How to fall in love all over again

Sunday Express - - XPRESS PEOPLE - Dur­ban

THERE are lots of great things about be­ing in a long-term re­la­tion­ship: Re­search shows that happy cou­ples, in many ways, have bet­ter health and over­all well­be­ing than their sin­gle or di­vorced peers. Af­ter all, a lov­ing part­ner can of­fer com­pan­ion­ship, com­fort, and phys­i­cal and emo­tional sup­port when you need it.

But af­ter years of mar­riage or dat­ing, a sig­nif­i­cant other can start to feel more like a room­mate than a ro­man­tic part­ner. Maybe you’ve grown apart, you’re busy with work and kids, or the spark’s just not there any­more. For what­ever rea­son you’ve found your­self fall­ing out of love, here’s how the ex­perts sug­gest you find your way back in. “Long-term cou­ples don’t touch enough,” says Wendy Walsh, clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist and founder of AskALove­G­uru.com, a site that matches re­la­tion­ship ther­a­pists with po­ten­tial clients. “When we touch — es­pe­cially skin-to-skin — we get a lit­tle rush of the brain chem­i­cals that help trig­ger those lov­ing feel­ings.” Think about how of­ten you and your part­ner ac­tu­ally share phys­i­cal con­tact on a daily ba­sis. If it’s just a quick peck on the lips be­fore and af­ter work, make an ef­fort to step up your game, says Walsh. She cites re­search show­ing that a 20-sec­ond hug can trig­ger a sig­nif­i­cant oxy­tocin re­lease. “Most mar­ried cou­ples hug for three sec­onds or less,” she says. “So I ad­vise them, two to three times a day, to stop what they’re do­ing and hold a long, calm em­brace. It can change your bio­chem­istry, and you’ll begin to bond again.” That same rush of brain chem­i­cals can also come from phys­i­cal con­tact in bed — and not just dur­ing sex, ei­ther. Sleep­ing skin-to-skin, whether it’s full-on spoon­ing or even just touch­ing toes, can have re­la­tion­ship benefits, too.

In fact, a 2014 sur­vey pre­sented at the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Science Fes­ti­val found that cou­ples who slept the clos­est to each other re­ported hav­ing more re­la­tion­ship sat­is­fac­tion.

“Of course we don’t know if sleep­ing apart causes dis­sat­is­fac­tion or if hap­pier cou­ples sim­ply sleep closer, but why not

OBe more touchy-feely

Sleep closer to­gether

just try to get closer and see if it helps?” says Walsh. “Get the tod­dler or the dog out of the bed and try snuggling for at least a few min­utes.” “If you haven’t put your fam­ily and your re­la­tion­ship on a tech­nol­ogy diet yet, this is the year to do it,” says Walsh.

“Noth­ing is killing com­mu­ni­ca­tion faster right now than guys start­ing at their iPhones while girls are try­ing to talk to them at the din­ner ta­ble, or vice versa.” Science sup­ports her claim, too: In a 2014 Brigham Young Uni­ver­sity sur­vey of women, 70 per­cent­felt that smartphones and other de­vices were in­ter­fer­ing with their love lives.

Walsh rec­om­mends form­ing an agree­ment with your part­ner to cut out phones and tele­vi­sion at mealtimes and in the bed­room, or de­cid­ing to­gether about spe­cific times you will and will not use tech­nol­ogy. “Oth­er­wise, you won’t give each other your full at­ten­tion, and it’s easy to be­come an­noyed or feel dis­con­nected.” When you fall into habits in a re­la­tion­ship, you may take for granted the nice things your part­ner rou­tinely does for you. And even if you do no­tice them, do you let him or her know you’re thank­ful? Grat­i­tude is im­por­tant, says Walsh. “Put a note in his brief­case let­ting him know you ap­pre­ci­ate that he gets the dry clean­ing ev­ery week,” she says, “or touch her on the arm and thank her for bring­ing you Star­bucks ev­ery day.”

Solomon sug­gests keep­ing a grat­i­tude jour­nal, and writ­ing down three things ev­ery day you’re thank­ful for — whether it’s re­lated to your re­la­tion­ship or not. “It can foster a sense of well­be­ing and open­ness that can im­prove your con­nec­tion with your part­ner.” If work and fam­ily obligations have forced you and your part­ner to put your love life on the back burner, sched­ule some time off from your regular re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Get­ting away may help you fo­cus on each other (in­stead of dis­trac­tions like the bath­room that needs re­pairs), but even a stay­ca­tion or a long week­end at home — if you treat it right — can be enough to re­fresh your bond. NE in 10 chil­dren is be­ing di­ag­nosed with high blood pres­sure, largely caused from a diet too high in salt. The Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion of South Africa is en­cour­ag­ing par­ents to be more re­spon­si­ble...

“A high sodium diet is known to cause high blood pres­sure, which in turn in­creases your risk of health prob­lems like heart dis­ease and stroke,” says Al­li­son Vien­ings, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Self-Med­i­ca­tion Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of South Africa.

“What makes this even more con­cern­ing is the fact that South Africa has one of the high­est rates of hy­per­ten­sion in the world.

“There is ev­i­dence to sug­gest that the way we eat as chil­dren and ado­les­cents can have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the way we eat as adults, so it’s vi­tal that we pre­vent our chil­dren from de­vel­op­ing a taste for salt.

“What’s more, when chil­dren con­sume high lev­els of sodium, it can in­flu­ence their blood pres­sure and may pre­dis­pose them to de­vel­op­ing dis­eases such as high blood

Limit tech­nol­ogy

Say thank you

Take a va­ca­tion

In­cor­po­rate sur­prise

To re­live the feel­ing of fall­ing in love, says Eaker Weil, you’ve got to find new ways to trig­ger that rush of feel-good dopamine and oxy­tocin — like by in­cor­po­rat­ing nov­elty, ex­cite­ment, and sur­prise into your not-so-new-any­more re­la­tion­ship.

You may try “kid­nap­ping” each other, she sug­gests, tak­ing turns on dif­fer­ent week­ends to plan se­cret ac­tiv­ity or des­ti­na­tions.

— Time

Love can be felt and ex­pressed in many dif­fer­ent ways.

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