Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Cornerstone Of A Long-Term Relationship Isn’t Love

Today I attended a mental health training in which the facilitator talked about the requirements for a healthy long-term relationship. The facilitator spoke about how love is not the number one determining factor that helps a relationship to grow strong over many years. He explained it is not lust or physical passion, bur rather the expression of physical affection.

The affection we discussed wasn’t sexual. Instead, we discussed how physical touch expressed in the simplest manner was the most important factor. As we discussed this, I thought about the gestures that express real love. The gestures can include rubbing one’s back, a hug, or a loving hand on one’s face that connote connection, warmth, and care.

All too often, how expressive we are is a direct reflection of how expressive the homes were in which we grew up. If you come from a home in which love was unspoken and there weren’t regular displays of physical affection, you may not reach out to touch your partner on a regular basis. Of course, there are likely the rote ways in which you say hello or goodnight, with a kiss and a declaration of “I love you.”

The training I attended, however, was in important reminder that non-sexual physical affection is a vital part of a relationship. Make an effort to express your love for your partner in a myriad of ways on a daily basis, and make physical affection a regular ingredient in your daily interactive dynamic. The smallest gestures can help to cultivate and maintain intimacy between two loved ones.

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