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On the Rocky Road to a Successful Relationship

If you had the time to sit down with an elderly couple and ask them how they managed to stay together through thick and thin, they will share great secrets about love, relationships and the way the world works. Our point of view is certainly more modern than theirs, we think we know better and we stick by the progress we have made over the course of time. Sure, we have made some great progress. Women are allowed to vote, we no longer recognize people by the color of their skin and we live in a world where we like to think we are equal to everyone else. But lately, instead of growing and expanding, we’ve started to descend, especially when our basic human interaction is involved. Maybe it’s because we no longer have to meet in person to share our thoughts or maybe it is the natural course of the evolution of the human race. One thing is for certain, most of us will prefer to start a blog than talk to someone in person. We would rather download or buy pornographic movies, then search for a special someone with whom we can share that sexual build up energy. And last but not least, a whole lot of stuff are so easily accessible that we are not used to work too hard for anything. More often than not, we give up on the first bump on the road and start a new one, just because the one we are on started to feel a little rutted. We long to experience an epic, movie-like love story, but we “kill” the characters in the first chapters. No wonder our stories have tragic endings, and we end up bitter and resentful. Every successful project has its ups and downs, little victories and small crashes. But at the end, that’s what makes the story worth telling and reminiscing.

Communicating Your Way Out

This is the biggest problem in most badly ended relationships and the one most discussed since Adam and Eve. This bumpy area is where our modern lives are rightfully to blame. Text messages, emails and Facebook post are cute only to teenagers. When you are in a grown up relationship, saying the words is far more meaningful than texting them 1). It’s not all about the I love you’s or I miss you’s. It’s about the details. It’s about the boring details about you that shape your persona as a whole. Your partner probably already knows about your dreams and aspirations and you’ve probably shared your fears and childhood memories. But when you are in a relationship for quite some time, there might not be much to share anymore. That’s when you will have to pay a little more effort to refresh the relationship. You may not want to hear about their job or their trip to the bank, but keep listening about those boring details about their day, until you hear something interesting. There lies your next exciting discussion, your next mutual analysis of a certain issue or maybe even the new thing that connects you.

Most people doze off once their partner starts to talk about the stuff they are not interested in, forgetting that someone has to pick up the ball and carry on the conversation. Making a conversation is a joint effort. Otherwise, the dialogue turns into a monologue, the next thing you know is you only hear yourself for the last 15 minutes and eventually you end up on the couch watching movies just to avoid talking to each other. This gap will only spread out and make you feel like you no longer know each other, so fill it up with the boring details of your life. In time, the boring stuff might actually tell you a lot about your partner and your daily trivial matters will talk more loudly about the way you sail through life. Because no one is interesting all the time, but that’s completely fine and you should accept that.

If neither you nor your partner has anything good to share, enjoy the silence. You may feel the need to fill in the silence at first, but after a while you will both learn to respect it. Because being silent together is a wonderful feeling. It portrays your closeness, the comfort you feel in each others presence and your love. When no one is saying any words, you have the time to let your body speak, your body and your eyes. And sometimes, that language tells more than a night filled with empty conversations.

Respect Each Other’s Differences

Most studies have proved that partners with similar traits last longer than those couples who are very different from each other. Whether you and your partner have many similar interests and personal characteristics or not, once you have decided to be together, you need to learn to respect each other’s differences. This may not be easy and may take a lot of your personal energy, but effort is required for both you and your loved one. At first, you will probably find it interesting that your partner is very much into sports per say. It may give you a chance to know him or her better, see him worked up during a game and observe his reaction in case his team goes through defeat. But once you start to receive regular in depth statistics about the Mets, you may find yourself not wanting to be around once a game starts.

You too, probably have interests and activities your partner finds boring and the trick in overcoming negative emotions is to start making a plan to become a part of them without really getting involved. The trick is to get involved just enough so that you show them you care, but not so much as to get dragged to every Mets game during the season. Buy them the tickets, put them in an envelope with their name and the names of their buddies on it, so they’ll know you are thoughtful but not interested in going to the actual game. They’ll have a much better time seeing the game with someone who can really appreciate the sport, and you’ll have a few hours for yourself. The message you send will be the same and you won’t develop further adversity for his interests. You can admire their sporting spirit in many different ways, not just with tickets. You can circle the news in the sport section about their favorite team, add little notes of support when the news are not very good and send them emails with sport news whenever you come across them on social networks.

The same goes for every interest they have and you are not interested in. Whether they like gardening, cooking, collecting stamps, coins or butterflies, there will always be something about them you are not very fond of and that is completely normal. What is not normal is rolling your eyes when they show interest in something you don’t really like. Many studies may have shown that people with similar interest are more compatible, but folk wisdom says that opposites attract. So it may become a little boring after a while if you do everything together, like the same things and finish each other’s sentences all the time. And it just may happen that after a while you become interested in the same things your partner likes, learn something you may never have the chance of learning without them and become closer because of your differences.

Your Sex Life

This is a tricky subject, where compatibility is required in order to have a successful relationship. Some people will say that sex is not important, but if it’s not important to them, then it’s definitely important to their partners. This may be the first problem that will rise in the beginning of the relationship and the sooner you define it as a problem the sooner you will resolve it. The important thing about this problem is the willingness to talk about it. Some people are more shy and introvert about sex, due to the lack of past experiences or body image.

The amount of sexual experiences has little to do with the parson’s sexual performance because this is the area of life where practice can make the act absolutely perfect. When one of the partners is inexperienced, the other one has to take the role of a leader or teacher. This means talking about turn on’s and turn off’s, leading the person on the road to satisfaction, even drawing little maps of where, how and what makes the pleasure greater. People who are inexperienced, usually have little knowledge of what they like between the sheets, so if your partner has little experience you need to help them find out how to achieve the ultimate satisfaction. Even if they are shy, they still had thought about it, so they must have fantasies about what the perfect lovemaking looks like. As the more experienced one, your role will be to make them share those fantasies.

Be gentle about it and don’t force the issue. Don’t be serious when you ask, because your loved one is not a participant in a study. But don’t joke about it either, because your partner’s inhibitions may go down the hill. You can start by sharing your fantasies first and see how they react. Then ask them about their fantasies and listen like it’s the most interesting thing you have ever heard. If you feel they are ashamed about sharing their fantasy, don’t apply what you just learned immediately. You can wait until they forget about it and surprise them out of the blue. This will give them no time to think things through and you will actually reward them for giving out that priceless information. And avoid voicing out actual words about their inexperience. Pretend it doesn’t exist and don’t show of your moves. It will be best if you can avoid these topics until you are really intimate, because otherwise you might turn out as aggressive and scare your entourage. Remember that, especially for women, the sex act begins way earlier than the foreplay. It begins with the first phone call that day, the time you first kiss in front of the restaurant or the time you walk into your building. So use this time to stimulate the sexual game before it even starts.

When behind your partner shyness lies insecurity about their bodies, your job will mainly include encouragement. Lots of people are insecure about the way their body looks, especially when they are naked. We got movie stars, models and magazines to blame for this part, which link sexuality with perfectly shaped bodies. One study, which explored the connection between body image and sexual arousal 2), suggested that the sexual desire is much higher when women have a positive perception about their bodies. The study also revealed that the sexual esteem and assertiveness is closely related to the person sexual experiences, which means you need to practice the art of love making to feel secure about your body being naked.

If your partner is feeling insecure about their body image, you can start by letting them know that you already love them together with their extra pounds. Tell them that you love the fact that they are overweight because there is that much more of them to love. Tell them that their breasts, even though they are small are the perfect size to go braless. Tell them that big buttocks are in nowadays and that you wouldn’t exchange them for anything else. Most importantly, don’t stare at more attractive people than your partner, don’t react to their attractiveness and you should absolutely stop commenting their appearance. Your partner needs to know that he or she is special, which is your job. If you want your partner to slim down a couple of pounds, join the gym together. Go running together or practice yoga together. Never use words like “diet”, but if you think your partner’s extra weight comes from fast food, say you want to start living a healthier lifestyle. And never forget to mention how beautiful or handsome they are because they will never go tired of hearing that you like their looks. Pay attention to their appearance and make a parade for every little change they make in their looks. When the body image of a person is low, that person will frequently try to change something about their appearance because they want to feel and be beautiful. So as their personal confidant it is your job to notice those little changes first. Notice them and compliment them.

Sometimes the sexual act may not be satisfactory for one or both partners due to differences in styles and desires. This is also an area you can improve only if you talk about it. Sexual preferences are a very touchy subject and you may not always feel free to talk about your fantasies with your partner. You may feel that your desires will be too overwhelming or embarrassing to your partner or you may find yourself not wanting to play the games your partner wants you to. Like everything else in the relationship, this topic too can be resolved with compromise. One study says that the lack of sexual fantasies is often linked with sexual dysfunctions 3), and it also stated that the sexual fantasies create the basis for people’s sexual behavior. Since every sexual act starts in the mind, not in the genitals, there will come a time in your relationship when you and your partner will decide to look into each other’s minds and unleash your fantasies. If you are not sure how your partner will receive your sexual urges it will be better to write them down and exchange the lists. Before you start listing, make sure that both of you know what you are supposed to write down. You will not feel good if you have listed S&M and your partner listed an innocent game, like a sexy scavenger hunt. To be sure you are on the same page and no one ends up embarrassed, maybe you should try listing the things you are repulsed by in bed, the things you may do to them if they earn it and then the games you want to play.

Next Read: On the Rocky Road to a Successful Relationship - Part 2

Relationships, Self-Help


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