7 Year Itch? Study: Relationships Start To Lose Sizzle After 1 Year!

Sunset KissYou know that seven-year itch myth? That time in a relationship when the luster starts to fade and we may even start looking at our partners a bit differently? Well, according to a survey of thousands of men and women between 25 and 41, that itch may actually come a lot sooner, like after just 12 months!

The participants were asked about the satisfaction of their sex lives. Their answers revealed that sexual satisfaction rises early in a relationship, peaking at 12 months, which means it’s all downhill from there.

While there’s no clear explanation as to what causes the heat to fizzle, researchers believe as time goes by, differences in sex drive become more apparent. And, by the time a couple clocks 16 years, the study shows couples find their sex lives almost a third less satisfying than they did in the early years.

The German researchers who conducted the study add: “We did not find that having children played a major role in a couple’s sexual satisfaction, which is remarkable as research has shown that sexual frequency is heavily influenced by the existence and age of children.”

The research isn’t that surprising as anyone who has been in a relationship knows, the honeymoon period doesn’t last forever. Those first few months are always the most intense. Desire is strong as new lovers are excited to learn about each other physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually…etc.

So, while the study may suggest sexual intensity may fade, it doesn’t mean that the relationship is on the way out, or a couple should throw in the towel. At the one year mark, couples may have developed a stronger emotional intimacy. The relationship has matured from that “can’t keep my hands off of you” phase to something much more deeper. A lot depends on how that 1st year was spent. If it consisted of nothing but sex and the occasional dinner and a movie, it’s not going to build much of a foundation for a long term relationship. However, if both good and bad experiences were shared, come that one-year mark, the relationship will be stronger.

Psychologist Cary Cooper tells the Daily Mail: “Perhaps over time as the relationship matures, the significance of factors like loyalty, trust, caring, honesty and the value of shared interests, become more important. Sex is still part of the package, but its significance declines as needs mature.’

Peace, Love & Politics

american-flag-1192239Unless you live in a cave or on a raft in the middle of the ocean without any connection to the real world, it’s hard to avoid the myriad of political headlines; whether it’s Hillary or Bernie, Donald or Jeb, they’re everywhere.

But what happens when you mix politics and dating? Depending on who you’re talking about, who you’re supporting and which side you lean, can determine if you’re heading for love or war. A new survey of thousands of singles by the dating website Zoosk.com, reveals the impact the upcoming presidential election could have on relationships.

The survey found that:

Talking Trump could lead to a full on debate: Conversation lagging? Bring up Republican candidate Donald Trump. 77% of respondents stated they’d likely begin a lengthy, productive conversation about politics if their date brought up Donald Trump’s campaign, while 17% said they would run in the opposite direction. Only 5% said bringing up the real estate mogul would spark an argument.

Women care more about politics than men: 20% of women were more likely to respond with “very important” and “somewhat important” when asked how important political party affiliation was in their online dating profile or during conversation.

Young men were more likely to change political beliefs: Men between 18 and 24 years old were 20% more likely than any other group, to admit changing their political beliefs due to their partner’s influence.

Dating across party lines: The majority would, with 75% saying they do date across political party lines.

The younger, the more open minded: Daters between 18 and 24 were more open to dating across party lines, while the old respondents were 20% more likely to admit that a person’s political party affiliation has kept them from starting a conversation, even if they were originally attracted to the person.

The younger you are, the less likely politics will be a problem. Political beliefs can take on more importance later in life when you want to plan a future with someone. How your taxes should be spent and what schools are teaching children, suddenly seem to matter. us-capitol-1233848 Continue reading

Love Can Make Us Do Crazy S*#%, Like Help Killers Break Out Of Prison

That was the case this week. The nation’s been gripped by the week-long manhunt for escaped prisoners Richard Matt, 48, and David Sweat, 34. Now, we’re learning more about the relationship the alleged accomplice, Joyce Mitchell, had with the inmates. Reports say that the 51-year-old industrial training supervisor at Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York, smuggled in items to help the two men escape. She was also planning to be the getaway driver for Matt and Sweat, but got cold feet and checked herself into a mental hospital instead.

joyce mitchellThis revelation comes just after being questioned about an “inappropriate relationship” she had with Sweat within the last year. It had also emerged that Mitchell, who is married and has an adult son, told investigators that Matt “made her feel special” and she “thought she was in love”. Sources say Matt was handsome and reportedly very well-endowed. He wooed Mitchell for months and likely preyed on her vulnerability and empathy to get her to help them break out.

Mitchell, thinking she was in love, probably imaged this exciting and fulfilling life with Matt, once he escaped.

Her ex-husband told Daily Mail Online that she was a ‘serial cheat’ and had at least two affairs during her five-year first marriage. She’d even been caught having sex on railroad tracks outside the factory where she worked.

Mitchell likely suffered from limerence, says psychologist Dr. Tiffany Sanders. “Limerence is a type of extreme infatuated love that includes compulsive thoughts and fantasies of a stimulating relationship. It’s a dangerous state of mind because she was living a fantasy in her head. She likely thought they were going to be the next Bonnie & Clyde. This wasn’t love, and he would’ve probably killed her for being a witness.”

Mitchell was weak and vulnerable, which made her an easy target for Matt and Sweat; sociopaths tend to prey on people like her.

So what makes people, like Mitchell, do crazy things for love?

Biology professor and author of “From Heartbreak to Heart’s Desire”, Dawn Maslar, goes as far as calling love, temporary insanity, because of what it does to our brains. “The part of the brain responsible for judging and decision making (ventromedial prefrontal cortex) gets manipulated when you fall in love. When this happens, it may seem perfectly reasonable to break your boyfriend out of prison. Not only that, you believe that you will be together and live happily ever-after.”

Love also turns people into risk-takers and makes us a bit, well, stupid, because we can’t focus. Face it, the majority of us have probably done something we’re not too proud of, all in the name of love. We look back and think “what the *&^% was I thinking?”. Maybe it was giving someone a large sum of money you never got back, or moving across the globe only to see the relationship fail, or you quit a dream all for the wrong person. In the case of the escaped convicts, Mitchell demonstrates the extremes someone will go to for the thought of a happily-ever-after. Some may be more prone to being blinded by love, than others. But let’s just hope the person we’re doing stupid s*&% for is at least worth it.

The Who, What, Where, When and Why of Cheating, According to New Poll

bedMany people draw their own lines when it comes to what constitutes as cheating. Both men and women’s ideas of what cheating is can stretch from having sex with another person or even just looking at someone else. And then there’s technology, which has given people even more avenues to potentially wander.

So given all the different ways one can be unfaithful, what do men and women really classify as cheating these days? Behold the great cheating poll, courtesy of yougov.com. After polling married couples, results show that while men and women largely agree that having sex crosses the line, women are more likely than men to view other things as being cheating. According to the poll, 74% of women believe that “sexting” amounts to cheating. 59% of men agree.

And when it comes to emotional versus physical cheating, 56% of women consider non-physical relationships cheating, while 38% of men do. (yes, that means having a close female friend)

Here’s the poll:
cheating 1

There’s more. YouGov also found who is just thinking about cheating and who is actually doing it more. 41% of men say they have thought about cheating on their partners, while 39% said they never have. 54% of women say they’ve never thought about cheating and 28% have. When it comes to who is actually committing infidelity, one-fifth of men and women (about 21% and 19%) say they have cheated on their partner.

Wait, there is even more. When it comes to WHY people cheat, dissatisfaction with the relationship was the main reason. The cheaters report being emotionally deprived and/or being dissatisfied with their sex life. There’s even a large chunk that admit they were just flattered by the attention.

cheating 2

Some people even blame their genes for their philandering behavior. And, there is that recent study that shows men are more likely to cheat if their wives earn more money than they do. Maybe what we really learn from these studies is that people will blame everything but themselves for their cheating behavior. Regardless of what these studies say about cheating and who’s doing what and when with whom, hopefully the person you end up with values you and the relationship enough to not cheat, but rather talk things out or just end things completely before moving on to someone else.

-Ashley M. Papa

Empathy Is A Great Quality, But Can Being Too Empathetic Ruin Your Love Life?

couple for empathyBeing empathetic is a great quality to have. It’s also a very important trait when it comes to intimate relationships. However, being TOO empathetic might actually be ruining your love life, especially if you’re with someone who doesn’t appreciate this great quality, but rather, takes advantage. When you consistently put your partner’s needs above your own, or set your standards too low when considering your own needs in the relationship, it could be problematic.

In this case, the message that you’re sending to your partner is that your needs and feelings don’t matter, says psychotherapist, Dr. Robi Ludwig. “Empathetic people are more sensitive to the feelings of those around them. This can lead to taking responsibility for others’ feeling states, when you really shouldn’t.”

The overly empathetic person may lose the ability to even realize what they need in the relationship. They’re too busy identifying with their partner’s feelings that they can’t make decisions in their own best interest.

There is a clear loss of power and an increase in vulnerability.

“The overly empathetic person can feel burnt out emotionally because they don’t know how to separate themselves from the other person and the emotions the other person is experiencing. Suddenly, their partner’s problems become their own,” says Ludwig.

In intimate relationships, like most things, empathy is supposed to be reciprocal. If you’re the over-empathetic one (it is safe to say women are more empathetic than men) and with someone who can’t appreciate your understanding and kindness, it’s easy to be taken advantage of. It’s no surprise that sociopaths and narcissists tend to prey on these types of people.

A recent article titled “The Empathy Trap”, published in the June 2015 edition of Psychology Today, warns that if you spend more time thinking about your partner’s feelings than your own, focus more on what your partner says during an argument, to the exclusion of what you want to say, or that your mate’s feelings become your own, you may become trapped by your own empathy.

There is no argument that empathy is a great quality and a positive attribute. So, how do you prevent others from taking advantage?

“Ask yourself if the empathy is serving you and the relationship well or not. If the empathy is helping to plug into your partner’s needs without forgetting about yourself and your own needs, then great! But, if the empathy is getting you to forget yourself, your needs and creating an imbalance in the relationship, that’s not good,” says Ludwig.

Being empathetic should never feel exhausting. Sure, we want to not be seen as selfish, but there is nothing wrong with being self-aware. If you feel burnt out as a result of constantly putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and catering to THEIR needs, you need to revisit just how understanding and accommodating you’re being. It’s one thing to be empathetic and another to be someone’s doormat.

-Ashley M. Papa

Study Says Having More Sex Doesn’t Increase Happiness…Let The Debate Begin

Could having lots of sex really make you unhappy? Well there is a study that says, YES, it can make you unhappy.
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have found that frequent sex can often lack spontaneity, romance and desire. To put it simply, it gets boring.
They argue that sex is more about the ‘quality’ than ‘quantity’ and that having sex too often can make some couples tired all together.

For the study, one group of couples was instructed to have LOTS of sex: doubling their frequency. Another group was told not to change anything about the amount of sex they were having. Results show that the couples instructed to have more sex, led to a decrease in happiness. They later also reported lower sexual desire and a decrease in sexual enjoyment. This was because the increased frequency led to a decline in actually wanting and enjoying sex.

However, what this comes down to is when couples are actually forced to have more sex, the desire to have it wanes. It’s important that couples initiate it themselves and actually want to do it more often.

One researcher saying, “’If we ran the study again, we would try to encourage subjects into initiating more sex in ways that put them in a sexy frame of mind, perhaps with hotel rooms or Egyptian sheets, rather than directing them to do so.” (Because Egyptian sheets would turn anyone on)

Despite the research, any expert will tell you how important sex is in a relationship. As time goes by, the desire to actually want to have sex decreases more quickly than the enjoyment of actually having it.

It’s not really the sex that makes people unhappy, it’s when it feels like an obligation or a chore. If sex starts to feel like a chore in your relationship, then there may be even bigger problems.

So, instead of focusing on increasing sexual frequency to the levels they had at the start of the relationship, couples may want to work on creating an environment that actually sparks their desire and makes the sex that they do have even more fun.

-Ashley M. Papa

Partner Up! Being Alone Really Is Bad For Your Health

ashley back
New York City is one of the most populated cities in the world. So why do so many good looking and successful people I talk to report feeling “lonely”? Probably because the value people place on having meaningful relationships keeps slipping down their priority list.

So it’s not surprising that the marriage rate continues to decline, with the number of people never getting married reaching new heights. To many, the idea of even being in a committed relationship is a complete turnoff. More and more people are opting to stay single because of personal preference, career or financial reasons. Let’s face it, relationships aren’t seen as valuable or needed as they use to be. In fact, for the first time since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking these numbers, there are officially more single people in the United States than married people.

But if you feel like you’re better off being alone for whatever reason you tell yourself, you could be putting your health at risk. A new study done by Brigham Young University involving millions of people over a 35 year span finds that loneliness and social isolation are just as harmful as, or even worse, than obesity, smoking or alcoholism. Since all three are taken very seriously, researchers say we need to take our relationships just as seriously.

Researchers studied the feelings of loneliness, even in social settings, and found that those who said they were lonely, felt socially isolated, or lived alone had an average 30% increased likelihood of dying at an earlier age. The impact of feeling lonely can be just as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, research shows. That’s because of the damage loneliness does to us both physically and mentally.

True, living alone has its perks like: being as messy as you want, walking around naked and eating peanut butter with a spoon, but researchers say physical and mental health is simply not an advantage to being alone, particularly for those younger than 65-years-old.

Social media may also be a contributing factor to increasing global loneliness. A separate study shows that social media reduces overall satisfaction and actually adds to feelings of loneliness.

So maybe now is the time to start taking those real (not virtual) relationships more seriously. Talk to your friends more, hug and kiss your significant other, or just allow yourself to be more open to loving relationships. It may just save your life.

Ashley M. Papa

Study: One Drink Makes You Hot. Two Drinks? Not…

Celebratory drink
Tend to feel sexier after a few drinks? (who doesn’t) Perhaps a little more confident? (totally) Well, you may actually want to stop after one cocktail if you’re trying to impress a date with your looks.

A new study shows that people were rated more attractive after one glass of wine, but not after two glasses, compared with when they were sober.

For the experiment, researchers gathered 40 students willing to get a little tipsy. They had their face photographed three times; once when sober, again after one drink and once more after two drinks. A separate group of students then rated how attractive they found each headshot. As it turns out, the photo after one drink rated higher than the sober photo. But the photo after two drinks got the lowest rating.

Researchers don’t know why this exactly is, but some say it could be the greater pupil dilation after one drink (which is usually perceived as positive), more muscle relaxation or even the rosiness of their cheeks.

After two drinks, these features tend to get more exaggerated, perhaps looking more tired than relaxed and more flushed than “rosie”.

It is important to remember that the experiment was done in a controlled setting, where the people analyzing the photos were sober. Other research has showed that after drinking, people perceive others as more attractive. So, you consume a drink and see others as more attractive, but you also become more attractive. Exactly how this plays out in the real world, the lead researchers says, we don’t know. However, I can only hypothesize that it means more sex.

The study was published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

Ashley M. Papa

Lying & Loving Go Hand in Hand

crossed fingers

Imagine if we said exactly what we were thinking and feeling — all the time — to our mate. They’d have to put a muzzle on us to make any relationship survive. That said, we’re all liars. Whether it’s because we hide our feelings, remain silent when we want to yell, or embellish the truth a tad, if we didn’t lie sometimes, relationships would be impossible.

So you must lie, to be a better lover. This is according to professor and author of the book “Love Lies”, Clancy Martin. He says, “we care more about love than we care about most things, and because love causes us more fear than most things do, caring and fearing are two of the most common reasons for lying.”

Of course, we all want our partners to be honest with us, but imagine if he/she was constantly voicing everything that was irking them about you, to you. We’d end up hating the person we’re supposed to love. Not to mention, it can lead to feelings of insecurity and resentment.

I’m guilty of lying to boyfriends about non-important things. To me, I loved (using that loosely here) them too much to make them feel inadequate or think I was disappointed in them over things that really weren’t that big of a deal.

Sweet little lies can help get us through the day and give relationships a boost. Martin compares this to lies we sometimes tell children like, “you can be whatever you want to be”. When it comes to lying to a lover, you may say something like “you’re the best sex I ever had” or “nobody’s ever made me feel the way you do”. That’ll get you more lovemaking than saying something like “(past lover) did this so much better”.

Lies that lift are good. You’d never honestly tell your woman that she looks fat in that dress, would you?

But there are some areas where lying never leads to more love like: lying or withholding information about past marriages, infidelity, finances, criminal records or any other serious issues. Says Martin: Honesty and deception should be practiced in moderation. That’s because little lies can become a habit and even snowball into bigger ones.

Being caught in a lie can damage trust. So if this happens, just own up to it and explain why you did it.

In my article “Can Lying Actually Make a Relationship Stronger”, I noted that what may seem like a little lie to you, could be a huge deal to your significant other. Also, you don’t want lies to become the basis of your relationship. You need to actually believe that your love is “the best you’ve ever had” or what is the point of being in that relationship?

Ashley M. Papa

Single & Snowed In? Get a Blizzard Boyfriend

When life hands you a blizzard, get a blizzard boyfriend.

New York is about to get slammed with snow, potentially making some millions homebound for the next day or two. So why not use the time to find love?

Singles are turning to Craigslist to find someone to be snowed in with.

This guy writes:

So I’m getting off work early today, around 2.
Anyone stuck in their apartment and battling with some pent-up snow-related horniness? 🙂
I’d love to stop by and help out. I’m feeling very frisky today.

And then there is this one:

Male 40 , looking for someone who is fun, Snow storm is here. Lets kick back and relax, Beer and wine this could be real fun. I can host nice place. Be close to 23rd and 10th. Even better if you know how to play cards. No issue with race or size as long as your normal as I am.

and this…

Stuck at work the next few days because of snow. Would like to stay warm n cozy in between shifts. I. am a very nice, clean,and in good shape. 40yr old caucasian salt n pepper scorpio. A drink or two, some good conversation, and who knows. Im on the west side, in the 30’s.

They’re all listed in the “personals” here on Craigslist. The amount of snow sex seekers is sure to increase as the city could get close to 2ft of snow or more.