Getting Relationship Ready Series: Learn how to better connect
Posted by John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert onSo the third episode of the new series Making Couples happy aired last night and the four couples are well on their way through an 8 week boot-camp to get them happier. In this episode we really focused on the importance of connecting more with your partner. Again, this is an important issue for new and old relationships.
Now when I talk about connection, I'm speaking about making time for each other to be present and to engage with one another. It might involve an uninterrupted conversation with your new love interest, going out together on a date, initiating touch and affection, or sharing in a novel new experience together for the first time (e.g. new restaurant, gym class, beach walk).
At the beginning of a relationship, connection is usually strong because you are swept up in the excitement and want to spend as much time together as possible - talking, going out, getting physical. However if you're not careful, connection can start to wane as the relationship matures and 'life gets in the way'.
Connecting and truly engaging with your partner builds a sense of intimacy, it makes you both feel special and you operate more as a team. Without this constant connection, then you'll drift apart, lose interest and resentments will occur.
So to give your next relationship the best chance of going the distance, here's five key ways to connect more when you're seeing someone new:
1) Talk most days:
Once you've been going out for a little while, make sure that you make the time to talk. I realise that you're probably in contact through texts, Facebook and twitter - but this tends to be impersonal. Connect and make each other feel more special. You don't have to talk for long, but touch base and find out about their day and how they are.
2) Do novel things together:
As you get to know each other better, you can get complacent and fall into familiar habits and routines - the same café, bar, clubs and restaurants. It's fine to have some of this - but you need to always sprinkle in novel things as well. So, make sure once a week you¿re getting out of your comfort zones and doing something for the first time together.
3) Schedule in weekly date nights
As your relationship progresses, make sure you still schedule in date nights are a great way to connect and have fun. Try doing "surrender dates" whereby one person organises everything from pick up times, what you both wear, restaurants, ordering off the menu, tickets, clubs etc. while the other person simply 'surrenders' and says yes. Then the next week swap roles.
4) Initiate touch
Touch is such an easy way of feeling connected with each other, and this should be very easy to do in the early stages of your new relationship. But don't just think of it in terms of leading to sex (although this can be one of the great benefits!). Instead, think of hand holding, massage, cuddling on the couch, walking with your arm around your new partner, and kissing as a way of connecting and showing them they're special.
5) Compliment each other
Words of appreciation are a great way of making each other feel special and connecting. You're taking notice of each other and highlighting what you like. So look out for things that you appreciate about your new love interest and tell them. For example, what they wear, how they turn you on, their great choice of friends, their punctuality, their confidence in social settings, how well they listen etc.
John Aiken, RSVP dating and relationship expert, currently seen on ABC's new series Making Couples Happy, and author of the new book Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track (www.johnaiken.com.au)
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