A new year means a brand new start – and the chance to get rid of all those bad habits that are ruining your chance of happiness.
As we detox our bodies by eating healthily and cutting back on booze, it’s the time to do the same in the realms of dating and relationships.
Here are some achievable ways to give your sex and love life a fresh, sparkling start to 2016.
Stop blaming yourself: Women have a tendency to blame every failed relationship on themselves. It’s not always about you. Some men just have issues.
Live in the real world: Phones are fabulous for keeping us entertained but try looking around you when you’re out and about rather than instantly reaching for your phone the minute your friend goes to the loo.
Being on the phone makes you look unapproachable – and it’s hard for someone to catch your eye if you’re constantly looking down.
Play the numbers game: The more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone you like. So don’t write off a place just because a quick sweep of the room doesn’t turn up anyone you fancy. How do you know you won’t fancy someone’s friends or family?
She says that singletons should be open to meeting more new people in 2016 by playing the numbers game and putting down mobile phones to make themselves more approachable.
Stop making excuses for bad behaviour: If they don’t call you, never turn up on time, disappear, only want to see you when they’re drunk or are selfish or a bully, don’t date them! Don’t kid yourself it’s because they’re ‘scared to commit’ or ‘hurt by their past’. There usually isn’t an excuse for their bad behaviour: if they like you, they’ll treat you accordingly.
Don’t speed: Wanting to race to the finish line of moving in or marriage too quickly can be the death of a perfectly good relationship.
If you really do want to spend the rest of your life with someone, what’s the rush?
SEX LIFE DETOX
Do dirty weekends: Study after study shows both men and women feel more like sex when they’re away from home, chores and the kids. Take advantage of all the cheap holiday deals on offer and book a weekend (or longer) away every few months. If you can’t stretch to that, aim for one night in a nice hotel that’s close by.
She reminds couples that sex may not be the same as when they first got together but there are ways to keep the spark alive – including dirty weekends.
Give up on recreating the beginning: That frantic, at-it-like-rabbits, urgent style of sex you had when you first met is intensely enjoyable – but it’s not the only sex that is. Long term sex is different. You will have lusty nights but you’ll also have romantic sex, lazy holiday sex and naughty sex because you trust each other to share those dodgy fantasies.
You’ll also have sex where one of you feels like it and the other doesn’t, boring sex and disaster sex (actually a good sign because it usually means you’re trying something new). What you won’t have is sex like you had at the start for the rest of your lives.
Beware of sex replacements: For men, this usually means porn. For women, ironically, it’s children. Children (obviously) don’t provide us with sexual stimulation but they do a damn good job in the affection and love department so reduce motivation for sex.
Be honest with each other about what’s going on, make a weekly ‘sex date’ and take turns with coming up with new things to try.
If sex is stressful, take a break: Sometimes sex just isn’t a priority and having it is causing more problems rather than increasing intimacy.
Having your first child, coping with a trauma like the death of a parent – sometimes a sex break is needed to get through a stressful time.
Take it off the table completely for an agreed amount of time (one month or two – no more) and you can relax and recuperate without worrying it’s never going to happen again.
LOVE LIFE DETOX
Don’t stop talking: Don’t just talk about mundane things, have real conversations about your frustrations, dreams and feelings.
We are closest to the people who know the most about us. It’s great to share with friends but if you’re telling someone other than your partner about the intricacies of your life, you’re creating closeness with the wrong person.
Do something kind every day: Every day kindness is more important than making a big fuss on occasions like birthdays or anniversaries.
One study of more than 300 married couples over 28 years found it wasn’t the big, grand statements of love that made people happy but small, frequent loving gestures – like bringing a cup of tea in bed.
Love who they love: You might not choose their family and friends as your own but you have chosen your partner. This means being respectful and polite to people who are important to them, even if you don’t like them.
Research shows for men, particularly, getting on well with his family and close friends is crucial for long-term relationship satisfaction.
Keep the scales balanced: The happiest relationships are those where both parties believe they’re getting a good deal. If one feels they’re being short-changed, resentment grows. If that’s you, think of what your partner could do to even things up and let them know about it.
Think for two: Every time you make a decision, think how it would affect your partner as well as you. Research shows couples who automatically take into account their partner’s needs and wants as well as their own, have much happier relationships.