WORK IT

Forgo the flow­ers and choco­lates for th­ese le­git ways to strengthen your re­la­tion­ship.

ELLE (Canada) - - Relationship -

REIMAG­INE PIL­LOW TALK. Each night in bed, thank your part­ner for some­thing he or she did that day that you ap­pre­ci­ated, says Sarah Hunter Mur­ray, a re­la­tion­ship ther­a­pist based in Win­nipeg. Think more “Thanks for grab­bing the milk on the way home” than “Thanks for buy­ing me that Cartier love bracelet I sent you the link to 35 times.”

STOP WATCH­ING SOAP OP­ERAS. There ro­man­ticwatch,the con­cep­tis the ev­i­denceTV moreof pro­grams soulmates.theythat the buy peo­ple­more Al­sointo good to keep in mind: Sex isn’t like in the movies, where si­mul­ta­ne­ous glo­ri­ous or­gasms oc­cur af­ter 30 A sec­onds.75% larger “There’s a strong em­pha­sis back* in pro­vides­the me­dia on sex be­ing up easyto 10 if hoursyou are paired with of the pro­tec­tion,‘right’ part­ner,” says Jes­sica so Maxwell,you cana Ph.D. can­di­date in sleep so­cial through psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­si­tythe night.of Toronto. “It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that it’s com­pletely nor­mal if

your sex life isn’t al­ways per­fect and it doesn’t mean that your re­la­tion­ship is in trou­ble.”

FO­CUS ON THE PRESENT. “I see so much tur­moil when cou­ples feel their re­la­tion­ship is ‘bro­ken,’” says Mur­ray, ad­ding that this term im­plies that what­ever is wrong can’t be fixed. “In­stead of

say­ing ‘ Our sex life lacks ex­cite­ment’—which im­plies perma­­nency—try ‘Our sex life lacks ex­cite­ment right now.’ The shift in lan­guage re­minds us we can ac­tu­ally do some­thing to im­prove things rather than throw in the towel.”

PLAY “RE­MEM­BER WHEN....” Think back to when the sex/ com­mu­ni­ca­tion/ro­mance was the best ever. Try to fig­ure out a) what was go­ing on in your re­la­tion­ship at the time that made it so good and b) how you can plan to get back there, says Mur­ray.

TRY AN APP. The ben­e­fits of re­la­tion­ship apps are still up for de­bate, but they’re fun to try. Best bet: The Happy Cou­ple app—a New­ly­wed Show quizstyle game. Each day, you an­swer five ques­tions about your part­ner and vice versa; the goal is to see how well you re­ally know each other.

RE­MEM­BER: THE END OF A RE­LA­TION­SHIP ISN’T NEC­ES­SAR­ILY BAD. Try to think more like Chris and Gwyneth (even if the term “con­sciously un­cou­pled” makes you feel queasy). If a re­la­tion­ship has run its course, you’re not a fail­ure. Bet­ter to call it off than stay in some­thing you may end up hat­ing. n

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