FOR COUPLES: What Your Sleeping Position Says About Your Relationship

Black Couple SleepingAre you a spooner? An edge hugger? A toe toucher? New research shows that the sleeping position couples choose is directly related to their relationship satisfaction. The data on 1000 couples was collected at the Edinburgh Science Festival and the biggest finding was that the further a couple sleeps apart, the more unhappy their relationship.

As for slumber positions, the majority of couples reported sleeping on their backs with spooners running a close second. Next most common were back-to-back sleepers and only a mere 4% of couples sleep facing each other. But the most telling feature was how many inches apart they slept. Partners who have physical contact while they sleep reported the most positive feelings in their relationship, while those who slept thirty inches apart reported the least relationship satisfaction. Interesting to note that, other research shows that one in four American marriages sleep in separate beds.

It makes sense that uneasy alliances would be less likely to cuddle up after dark, but could a change in sleeping position actually improve a relationship? The answer depends on whether both partners want to change their relationship. If that is the case, it stands to reason that touch can be healing. The neurochemical effects of skin-to-skin contact in infants and children have been well documented. In fact the absence of touch can stunt the growth of babies. Touching and hugging can release oxytocin, the hormone associated with bonding in humans.

Even though sleeping is quiet time, sometimes couples can encounter a lot of commotion throughout the night, such as if one’s partner snorts like a trumpet, or rolls to the other side with the covers. Regardless of any problem while sleeping with one another, our bodies get emotional nutrition through touch. If a couple is sleeping separately because of snoring or a medical condition, it would serve their relationship well to schedule extensive cuddle time, maybe while watching television. Another option to think about is to start the night together and have one partner leave when the snoring gets bad.

My advice? First have a talk and then have a touch. Even those with menopause hot flashes might benefit from a little nocturnal toe touching.

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How Can I Change my Partner?

IMG_6084-1024x682NEW FROM ERICA DJOSSA! You have been incessantly fighting with your partner and you’ve had it. Turning to Google to understand the problem, you type in “How can I change my partner?” and hit enter.

You weed your way through all the superficial relationship advice telling you how to play games and manipulate your lover, and find your way here. Perhaps, you have determined that your partner’s attachment style doesn’t mesh well with yours, or are just dissatisfied with the differences in your relationship.

What now?

I regularly receive emails asking how to initiate or bring about change in relationships. Comments often go something like “if they just knew this information, things would be so different” or “if they could just work on this area, our relationship would be perfect.” I think it’s time for us to have a discussion about whether or not we can change our partner’s negative behavior.

I have a very strong conviction that before we pass the buck and blame our partners for our relationship woes, we need to do some self-evaluation. Change is a two-way street. Both partners need to be engaged. The onus is never on one person to renovate the entire relationship.

Psychological research has looked at and compared attempting to change your partner’s behavior versus focusing on changing yourself. Research reveals that those who focus on changing their partner’s behavior tend to use more negative communication strategies, report less success in changing their partner’s behavior, and rate their relationships lower. Therefore, negatively targeting your partner’s behavior could actually do more harm then good.

I am a big proponent of self-improvement: focusing on developing yourself and living your best life possible. While research acknowledges the value in self-improvement, it found that it actually doesn’t translate into improvements or more positive ratings of your relationship. While you may be gaining confidence and developing as a person, your relationship may remain at a stand still.

What the heck? That stat threw me for a loop. I knew that self-improvement increased personal happiness and satisfaction, and kind of just assumed that satisfaction translated into better relationships! But the research actually reveals that relationship quality and satisfaction improves when there is a perceived willingness and engagement from both partners to work on relationship goals.

So there you have it: trying to change your partner doesn’t work and will end up doing more harm than good, while focusing on changing yourself will definitely make you feel better, but won’t necessarily translate into improved relationship dynamics. For change to occur, both parties have to be willing to work together and actively play a role in bettering themselves and their relationship dynamic. The discussions should be positive, the wording tactful, and both parties should remember that they are here to tackle a problem and not each other! “How can I change my partner?” Sometimes, after you’ve changed yourself, it may mean changing partners altogether.

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Join me at The Great Love Debate in Los Angeles on July 17th!

a46d94_296e13c9a04b429daaa67242bf3c28ad.jpg_srz_p_89_97_75_22_0.50_1.20_0WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA – Hello Products in partnership with, is proud to announce THE GREAT LOVE DEBATE tour will be coming to the SilverScreen Theatre at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, CA on Thursday, July 17th.

This lively, interactive Town hall-style discussion and debate on the current state of the date will be comprised of an audience of 200 of Los Angeles’ most eligible bachelors facing off against 200 of its most dynamic single women to answer the question, “Why is everyone still single?”

‘We are thrilled that this unique, entertaining, and engaging event is coming to Los Angeles,” says the event’s moderator Julia Allison, Journalist, Relationship Expert and Star of BravoTV’s Miss Advised. “Southern California singles are extremely passionate about love, the evening will be a really fun and exciting way to raise questions – and find answers!”

The July 17th show continues the summer leg of a 45-city North American tour, and features a panel of the West Coast’s most prominent relationship specialists and influential voices including; Dr. Wendy Walsh, America’s Relationship Expert, Author, and Media Personality; Jonathon Aslay, Dating and Relationship Expert for Women; Marni Battista, Renowned Relationship & Life Coach and Founder of Dating with Dignity; Adam Gilad, Author, Speaker, and Dating & Communication Expert; Julie Ferman, “Master of Matchmaking, Coach and Consultant; Laurel House, MTV Dating Expert and Author of Screwing the Rules; Brian Howie, Top Women’s Specialist and Author of How to Find Love in 60 Seconds; and May Hui, Co-Founder and Personal Matchmaker, Catch Matchmaking.

Tickets for this event are $40 and are available online at Doors open at 6:30 for a pre-show cocktail reception with live music, presented by Catch Matchmaking. Showtime is at 7:30pm.

Seating is extremely limited (200 per gender), all attendees receive admission to the “Meet, Greet, Mix, Mingle & Match” party catered by Wolfgang Puck which immediately follows the show.

For further information and media inquiries, please contact Brian Howie from 4th Street Media via email at or at 310.310.0746.

For future tour dates and panelist information, please visit

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For Couples: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

ZornIt’s not the big things that try a relationship, but rather the toothpaste cap that’s been left off every morning for the past month. Or the dirty socks always left at the foot of the bed. But how do we know when we should speak up, and when we should let things slide? How do we walk the careful line between control-freak and push-over? This week on Wine with Dr. Wendy, we’ll be learning some practical tools to use when dealing with minor conflict in a relationship.

Our guests this week include communication expert, Dr. Heidi Reeder, dating and relationship coach, Stephan Labossiere, and Hangout producer, Laura Hampikian. Tune in this Wednesday at 8:00 pm PT.

This Hangout is Q&A enabled, which means that you can ask questions to the guests and I before the Hangout and even LIVE during the Broadcast.

If you have a Google+ page, you can participate in the event here. Don’t have Google+? Watch the broadcast from the steam below!

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FOR SINGLES: Sniffing Out Sincere Intentions

Young couple in loveI have received several questions asking how best to gage someone’s interest in dating. These questions often sound like “they haven’t called or proposed another date, should I take that as a hint?” or “I felt like things we going great but then they just disappeared, is that normal?” Sniffing out someone’s intentions from the beginning can be difficult and it is essential for us to hone in our detective skills. A person’s intentions for pursuing a relationship or other various relational/sexual interactions can vary. Not every person you meet has the goal of entering into a long-term relationship.

Navigating a new relationship can be extremely nerve wracking. You are getting to know someone new and there are no norms or patterns established. Trying to distinguish whether the person desires a long-term commitment or is just looking for a fling can be difficult. In most cases, there are several underlying signals that eager daters often miss. Only 30% of human interaction is based upon what someone speaks. That means that the other 70% is left for us to decode and infer. You guessed it! I am talking about body language, tone of voice and interpreting actions. During the beginning phases of dating, it is extremely important to put on your detective hat and read between the lines because you are just beginning to learn this person’s language and expressions.

I am a firm believer that if someone is interested and wants to date you, that they will make their intentions known. That means that they will be consistent and reliable, won’t leave you hanging or send mixed messages. They won’t treat you like the steak they are going to have for dinner, but will understand the value in taking it slow and building a good foundation. Furthermore, they will follow through on plans and promises, such as call or show up when they say they are going to.

Unfortunately, this does not describe all dating scenarios. Many situations are more complicated and require us to do our own interpreting. You can learn how to read between the lines and here are some classic non-verbal behaviours and cues to beware of:
• Hot and cold inconsistent behaviour: This includes falling off of the map, not calling or texting for days or weeks on end, or any other avoiding behaviour. It may be hard to identify at first because you are getting to know the person and are unsure how much contact to expect. But if the person is not reliable or consistent, they aren’t long term dating material.
• Trying to rush sexual interactions: If a sexual relationship is all you are looking for, all the power to you. However, if you are looking for a long-term committed relationship, statistics and research shows that it is unlikely to convert a primarily sexual relationship into a long-term connection.
• Charming words and over priced gifts: Pouring on the charm and flashing fancy things can be a red flag when dating. If the person is sincerely looking to build a relationship and determine whether there is a connection, they will make sure that you like them for who they are, not what they can give you. Obviously there is an exception to every rule and some daters enjoy doing grand jesters. But more often, my experience has shown this to be a ploy to impress and overcompensate.

It is important to know what you are looking for and what your own intentions are. If you are looking for wild sex and lavish experiences, then perhaps you are not looking for a long-term relationship at this time. But if you are looking to find a long-term commitment, it is unlikely that you will find it in the same places you find your junk food sex and relationships. The reality is that these interactions rarely turn into long-term committed connections.

If you want a different outcome then you need a different approach. Open your eyes, put on your detective hat, and get to work reading the cues that the other person is giving you. Don’t allow your hopes or your fears to cloud your judgment. Try your best to ground your observations in reality and even talk them through with a friend to see if you are misreading the situation. Your observations for good or for bad will bring you closer to finding love, even if it is with someone else.

By Erica Djossa, B.A., M.A.

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