Beyond Valentine’s Day: Romance Means Nurturing Your Relationship
We celebrate romance on Valentine’s Day, but love and relationships are an ongoing “discipline”, something we need to work at and celebrate every day. All couples need to practice that discipline and sometimes need help as they face different challenges and life changes, such as those that come with relocating to Shanghai.
Some of the common relationship issues that Shanghai residents come to us for include infidelity, communication problems and issues regarding the individual’s personal path. We often see people expecting the relationship to feed all of their individual needs.
Relocation may exacerbate problems or cause new strains. When one person moves abroad for a spouse’s job, he/she may feel isolated and sad because of the changes. Some people may struggle to find a supportive social circle. Coming to a new place and dealing with so many changes can highlight insecurities and be difficult for those who need to feel in control.
Here are some tips for Shanghai couples to nurture their relationships on an everyday basis:
- Be aware of your inner and outer dialogue. How do you ask for your needs and communicate concerns?
- Think about issues from a positive perspective. Problems that arise are new challenges that might improve the relationship. Define the problem, look for possible alternatives to solve it and implement them every day.
- Focus on self-fulfillment. Your partner is sharing the path, but he or she doesn't have the task to give you all the things you cannot find yourself.
- The best way to increase a behavior is to reinforce it when it appears, so increase positive interactions and decrease the negative ones.
- Remember that your identity is multifaceted. Identifying too much with one role (parent, career) can cause us to forget to fulfill other areas of our lives and suffer identity crises.
- Work to avoid taking things personally and making assumptions. We often attach our feelings and history to something that happens, creating a problem where one might not exist.
Here are some tips for real romance on Valentine’s Day and beyond:
- Talk about what you each expect from each other and the relationship and try to be as specific as you can.
- Remember you are an emotional, physical, sexual and mental being. Plan activities together that nourish these different aspects.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Doing the same expected activities becomes repetitive and doesn’t work for everyone. Try something new, maybe challenging, just for the pleasure of doing it.
- Good communication is the best gift you can give. The best tool to use with your partner is active listening and empathy.