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Your love is in the details. If you’re always waiting for some sweep-you-off-your-feet moment, or for your S.O. to surprise you with that Cartier Love bracelet that will finally prove the relationship’s value, you’ll probably end up disappointed. Those moments do happen, and they have their place, but as they say, a watched pot never boils. In our experience, most good relationships are based on a gradual, almost imperceptible development of trust, comfort, and togetherness that have nothing to do with your Ryan-Gosling-in-The Notebook fantasies. Chances are, when you look back, you’ll have a clearer and more emotionally-charged memory of that random time you both lost it over some stupid joke when you were still half asleep one morning than the time you spent $200 on a “romantic” Valentine’s Day dinner.

You fight fair. And you get over it. Recently, one of our editors was talking about how her husband abruptly hung up on her after a heated cross-country phone call. She was momentarily stunned. But she waited, and lo and behold, he called back soon after to sheepishly apologize and conclude the discussion, rationally. The absolute truth is that even the strongest relationships feature some periodic fighting, sometimes about petty things like an overflowing laundry basket, sometimes about serious stuff. The key isn’t to avoid these arguments, but to know how to approach them in a mature and reasonable way…a way that nobody is going to regret a few hours later. The most successful partners we know take a moment – as insanely hard as it is! – to breathe and evaluate their respective positions in an argument, then communicate their feelings, so it can remain a (perhaps heated) discussion instead of turning into a raging, screaming, irreparably scarring experience.

Your sex is more about connection than copulation. Let’s face it, great sex is important. But it sure isn’t everything where a solid relationship is concerned. Sex is tricky. It’s often loaded with issues of self worth, control, and our deepest inhibitions. And it takes a really special person to not only illuminate the darkest corners of yourself but to expose him or herself, too. A lot of couples put way too much unfair pressure on the quality of their sex lives – every day, partners have their ups and downs, but for some reason sex is always held to a higher standard. It’s time to realize that your sex will ebb and flow just like everything else, and as long as you’re still intimate and connecting about the various highs and lows of your life, you’re probably in a good place. Maybe you’re both under a lot of pressure at work; one of you is angling for a promotion, the other is facing a stressful deadline. It’s likely that you might go a few weeks – or, gasp!, a few months – without a good romp, but that’s no reason to feel deprived, emotionally or physically. As long as you’re open and honest about your feelings and your needs, your sexy time will inevitably return.

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Ways to Know Your Relationship is Working  was originally published on wzakcleveland.com