Dr. Jessica O’Reilly is an expert on everything to do with sex and relationships. She and five others are giving seminars all weekend at Toronto’s Everything To Do With Sex Show. If you can’t make it to the event, we have you covered with a little Q & A that can hopefully spruce up your love life.
Q: What are five key components to a happy and healthy relationship?
1. Laughter/Sense of Humour — There’s a reason this characteristic is one of the most commonly mentioned in dating profiles.
2. Appreciation — You need to genuinely like and delight in your partner so that you can get through the rough patches.
3. Consideration — This includes the willingness to be flexible (change and novelty is also elemental to happy relationships) and attempt to really understand your partner’s point of view.
4. Effort — You never get to stop trying. Relationships take work and they’re worth it. You have to put effort into yourself physically, emotionally, psychologically and practically to remain appealing to your partner.
5. Communication — This includes a willingness to engage in disagreements.
WATCH: Conversations that can save your relationship
Q: What are two of the biggest issues you see couples struggle with?
1. Resentment related to ongoing conflicts
2. Struggles related to time management
Who has enough time these days?
When your “family weekend” conflicts with something else, shift it to ensure you get twelve per year.
If you’re already coming up with excuses as to why your situation wouldn’t allow for this (without identifying viable alternatives), you are a part of the problem.
I work with some of the busiest couples in the world — executives who run multiple companies, travel regularly and have packed schedules, but they still make time to invest in their relationships. I’ve even worked with presidential candidates, and if they can make time…you certainly can too.
Take one hour per week just for you — not for the two of you, but just for you. Take a class, lock yourself away with a glass of wine or a hot tea or go for a walk.
You need time alone (away from kids and friends) in order to be a good partner and acknowledge the complexity of your identity beyond being a spouse and/or parent.
Q: What advice would you give a couple who’s found themselves in a rut?
For those who fight a lot:
I suggest booking one or two sessions with a solution-focused counsellor. Just one facilitated session (I won’t even call it therapy) can help you to more effectively identify the core issues that trigger conflict.
For those in a sexual rut:
Q: How do you keep the spark alive if you’ve been married a long time?
WATCH: Sexologist Jessica O’Reilly on how to have a healthy marriage
Q: How do you know when it’s time to pull the plug? And when can a relationship still be saved?
If you both want to save a relationship and you’re willing to invest time to formally work on it, you can likely revive the connection. However, there are some challenges that are particularly difficult to overcome:
Do you have any relationship questions that you’d like answered? Send them to us through the form below (and don’t worry, we won’t use your name):
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