You might have asked yourself if there is a scientific way to figure out whether you should go or whether you should stay in your current romantic relationship. The answer is yes. The Romantic Relationship “Should I Go or Should I Stay?” Check List is based on new discoveries about how our biological systems create all the different feelings that hold our relationships together. To see the check list, or copy and use it, click here.
With all the media attention being focused on the politics of the moment, most analysts have overlooked one of the most defining characteristics of the Obama presidency: His marriage. Yet even the casual observer cannot help but notice the Obamas’ friends-and-lovers-too relationship. That’s the image they project whenever they are in public together.
Certainly if you are under forty years old, and you saw the Minnesota hand bump, you took it as a sign of two best buddies celebrating. We have to look deeper, however, into the American psyche to understand why people see the Barak and Michelle Obama as role modeling the ideal American marriage.
People identify with the Obama marriage because lovers, who are best friends, are the type of couple that we admire most. So we notice that the Obamas are relaxed and spontaneous when they are in the public eye. And we acknowledge that they actually are having fun together despite the demands of their positions as president and first lady. Americans also realize that they share similar goals, including raising their children in a nurturing environment. Yet their relationship goes much deeper than what we see in the video clips.
On the night that Barack and his team of advisors decided to make the run for the presidency, Michelle was there as Barack’s supportive best friend. She knew him so well that she interrupted the politicking and asked him right in front of everyone what he hoped to achieve by making a run for the White House. That forced Barack to cut to the chase.
The future president pondered the thought for a moment, and then he said he wanted to make America a place where every child could fulfill his or her dream. As an afterthought, he added that every child in the world should have a similar opportunity. After hearing that, no one in the room could back out or back down. And the race was on. The team had discovered its mission with the help of Michelle Obama, who had prodded Barack—her best friend—to either get it on or get over it–the idea of running for president. This is just one of many examples of how the Obamas’ friendship relationship works in uncanny ways.
In their pressure-cooker world, their combined social and verbal skills help them discover a shared purpose, founded on shared values. This doubles their power to make good decisions in their domestic and public life, as well as with their careers. It also gives them a common ground on which their romantic relationship is played out.
• Mutual trust and cooperation
• Emotional honesty
• Encouragement for expressing one’s true feelings
• An active listening processes where they hear each other out
• Support for each other’s goals and emotional growth
• A collaborative helping process whereby they solve problems together
• A sense of equity that both partners really matter
• Mutual affirmation and self-validation
• Common concern and care for their children
• Supportive mutual friends
• Celebrating their successes together
That is an unusual list of qualities for a romantic relationship. Yet it shows the kinds of attributes that it takes to support a low-stress romance when you have a high-performance career.
Some people find the Obama marriage easy to imagine. Others see it as a long-term solution to the problems that they keep repeating over and over, ad infinitum, in their relationships. But if you’re under twenty-six years old and single, you might be moving too fast to imagine being friends with your lovers. Or, if you’ve loved and lost, and are bitter about it, you might be put off by other’s successes. Still, there is a lot you can learn from the example they set.
Barack and Michelle Obama show what is possible to achieve in a romantic relationship. And just because they are rich and famous, you should not take the stand that you couldn’t do it too. You can have a relationship like the Obama marriage if you work on developing certain relationship skills.
To have a relationship where you are friends with your lover, follow these guidelines:
• Look at your current and past relationships as learning experiences
• Treat your partner like you would like to be treated
• Don’t hold grudges and don’t keep a list of your partner’s faults
• If you get angry with your partner, let it go after you cool down
• Learn to feel confident and relaxed around your lover
• If there’s a problem, talk it over and try to find a solution together
• Be honest with your partner or else admit that you are with the wrong person or are not ready for a mature relationship
• Stay away from potential partners whom you do not trust
• Realize that crazy love passes and transforms in to reward love or it fades away completely
• Understand that true love means feeling rewarded to be around your partner
• Realize that you might meet the perfect person yet not be ready for developing the perfect relationship
• Stop searching for ‘the One’ and start learning intimate communication skills
• Realize that sex and love are only half of a great relationship and that you’ll eventually get tired of your partner if you are not friends
• Realize that feeling like family with your lover is one of life’s most rewarding experiences
• Know that you can’t expect your partner to change just because you demand it
• Get married to celebrate a great relationship, not because you feel obligated
These relationship understandings are not that hard to learn if you work on one of them at a time. Remember, you have to move at your own speed in developing a meaningful, exciting, best-buddies partnership. Above all, you have to realize that the hardest part of achieving a friends-and-lovers-too relationship is taking the first step and truly believing that you can do it. If you believe in it, you’ll see over time that you’ll attract partners who believe in being best friends with their lovers just like you.
-Dr Billy Kidd
Spring fever is real. Sure, we think of it as a time for young people to cut loose on spring break. But we don’t realize there’s a whole lot of biological action taking place to motivate people to get it on when the sun comes out.
Part of it is about the sun and increased levels of vitamin D and how that raises testosterone levels in our bodies. The rest is about exploring the world—which gets people primed and ready for sex. Let’s look at the scientific facts behind spring fever so you’ll be ready … no matter how crazy it gets … when you hit the beach!
• Sunshine raises vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that is generated when sunlight hits your skin. During winter, your vitamin D levels drop by 50% unless you take supplements. When you get out and hit the beach at the onset of spring, your vitamin D levels jump back up—especially if you’re in the semi-tropics like Cancun, Mexico, Hawaii, or Thailand.
• Vitamin D is Associated with Testosterone. When vitamin D goes up, so does your level of testosterone. This happens because vitamin D increases the production of testosterone in men’s and women’s sex organs. And that is what makes Spring fever come alive.
• Testosterone is Necessary for Sexual Arousal in both Women and Men. It’s an urban myth that testosterone is strictly a male hormone. Women are dependent, too, on sufficient levels of testosterone in order to become physically aroused about sex. There is, in fact, a testosterone patch for women who just can’t get physically aroused about sex. Emotional arousal, of course, is different and related to another set of hormones and neurotransmitters.
• Exploring the World Increases Emotional Desire for Sex. When individuals get out and explore the world—like people do when spring fever hits—the willingness to engage in sex increases. That’s because exploring new things increase the neurotransmitters tied to the mental-emotional part of being hot to get it on. That mental-emotional part of sexual desire generally involves a debate about whether the time and place is right for sex. Exploring the world works to tune that out.
What this all amounts to is that spring fever is a biological Yes!Yes! reaction to hitting the beach: Yes—your body is getting aroused for sex. And Yes—your head says, “Why not?” to sexual encounters.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your relationship status is. Do yourself a favor. Take a spring break and hit the beach. Bring your lover or spouse, go with a friend, or jump on a plane and just arrive. Don’t ask why, just go do it! It’s great for your health—both emotionally and physically. And for your love life. Let the sunshine give it a tune up!
– Dr Billy Kidd
I underestimated the future of online dating. I had said that the whole point of online dating is that it’s guilt-free and blame-free. You know, how could you be at fault when things don’t work out?
Well, after all, the matchmakers set you up with the wrong person! Right? So, get over it. And next time, simply enjoy your dates. Don’t sweat the mismatches. I had said that because I didn’t think a foolproof matchmaking program was possible to create.
Now, I see that the future of online matchmaking is virtually limitless.
I say that because our team at RRI, LLC, invented a program that assesses how you will react to a potential romantic partner. We’ve done preliminary testing, and the results have been startling. Things come to light that people did not really know about themselves. That’s because we’re dealing with your unconscious motivations. This, of course, contrast to the current state of affairs where online questionnaires match your personality type, life experiences, and who you think your ideal lover would be.
What that leaves out is how you really respond to people—what your unconscious mind compels you to do. It also misses the fact that your ideal lover is probably not who your really need. What you really need is to be matched with people who have similar unconscious motivations as yours. And we can do that because we’ve discovered the five-factor Love Code.
You might be saying, “Getting together with somebody like me? … Boring.” Well, don’t worry. Our research shows that the happiest couples with the most exciting relationships have similar unconscious romantic motivations. What that means is that people with similar interests really kick it when they get in the same groove together!
Remember: Likes attract likes, which is why people who break out of dysfunctional relationships generally run out and find another dysfunctional partner almost overnight.
So, get ready for the new future of matchmaking!
For the experts in the crowd, what we’re measuring is the motivational states that are involved in creating an individual’s feeling of love for their partner or potential partner. Got it? Right?! And if you need to know more, contact The Romantic Relationship Institute.
– Dr Billy Kidd
With the Love Code, you can analyze any romantic relationship. Let’s look at a real-life story and see how it works:
Jack and Teri had been crazy in love for about 6 months. Jack catered to Teri in such a way that she was impressed by his gallant actions. But after she moved in with him, he began walking out of the room when she tried to discuss their relationship. All she really wanted was to take the relationship another step deeper. But when she talked to Jack about being best friends, he laughed.
“We’re not adolescents, anymore,” Jack said. “Real men protect their ladies. And they bring home their paychecks, and they take ‘em out and rock all night, or stay home and rock in the bedroom. They don’t sit around and chatter about their feelings the way girlfriends do.”
OK. Is Jack really in love with Teri? How does his behavior hold up when we look at it through the lens of the Love Code. Here’s the basics of the code so you can decide for yourself:
• He Thinks About Her and Feels Rewarded to be with Her. Most of what he thinks is cool stuff because it feels good just to be around her.
• He Gets Turned On by Her. They not only explore each other’s bodies, but they also go out and explore the world together. This makes their sexual relationship even more intense.
• He’s Her Friend. He doesn’t keep score or remind her of her failings. He listens to what’s on her mind and helps her contrast that with what she did in similar situations.
• He Regards Her as Part of His Family. So he trusts her. And he’s OK with talking about the problems he’s facing. It calms him down.
• He Wants to Help Her when She Needs It. He asks what’s going on when he sees that she looks stressed out. That’s because he cares about her and her future, as well as her goals.
That’s the Love Code. Let’s look at how to use it so you can answer the question: Does Jack love Teri?
• Does Jack think about Teri? Yes, but he thinks if he loves her he owns her. And there are times that he doesn’t feel rewarded to be around her unless he thinks he is in charge. That’s a macho control trip, and it’s a dysfunctional way to be in love.
• Does she turn him on? She did, but he wouldn’t let her get close to him emotionally. So they never explored the full dimensions of their sexuality together.
• Is Jack her friend? No. He simply cannot imagine being friends and lovers, too.
• Does Teri feel like family to Jack? Yes, in a dysfunctional sense. He tried to get her to go along with his dysfunctional-family orientation–where feelings and secrets are never shared. But after she moved in with him, she just couldn’t handle it.
• Does he help her when she really needs it? No. He helps when he thinks that it will help him get in control of their relationship or when it makes him feel cool. It isn’t about her.
So, does Jack love Teri?
Yes, he did love her, but it was in a very dysfunctional fashion. He felt like he owned something, and that give him the right to do things his way. His love wasn’t about developing a sense of personal relationship with her. Meanwhile, Teri had fun for a while with all his chivalrous actions—the flowers, opening doors, and taking charge of things. But in the long run, she couldn’t handle that kind of love. So she moved on to find a man who’d be her friend and her lover, too.
What’s the lesson here?
The lesson is that one person’s definition of love might be completely different from another’s. You can use the Love Code to figure out where you differ and where you’re in sync with your partner. Next time you’re feeling confused about your relationship or a potential one, look at the first list of questions that we asked about Jack. Then, see where that leads you.
– Dr. Billy Lee Kidd
For more on information about the Love Code, see my book Low Stress Romance.
It doesn’t matter who you are. You could be a shrink and have written ten books on romantic relationships, but changes are you don’t know diddly about love. I say that because I was one of the psychologists who recently broke the The Love Code. So, let me tell you how that works.
The feeling of love is created by a biological system inside your body, just like the sexual system that makes you want to have sex. But the in-love system is different. It’s run by hormones and neurotransmitters that make you think about someone and want to be with them. You think about that person so much, you think they are the One. OK?
So, if your boyfriend says, hey, he’s having dinner with another woman, and oh, she’s just a friend, but you can’t come along because you’re not one of their friends–your boyfriend isn’t in love with you, because he’s not thinking about you. He’s thinking about this other woman. That’s what being crazy in love is all about–thinking about the one you want to be with.
But here’s what’s wild about it. The in-love crazy feeling slips away within 30 months of falling in love. That’s what can make it feel like the honeymoon is over or you woke up in bed with a stranger. But that only happens if you don’t move into the second stage of being in love.
That’s when you feel rewarded just to see your partner. Three years or thirty years down the road, she’s still the one. That’s because neurotransmitters and hormones fire off in your head and give you a feeling of reward just to be with your partner. You’re not thinking about her all the time like you did when you were crazy in love. It just feels good to see her and it still feels cool when you buy her flowers.
To view my video about how the feeling of being in love is created, go to You Don’t Know Diddly About Love.
It can be confusing if you bump into an ex-partner. You might start comparing him to your current partner even without thinking about it. You could even ask yourself what it might have been like if the two of you had stayed together.
If this should happen to you, relax. It’s normal. Don’t let your feelings confuse you. Instead, turn your chance meeting into a learning experience. That’s easy when you focus on the five major feelings of love. Do that by asking yourself these questions concerning your current partner:
• Does it feel like I am in love and that it is rewarding to be with him?
• Does it feel exciting and meaningful to have sex with him?
• Does it feel like he is my friend?
• Does it feel like he is a part of my family?
• Does it feel like I enjoy helping him with things that matter to him?
When you work through your feelings associated with these questions, you will understand more about why you are with your partner. You will also understand more about what you need in your relationship and where you hope it is headed. After you think about that, it will feel safe to look at your past relationships.
Do that by asking yourself similar questions about an ex-partner concerning the five major feelings of love:
• Did it feel like I was in love and found it rewarding to be with him?
• Did it feel like I responded to him sexually in an exciting and meaningful fashion?
• Did it feel like we were friends?
• Did it feel like he was a part of my family?
• Did it feel like I wanted to help him with the issues he was facing?
When you ask these questions about your ex-partner, you will naturally find yourself making comparisons between him and your current partner. Don’t look at this as a threat to your current relationship. Use your ideas to clarify the direction you want your relationship to go in the future.
You might want to discuss your ideas about the future of your relationship with your current partner. If you have problems talking about this with him, ask him questions that relate to the five major feelings of love. Those five feelings are: being in love and finding it rewarding; desiring sex; feeling like a friend; feeling like family; and wanting to help out at times—just because.
These feelings form the foundation of every romantic relationship. You won’t experience all of these feelings in dysfunctional relationships. But they arise from human physiological systems and, together, they create all the feelings of love.
– Dr Billy Kidd
A gentleman in India bought Low Stress Romance on an online book store and posted this response:
Why does a woman’s mood change following the birth of a child? It’s because her postpartum mood is significantly related to the quality of her relationship with her partner during pregnancy. That makes sense when you consider the lightning speed at which modern romance takes place. Children are often born before partners really get to know each other.
If that happens, couples do not really feel like a family when they are together. Without that feeling, partners cannot effectively turn to each other for help and reassurance during times of need. When they try to work through relationship roadblocks, it often cranks up the level of stress in their relationship, rather than reducing it. That is why so often partners turn away from each other, and to their friends or family members, when relationship problems arise.
For a woman who is pregnant, this adds another layer of stress to her life. She does not feel there is an emotionally-secure attachment between her and her partner. So, when her child is born, her bonding system–which creates the ties that bind–will override most of her feelings of being in love with her partner. And then, she’ll focus her emotional energy on the child. In this fashion, she’ll adapt to her stressful environment in a way that protects the child.
This is a natural biological process related to pregnancy. In prehistoric times, it allowed women’s hormones to readjust quickly, after giving birth, to accommodate to natural disasters and unforeseen circumstances. In modern times, the unforeseen circumstance might be discovering that a partner just isn’t all that much into you. Whatever the case, partners who don’t really know each other never have a clear understanding of how their relationship is evolving. So they don’t know how to respond to each other’s needs.
The important issue here is that when a woman gives birth her bonding hormones naturally kick into overdrive. This hormonal change causes her to want to bond closer with her partner. She feels they should support each other and reach out and face the world together, protecting the child the way healthy families do. If, however, all a women experiences is an emotional blank from her partner–no soothing voice, no feelings of emotional support, nothing to quell her anxieties–she’ll latch onto the baby and push her partner aside.
Then, she may try to reach out to her mother for support. Her unconscious motivation is the hope that her bond with her mother will be strong enough to quell her anxieties and frustrations, and stop her downward drift into depression.
The problems caused by the fast pace of modern love do not stop here. If a new mother’s partner has not bonded to her before the child is born, he may not bond to the baby, either. He has to have ties that bind him emotionally to his partner before the baby is born for him to be a part of the family bonding process.
All this is different when partners have had time to form strong emotional attachments before the baby is born. When that is the case, a new mother’s bonding system doesn’t override her feelings of being in love. Her bonding hormones simply increase while her in-love and her sexual hormones slack off a bit.
This natural balancing process shows that there isn’t some innate flaw with how a woman’s bonding system operates during pregnancy. Rather, nature allows it to override her in-love and sexual systems when the survival of the infant is as stake. So, when people blame women for their postpartum depression, and say, “Get over it,” they simply do not know what they are talking about.
The real cause of postpartum depression is different. The dramatization of love at first sight, the glorification of sexuality, and the rush to get married before partners really get to know each other–these are the culprits that eventually lead to unsatisfying relationships. And unsatisfying relationships are a prime cause of postpartum depression.
With the increasing acceptance of single motherhood, the question sometimes comes up, “Do I still need a man?” The answer is, “Yes and no.” Let me explain.
It makes sense to have a partner if he is supportive and you feel like a functional family. This will provide a healthy emotional environment where your child can thrive.
On the other hand, if you are pregnant, what you do not want is a high-stress relationship. That raises the levels of stress hormones circulating in your blood. Those hormones cross the placenta and pass through the umbilical cord to your baby. Then, your baby experiences your stress similar to the way you experience it.
This may not sound like much of a problem until you understand the consequences. When your baby experiences stress, this modifies the programming of his or her biological set points. These set points regulate how you child will respond emotionally to events in the world. So if you experience high levels of stress while you are pregnant, your baby will be programmed to tolerate high levels of stress when it is born. In that situation, your child will not adapt very well to quiet, learning environments when he or she starts school.
What this means is that your child will be able to tolerate the ongoing stress in your relationship. But he or she will feel uncomfortable at school. That is because there will not be enough background crazymaking to crank up your child’s stress hormones. Without those stress hormones running at the level your child expects, he or she will feel like something is missing. This might very well cause your child to act out in order to pump up the level of stress in the schoolroom.
The social implications of this are enormous. It explains why the incidence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is on the rise. As mothers experience more and more stress in today’s fast-paced world, their babies internalize more and more stress during pregnancy. Add to that the stress of dysfunctional relationships, where women are constantly arguing with their partners, and children get set up for academic disaster even before they are born. That is why so many children show up to school unprepared for learning environments. Yet, they might appear to behave normally at home because they feel okay in emotionally-tense situations.
Many psychiatrists do not understand this process. So they end up prescribing medications for children when they cannot sit still or concentrate at school. But medications often add another layer of stress to a child’s life. In contrast, what a child really needs is for his or her parents to step forward and seek help from a family therapist. In family therapy, parents can learn to lower the level of stress in their relationship. This, in turn, will create a home environment that stimulates your child’s emotional set-points to readjust, allowing your child to be more emotionally stable.
If you want to avoid this situation from the get-go, you need to have a low stress relationship with your partner. Don’t let stress program your unborn child for a lifetime of difficulties. Fix your relationship before you become pregnant. Or, if you are pregnant now, talk to your partner about working through relationship stressors in a collaborative fashion.
[Note: This is a question that was sent to Dr. Kidd via the feedback form on the Let’s Hear Your Ideas here at BlameBilly.com.]