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The Intimacy Rulebook

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Treat your lover at least as well as you treat your friends. Many of us are capable of being nicer to strangers than we are to the people we love, which really doesn’t make a lot of sense. Be courteous to everyone, but especially to the ones you love or might love. Here are 15 tips for a healthier, more loving relationship:

1. Sleep as naked and as close as you can. Skin contact with a loved one is healthy, so you can actually attain health benefits even while comatose.

2. Always keep what you love about your partner on your mind. What you think about them is every bit as important as what you say or do.

3. If you must vent, do so, but only to your mate’s fans, your non-judgmental friends, or your therapist. A little venting can help, but a lot of venting is just negativity and sours your attitude.

4. Join your partner in some of his or her hobbies that you would normally not be cheerful about doing. Do something with joy, or you’re wasting your time.

5. No one reads minds; speak up when something bothers you and suggest an alternate behavior. Don’t shove anger and sadness into your emotional bottle because unexpressed feeling can get worse and may come out much later in ways you regret.

6. Be the first and most profuse to compliment accomplishments! Any critique should come later proceeded by: do you want a suggestion?

7. Develop a sense of timing. Bring up the harder issues when no one is tired, hungry, inebriated, or troubled by outside pressures – speaking up is good, but wait until irritability is low and receptivity is high.

8. Make all of your communications kind. There are no excuses.

9. Help significant people in your life be a success at making you happy by revealing your needs and wants clearly. Then be profoundly grateful when your needs are met.

10. Reduce expectations. Forgive your own mistakes and you will be more forgiving of others (and more pleasant to be around) by far.

11. Be happy on your own. Happiness is infectious – it draws people to you, and keeps you generous and fun.

12. Limit your “plug-in drug” time. Turn off the television, computer, and phones. Books, music and physical activities are generally more uplifting, conducive to good sleep habits, and potentially romantic.

13. Be willing to touch and be touched. Lovemaking and all forms of physical touch are an area that is very important for you two to be on the same page. Most relationship counselors would say couples problems are about sex, money, or love, and usually in that order.

14. Be available. This means you need to check your email, voicemail, and texts and then respond in a timely manner. Show your love that you have time in your life to put into your relationship.

15. Practice seeing the other person’s perspective – this is of extreme importance in helping your lover feel good when they are around you. And in addition to making them feel good, it automatically makes you seem more charming.

A daily habit to live by: give the gift of gratitude and appreciation often – a constant flow of praise helps ease difficulties when they occur. This is an investment in love and trust that pays off in lasting goodwill.

Dr. Janet Page is a psychotherapist in private practice for 30 years in NYC and Atlanta, and taught for 22 years at Emory University. As the author of “Get Married This Year,” she speaks to audiences around the country about keeping love alive and finding your mate. Click here for more information on her practice, seminars, and events.
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4 Comments »

  • Sonia says:

    Great article. Thank you for sharing. There is so much wisdom, jut reading it made me feel loving and romantic. Thanks again.

  • Judy says:

    Wonderful article and advice, but the first sentence in #4 doesn’t make sense grammatically. Sorry!

  • Mitchll says:

    I echo Mark’s sentiments. Very sound advice, as well. This is something for all of us to follow.

  • MARK says:

    NICE POSITIVE ADVICE BUILT ON LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOURSELF, GOOD MIDDOS
    EMPATHY CONSIDERATION ETHICS. VERY NICE

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