Alisa Bowman is the author of Project: Happily Ever After, a memoir about how she went from wishing her husband dead to falling back in love. She is also the creator of ProjectHappilyEverAfter.com, a safe community where recovering divorce daydreamers can find help, support and feel accepted and normal.
Are you pro or anti Valentine’s Day?
I’m neither. I am against the commercial aspect of Valentine’s Day because it sets people up for disappointment. Suddenly a holiday that was once about compassion and generosity becomes a holiday about “If he really loved me, he’d guess what I want and he’d spend his week’s paycheck on me.” In reality, a guy who really loves you supports you, listens to you, forgives your faults, and champions your strengths. It has nothing to do with buying you gifts and everything to do with everyday acts of generosity. If you are in a good relationship, every day is Valentine’s Day. It’s not just a once a year event.
What’s your advice for singles around Valentine’s Day?
Capture the spirit of this holiday in a way that allows you to feel good. Be generous and share your love with someone. Maybe you visit your grandparent in a nursing home. Maybe you spend the day sending complimentary notes to all of the people who love and support you. You can also make this a day about self love and self acceptance. Make Valentine’s Day the day you let go of that self loathing, guilt or shame that you’ve been carrying around with you for years. Give yourself the gift of a massage, pedicure or something else.
Do you have any advice for married couples who are looking to spice up their relationship?
Break out of your familiar routine. Many couples who tell me that their relationship is “dead” follow the same routine every day. In the evenings, they do separate activities. When one of them is watching TV, the other one is on Twitter. When he’s in the man cave, she’s scrapbooking or in her sewing room. They don’t take time to connect. As a result, the relationship gets stale.
Staying connected takes effort and creativity. Try to do it every day. Try to connect physically (through touch), emotionally (by talking and listening) and energetically (by seeming happy to be around each other).
In each of those areas (physical, emotional, and energetic) make efforts to break out of your routine. For instance, if he always initiates sex, she could take on the planning of every other sexual encounter—and she might seduce him instead of having him seduce her. A bikini wax, a strip tease, a new location, or a new position can all really go a long way.
What’s your best first date idea?
A first date is really a test drive. You want to get a sense for what you are both like. The stereotypical movie date doesn’t allow you to do this. And the stereotypical dinner date goes overboard. It puts you uncomfortably face to face for way too long. A dinner date is like taking that car you are supposed to be test-driving on a cross country road trip.
I think the best first dates allow you to talk, but they also give you something to do to take the pressure off the need to talk nonstop. Maybe you can go horseback riding or ice-skating. Maybe you can play pool or go bowling. Rather than a movie, go watch something that allows you to have a conversation—such as a baseball game.
Would you recommend using dating sites for singles that are looking?
I think the best way to find someone is to get outdoors more often. We’ve all become too insulated, and it not only hurts our ability to find love, it also brings on loneliness and depression. Dating sites are fine, but the best way to meet someone is in real life. Find some hobbies, clubs or other activities that get you out and with people.
What is the number one item of advice you give to married couples?
Be the change you want to see in your marriage. It’s much easier to change yourself than it is to change your partner. If you want your sex life to be more exciting, don’t wait for your partner to initiate that change. Initiate it yourself. Be the big person and be the problem solver. Lead your way to a better marriage.
Do you have any love advice of your own? Leave a comment below!
Category: guest posts