But of course people do defy the advice of their more level-headed friends and go for the LDR. And a recent study provides them with some warm and fuzzy data to snuggle up to on nights when they’re missing their partners.
Methodology: Researchers at Queen’s University in Ontario, and the University of Utah, looked at 717 people in long-distance relationships, and 425 people in “geographically close relationships.” The sample size included both students and non-students, people of different sexualities, and a wide range of actual distances. The participants answered questions about their attitudes toward LDRs, and then completed multiple questionnaires designed to assess the quality of their relationships:
- An assessment that measures emotional, social, sexual, intellectual and recreational intimacy
- A commitment scale
- A scale that measures a relationship’s communication levels
- “Dyadic Adjustment Scale,” which measures couples’ disagreement on things like demonstrating affection and handling finances.
- “Dyadic Sexual Communication Scale,” which measures how well couples communicate about their sexual relationship.
- A measurement of female sexual satisfaction
- A measurement of male sexual satisfaction
- An assessment of the amount of psychological distress, anxiety, and depression a person has felt in the last month.
Results: “It appears as though those in [LDRs] are no less satisfied than those in [geographically close relationships],” the study reads. “Indeed, comparing participants based on sexual orientation, relationship composition, and student status revealed very similar relationship patterns. These results indicate that being in an [LDR] does not guarantee negative relationship outcomes.”
The factors that predicted positive relationship outcomes were not measured in miles. For example, those who felt more certainty in their relationships’ future had higher quality relationships. What’s more, greater distance apart actually predicted more intimacy, communication, and satisfaction in the relationship.
Implications: I made a tagline for a romantic comedy based on the results of this study: “It isn’t the length of the distance; it’s the strength of your love.” We could call it “LDR” and cast Shailene Woodley or Selena Gomez as an earnest college freshman who constantly Skypes with her boyfriend Josh Hutcherson.
The study, “Go Long! Predictors of Positive Relationship Outcomes in Long Distance Dating Relationships” appeared in Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy
Harville Hendrix’s Imago Theory proposes that we go back to childhood and explore how our relationships with our parents (our first love relationships) affect how we interact in relationships.
Source: Oprah’s Life Class
A new survey has found that women now-a-days have become more sexually liberated as compared to men, and are engaging in sexual activities with several partners at a younger age.
According to the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, women are also leading men in the case of same-sex relationships, with four times as many women now report gay experiences compared to 20 years ago. However, the survey also found that women who have had one or two sexual partners are up to three times more likely than men, to be at the receiving end of sexually transmitted diseases.
One of the survey’s lead authors, Professor Kaye Wellings of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said that the poll clearly shows that the gap previously seen between men and for women has been closing in the last decades.
Come for the romance, stay for the oxytocin. That’s the neurobiological bottom line on monogamy, according to a new study.
Men spritzed with oxytocin, a hormone from the pituitary gland, showed a renewed attraction for the faces of their romantic partners, but not for equally attractive strangers, according to a study published online Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
And the men weren’t just saying so. Their brains were hyped up in areas associated with reward and motivation, according to the study.
“Monogamy is actually quite costly for humans, so there must be some form of benefit,” said Rene Hurlemann, a psychiatrist at the University of Bonn in Germany who led the study. “We’d expect humans, especially males, would disseminate their genes. That would be a very strong evolutionary force driving male behavior. But what drives males to stay in a monogamous relationship?”
The answer may lie in a steady diet of oxytocin that triggers dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward, motivation and addiction, according to the study.
Only about 3% to 5% of mammals form strong pair bonds, and among them, the prairie vole is perhaps the most studied. Monogamous voles, according to those studies, have more receptors for dopamine and have more oxytocin receptors in the cortex and several lower brain areas in the reward loop.
In humans, overtures of social support, hugs, massages and sexual intercourse all release oxytocin. And oxytocin, in turn, has been shown to induce pro-social behavior –- we tend to trust each other and feel more attached to others in response to the chemical.
Hurlemann, who has delved into the mystery of monogamy for years, built the current study on the somewhat surprising results of a previous experiment that showed monogamous men spritzed with this putative love potion tended to seat themselves farther from a potential new mate – an attractive female.
This time, Hurlemann and his colleagues took 20 men who were in long-term and passionate romantic relationships with women, hooked them up to functional magnetic resonance imaging scanners, and showed them photos of their loved ones interspersed with images of an unfamiliar but equally comely stranger, or a house. Some men were spritzed with oxytocin, others with aplacebo. To test whether oxytocin varied only with familiarity, they substituted highly familiar faces for the house images.
Afterward, the men filled out the Passionate Love Scale questionnaire, which showed that their inner Romeo prevailed over their inner Lothario. They were fixated on their current romantic partner.Brain scans added credence to their answers: Images of the familiar partner evoked a higher signal in the nucleus accumbens, long associated with reward, and the ventral tegmental area, an important dopamine engine that drives motivation. That response was strongest for the image of the partner than for any other.
So, do men become addicted to love via oxytocin? The metaphor may not be far off the mark, Hurlemann suggests. The data suggest the mere proximity of a partner — in this case, a photo — could touch off the same reward and motivation circuitry behind addictive behavior.
So, a steady diet of sexual activity, hugs and other forms of physical contact may be enough to override the desire to spread genes, keeping a man at home.
In other words: Keep the home fires burning.
There was a note of caution, however, that may merit further investigation. Familiar female faces didn’t stoke the brain waves as much as the photos of the partner did, but they touched off activity in another area of the men’s brains: the caudate nucleus, which is associated with conscious approach-attachment behavior.
Hurlemann said he is eager to find out whether different neural pathways are behind different types of attachment behavior.
In the meantime, Hurlemann said, “We believe we found a mechanism that could explain why it is beneficial for males to stay in a romantic relationship.”
Oxytocin, in short, may have edited the “r” from “stray.”
By Geoffrey Mohan, November 25, 2013, 4:06 p.m.
My Relationships Resume (Click on link for a copy)
The Relationships Resume gives you the opportunity to let someone know that you are interested in exploring possibilities with them. You can also put it in an envelope, give it to someone and ask them to fill it out for you.
Work and career compatibility is important. It is important to discuss the type of work or career that partners see themselves doing. Some questions to ask yourselves include:
- What does work mean to you?
- Is work a means to provide for a family, or is it a source of personal fulfillment?
- Is it more important to have a high paying job or to be satisfied with making less money in order to have fulfilling work?
If either partner has a career that is demanding, and requires a lot of time and focus, it is important to discuss how each feels about this, and how it will be handled. It might not be as necessary for partners to have similar careers as it is that both have a vocation they are committed to. If one person has work that keeps them past the typical 9 to 5 work schedule, while the other person is home on the couch waiting for his or her partner to come home, it could create potential problems.
Body clock has to do with the time of day people are more active. People have different times of the day that they are more alive. Some people are day or morning people, whereas others are night people. The time of day a person was born may play a role in this.
If one partner is asleep most of the time that the other is awake, it may lead to partners feeling lonely and may result in an unhappy and unfullfilling relationship or marriage.
It is important to know this about the person you are choosing as a mate and if there are differences in this area, discuss how you will reconcile this.
Physical compatibility includes attractiveness, chemistry, sexuality, and health. People tend to date and marry those who they perceive to be similar to them in physical attractiveness. Dissimilar physical attractiveness can create an imbalance, giving the person who is more physically attractive more power in the relationship.
Some people might place a great deal of importance on physical attractiveness, while others may do so to a lesser extent. Some believe that the kind of person one is, is more important because a good person can actually become more physically attractive—just as an attractive person who is not a good person can become less attractive.
An African proverb: Beauty comes from within.