I am a massive coffee snob. I can smell a good coffee as soon as I walk into a coffee store and I will have no shame in leaving if I know they are burning the beans. My friends know not to mention the S word around me…Starbucks.
Now this may be due to the fact I was raised in Australia and we are a country full of massive coffee snobs. Hell, we are the only country where Starbucks failed so miserably they were forced to close and never return. I feel as a nation we were offended they even tried.
You see Australia is full of independent coffee roasters teaming with highly trained, coffee bean sniffing, latte artist baristas that take pride in their coffee making skills and you can definitely taste the love.
By now you’re probably thinking ok Allira, we get it, you’re a little bouge when it comes to coffee, but what has this got to do with relationships. Well I have come to think that just the way I like the time and investment put into my coffee, we should expect the same time and investment from our potential romantic partners. However I know this is something that doesn’t sit well with my instant generation.
In NYC it is extremely common to move at cheetah pace. People move in with each other moments after knowing their last names, mostly because of real estate. It is expensive to live in New York City and it is cheaper to live together. I have literally overheard a girl on the subway say “well no I don’t love him, but you know its New York, we will save so much money if we move in together”.
The problem with this is that we actually never take the time to develop a strong connection with the other person and actually decide whether this is a person we want to co habitat with, which is a challenge even for married couples, because trust me, humans are strange little creatures and no one is easy to live with.
We rush dating stages that shouldn’t be rushed and move in with people while we are still in the pretending to be someone else phase. What ends up happening is six months in, you start to see things about the other person you don’t like and realize that you really aren’t compatible for a long term relationship. Now you are trapped in an awkward roommate situation from hell. No wonder statistics are saying we are the most depressed and lonely generation to have ever lived.
For me, I first need to work out if I even like you as a friend first to even consider moving forward, because if I don’t like you as a friend why in the hell would I want to date you, let alone share my intimate living space with you. If your partner is not someone you would love to have in your life as a friend, you need to think about why you’re dating them in the first place.
As cliche as it sounds, I truly think the most successful relationships came out of friendships first. Think about it, how did you choose your best friend. You had the same interests, morals and mindset and your bond become so strong because you took the time to get to know each other. You spent countless hours getting to know them first and then decided to be friends. It took you some time to open up and tell them your inner most secrets, you didn’t just go for one dinner and say, now we are best friends.
Think about your best friend, you love her so much and would defend her to the death, you would never say anything to hurt her and would kill anyone who did. That is how you should treat your partner. The problem is we look at our partners as something different because we have sex with them and we treat them with less respect and demand more from them, when really we should be treating them with the same respect and love as our best friends.
This is why I am one of those rare girls that is actually a fan of the long distance relationship and experts tend to agree, some even saying it’s actually one of the best ways to start a new relationship.
One of the greatest benefits of a long distance relationship is that you do a lot more talking and learning about each other, since you spend more time having conversations than you might if you were sitting side-by-side watching Netflix, or out running errands or doing activities together.
A study by Cornell University told 63 heterosexual couples, half of which were a long distance relationship, to keep a communication diary and spend the next couple weeks completing questionnaires about their relationships. Those in a long distance relationship reported feeling a stronger bond than couples who lived in the same city. They also claimed to feel their partners shared more of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
The other benefit is you definitely can’t have a “friends with benefits” long distance relationship because long distance relationships are more like “friends without benefits.” You rarely have to worry that your significant other is only putting up with you for sex. By definition, long distance relationships are anything but physical.
They also force you to be independent in your relationship. We all know those people who lose themselves in romantic relationships. They become an extension of their significant other and, to be honest, lose that special “spark” that made you want to be friends with them in the first place. Couples in long distance relationships rarely have that problem because it’s difficult to live vicariously through your significant other when you don’t share a zip code.
Living apart from your partner is a great way to preserve the essence of who you are even though you are in a relationship. You have your own friends, jobs, and social life.
I am not saying everyone should be in long distance relationships, they are hard and not for everyone. They are just a great example of how getting to truly know someone is the best starting point for a great relationship.
Another thing to consider when engaging in an instant relationship is how differently men and women fall in love.
There are certain chemical processes that happen when we fall in love and they are completely different with men and women. Scientists call it the tipping point. There was a study done on the prarie vole, who when finds a suitable mate, stays monogamous and mates for life.
The first thing they noticed was when the prarie vole found a mate there was an increase in dopamine. This is the same in humans, when meeting someone we like it’s really new and exciting, so dopamine levels rise in both sexes. However what they also found is that Oxytocin increases with females by 51% which is the bonding hormone, the one that mothers have with their newborn babies.
So when a woman finds a man she really likes her Oxytocin levels go way up, but if they block it she will lose that loving feeling. Men can’t produce Oxyticon because of testosterone which blocks the effects of Oxytocin. So they discovered Vasopressin which is similar to Oxytocin is released in men when they find a female they really like. So it is a combination of dopamine, Vasopressin and a little bit of testostertone for males and scientists have confirmed that this is all applicable to humans.
So for females dopamine and oxytocin increases. The dopamine is released when you are dating and you are excited about finding the possibilty of love. So as long as you are out there dating and having fun your dopamine levels will be raised. Oxytocin the cuddle hormone or the trust hormone goes up when you are kissing, cuddling and having fun and the longer you date and trust him the more your Oxytocin will increase.
But theres a catch, Oxytocin slowly builds up that way, but it skyrockets at orgasm. Men are on the same page with dopamine levels if he is out dating and happy having a good time, his dopamine levels will be high. His Vassopressin goes up when he is sexually stimulated, so if he is dating a woman he is sexually intersted in, his vassopressin increases. But unlike Oxytocin in females, the Vassopressin drops after men have sex.
A study from the United States Airfoce followed over 2000 service men for more than a decade. Taking various tests, one of the tests they took was for testosterone. What they found was when a guy came in who was single his testosterone levels were relatively high, but as soon as he gets married it drops. Remember testosterone is a blocker of Oxytocin and Oxytocin is the bonding hormone.
Harvard University took it a step further and did studies on married men, men in committed relationships and single men and tested their testosterone and what they found just like the air force study was that the men that were single had high testosterone where the men who were married or in commited relationships had lower testostertone. The testosterone levels did not differ in men that were married or in committed relationships.
That means that testosterone didn’t drop when they got married it dropped prior, when he committed. These studies show that women tend to take a bigger risk and fall in love when she has sex and men tend to fall in love when he has commitment. So there is literally scientific evidence of how chemically different men and women fall in love.
Women are constantly complaining about how men won’t commit and open up to them and the prarie vole study may very wel tell us why.
So ladies, if you want a truly lasting long term relationship with your guy, you may have to slow down and get to know him a little better first. If you feel like it’s going too fast for you and you suddenly realize he’s being an instant guy, spit him out faster than a Starbucks Frappuccino (or whatever it is they sell there) and order the espresso, trust me, it’s worth the wait.