4.6
July 5, 2018

The 5 Habits of Highly Responsive Partners.

I’m fairly certain that (with the exception of very few anomalies) everybody over the age of 30 has demonstrated at least a passing desire for a stable love life.

There are a lot of negative connotations associated with the word “stable,” so let’s be clear: stable does not necessarily have to be boring. The need for stability is, of course, very pragmatic. Being the sort of person I am, I do not have a whole host of experience to draw from with regard to romantic stability, but I do have enough anecdotal information to say without hesitation that civilized human beings are usually more productive when they are engaged in loving and exciting relationships.

In an effort to provide useful information, I went beyond simple opinion and commentary, and I asked around a bit. Even though it is sometimes easier to find unicorns than it is to find artistic and creative couples that enjoy longevity and happiness, I did manage to look a few up and get to the heart of what keeps these marriages and relationships in their respective states of near bliss.

The information, distilled down to five key elements, looks like this:

1. Sexual effort. I try to be judicial and avoid stereotypes wherever possible, however, there are very few cases of women withholding sex from their partners because they are addicted to internet porn. It’s never a prudent thing to use the word “never,” but let’s assume it is a rare occurrence.

I am by no means a religious zealot, but I do believe that allowing sexual energy and sexual tension to build up naturally in a relationship, until things move toward their desired direction, helps to build a really strong intimate partnership. To put it in more blunt terms: stop looking at internet porn, stop messaging with your ex from college, and save that stuff for the person in the next room. The rewards are fascinating.

2. Repeat after me: “How was your day?” I know what you’re thinking. “Boy, that’s some cutting edge stuff right there…”—but the fact that it is so obvious is what makes disregarding it seem so frustrating and even insidious. It is kind of like the phenomena where everybody knows that the speed limit is 65 and yet traffic court is still jam-packed every week. Believe me, if you are not asking your partner this question at the end of the day, you are probably taking your relationship for granted and heading for issues.

3. Established shared rituals. Any couple that takes the time to meditate together, share a meal every day without cellphones, or take a walk together will reap unheard of benefits from the effort. Relationships that are huffing, puffing, and on life support usually involve one partner nagging the other to participate in these things. That can only go on for so long. As an engaging male partner, it is super helpful to volunteer or create these respites without being asked.

4. Develop the courage to be vulnerable. Let’s be honest: as emotionally evolved as a lot of us mindful men are, we are still very much biologically programmed and socially conditioned to swallow a lot of our feelings. I know for myself, just hearing the words “Can I tell you about something that hurt my feelings?” come out of my mouth, makes me cringe. This is not how we have been socialized to communicate. The fact that something “is,” however, does not necessarily mean that it is “right.”

Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable takes strength and courage—and it doesn’t happen overnight. The one footnote I might add here is that this is the sort of thing that needs to be utilized sparingly. If you find yourself sitting your girlfriend down every day to tell her about something that hurt your feelings, don’t blame me if she goes running for the hills.

5. Understand the importance of non-sexual touch. Research shows that couples who do a lot of kissing, touching, cuddling, and massaging have a tendency to be much more happy and satisfied with their relationships. In addition to these benefits, it has also been noted that these habits lead to better conflict resolution when the time comes. Besides that—come on—it’s fun.

Good, long-lasting relationships rely on many different variables, and this advice is by no means foolproof. Without attraction, passion, and common vision, these steps will only work so well. If, however, you remember a time when you couldn’t stop thinking about her day and night, and you’ve noticed that the butterflies are starting to wane a little, it could be complacency and neglect that’s driving the bus.

~

author: Billy Manas

Image: Unsplash/Clem Onojeghuo

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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Billy Manas Jul 21, 2018 10:59pm

Dena Barnum Have no fear! There are great people out there. We all get discouraged --especially these days--but I truly believe if we put out good, we get back good. Sending you my best thoughts.

Dena Barnum Jul 21, 2018 9:30pm

Billy Manas I have and it breaks my heart. I fear for my future relationships.

Billy Manas Jul 21, 2018 9:14pm

Thank you for your comment Dena. Yes, actually it's kind of funny...even in these comments men are defending it. Your story is more prevalent than people want to admit. Not to plug my own writing, but did you ever see my article "Why Internet Porn Is Killing Your Marriage" ? https://www.elephantjournal.com/2018/01/why-internet-porn-is-killing-your-marriage/

Shane Terence Jul 17, 2018 5:30am

You perhaps missed the most crucial habit of all.... speaking your partners love language/s. Fail to do that and the relationship is ultimately doomed to fail. It's easy when you have a partner with matching love languages. It's much more challenging when there's a mismatch and quite often there is. See Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages. Another matter to be aware of is attachment styles. If you keep screwing up your relationships it could be that you have an unhealthy attachment style. Or if you find your partner behaving in ways that seem a little irrational or disruptive then same deal. The absolute best habit for long term relationship success is personal growth and development.

Dena Barnum Jul 13, 2018 9:47pm

I love seeing a male for once admit that internet porn is bad for relationships. My marriage ended because my husband was so addicted to porn that he couldn’t make love to me and was uninterested in changing. Every boyfriend I’ve had since then has become almost hostile when I suggest they not watch it and focus on us instead. It’s a breath of fresh air to see a man acknowledge this.

Mark LaPorta Jul 8, 2018 12:08pm

You're certinaly right about the title; EJ -- and many others -- often do that, and I suspect deliberately. It's worse when the emphasis is on "female" problems.

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Billy Manas

Billy Manas is a poet, singer-songwriter, and truck driver from the Hudson Valley in New York, where you can catch his act at wine tastings and breweries. His distinct voice in both song and poetry is likely the result of his degree in literature and his teenage years spent outside of CBGB’s on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His new book “Kickass Recovery,” is being published by New World Library and will be available in the Spring of 2020 . Catch up with Billy on his website.