Entries in long term relationships (8)

Wednesday
Oct232013

Living Apart, Together: Why Some Couples are Forgoing Cohabitation

First comes love, then comes…? These days, the answer may be a U-Haul truck. For many couples, moving in together is a key decision that transitions them from a dating relationship to a long-term committed partnership. However, a small but growing minority of long-term couples across a number of Western countries – such as Britain, Sweden, and Canada – are choosing to forgo cohabitation entirely, preferring to keep their separate homes. This phenomenon is referred to as living apart together, or LAT.

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Friday
Aug162013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 2)

In a recent article, I discussed my research using fictional scenarios to show that perceptions of why someone is having sex with their partner influences how people rate that person’s sexual desire and satisfaction. In that study, people who were perceived as having sex for approach goals, such as to enhance intimacy or to feel closer to a partner, as opposed to avoidance goals, such as to avoid conflict or a partner’s disappointment, were perceived as feeling more sexual desire for their partner and being more satisfied with their sex lives and relationships. In our next study, we wanted to consider people’s actual goals for sex and how having sex for different reasons is associated with a person’s sexual and relationship quality. So, how do a person’s own reasons for having sex influence their own feelings of desire and satisfaction? 

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Friday
Aug092013

Getting It On vs. Getting It Over With: How Reasons for Having Sex Impact Relationships (Part 1)

Sex plays an important role in overall relationship happiness.1 But, is simply having sex enough to maintain a happy relationship? In a recent study, my colleagues and I looked at the reasons people say they have sex with their partners and how these reasons affect their feelings of desire and happiness with their sex lives and overall relationships.2 

We considered two broad categories of reasons why people have sex with their romantic partners:

  1. Approach goals: A person having sex for these reasons is focused on pursuing positive outcomes in their relationship, such as enhancing intimacy or feeling closer to a partner.
  2. Avoidance goals: A person having sex for these reasons is focused on averting negative outcomes in their relationship, such as conflict or disappointing a partner.

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Wednesday
Feb202013

Hot and Heavy or Slow and Steady: Changing Our Perspective on Love

In a recent New York Times article, psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky challenged ideals about long-term marital bliss and presented evidence that new love has a short shelf life.

As she outlines in the article, in a new relationship, our partner constantly surprises us because so much about him or her is a mystery. This uncertainty is exciting and often accompanied by high levels of desire and passion. Social psychologists refer to early stage of a relationship as passionate love – an intense period of longing and desire for a partner that is common in new relationships but tends to fade after about two years. Over time, our partners become more familiar and predictable, and we shift to a more companionate love stage. Although this stage typically involves a deep connection, it is less intense and often feels more stable and comfortable.

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Friday
Jun292012

Is Long-Term Love Possible?

If you want to read about love and marriage you've got to buy two separate books. ~ Alan King

Popular wisdom suggests that intensely passionate love is a rare phenomenon in long-term partnerships. The assumption is that passion peaks in the early stages of a relationship and then fades over time. In a recent study, however, researchers found that intense love for a partner (even after 30 years or more together) may not be as rare as people assume.

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Friday
May112012

The Importance of What Happens After Sex

Popular media portrays a range of after sex activities – some partners cuddle, drift off to sleep, spend hours talking, smoke a cigarette, or, in some cases, rush out the door after sex. But, what do we really know about after sex behaviors? As we have discussed in previous articles, researchers have studied when, how often, and with whom people have sex. In comparison, we know much less about what people do after sex. This is unfortunate, because post-coital sexual activities, or the activities that occur during the time after sex (while partners are awake together), could be important for relationship commitment and satisfaction.

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Tuesday
Nov082011

The Politics of Love

When looking for partners, we are attracted to others who are similar to us. Whether the similarity lies in personality, values, or political views, individuals tend to seek those with ideals comparable to their own. However, in a recent survey of college students, the majority indicated they’d be willing to date someone with a political affiliation different than their own.

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Wednesday
Aug032011

Men Want Cuddles, Women Want Sex

Say what? This headline likely caught your attention because it challenges our predominant stereotypes about gender and heterosexual relationships.

The media would have us believe that men look for unemotional, no-strings-attached sex whereas women have sex primarily for the cuddling afterwards. Sex and the City featured an episode about ‘having sex like a man,’ a term that referred to having sex without emotions.

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