked more fun.

Guess what? It worked![ii]

Below you’ll find three times when you can use the same strategy in your relationship. You can help your relationship thrive if you can turn the work of maintaining your relationship easier just by injecting some fun.

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What do guys mean by “high-maintenance?”

what does What does it mean when a man claims a woman was “high-maintenance?” In the private conversations men have, what do they say to justify the high-maintenance label?

First of all, I’m not a fan of labels, particularly negative ones. But this particular label gets used enough to raise my suspicion that it might represent something real. It might represent a cluster of ideas or beliefs men have about the behavior they see in some women, but not others.

I did some research and discovered men don’t even know what the term means. Or at least they disagree about what it means. However, there were a few common themes in the majority of descriptions I gathered. Those themes revealed something interesting about what men want. I thought I’d share my discoveries.

It’s a bad thing to be labeled as a “high-maintenance” woman in the mind of a man you would like to form a relationship with. That’s really the crux of the matter, isn’t it? So let’s get to the bottom of what that label really means, so you can guard against that reputation if you so choose.

It seems men have at least one of the following three general concepts of what high-maintenance means:

  • “She requires a lot of time and demands constant attention.”
  • “She is focused on image and appearance in shallow ways that cost me a lot of money.”
  • “She is quick to anger, excessively sensitive to interpersonal slights, and slow to forgive.”

Something struck me as particularly significant as I considered these broad categories that each capture core themes in the concerns men have about “high-maintenance” behavior. You see, as I studied the psychology of men, and what makes them fall for women, one of the most important principles I discovered was that men are obsessed with freedom. All three ways of conceptualizing “high-maintenance” behavior contain something that threatens a man’s freedom.

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