Title

Getting Together Again?

Affair-Proof Your Relationship

The Ultimate Christmas Relationship Survival Guide...

Understanding and Overcoming Your Pre-Wedding Jitters and On-the-day Nerves...

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Excuses at the Ready ...

How to Re-light Your Fire - And Make the Second Time around a Success!

Two People, But One-sided...

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Passion Fatigue...

How to Walk Away from an Unhappy Relationship...

Subconscious Sabotage...

Whatever Makes You Happy...

Money does matter...

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Understanding and Overcoming Your Pre-Wedding Jitters and On-the-day Nerves –

Age-gap anxiety...

Friends Connected at the Hip & Dating...

Marriage SOS...

Dating Again after a Breakup...

Laughed straight between the sheets....

Too Good to be True...

Beware the Mention of the Exes...

Murder on the Dance Floor....

Lusting after Another Love...

The Rise of the Plan B Pact...

How Romance Can Be like Extracting Teeth...

Credit Crunch Couples...

Christmas time advice for struggling couples...

Third-Party Interference...

Opposites That Don't Attract...

The Female Self-Destruct Button

The Convenience of Compartments...

Unlikely Apologies...

Masculine Confidences

The Chill Look of Contempt...

He/She Isn't the Person That I Settled Down With....

Dating at a Distance...

The Imperfect Perfectionists...

Why He Doesn't Ring When He Says He Will...

The Curse Of The Competitive Couples...

It Seemed So Right, Now It’s So Wrong....

I married my mother...

Never Under-estimate a GSOH...

Don't Get Too Comfortable...

Why Not Indulge Him?

Bickering Versus A Good Old Barney....

Pre-Wedding Jitters? Join the Crowd...

Do They Really Mean It?

Never Underestimate The Power Of Affection And Touch ...

The Facts About Flirtatious Behaviour...

He Has A Nose Like Groucho Marx

What Do We Lose When We Gain A New Lover?

When your partner reflects on you...

How to Get Things Started When You Meet Someone New

Advice for struggling couples:...

A Guide to Having A Happy Engagement ...

Use the days between Xmas and New Year to recharge your relationship

How to Get Back into the Dating Game

Whose Chat-up Line Is It Anyway?

10 Steps to Overcome the Green Eyed Monster

How Love Unrequited Links so Many of Our Hearts

How to Breakup Amicably...

Beware of the Love Pirates...Here is a warning about the lads who will capture your heart

Love is in the air - seven signs that say he's attracted to you!

The Best Dating Tips Ever...

Whirlwind Weddings – Too Much, Too Soon!

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Does Your Relationship Need Resuscitation? Welcome to the crowd...

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Kissing tips that work!

When the Internet Comes between You

Bridge That Glaring Age Gap

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Try these love challenges (1)

Understanding Men

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When You and Mr Right Want Different Things

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Some points about men who might give you "mad cow disease"

A Few Thoughts on Successful Relationships

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Notes on when to talk about BABIES -

The Stages of Relationships

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Dating after a break-up

Keeping positive when you want to start dating again!

Finding love and fun on holiday!

When you "down date"

Dating "firsts"

Beware - the problems with Internet dating!

First dates - some dos and don'ts!

More thoughts on first dates!

Some top dating tips!

Couples - put your relationship through an MOT!

Top speed dating tips!

The key to looking interested not desperate when dating!

My Thoughts on Pre-Marital Counselling

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Making Compromises or Being under Someone's Thumb?

Some Thoughts on Adolescent Relationship Worries

A Few Thoughts on Broken Hearts

When He Pays Too Much Attention to TV, Computer Games or gadgets!

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Some Questions And Things Men Wonder/Worry About

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Nine Things You Should Never Say To Your New Love!

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Why Mismatched Couples Should Beware!

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Just How Manly A Man Do You Want?

Understanding The McCartney's War Of Words When They Divorced

Toy Boys - The Latest Celebrity Girls’ Fashion Accessory

What's the real meaning behind his Valentine's gift to you?

Guys - some top tips for buying her a fabulous present!

Stop Worrying About Your Wedding! Beat those wedding-day nerves!

Dating tips for MEN - The Secrets Of Her Body Language

Dating tips for MEN - Your First Date, First Phone Call and First Kiss

Dating tips for MEN - Surefire Ways and Where to Meet Women

Dating tips for MEN - Don't Be a Romantic Loser

Dating tips for WOMEN - Capturing His Attention

Dating tips for WOMEN - What to Do When Things Go Wrong

Dating tips for WOMEN - The Wise Woman's Guide to The Art of Flirting

Dating tips for WOMEN - Love at First Sight

Thoughts on Why Infidelity Is on the Rise

Four Fabulous Steps To Improve Your Relationship!

MEN: You behaved badly - what to do!

Suspect He's Cheating?

Seven Secrets of Successful Long-Distance Relationships

Find Love For Valentine's Day!

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The Great Matchmaker Guide

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Money, Men And You

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The Unique And Quirky Guide To Finding Love In The New Year!

The Nine Signs of a Non-committer

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The Secrets of Seduction

A Warning Call To The Lonely And Single Generation!

QUIZ: How Likely Are You To Have An Affair?

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Seven Secrets of Successful Long-Distance Relationships

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The Deal Breakers That Threaten Your Relationship

QUIZ: Don't Ditch Your Relationship Too Soon!

Warning - Divorce Is Dangerous To Your Health!

The Fabulous Flirt Guide

QUIZ: Great EX-pectations - Is Your Ex Jeopardising Your Relationship?

QUIZ: Harness Those Wedding Day Doubts And Nerves

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Heal Your Xmas Holiday Break-up!

A QUICKIE FOR YOU: My top five tips for a long relationship

Some crucial tips to avoid money related arguments!

Top Relationship Tips For Preventing Christmas Stress

Couples: Be careful what you bicker about

QUIZ: Are You Bored To Tears With Your Relationship?

Separated But Still Under The Same Roof!

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Find Love In A Few Weeks!

Story

The Ten-Minute Window in Relationships

15/10/2009

The Ten-Minute Window in Relationships

Some commentary on modern relationships

You should be ashamed (feel guilty) if you're one of the 40% of people spending a mere 10 minutes a day talking to their partner and yet claim this is your most significant relationship! Apart from mitigating circumstances of time-pressure events like just having had a baby or changing jobs, why would you treat your significant other like a ship passing in the night?

Increasingly I meet couples that think they have a "relationship" when they spend little time together. These statistics got me thinking of the two main types of couples falling into this time-short category. The first are those who spend precious little time with each other, then cry all the way to Relate wondering why one of them has had an affair or why they've become complete strangers.

Largely this is due to poor relationship skills where they haven't communicated their needs for more contact, etc. Add to this the unrealistic expectations of what they can pack into a day still expecting to nurture their relationship. Plainly it's sheer stupidity to think you'll enjoy a loving and romantic relationship with such time pressures.

But what's more interesting are the second type of couple in perhaps a new social phenomenon that I call "Practical Partnerships". Underneath the appearance of a full relationship they actually don't have - or necessarily want - what our society views as a classic relationship to aspire to. They're content touching base, enjoying the benefits of busily sharing the mortgage, childcare, chores and such responsibilities, with their partner.

You might raise an eyebrow at such a comparison but I'd say these relationships are made of the stuff of what an arranged marriage is in other cultures. Both are based on the practicalities of life like working to achieve stability and comfort over and above romantic love.

A hybrid of East meets West where you find and choose your own partner in a western fashion, but end up with the pragmatism of arranged relationships. They start romantically but become a balance between what each partner offers based on trade-offs of who does what best. There are low expectations for romance and exciting sex; instead they're content with the equanimity achieved sharing life with someone of the same inclination.

Now on other hand if you yearn to live life on a wave of passion, to have fantastic sex, and dine by candlelight - yet only schedule 10 minutes daily for each other - you're one of the stupid ones. Or if you find yourself in a Practical Partnership when you desire something else you're on a disastrous path. They only succeed when both parties want them. Equally when both want a more classic and romantic loving relationship it only works when you have time together.

Recently I met "Amanda", 43, who complained bitterly about her wish to spend more time with husband. I suggested she kept a note of how much time they shared - and when - before exploring what to do. Amanda's enthusiasm knew no bounds, she excitedly said she'd use a stopwatch to time their moments together. "Ahem," I said, "men don't like being timed full stop! You'll need to take a subtler approach."

And that's what you must do if you long for more intimacy and connection and want something other than a Practical Partnership, because for some they work.

1/ Sing From The Same Hymn Sheet -

Make a "date" to discuss your expectations for how much time you spend together. The challenge will be if one of you is satisfied with a Practical Partnership and the other isn't. Compromising over your expectations may solve this. There's much to be gained meeting half way.

2/ For The Record -

Discover how much time you really share. Keep a note (not with a stopwatch!) of the time you have to enjoy each other. Doing chores side-by-side, etc., doesn't count! This gives you the baseline to work from.

3/ Stresses And Strains -

Decide what part of your routine causes most stress. What solutions can minimise this? Perhaps deciding against taking on that extra committee or doing regular childcare swaps with friends. This'll carve out more time for you two.

4/ Reality Check -

Examine your communication style particularly in time-short, high-stress periods. For example, do you snarl at each other when pressured? Let a tape-recorder run during a typical interaction for a real taste. People are shocked by what they hear. Rehearse a kinder, gentler tone of voice putting these more loving tones to good use.

5/ Clever Communication -

Use positive communication techniques, e.g. don't bark orders over your shoulder as you pack up the children's school bags. It takes only a moment to turn around, face your partner, and calmly state what needs doing. Don't beat around the bush - be direct and clear. Use "I statements" where you claim responsibility for what you're saying. Start with an "I" as in, "I'd like us to do more of X, Y…" Far less frustrating for you both.

6/ Happy Times -

Think through what's made you both happiest over time. Even if in a Practical Partnership you could do with some fun together! Develop this one pursuit that's brought you most pleasure and commit to enjoying it together.

Ultimately, if you thrive in this new phenomenon of Practical Partnerships that's great. But if you want more connection consider the choices you make. Forgo things like your annual holiday abroad. What good's a fortnight in Tuscany when you've barely spoken the other 11 1/2 months? A few long weekends might be better. Or consider leaving purchases like a new car or flat-screen TV. These should wait as you knock over-time on its head and spend that precious time with your partner. Otherwise you'll be left with a lot longer then 10 minutes to ponder why your relationship withered and died.

 

Published in The Express Newspaper