The Experts Answer Your Biggest Relationship Questions
The burning topics: your love questions
So, what were the pressing questions you wanted answered? We surveyed 2700 participants to uncover the most popular questions and topics. The top four relationship topics that you wish you knew more about were: starting to date (65%), being in a relationship (55%), online dating and apps (44%) and sex (18%).
We then selected the most popular questions from each area and asked relationship experts worldwide to share their advice and answers to the big questions. From a professional wingman to dating coaches and psychotherapists, we have all the bases covered!
But first off – who do people choose to turn to when they have a relationship question? 60% of women said they would ask a friend about their real relationship questions, while surprisingly, 66% of men also said that they would seek out relationship advice! But almost a third of men prefer to keep it to themselves (32%), with only 16% of women saying the same. Interestingly, 11% of people said they would turn to Google – even more popular than asking a family member, which was only favoured by 7%! With all these questions, it seems that some real relationship advice is in order…
Breaking down your love questions: everything you want to know from the top experts
To answer your biggest questions about relationships, we brought in some heavy hitters from both the USA and UK. Samantha Burns, dating coach, author of Breaking Up & Bouncing Back and widely known as the Millennial Love Expert, weighed in on our relationship questions. And from the other side of the pond, ‘The Dating Guru’ himself, James Preece, is the UK’s top celebrity dating and relationship expert, shared his insight. Each brought their own perspective to answer your big question. The burning question about relationships, with 33% of the votes was…
When does a relationship become exclusive?
James Preece: A relationship becomes exclusive only once you both are in agreement that you want this. This is usually after at least three months of seeing each other and probably after you've slept together a few times. It's the time when you are ready to share your happiness with the world and make it clear you are together. You've met your match and are no longer looking elsewhere. The search is over, and you are looking to the future together. If you are ready to leave a dating site, it's a good time to do it together at the same time. By both deleting your account, you are making your commitment to each other very clear. You are looking to the future!
With a slightly different angle, Samantha adds another view…
Samantha Burns: A relationship is only exclusive when you have a define the relationship (DTR) talk; monogamy should never be assumed. You’re ready to DTR when the idea of continuing to date this one person is more appealing than the opportunity to meet someone new. The rate at which this happens will be unique to each relationship; there are no rules about how long you need to be dating someone before you should commit. Exclusivity is a mutual agreement by both partners to delete their dating profiles, cut things off with any other casual partners, and focus all of their attention on prioritizing the budding relationship so that it can grow.
When it comes to being single, who better to answer the burning love question than a professional wingman? Thomas Edwards has been helping people develop authentic social skills for 10 years and shares his wisdom about meeting someone. The burning question with 60% of the votes was…
What is the best advice for singles to meet someone?
Thomas Edwards: If you want to meet your match, you have to live a lifestyle conducive to attracting them. When you think about the things you love doing or would love to explore, are you actually doing them and are they a part of your social experiences? If the answer is no, then that’s your biggest challenge. When you’re having fun, living an active lifestyle, you naturally attract the kind of people you’d like to date. And when your lifestyle is set up to meet someone, the chances of meeting your match increase significantly by enabling you to meet them anywhere.
When it came to sex there was no hot favourite, but rather two questions shared pole position. We turned to sex and intimacy coach Irene Fehr to delve into the details and share her expert advice on these matters. The burning questions with 32% of the votes each were…
How can you have better sex with your partner?
Irene Fehr: What better sex looks like can only be defined by you and your partner, so get curious about these questions together. What kind of touch and pleasure turns you on? What kind of connection leaves you feeling cared for? Do you like adventurous or kinky sex? How important is orgasm? How do you like to be communicated with? And what would make these better and more enjoyable? Be open with each other about your desires, so you can chart your path there together. Stay engaged in ongoing dialogue around your desires and needs to have better and better sex.
How do you ask for the sex you want?
Irene Fehr: Sex, like anything we desire to enjoy together, requires conversations. If planning a vacation, you’d want to discuss what you want, what’d be mutually enjoyable, what you need to be at your best, and what you’re capable of. It’s the same with sex. Invite your partner to talk about sex outside the bedroom and share your desires, what you like (positions, toys, timing, orgasm), needs (frequency, communication, pregnancy/STI prevention), and your vision for what you want to experience and create together. This makes asking for what you want easier and less conducive to hurt feelings and rejection, while building sexual heat between you.
As an expert on the world of online dating, EliteSingles’ relationship psychologist Zoe Coetzee answered your biggest question with it came to online dating and apps. The burning question with 33% of the votes was…
How do you write a good dating profile?
Zoe Coetzee: Your dating profile stands in as the modern version of a first impression! So today writing a good dating profile is an essential way to put your best foot forward in the online dating domain. Here're some basic guidelines for creating an enticing and engaging profile.
- Complete the full profile and answer all the sections. People want to see that you’re enthusiastic and uncover a few interesting details about you.
- Equally as important, always upload profile pictures. A study showed that over 50% of people wouldn’t open a profile without photos!
- When selecting the photos use a recent and accurate picture with natural lighting, and one in which you’re appropriately dressed!
- It’s also very important to be honest - you want to meet someone who is a good fit for the real you!
- Don’t forget to always edit your profile – check the spelling and grammar.
- And lastly, give enough personal details to create an insight into your personality, but keep enough private to retain the mystery!
Last year, Google released a list of the most searched for relationship questions. Putting them out to popular vote, we let you choose the one you wanted answered. We asked Susan Winter, bestselling author and NYC relationship expert, to answer your most popular Google relationship question. The burning question with 28% of the votes…
What does a healthy relationship look like?
Susan Winter: The tricky thing about this question is that many people don't know what a healthy relationship looks like. For those individuals that grew up in an environment marred by arguments, drama and emotional manipulation, figuring out what's "healthy" requires constructing a romantic model from scratch.
- Healthy relationships bring out the best in us, rather than the worst. That's the first clear marker that delineates healthy from unhealthy partnerships.
- We feel good about ourselves when in the presence of our mate. This is in direct opposition to feeling insecure, anxious, and frightened.
- Healthy relationships have a comfortable balance of give-and-take. No one partner is locked into the role of giver, and no one partner is locked into the role of taker.
- You and your mate enjoy being together. This means you like each other, as well as love each other.
- Healthy relationships enjoy conflict resolution. Every partnership has its issues. But in healthy relationships, there is a meeting of the minds, negotiation and resolution. Unhealthy partnerships live in a repeating cycle of conflict that's never resolved.
- In healthy relationships, both partners feel free to express their thoughts and feelings. There’s an innate sense of safety and security within the partnership that allows for honesty.
In today’s world, online dating has very much become the norm. It comes as no surprise that one of the big relationship questions people were pondering on was related to the transition from online to offline relationships. Who better to answer this then digital romance and online dating expert Lauren Frances – acclaimed relationship expert and author. The burning question about modern dating voted for by the majority was...
How long do you message and wait before meeting in person?
Lauren Frances: The gift of dating apps has created a ’speed of implementation' between texting to meeting in real life for most daters. But many daters are skipping an important step in between. The all-important phone date! Because there is so much opportunity to get lost in someone’s inbox, I recommend you message new connections quickly, but make plans to meet up in person only after speaking together on the phone, first. After that, feel free to make a date and meet as soon as possible!
As a love coach primarily for women, many of my clients complain that men want to skip the phone call, who can complain that they 'don't want to waste time' talking on the phone to you before meeting.
But this is a bad dating plan, especially for busy women (or men!) who have demanding careers and lives. Going on a ton of random dates if you're really looking for a relationship, is just a recipe for 'dating fatigue' and burnout. Getting on the phone is a great way to up your odds of success meeting appropriate partners and minimizes the odds of you wasting your time on depressing, uninspired dates which make daters lose enthusiasm for dating altogether! Hearing the sound of someone's voice, their conversational skills and sense of humour, reveals so much about them.
That initial phone call is the perfect time to ask easy questions like "How long have you been single?" or "Do you enjoy your work?" Which often naturally leads to very important revelations that you need to know!
Using her insight into relationship dynamics, Australian expert Natajsa Wagner, as a relationship psychotherapist and coach, walked us through your biggest question about long-term relationships – based on trust! The burning question voted for by the majority was…
How do you build trust in a relationship?
Natajsa Wagner: We have all experienced a breach of trust or a betrayal in our relationships at one time or another. Whether it's a small break in trust like our partner failing to make it to an event on time when they promised they would or a more significant breach of trust, like infidelity. What's important to recognize about trust is that no relationship is ever completely free from an inevitable break or tear.
Building trust in your partnership comes down to trusting that when a betrayal does occur, each person is committed to the process of repair.
This means that each person can take responsibility for and acknowledge they will at times make mistakes, get it wrong for the other person and hurt the other. Additionally, they also trust in each other's commitment to move forward and repair the relationship, even using the experience as a way to strengthen the relationship.
As true love is no trivial subject, we weighed in with three experts on the matter of love! James Preece and Samantha Burns shared more of their wisdom, with Natajsa Wagner expanding on the question further. You can never know too much about true love! The burning question with 33% of the votes was…
How do you know if it's true love?
James Preece: If you want to be sure it's true love, you need to be together a little while first. If it's less than a few months it could just be the initial "lust" phase that comes with getting to know someone new. If it's been longer and you miss them when you aren't together, that's a great sign. True love is easy and when you are both willing to keep working on the relationship no matter what. You accept each other's flaws and can't wait to share your future with them.
Samantha Burns: You can be authentic in the relationship, allowing your real self to be seen, and your partner accepts you as you are, including your flaws. You don’t feel the need to be perfect, and you can lower your wall and defenses. You pass the sweatpants test—which is when you have just as much fun being silly in sweatpants together as when it gets hot and heavy in the bedroom. Your relationship is built on emotional intimacy, not just physical. This means you share core values and have a shared vision for the future.
You can effectively work through disagreements and repair the damage from conflict. This requires you to operate from a teammate mentality. You have a “we” factor instead of a “me” factor. You future-plan together, you take each other’s preferences into account when making decisions, and you operate as a unit.
And Natajsa added this valuable insight,
Natajsa Wagner: Whilst there are a number of different types of love, there is yet to be an accurate definition of what “true love” is. Although research indicates that we all hold a common view of what we term love and what it feels like, we all have the ability to love in different ways and in different contexts. The closest measure of “true love” might be what some call agape love. This love is focused on selflessness and is more concerned in the wellbeing of the other person.
This type of love is characterized by qualities such as loyalty, open and intimate communication, caring and deep commitment. Whilst, in reality, this type of love is rare to find, we might use the ideal of agape love, as a guide in actualizing our full potential to love truly.