>Why Do We Close Our Eyes While Kissing?

Science may have the answer as to why we close our eyes when we kiss.  While studying how visual stimuli can interfere with the senses, researchers at the University of London deduced that the study’s findings could also explain why people like to close their eyes while kissing.


For the study, volunteers were asked to simultaneously perform a visual search task of varying difficulty levels, while also reacting to the presence or absence of a vibration to their hand.  Researchers found that participants’ sensitivity to the vibration was reduced among those who had the more challenging visual search.


Study author, Polly Dalton, told Medical Daily that, “Our research found that engaging in a more demanding visual task reduced people’s sensitivity to tactile sensations.  This does imply that reducing visual demands (for example, by shutting your eyes) can improve tactile awareness, and this could be one of the reasons that people shut their eyes when kissing.”


In other words, kissing with our eyes open feels strange because the brain is doing too much, which hinders pleasure.  So, to not lose out on the sensations associated with kissing, certain sensory sacrifices must be made—in this case, our sight.

>Prince Charming, Happily Ever After, And Other Relationship Myths You Need To Ditch

It was destined for Cinderella to be rescued by her Prince Charming and live happily ever after, so why can’t this happen for the rest of us?  Because believing in such relationship fantasies can destroy your chances for REAL LOVE.  That, according to relationship expert and author of “The Heart of the Fight”, Dr. Judith Wright.


“Searching for your ‘one true love’ and believing that you’ll have a perfect fairy tale courtship doesn’t allow for mistakes, fights, and the disappointments that come with real relationships,” Wright says.  “Do yourself a favor and get rid of the fantasies that destroy your opportunity for real love.”



Here are 9 relationships myths that will derail your love life and the better ways to look for LOVE:


  • Myth #1: Prince Charming Exists.  Reality: He doesn’t.  Neither does his white horse and sword.  Plus, a man THAT charming, is likely a sociopath.  Wright says to look instead for ‘Prince Values’ or ‘Prince Substance’ like caring, loyalty and generosity.  “Looking for Prince Charming rarely leads to a king and queen ruling their realm equally with satisfaction and fulfillment,” she says.



  • Myth #2: You’re A Princess That Needs To Be Rescued. Reality: Where there is a rescuer, there is also a victim—a perfect formula for drama.  “Rescuing leads to dependence and resentment because the person being rescued will eventually need to heal themselves and then the entire foundation for the relationship falls apart,” says Wright.  Instead, find someone who builds you and up and makes you grow as a person.


  • Myth #3: A Frog Can Turn Into A Prince. Reality: He’s not going to change for you.  If he’s not who you want him to be now, don’t think anything will be different with some TLC from you. Wright says, “It’s great to believe in someone’s potential, but if you don’t have evidence of good stuff now (and if he’s not actively working on it in a realistic way) don’t think it will come later.”  Instead, dump him and find someone who doesn’t need “changing”.  You don’t have time for that anyway.


  • Myth #4: “If We’re Meant To Be, We’ll Never Fight.” Reality: It doesn’t matter how in sync two people are, no relationship is perfect.  And chances are if you’re not “fighting”, feelings and concerns are being bottled up.  “Overcoming conflict is an inherent part of relationship growth. Fighting is how you can get to know each other, forge stronger bonds, and become more intimate. Avoid fighting and you avoid intimacy,” says Wright.  In other words, don’t be afraid to fight…maturely.


  • Myth #5: “There is One True Love For Each Person.” Reality:  If you believe this, you’ll likely never find the person.  “Studies show that people who think they have a soul mate out there are less likely to work on the relationship when tension surfaces.  They figure they picked the wrong one and move on,” says Wright.  Instead, be open and give people and relationships a chance to take shape.


  • Myth #6: “…and they lived happily ever after.”  Reality:  You’re responsible for your own happiness.  Wright says, “Try to live happily ever after and you miss some of the most satisfying aspects of a relationship; the profound intimacy of crying your eyes out in your partner’s arms, sharing your frustrations and being understood, or working through tough times to forge a stronger bond.”  Instead, vow to living “deeply ever after” by sharing your light side and your dark side.  That is the real key to satisfying, intimate, loving relationships, she says.



  • Myth #7: “It was destined.” Reality: You create your own destiny with the choices you make. By over-romanticizing your relationship it’s likely you won’t work on it, says Wright.  Instead, challenge your partner, or do what you need to do to make it great. “It absolves you of responsibility of your own choice, which may make it likely for you to not take responsibility to make the relationship what it could be,” she says.


  • Myth #8: Physical Chemistry Is Needed To Fall In Love. Reality: Physical chemistry is great and is usually heightened in the beginning of a relationship, but a great relationship is more than just SEX.  It’s important to also connect emotionally, mentally and spiritually.  Instead, Wright advises to focus on someone’s mind, their humor, their kindness – and not just their looks.



  • Myth #9: A Cinderella Love Story. Reality: Cinderalla had to pretend to be someone she wasn’t to make her Prince Charming fall in love with her.  Do you really want to spend eternity with a man who fell in love with you when you were pretending to be someone you’re not? Instead, be yourself and fall for someone who respects you for who you are, not who you’re pretending to be. Says Wright: “Otherwise, don’t blame them when they get disillusioned a year into the marriage when your true self is revealed.”



>You Can’t Put A Price Tag On Love, But Maybe You Should

It’s true what they say: “You can’t put a price tag on LOVE”. Maybe that’s why guys spend a small fortune on engagement rings. A University of Colorado Boulder study reveals that LOVE causes us to abandon budgets when purchasing sentimental objects for loved ones.


From cupcakes, to engagement rings, the study found that when shopping for such gifts, people will opt for the more expensive option—even when items in question are of the same quality.


In one experiment, when participants were presented two engagement rings—one more expensive with a bigger carat and the other less expensive with a smaller carat—the test subjects almost always chose the more expensive option. Besides passing up the less expensive, people would refrain from seeking out the lower prices all together. They would even avoid negotiating steep price tags!


Lead author of the study and associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder, Peter McGraw, said, “People’s buying behavior changes when they’re making purchases out of love because it feels wrong to engage in cost-saving measures. People abandon cost-saving measures when it comes to sentimental buys because they want to avoid having to decide what is the right amount of money to spend on a loving relationship.” In other words, they can’t put a price tag on their LOVE.


But, just because we’re willing to burn a whole in our wallet for a loved one, doesn’t mean we’ll love them more or less. In fact, a separate study out of Emory University found that men who spent $2,000 to $4,000 on a rock were more likely to wind up divorced than men who spent $500 to $2,000. The same also applies for weddings. Couples who spent more than $20,000 to tie the knot were 3.5 times more likely to split than those who spent under $10,000.


While not putting a price tag on LOVE may seem romantic, if your purchasing outside your means, than you’re just being dumb.


“It’s important to be aware of this tendency not to seek cost savings because, over a lifetime, consumers make many purchases that are symbolic of love – whether for weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries and even potlucks,” said McGraw. “The loss of savings can really add up and put people in compromising financial situations.”


The most common reason for a marriage’s end is financial stress, after all. So spend wisely, Lovebirds…

>A Love Affair With Spending On Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has come a long way since the day-of-love was first enacted back in the middle ages, when friends and lovers exchanged hand written letters and poems. Fast forward hundreds of years to today, where Valentine’s Day has become the third largest consumer holiday in the United States.


According to a new study by Wallethub, Americans will spend a total of $19.7 billion this year on cards, chocolates, flowers…with the average Valentine’s Day reveler spending about $146.84 on their love.


So, whether you love or hate the holiday, are single, taken or still not sure of your status, the numbers show how much of an impact Cupid has on our nation’s economy.


Here are some other fascinating findings about this romantic day noted in the survey:


53%: Of women say they would break up with their significant other if they got nothing for Valentine’s Day.
14 Mil: Proposals are made on Valentine’s Day.
1 in 5: People who will buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets.
250 Mil: Roses produced for Valentine’s Day.


Here’s another fun & factual infographic:

Lessons From Couples Married 40+ Years

Who better to ask about ‘what makes a marriage work’, than couples who’ve been married (to the same partner) for more than 30 years? A Cornell Gerontologist did just that. For the Cornell Marriage Advice Project, Karl Pillemer surveyed hundreds of individuals collectively married for nearly 40,000 years. The average age of interviewees was 77-years-old and the average length of marriage in the sample was 44 years.

old coupleHere are the top five lessons the elders gave, along with Pillemer’s take (and mine), to have a successful, long-term relationship:

Learn to Communicate: “For a good marriage, the elders overwhelmingly tell us to ‘talk, talk, talk.’ They believe that most marital problems can be solved through open communication, and conversely many whose marriages dissolved blamed lack of communication.”

Any expert will stress the importance of communication within a relationship. You can’t expect your partner to know what you’re thinking and to know what’s bothering you all the time. Speaking up can help prevent a small issue from snowballing into something even bigger.

Get to Know Your Partner Very Well before Marrying: “Many of the elders I surveyed married very young; despite that fact, they recommend the opposite. They strongly advise younger people to wait to marry until they have gotten to know their partner well and have a number of shared experiences.”

You need to see the person in their best, in their worst, how they handle stressful situations, family, friends…etc. In addition, they advise never get married expecting to be able to change your partner.

Treat Marriage as an Unbreakable, Lifelong Commitment: “Rather than seeing marriage as a voluntary partnership that lasts only as long as the passion does, the elders propose a mindset in which it is a profound commitment to be respected, even if things go sour over the short term. Many struggled through dry and unhappy periods and found ways to resolve them.”

Marriage is a lifelong commitment. That should be the thought process going into it. This is the person you are deciding to spend the rest of your life with. That’s why #2 is so important…make sure you REALLY know the person before you tie the knot.

Learn to Work as a Team: “The elders urge us to apply what we have learned from our lifelong experiences in teams – in sports, in work, in the military – to marriage. Concretely, this viewpoint involves seeing problems as collective to the couple, rather than the domain of one partner. Any difficulty, illness, or setback experienced by one member of the couple is the other partner’s responsibility.”

Remember, you’re no longer an I, you’re now a WE. What’s their problem and what’s their success, is now your problem and your success.

Chose a Partner Who is Very Similar to You: “Marriage is difficult at times for everyone, the elders assert, but it’s much easier with someone who shares your interests, background, and orientation. The most critical need for similarity is in core values regarding potentially contentious issues like child-rearing, how money should be spent, and religion.”

And, likely politics these days. However, having different interests can be good, as it helps you maintain some individuality. And, if you’re open, different interests gives each person something new to learn and share with the other.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my parents, aunts and uncles (who have collectively been married hundreds of years) is that you simply love the other person so much, you can’t imagine a life without them.

Sure, older people may not know what Twitter or a selfie is and how to ‘snapchat’, but they can sure teach us a lot about life and love, if only we’d listen.

Click for more on the study and for more on Professor Pillemer and his book “30 Lessons for Loving”

The Look Of Love Is In The Eyes


Your eyes have a lot of power, especially when it comes to love. Having a passionate gaze with another can boost your chances of love, as noted by Dr. Jeremy Nicholson in his recent piece in Psychology Today. Holding eye contact with another not only piques someone’s initial interest, but can also ignite feelings of passion and increase attraction. (as long as it’s not one of those stalker-ish ‘I want to kill you stares’).

In an experiment, researchers paired up strangers of the opposite sex and instructed them to either gaze at their partner’s hands, eyes, or count their partner’s eye blinks for two minutes. After doing so, couples who participated in the mutual eye gazing reported stronger feelings towards one another than any other group. Not just that, but they also admitted to having higher feelings of affection, passion and a general liking for their partner.

The research results prove how important having good eye contact with others can be. It goes beyond just getting that hot guy or girl’s attention at the bar. Having good eye contact with a lover can even help build, maintain or rekindle feelings of passion and love. As Nicholson says, if this works on random partners in a study, imagine what it can do for the relationship you’re already in or want to be in.

Eyes are the windows to our souls, or so they say. We can learn a lot about how someone feels about us just from their eyes. Take the pupil: it’s the one area of body language we have no control over. Science shows that pupils will dilate when someone is interested in us or like what we are talking about. Mutual eye contact is also critical in being a good communicator and good communication is crucial in relationships.

So whether it’s a first or fortieth date, pay attention to your gaze. It has more romantic power than you realize…

Ashley M. Papa

Reminiscing About A Breakup Can Speed Emotional Recovery

Getting over a breakup is never easy. It can take weeks, months and sometimes years to forget about a love loss. In the wallowing phase, it’s common to hear others tell you “just get over him/her”, “move on already” and even be questioned as to why you are still thinking about that person. This can make us wonder if there is something wrong with us, if we find it’s been weeks and months and we’re still in mourning.

Well according to this study, reminiscing about a past relationship, can actually help in the recovery process.

The researcher got together over 200 recently-separated singles. About half of the participants came into the lab frequently to discuss and reflect on their relationship and breakup experiences, while the other half only came in for the initial and exit interviews only.

The study concluded that those who talked often about a breakup reported decreased emotional distress over time. Proof that talking about a broken heart assists in emotional healing. The researcher also found that those who talked about their failed relationships helped them to rediscover “who they were as single people.”

What does this mean? Whether it is a broken heart or anything in life, talking about it can significantly help one’s well-being. Many people prefer to just bottle everything up to appear strong and unaffected. But, not tending to certain feelings can wreak havoc on your thought process, impacting work and life. Not dealing with those emotions also messes with where you are channeling your energy and the vibe you give off to others.

So find people to talk to. You may think that your mom and girlfriends must be so tired of hearing you talk about X, Y and Z. But who cares, that’s why they are in your life.

Ashley M. Papa