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Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
Megan
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
C.M.

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Healing Your Relationship with Your Eyes

eye contact beach lovers

Lust is at a distance, love is up close. According to psychologist, Dr. Stan Tatkin, if your relationship needs rekindling, lust is not your best bet. Getting physically near your partner and making eye-contact, are better choices.

Mate selection at a distance

The primitive parts of our brain assess people at an actual distance to see if they appear safe, attractive and worthy of letting in closer. This is what happens when we first notice someone interesting. The primitive parts of our brain are in charge of protecting us and perpetuating our species. They are experts at determining lust and mate selection at a distance. What do the brain’s amygdala and its cohorts (primitive brain) prefer when seeking a mate? Familiarity with just the right amount of unfamiliarity to spice things up. If a person meets those criteria, they will be allowed to move in physically closer.

Love up close

Once in close range the more evolved part of our brain (prefrontal cortex) takes over and vets the potential partner for long-term relationships, or real love. We visually (but not necessarily consciously) look at the person’s mouth and eyes for hints of what is going on with their nervous system. We notice their skin tone, facial muscle movements, pupil dilation, etc.

Our sense of smell comes on board too. Did you know we can smell scents produced by the neuroendocrine system that suggest friendliness, sexual arousal, fear and dislike? I read an article that stated we can even smell dominance and extroversion! Whoa!

Dr. Tatkin says we fall in love at close range. Looking into someone’s eyes leads to relaxation, a feeling of safety and a sense of complete engagement. Our primitive brain judged this person familiar enough to let in close and our more evolved brain sees complexity and novelty which keeps us interested.

A simple way to rekindle real love

Eye-gazing can re-kindle lost love. It returns us to the falling in love state. It turns off the primitive brain’s protective vigilance (threat-seeking, impulsive reactions) and lets the more evolved parts take over and focus on long-term relationship satisfaction.

In our highly distracting culture, it’s easy to avoid eye-contact. Many of us spend more time looking at our phones than looking into our loved one’s eyes. We allow children, pets, TV and other technological devices to divert our gaze. Even driving does not allow for eye-contact or nearness. If we could spend a few minutes each day connecting with our partner using eye-contact, there would be a lot more security within relationships.

Looking into each other’s eyes does not mean staring. It means looking into your partner’s eyes until they focus and soften. If it feels very weird, look at a spot between and just above their eyes. Go to an intimate restaurant with small tables. Their design is naturally conducive to closeness, private conversations and eye-gazing. Hand holding across the table is a nice touch too.romantic table for two

Eye contact is not easy for everyone

Some people will have a harder time with eye-contact than others. People with avoidant attachment styles may feel irritated or annoyed with closeness in general. They may withdraw or get angry when a partner feels too “in their space.” Their partners feel too familiar, almost familiar, and may conjure up past feelings of rejection or intrusion. The best thing to do in this case is to be aware of and work through the situation with your partner and slowly work toward the ability to sustain closeness.

Others with an anxious attachment style may have an affinity for closeness and enjoy being near their partner and consistently make eye-contact, but as the relationship progresses they may have a hyper-awareness of any diminishing eye-contact or closeness from their partner. They may see threats to the relationship where they do not actually exist.

Bye bye wandering eye

So wandering eyes really do lead to the breakdown of true love. In their attention to what’s outside the relationship (at a distance), they literally take away from the eye-contact and connection available within the relationship.

If your relationship needs a boost of connection, try increasing the amount of eye-contact you make with your partner. Get physically close to them and notice their facial expressions and reactions. Allow your evolved brain and other senses to help you re-kindle real love.

Do you spend more time with your gaze directed at a screen than at your lover? Do you relax when your partner makes meaningful eye-contact? 

P.S. Can you tell I’m craving warm weather and a beach? 🙂

 

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One Comment

  1. Morena February 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Brenda,

    I really love this post. Most people are afraid to make eye contact. I find that men would rather avoid being vulnerable and communicate with texting or email. Especially when there is an attraction. Every time I make eye contact with a guy I’m dating, its to much for them. Especially if we are quarreling and i want them to look me in the eyes. The eyes tell everything. When I’m upset, you can see it in my eyes. The eyes are the windows to the soul. I feel close when I can look someone in their eyes. Thats one thing that I do and I’m not going to stop doing is direct eye contact.

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