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The Normal Bar

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The Normal Bar

The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship
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Based on data obtained from nearly 100,000 respondents, here is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn the relationship-tested ways couples can achieve satisfaction and contentment in...
Based on data obtained from nearly 100,000 respondents, here is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn the relationship-tested ways couples can achieve satisfaction and contentment in...
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Description-
  • Based on data obtained from nearly 100,000 respondents, here is the ultimate resource for anyone who wants to learn the relationship-tested ways couples can achieve satisfaction and contentment in areas such as communication, sex, affection, and financial cooperation.

    What constitutes "normal" behavior among happy couples? What steps you should take if that "normal" is one you want to strive for? To help answer those questions, wellness entrepreneur Chrisanna Northrup teamed with two of America's top sociologists, Yale Ph.D. Pepper Schwartz and Harvard Ph.D. James Witte, to design a unique interactive survey that would draw feedback from around the world.

    What has resulted is the clearest picture yet of how well couples are communicating, romancing each other, satisfying each other in the bedroom, sharing financial responsibilities, and staying faithful -- or not. Since the Normal Bar survey methodology sorts for age and gender, racial and geographic differences and sexual preferences, the authors are able to reveal , for example, what happens to passion as we grow older, which gender wants what when it comes to sex, the factors that spur marital combat, how kids figure in, how being gay or bisexual turns out to be both different and the same, and --regardless of background -- the tiny habits that drive partners absolutely batty.

    The book is dense with revelations, from the unexpected popularity of certain sexual positions, to the average number of times happy -- and unhappy -- couples kiss, to the prevalence of lying, to the surprising loyalty most men and women feel for their partner (even when in a deteriorating relationship), to the vivid and idiosyncratic ways individuals of different ages, genders and nationalities describe their "ideal romantic evening."

    Much more than a peek behind the relationship curtain, The Normal Bar offers readers an array of prescriptive tools that will help them establish a "new normal." Mindful of what keeps couples stuck in ruts, the book's authors suggest practical and life-changing ways to break cycles of disappointment and frustration.



    From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpts-
  • Chapter 1

    The Normal Bar Is . . .

    Are you normal in the way you conduct your relationship?

    If you're like most of the people we asked, the answer is no--or at least you hope you're not. "Being normal is boring, and I'm not boring," was the sentiment we heard most often. Many people, in fact, told us they'd do almost anything to avoid being "normal."

    But suppose we asked, "In your interaction with your significant other, are you extremely happy and sexually satisfied the majority of the time?" If normal means being happy and sexually satisfied, you'd probably like to be able to answer yes. So the next question is, how can you attain--and sustain--this kind of normal? Or, put another way, what are the real life keys to a happy relationship?

    These questions lie at the heart of The Normal Bar. We set out to ask people around the world, first, what are the most common attitudes and practices in relationships, or what constitutes the "bar" of normalcy; second, how do the "normal bars" of satisfied and dissatisfied couples typically differ; and, finally, what can we learn from these different understandings of normal to help people change their relationships for the better?

    As you'll see from our findings, what people are assumed to be doing in private often bears little or no resemblance to what they actually do. Cultural stereotypes and the media's fantasies of romance and lust have little to do with what really goes on in relationships, especially since conduct varies over time and across geographic boundaries. Our goal, then, was to drill deep, through and beyond common assumptions, to find out just how typical different romantic and domestic habits truly are--and how different interpretations of behavior correlate with personal and relationship happiness. For instance:

    * Does the average couple kiss once a day, once a week, once a month, or even less--and how does the frequency of kissing line up with their satisfaction in the relationship?

    * Is everyone having a lot of sex--or is that level of intimacy pretty rare for everyone except newlyweds?

    * Does money still predict who makes the rules in a relationship, or have things changed radically as women have become an increasingly important part of the workforce?

    * How often do we lie to our partners; and is honesty really the best way to keep peace in the household?

    We created an unprecedented interactive relationship survey (see our Appendix for details about the precise methodology) that asked each participant hundreds of questions about the inner workings of compatibility, romance, affection, communication, sex, money, daily decision making, and emotional connection. Then, by linking the survey through Web sites with millions of viewers--such sites as AARP, Huffington Post, Reader's Digest, and AOL--we collected data from more than 70,000 men and women around the world (in countries including Canada, England, France, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, and China). Finally, as the data streamed in, we mapped behavior globally and tracked the patterns and averages, so that readers could pinpoint exactly where they lined up on the Normal Bar of personal and relationship happiness.

    Think of the Normal Bar as a tool you can use to compare different areas of your relationship with typical behavior among others in your age, gender, or cultural group. (We'll break these group norms down for you, and you may be surprised to see how they differ.) Each of the chapters to come will examine aspects of couples' lives that affect their happiness and overall satisfaction, from their first weeks and months together, through the day-to-day strains of...

About the Author-
  • CHRISANNA NORTHRUP created The Normal Bar project and is the CEO of YOU Got Challenged! Inc., a customized online program that motivates people to change their normal to a healthier one. PEPPER SCHWARTZ received her Ph.D. in sociology from Yale University, is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, and is the author of 16 books. JAMES WITTE, a Harvard Ph.D., is the Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Social Science Research at George Mason University.



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    Crown Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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The Normal Bar
The Normal Bar
The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship
Chrisanna Northrup
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The Normal Bar
The Normal Bar
The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship
Chrisanna Northrup
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