There is much we can learn to tip the scales in our favor.We can learn about the brain, emotions, and how to communicate skillfully.PARTNER WANTED: Male, 30-50 who values empathy, humor, and understands the importance of talking to work out problems.Must have prior knowledge of how the brain and emotions work in intimate relationships or be willing to learn.For example, Wayne knew just the right time to use humor with Jenna. Jenna all of a sudden became critical of Wayne, nitpicking things she usually didn’t mind.Must have a willingness to discuss relationship values..


And we can pick a partner who possesses certain qualities. These qualities help ensure you and your partner will be able to talk through relationship problems, especially when the going gets tough.

I even recommend putting these requirements on your dating profile page to weed out the ones not interested in healthy communication.

2) People in relationships cannot realistically meet all of the needs of their partner.

Inevitably, there will be times when we feel unloved, uncared for, unappreciated, hurt and angered. Research by The Gottman Institute showed that how we handle conflict is a major predictor of relationship longevity.

Recently I was thinking about how I used to behave in relationships, before I became a psychotherapist and learned about emotions and attachment. When my relationships were going smoothly, it was easy to act nice and be understanding. I got angry and sometimes I said mean things, which I almost always later regretted. No matter how great couples look on Facebook, no matter how many loving, hugging, kissing photos you see of your friends, no intimate relationship is trouble free.

But during times of conflict, like when my boyfriend wanted to see his guy friends instead of me or watch a sports game on television when I wanted his attention, I took his actions personally. That’s because of two facts that are in complete conflict with each other: 1) All of us have inborn needs for love, care, and attention, which when not met trigger survival strategies of fight/flight in the brain.


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