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среда, 12 апреля 2017 г.

The ‘Hold on to your man’ plan

Whether you've been together for weeks or years, make sure your love life rocks, not rots

Be it so-so sex, an annoying habit or something more serious, every couple - from those in the first-month flushes to more settled love-things - have moments when they question whether they're in the right relationship and are perfect for each other.
When these niggles strike, it's easy to feel like the only answer is to throw in the towel, down enough cocktails to sink a small island, then take off with a hot 21 year old! But step away from the Daiquiris and dating websites - experts believe there's always a way to work out whether what you've got is worth it and if so, how to work on it.
"From the moment you meet, you have to realise that relationships are living things that need looking after otherwise they'll wither and die - like a plant," says Andrew G Marshall, author of I Love You But I'm Not In Love With You: Seven Steps To Saving Your Relationship (Bloomsbury, £8.99). Take our test to find out how to keep your love life sparky...


Fill in the blanks, then add up the numbers
I am happy with my man ___ per cent of the time and I'm ___ per cent sure that he is The One. Off the top of my head I can think of ___ things I love about him, and on a scale of 1-5 (5 being best), I'd give him ___ for romance, ___ for attractiveness and ___ for being a great listener. When we're together, he makes me laugh about ___ times. I'd give our sex life a ___ out of 10; since getting together we've tried ___ new things in bed. When it comes to our social life, we share ___ hobbies and interests, and we've done ___ cool things together.
If you get over 170: score 2pts
Over 100: score 4pts
Under 100: score 8pts


Pick True or False for each statement
1 We've got lots in common
2 Most arguments are laughed off or resolved
3 Our relationship is 'normal'
4 I discuss problems with him before my pals
5 What we've got doesn't feel rocky
6 Being together can be exhausting
7 We often speak to each other badly
8 He often strops off if we argue
9 I'm frightened of speaking my mind
10 Sometimes I find sex a chore
Add up your total.
Qs 1-5: score 0pts for True and 5pts for False
Qs 6-10: score 5pts for True and 0pts for False


Think about your relationship in the last month and record the extent you felt the following emotions. Circle the number that applies to you.
Score the number of points you've circled in each line and add up your total.


Joined at the hip
A stable couple, most of the time you're loved-up - sharing hobbies, hot sex and a wicked sense of humour. Then out of nowhere you hit the occasional rocky patch. "Play detective," advises Andrew. "Track back to the point you were knocked off course and understand the cause. Was it job stress? Spending less time together? Ask yourselves: 'What have we stopped doing that we need to start redoing?' Then recycle the things that worked for you in the past. Reliving a holiday is perfect but it's less about grand gestures and more about small changes - like eating together each night and talking." And when you are back on track? Ensure you don't live in each other's pockets: it's damaging. "Very 'together' couples easily go stale," says Andrew. "Closeness and distance is needed for good sex, so enjoy 'me' time."
SCORE: 37-71

Having a blip
You two passionistas love each other but you argue lots, wasting time on bickering about trivial things when you could be having fun. "Niggling couples usually have underlying issues in their relationship which need bringing into the open," says Andrew. "Next time you're arguing about something stupid, stop and ask: 'What is the real problem here?'" Say why you're really angry with each other and aim to reduce the number of things you're rowing about. "These types of couples often cross-complain," says Andrew. "So a row that started about her working too much becomes one about him not being tidy. Deal with one issue at once. And if you're going round in circles, consider issues from the past. Most arguments are 80 per cent about the past and 20 per cent about the present." Stop, look back, then sit down and talk issues through rather than niggling about things that don't matter.

Letting it slip
Chances are you've been together a while and your once-strong spark's feeling flat and you're spiralling towards those magic words: "I love you but I'm not in love with you." For a chance of survival, you'll have to speak up. "Couples in this situation end up passionless as they haven't argued enough," says Andrew. "They've swallowed their discontent, saying things don't matter when they do - remember, you don't have to agree on everything." And if you've grown and changed, tell your partner. Don't just say: "We've grown apart, we've changed, goodbye!" Say: "I've changed, I want our relationship to change." To renew your relationship Andrew suggests putting a fresh perspective on your problems. "Do something challenging or different within your relationship - from going to a new pub to learning a language together - and look at life through new eyes. Then talk about how things can be different, rather than where you've gone wrong."

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