The world of dating and romance is changing rapidly and it makes sense to change with it.
For example, who could have predicted that we rely less on chance and more on AI algorithms to find the one we care about? Or that we have to scrutinize our partner for ‘red flags’ and ‘toxicity’ before locking them up?
To stay up to date, it is important to listen to the experts. Here are four research-based relationship and partnership tips to keep in mind when partnering in 2023.
#1. Create your best dating profile
When it comes to online dating, the expert verdict is unanimous: a genuine, high-quality dating profile is your holy grail. Fortunately, it’s not that complicated to create one. According to dating expert Blaine Anderson, online dating is a learned skill.
Anderson gives you three simple but effective tips for optimizing your dating profile:
- Invest in high quality images. We underestimate the value of having quality images that show off our best features. Since appearance is the first thing potential suitors notice, it’s important to put your best foot forward.
- Market yourself well. Don’t let app “prompts” dictate how you manage your life and personality on your profile. Think about what you would like your potential partner to know about you. Be original.
- Don’t let it get to you. Failure to find matches is not a reflection of your value as a partner. It just means you need to reevaluate and explore a different direction – like trying out a new app, revamping your profile, or getting professional help.
#2. Find an intellectual match
We often overestimate the appearance, material success and social prestige of potential partners. While these factors play a role in determining compatibility, they generally matter less than factors such as intellectual compatibility.
Research suggests that relationships that are rooted in intellectual connections tend to last longer. Most men and women view attractiveness as a relevant factor for a short-term partner and intelligence as a desirable quality for long-term relationships.
Finding your intellectual match can ensure that your relationship has high-quality communication and is conducive to your growth as an individual.
“Intelligence doesn’t fade away like looks,” says dating expert Emma Hathorn. “Conversations are more interesting with a partner whose spirit fascinates you. Feeling satisfied even by a mundane conversation is an expansive and satisfying experience for everyone and can transform your everyday life into something extraordinary.
Here’s how you can go about finding your intellectual match:
- Don’t rely on metrics alone like degrees or a comfortable job. Find someone who actually matches your wavelength. The time and effort you invest in finding someone who can follow you is worth it.
- Dig deep into like-minded communities. Be specific about what you’re looking for, reconnect with your college circle, or try to join an interesting club or community of your choice. When you’re looking for something specific, casting a wide net can actually be counterproductive.
- Use technology to your advantage. Move away from a general approach and move closer to your dating app profile. Be original, authentic and give clear signals about what you are looking for in a partner.
#3. Mindfulness can unlock the potential of your relationship
We often limit the potential of mindfulness to our meditation practices or our mental well-being. However, according to research, a mindful approach can improve our love life.
Therapist Tasha Seiter explains that being in an interpersonal, sexually aware relationship with your partner can create a positive feedback loop in your relationship. His research outlines five elements of a mindful relationship:
- Emotional awareness
- Non-responsiveness in conflict
- Compassion for your partner
- Compassion for yourself
Developing these qualities in yourself and in your relationship takes effort, time, and trust. Here are some ways to increase the level of mindfulness in your relationship:
- To agree. Spending time with your partner doesn’t have to be a passive exercise. Being present forces you to lean in, be curious, and also be completely open and vulnerable with them.
- Develop emotional awareness with your partner. Trying to sit down and understand your partner’s feelings is usually better than trying to resolve or move past them. Not giving your emotional states the attention they deserve can lead to problems in the future.
- Cultivate acceptance and compassion in your relationship. Even the best relationships go through tough times. Developing a foundation of compassion and understanding can ensure that no matter what, your partner will know you’re part of the same team.
- Think of sex as more than just a physical experience. Learn to be present and curious in the bedroom. Explore each other’s vulnerabilities, desires and fantasies. Think of emotional intimacy as the goal of sex instead of orgasm.
#4. Experimentation is the key to longevity
Humans thrive in long-term relationships because it satisfies our need for security, trust, and stability. But do we always have to give up our desire for sexual novelty and find new connections to maintain our primary relationships?
Zhana Vrangalova, a sex researcher and professor at NYU, says no. In fact, according to his research, our society is slowly but surely moving towards an era of negotiated non-monogamy or “open relationships.”
But inviting a “third party” into their monogamous relationship may not be everyone’s cup of tea. In such cases, Vrangalova urges people not to focus on non-monogamy per se, but on the spirit of experimentation.
You can experiment with the structure and limits of your long-term monogamous relationship by inviting the “shadow third party” into it. This could include:
- Openly share your sexual fantasies. Whether it’s problems, storylines, power plays, or multi-person fantasies, even sharing your fantasies can reinvigorate a relationship.
- Engage in shared consumption of porn. It can help couples live out their fantasies in a safe virtual space.
- Go to “game parties”. It could normalize the presence of other people in a space that was previously limited to the two of you. You don’t have to participate, according to Vrangalova. Just watching can be an enlightening experience for your relationship.
Bonus Tip: Long-Distance Relationships Can Also Be Long-Term
Long-distance relationships are no longer exceptional, especially after the pandemic. However, the challenges that couples face in a long-distance relationship have still not been adequately addressed.
According to research by psychologist Danielle Weber published in couple and family psychology, the “jet lag” relationship is one of those challenges. Relational jet lag is the delicate transition period that a couple goes through when going back and forth between the periods of union and separation.
If your long-distance relationship is suffering, Weber gives you two tips for dealing with it effectively:
- Know what is holding you back. Does the idea of separation make you sad and distant? Or does the union pressure make you anxious and nervous? Understanding the root of your lag can help you be intentional in your transitions from one phase to the next, instead of going through it every time.
- Include latency in your schedule. This will help you avoid stressors around your sensitive transition periods. Try taking a day off or organizing an activity to completely distract yourself from the transition. This will ensure that your transition goes as smoothly as possible.