Tag Archives: long term relationship

Have the Unromantic Conversations

For romance to thrive in long term relationship you need to have those unromantic conversations. About money, alarm clocks, the thermostat on the central heating. The problem is that we confuse romance with the structure of relationship. We think that those ‘hard’ conversations might kill romance. The truth is that they are simply different aspects of relationship.

The reality of daily life is the container which holds the delicate and nourishing fluid of romantic love. If the container leaks, the fluid drains away. Refusing to have the ‘hard’ conversations creates cracks in the container. Whereas honest discussion and clear agreement about how you arrange your daily life creates a solid container.

Those conversations are distinctly unromantic. Sometimes they’re uncomfortable; sometimes confrontational. But they are the fire in which a solid container of relationship is forged. They create clarity and build trust. They require honesty. They make you work together as a couple to find solutions that work for both of you. Clarity, trust, honesty, togetherness….these conversations create a strong relationship in which romance can thrive.

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Posted by on 05/12/2014 in Marriage, Romance


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Let’s Talk About Death

Well its one of those topics isn’t it? Like Money or God. Or Sex. We don’t like to talk about it because its loaded.

But in long term relationship, sooner or later, you have to talk about loaded topics. Actually many couples manage to avoid the talking, but they can’t avoid the experience.

Sooner or later someone close to you or your partner is going to die. I believe that grief is a private matter – possibly the most private of all emotions. Because of that, people handle grief in very individual ways.

This is where the trouble starts. Some people want to be left alone with their feelings. Others want to talk and cry and be held. I call this a ‘sharing threshold’. How much do you want to share and how much do you want to mourn privately?

In the depth of grief its hard to articulate how you want to be supported. Your partner is left guessing, says the wrong thing and it lands as crushingly insensitive and uncaring. Its one of those pivotal moments in relationship that can cause long lasting damage – not through anyone’s fault, but because emotions are heightened.

Let your partner know what your sharing threshold is, and to find out what theirs is.

If you can talk about this before the situation arises, so much the better. Its uncomfortable to bring up the subject of death but its worth it.

Ask the question, ‘How would you want me to support you at a time of grief?’

Now, because death is taboo, a lot of people won’t have an answer, simply because they haven’t thought about it. That doesn’t matter. Asking the question will get both of you thinking about it.

You may not have an answer till someone passes away and are in the throes of grief. But if you start the conversation now it will be easier to revisit when its a real experience.

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Posted by on 09/07/2014 in Marriage


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Oyster Card Romance

Londoners, you know that thing when you swipe your oyster card, the red light beeps and the gates stay shut, even though you have enough money on the card? Apparently it happens when you ‘swipe’ or ‘press’ rather than ‘touch’ in.

This happened to me the other day. The nice Transport For London staff member who was standing there, put on his best ‘I want to roll my eyes but I’m going to be patient’ voice and said, “Stand back a step…. Now just touch the card lightly.”

I did. It worked.

As I stood on the escalator I started to smile realising that his instruction was a brilliant metaphor for how to love.

In romantic relationship we want to get closer to each other. But closeness can easily slip into familiarity. Before we know it we’re being less attentive and more mechanical. The relationship feels easy and comfortable but lacks spice. Over time, romance stays shut – unresponsive to your mechanical ‘swiping’ or ‘pressing’. At this point, familiarity starts to feel stifling.

So take a step back – give each other more space and privacy. And be ‘light touch’ in your emotional interaction – don’t presume that you can press or swipe your way into each other’s hearts. The gates of romance will keep flying open for you.

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Posted by on 12/12/2013 in Romance


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