After a couple of years in a relationship, the location of neural activity changes. There's more activity in the prefrontal cortex occupying neurological space with other types of love and virtues, like compassion and empathy. But stress has the power to sever those newly formed connections and can cause you to be more defensive and potentially less loving.
That's another way meditation can really make a difference, reducing the destructive effects of stress. Someone who meditates will be less likely to take things personally, more likely to be secure and forgiving, and more able to be present and loving in the relationship than their non-meditating counterpart. This can dramatically improve a couple's chances of making a long-term relationship work.
At my suggestion, Paula started meditating before she tried dating again. She said the difference was dramatic. She found herself relaxing and finally beginning to enjoy dates. After several dates with different men, she eventually settled on one guy. They've been together for several months, and she's looking forward to bringing in the New Year with him.
She admits that she probably wouldn't be with him without the meditation. She was tempted to stop seeing him after the first date because he wasn't exactly what she was looking for. But then she decided she didn't need to make an immediate judgment. After a few more dates, she realized she really liked him.
As you envision what you want for yourself this year, I hope you'll consider incorporating meditation and mindfulness. Whether you're in a long-term relationship, just started seeing someone, or you're newly single, these practices will inevitably help you enjoy the journey even more.