You fall in love hard, but it’s not your fault. As much as you try to resist the allure of amor, you just can’t help but want to connect romantically with another human being. And science backs this up. In the early 2000s, researchers discovered that our brains are wired to connect with one another for survival. It starts in infancy, when our interactions with parents and familia teach us how to relate, connect and love.
But, what if your early relationships were negative? How can you break unhealthy patterns in love and heal from childhood wounds? You can rewire your brain, says Debbi Carberry, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of The Better Relationships Program. She shares five strategies on how to overcome trauma and improve relationships:
#1 Communicate Better
A relationship will not survive poor communication. Even if you and your partner can express your feelings and thoughts openly, you must do so fairly often in order to have healthy communication. In other words, “no name calling and fighting to win,” advises Carberry. “Don’t use contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness or criticism when you are in conflict with your partner,” she continues. Instead, think before you speak.
#2 Improve Intimacy
If you’ve been with you hombre for decades, intimacy doesn’t look or feel like it did when you first met. That’s normal. Still, you shouldn’t settle for a detached relationship. To better your union, work on physically connecting without sex. Sex is great, but it’s not the only way to build intimacy. Try physical touches, like holding hands, caressing their back or cuddling. It truly is good for you and your relationship, and Debbie agrees. “When we have physical connection with our partners (not just sex) we release a chemical called oxytocin (the love hormone),” she says. “So not only do we get the warm glow of physical connection, but our brains literally light up when we see the person who we share sexual intimacy with.” That’s something to strive for, chicas.
#3 Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
You can’t satisfy your love if you don’t know what he needs to feel loved. It is that simple! Therefore, it’s essential to learn your partner’s love language. “If you don’t speak each other’s love language then many loving gestures can get missed,” Debbi says. “Learning these languages and putting them into action on a daily basis will absolutely fill your love bank.” To discover your love language, check out the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
#4 Be More Playful
Whether you share goofy jokes or wrestle playfully in bed, you should find ways to have fun with your partner! Not only is laughter good for your health but it also improves relationships. “Playful individuals are more spontaneous and light-hearted and are therefore better able to cope with stress,” Carberry tells us. “Making time and space to relax and have some fun really makes both partners happier.”
#5 Make Your Partner A Priority
With work and the kids it’s easy to forget about your hombre. Your relationship falls into a rut and neither are making each other a priority. “It’s time to put relationships on the priority list and make some quality time daily to connect with one another,” Carberry urges. “Slow down, turn off the phone, Internet and TV and ask the kids to entertain themselves for 15 minutes.” When you do, ask your man how he feels and begin a genuine dialogue. Really connect. In the end, that’s all we really want.