Whew, long break on the blogging (more on that to follow soon). To begin my phoenix-like rebirth on the www I’m going to digress slightly from the typical theme of my writing and talk about the makeup of a successful relationship. 

You may ask yourself why I’m doing this. Well, the reason is that Honey and Lance, owners of a very excellent blog, have invited me to participate in this contest.  With a $25 gift certificate on the line there’s no way I could say no. 

So… successful relationship advice: finding your soulmate; someone who is your equal; someone who challenges you; there for you no matter what; supportive; blah blah blah blah blah. We’ve all heard that stuff a million times and the problem with clichés  is that they lose their meaning. So how can we tackle this issue without saying what has been said a million times before?

I believe the best explanation for what makes a relationship successful can be found in looking at evolutionary psychology. I’ve spoke in other posts about Matt Ridley’s book The Red Queen and more specifically, the theories outlined on why women cheat. To summarize this again, women want both a strong lover to ensure her children will have good genes and be more likely to reproduce in following generations and also a comforting provider to ensure that her offspring will be provided for and supported. 

You always hear women say that they just want a “good guy”; someone nice and caring. Men typically respond that you’re all full of shit and that you only want assholes. I presume that Mr. Ridley would actually be on the ladies side on this one and I’m in his boat. Women do want a good guy, but that’s not all you want. You also need someone who ignites your fire. This is why you can’t get that charming guy you met at the bar out of your head even if you have a “nice guy” at home.

When I talk about this theory with women, a natural question arises, and therein lies the recipe for a successful relationship. That question, of course, is: Can a man be both the strong lover and the nurturing provider? I always answer that it is very possible… just not easy, which is why so many women are scratching their heads looking for a “great” guy.

If you have too much nice guy, then your evolutionary urges will be turning your eye toward the lover, and if you have too much lover, then you’ll be left emotionally empty looking for a nice guy for support. The trick is that a guy has to be a strong lover and push all of your hardwired hot-buttons that need to be pushed to fulfill those needs. At the same time though, you need this same person to develop into a provider. I’m not talking about wealth but moreso on an emotional level. Of course I make it sound much easier than it actually is. 

So how do you get a strong attractive lover to start settling down? Let’s go right back to The Red Queen for the answer. Believe it or not, most of the time men are looking for the exact same thing. On one hand we need someone that drives us wild with lust and passion. We want our offspring to have mating success in the next generation as well. This isn’t all about looks either. A girl has to keep us on our toes, act in a very sexy manner. The Hot Alpha Female has a great blog dedicated to advice on this.

On the flip side, we also enjoy some comforting and nurturing support… I mean, we’re only human and all. The big problem with this is that most of the time the strong lovers have up walls up against this and are hesitant to allow themselves to be supported emotionally and comforted by someone else. (Notice I said most lovers, not all of them) The tightrope women have to walk is maintaining this sexiness up long enough to get your lover to feel comfortable enough with you to start taking down some of those walls.

So how long should both men and women keep up their sexy side before falling into total niceness and comfort? The answer: forever and ever and ever. Ladies, if you’re no longer fulfilling this 5000 year old need in men then don’t even question it, he’s fucking his secretary. Guys, if you stop pushing those hot buttons that hooked her in the first place then don’t be surprised when your kid looks like the pool boy. Similarly, if both people aren’t having their emotional needs filled, you’ll still have some crazy sex but it’ll only be a matter of time before you get bored and want something shinier because the bond wasn’t strong enough.

Is this easy? Sometimes, however if a successful relationship was that easy then this contest wouldn’t be happening in the first place. If both people are fulfilling both sides of their partners’ desires though, therein lies the secret to a strong successful relationship.

I have just one final thought to leave you with. Some people may scoff because they just “fell in love” and lived happily ever after and think that love shouldn’t be this complicated. The thing I can promise you is that behind every one of these fairy tale romances, what I just described happened whether they were aware of it or not.