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My next book: Relationships: Breaking the Barriers. I’m at the very end of writing this little ditty and would love your input. This is your opportunity for a little fame.
Relationships: We all have them. Relationships with our friends, family members, cohorts, in our marriage, bf/gf, fiance, fellow church members, domestic partnerships, “it’s complicated”.
What are the key things you think it takes to make relationships grow in a healthy way?
What are the key things that make relationships fall apart?
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Learn more about attachment-style theory to discover more about how you and your partner relate and react when you are in relationship.
When we look for a partner, there’s a whole host of factors that play into the process. Our relationship and personal histories, for one — including romantic, familial, and even workplace — have a huge impact on our love lives.
Considering our diverse and varied experiences and the unique connection formed by two people, every relationship is completely different. Still, research shows that when it comes down to how we form and behave in relationships, pretty much everyone falls into one of three categories: anxious, avoidant, or secure. It’s called the attachment theory, and according to astudy published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, about 20 percent of people are anxious and roughly 25 percent fall into the avoidant camp, while the rest of the population are considered secure.
Anxious People who have an anxious attachment style crave intimacy and closeness. They love being coupled, but they consider relationships fragile and are sensitive to even minor shifts in a partner’s mood and the subtle nuances of relationships. A little thing, such as a partner neglecting to call, leaves them feeling vulnerable and insecure. Anxious-attachment-style people generally have a harder time telling love interests what they want because they don’t want to rock the boat or create conflict. Instead, they’re more likely to mope, withdraw, or even lash out: They ignore the calls they so anxiously await or flirt with others to make their mates jealous. This method of reacting doesn’t bode well for creating communicative, stable relationships.
Avoidant The behavior of avoidant types can often be difficult to predict. Deep down they do crave intimacy, but they often think this connection will rob them of their prized independence. People in this category may feel uncomfortable or suffocated if they sense love interests getting too close. Often this leads them to pull away.
Although avoidants may seem like prime candidates for eternal singlehood, they do want to form deep romantic connections. However, to protect themselves from potential heartbreak, they repress those feelings and create distance between themselves and their partners. For example, avoidants may feel annoyed or even angry if their partners seem “needy,” and they opt to keep them at arm’s length. Or they may get overly annoyed and focused on the “small stuff,”like how they don’t wipe down the sink or crack their gum. They may use these perceived flaws to temper their romantic feelings.
Secure People who fall into the secure category are reliable, relationship oriented, and do a very good job at communicating what they want as well as responding to their partners’ needs. When disagreements crop up, secure people tend to stay calm and are ready to talk things out. They are comfortable with intimacy: So instead of shying away from conflict resolution, they are willing to address relationship problems and thus work to grow closer and deepen their bonds with others.
Let’s face it, not all of us have a secure attachment style. But if you don’t fall into this category, don’t fret. Based on our changing life experiences and deepening self-awareness (and often therapy ), you can shift your attachment style. It’s not rigid or immobile. Our relationship patterns constantly evolve and change.
Source: Dr. Laura Berman
Some psychologists believe that our attraction to our partners is tied to early experiences and crushes from our childhood.
Psychologist John Money coined the term “love map” to describe one’s blueprint for the perfect mate, both sexually and otherwise. It is the unconscious outline in your mind of what love should look like. Your love map is mostly the result of early childhood preferences and experiences. Much of it was imprinted before you knew what to make of it — a delicious smell, a beautiful hair color, a great sense of humor. It is a map of what is significant to you sensually, based on what resonated with you as a child.
Your love map is pretty fluid until about age seven and then solidifies in its most fundamental form. However, love maps can be redrawn throughout your developmental years as a result of big events or relationships in your life. Your first love might set a pattern of attraction, either because it went so well or so wrong. Or your parents’ divorce and your dad’s subsequent emotional departure might cause you to seek out unavailable men.
Understanding your love map can help you have better relationships. When you and your partner fit together like two pieces of a puzzle, it’s for a variety of reasons — both good and bad. The upside of being with someone who fits the outline of our love map is that we get to experience that frenzied, euphoric lust that sparks between two people who have a unique chemistry. The downside is that we may be drawn to someone who resurrects conflicts, big or small, from our childhood. It’s why we’re able to fall madly in love, only to find ourselves in a relationship tangle that seems impossible to manage.
Since our love maps are outlined before we even reach adulthood, they are generally based on watching the model of our parents’ relationship or from childhood crushes and societal structures. If you grew up with parents who exhibited a healthy and loving relationship, you will likely draw certain positive subconscious (and conscious) conclusions about what a relationship should look like. You will also gain very personal ideas about how men and women should treat each other, including how sexual attraction should manifest in a relationship.
Of course, few people have a perfectly idyllic childhood, but this doesn’t mean that your love map is doomed from thestart. Even if your parents didn’t have an amicable marriage, you might have gained valuable insights and a clear idea of what you want and need from a partner. Perhaps your love map might lead you to choose partners who challenge you or partners who make you look deeply at yourself and become the best you can be.
To make sure that you are following a healthy love map, it’s important to first examine what qualities attract you to someone and why. Identify the major factors that have influenced your love map, learn what you need and expect in a relationship, and commit yourself to finding a relationship that meets your expectations and needs in a healthy way. Like the old saying goes, those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it… especially when it is your history!
Source: Dr. Laura Berman
It’s true that your most important sex organ is between your ears, so it’s important to understand the myriad of factors that contribute to your brain in love.
With an irresistible cocktail of chemicals, our brain entices us to fall in love. We believe we’re choosing a partner. But we may merely be the happy victims of nature’s lovely plan. The most exhilarating of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing.
In a famous experiment, biological anthropologist Helen E. Fisher, a research professor in the department of anthropology at Rutgers University, surveyed over 75 men and women who were madly in love. The participants had their brains scanned and mapped for the basic circuits that fire up when you fall head over heels for someone. Primary activity occurs in a tiny factory near the base of the brain — the ventral tegmental area or VTA. This brain region makes dopamine, a natural stimulant; then shoots this intoxicant to many other brain areas, giving you feelings of elation, energy, craving, motivation and obsession. Indeed, when you’re in love, you can’t stop thinking about him or her: someone is camping in your head. And this brain network can be triggered instantly — swamping you with intense romantic passion.
We inherited this natural response from our animal predecessors. As Darwin noted, lots of animals express an instant attraction to another. Take a female squirrel. At the beginning of the breeding season, she needs to find a healthy, alert male squirrel. She doesn’t have three years to discuss his college plans. She needs to breed now, today. So when she sees a male with a nice bushy tail, youthful whiskers and an energetic gait, she may become instantly attracted to him — love at first sight. I use this term because the brain circuits that trigger this instant magnetism in other animals is uncannily similar to the brain circuits associated with human romantic love.
Humans have an evolved and big cerebral cortex, the outer rind of the brain with which we do our thinking. Still, the actual feeling of intense romantic attraction to another person may not be very different from that of our mammalian brethren. Does that explain why half of the surveyed population believed in love at first sight?
We have evolved three quite distinct (yet overlapping) brain circuits for mating and reproduction:
- the sex drive — the urge for sexual gratification
- romantic love — the ecstasy, energy and craving of intense romantic passion
- attachment — a sense of cosmic union with another.
These three brain systems mix and match in many different combinations to produce a myriad of loving feelings. For example, you can meet someone and instantly find him or her sexually attractive, yet feel none of the butterflies in the stomach associated with intense romantic love. Or you can feel romantically pulled toward someone you have never slept with.
These three brain systems evolved for different reasons. The sex drive developed millions of years ago to enable our forebears to seek sex with a range of partners. Romantic love emerged to enable our ancestors to focus their mating energy on just one individual at a time. And the brain circuitry for deep attachment enabled them to form long-term partnerships — and thus weather the stresses of child rearing, financial responsibilities, illness and aging as a team.
This is how the brain works when we fall in love or lust; the “why?” is the mysterious wonderment of other reasons.
The Scales are the only zodiac symbol that’s neither animal nor human — but surely that doesn’t make you any less human. In fact, you are among the most sociable of the signs. As scales of old were really “balances,” so to do you seek balance in all that you do. You respond to situations with grace as you attempt to put others at ease. Artistically, you try to balance form, content, colors and elements, and for this reason can be drawn toward creative endeavors.
The greatest balancing act is between self and others, and it is here that many Librans focus their energy. Here, in the realm of interpersonal relationships, you are a champion. You know how to be the charming host or hostess. You can sense what others want before they ask for it. And you can make the needs of others a higher priority than your own. In fact, you Librans are the shuttle diplomats of the zodiac, going back and forth between the extremes until a solution is negotiated.
Your motto might be “To every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.” It is your innate sense of cause and effect that makes you so effective as a strategist. Whether it’s playing chess, relationship counseling or civic planning, you know how to be effective while staying in the middle of the road. Your easygoing attitude can serve you and others well, but don’t forget that your needs cannot go totally unfulfilled or you won’t have anything to give to others.
The astrological element of air represents movement. And the most efficient movement between two points is often a thought. Air signs are thinkers. They emphasize the intellect over other functions. With active minds and a good command of language, the air signs are the natural born communicators. They can be light and breezy as the breath of spring, but their words can also carry the power of a gale force wind.
The air of Libra is about equilibrium. Even the atmosphere needs to rest, so here, we seek ways to give our thoughts temporary respite from their never-ending movement.
If the First House represents the self, the Seventh House opposite it, represents the other. This can be a business partner, a spouse or any other type of relationship amongst equals. Most often, this is where we look to see how you relate to others in your life.
Key Planet: Venus
Venus is the planet of love and desire. She is in charge of romance and beauty. But Venus isn’t only about physical love; she’s also symbolic of the ideal love. When we see a beautiful painting or other work or art, Venus is present. She is the beauty of a rose as much as she is the attraction we have to someone we love. As the key planet of Libra, Venus is about the perception of beauty as an ideal. Here, she is the proper blend of colors, the right mix of music or the perfect poetic description of love, itself.
Your grace and charm when helping others
Forgetting to take care of your own needs