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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Jennifer's Gems > Love Aptitude

by Jennifer Brown Banks

Increasing Your Love Aptitude:
10 Tips for loving smart and cultivating relationships that touch the heart, mind, and soul

A healthy, good relationship is supposed to enhance our life quality and state of peace--- not take from it.  Ideally, it is one that gives reverence to who we are, and feels good to the mind, body, spirit, and soul.

Contrary to popular opinion, love is not supposed to hurt. News reports, magazine articles, and talk show forums often suggest otherwise. So don't believe the hype!

If you’re looking for more fulfilling love, here are 10 tips to help you increase your emotional I.Q. and experience love more completely!

Love yourself first
It may sound a bit cliché, but it’s crucial.  Loving yourself first will prevent you from seeking a mate for the wrong reasons (i.e. needing validation or escape from loneliness).  Truth is, if you don’t feel good about yourself, more than likely, you’ll attract a mate who doesn’t value you either.  It's the simple law of attraction.

Stop the madness!
Relationships can be challenging in even the best of circumstances.  But when you choose to make less than wise decisions, and hook up with someone who has problems with the law, problems with keeping a job, bitter exes, bad kids, or just plain bad karma, you invite unnecessary stress.  And stress contributes to poor physical and mental health, and ultimate relationship demise. 

Learn the art of mature compromise
Things can’t always go your way.  And why should they? That's not what life is all about. Give and take is necessary for both partners’ needs to be met, and for the union to grow.  It also shows consideration for the other person’s feelings.

Practice healthy “mating” habits
Nothing can put a damper on a good time and good feelings like an STD or unwanted pregnancy.  Be discriminating about whom you choose to share your affections.  And remember to  choose wisely. 

Establish reasonable boundaries
We teach people how to treat us by the things we accept.  Have a clear sense of your romantic restrictions, and make them known. In the words of Aretha Franklin, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.”

Park your baggage at the door
Who among us doesn’t have some “emotional baggage”?  But the key is to resolve as many love related  issues as possible before opening our heart’s door to someone new.  Perhaps you need to do some soul searching, or seek closure from days past, but whatever it is, the sooner you deal with it, the sooner you’ll have the relationship you desire.

Maintain proper balance
Though relationships are rarely a true 50/50 proposition, both parties should be giving and receiving through out the relationship.   If you are a “giver” by nature, in other words, you don’t want to be involved with an individual who is a “taker”.  It will eventually cause resentment and a sense of feeling cheated.

Don't dismiss the fun factor
Professional demands and the times in which we live can definitely take a toll.  Regroup.  Enjoy a rented movie and some wine, indulge in simple pleasures, have a few laughs together.

Practice the power of touch
It can communicate more effectively than words, and nourish the soul

Get real about your expectations
Doing so will prevent conflict and disappointment down the road.

According to Dr. Judy Kuriansky, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to a Healthy Relationship, these are the signs of a healthy, successful relationship:

  • You feel secure and happy when you’re together and alone—not sad, suspicious, angry, or deprived.

  • You are inspired by each other to fulfill your dreams and become the best you can be.

  • You are generous and giving --- you want to give all you can to your partner, and are so fulfilled that you also want to give to everyone else around you.

Does this sound like the union you're in?

Embrace the practical principles listed above for a more holistic approach to love. Your heart will thank you...

Jennifer's Gems
is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday.
Click here to read her welcome letter.


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