Make a point to plan dates that are inherently fun and let you experience Colorado together, like biking or cooking a farmers'-market meal.And second, embrace the differences that arise from such activities.First, take advantage of Colorado rather than letting it hamper your relationship."We have a tendency toward inertia," he says—and when we feel like we're missing out on what Colorado has to offer, it's easy to be disappointed or blame your partner.Step back at major junctures and be honest with yourself; being unsure of the next step most likely means: Don't take it. 2: The Colorado Effect Ever glance around to find a sea of sun-kissed faces that look like they don't have a care in the world except how to choose which breathtaking mountain resort to visit this weekend? Welcome to Colorado—the twilight zone of perpetual soul fulfillment and inner happiness. Howard Markman, codirector of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, and cofounder of couples therapy organization When you want out, own up to your feelings; never just disappear. Markman says Coloradans actually aren't so radiant in the relationship department. When the first warning signs crop up (off-color remark? Too much digi-talk sends mixed messages and causes unnecessary hurt feelings. We simply aren't acquiring the skills to successfully start and maintain adult relationships. Jennifer Oikle, a Denver psychologist and founder of the online dating-help site Oikle's four fundamentals to step up your dating game: From the beginning, teach your date how you like to be treated by accepting only great behavior. Do not let cyber-chat become a substitute for face time or use it as an easy way out of hard discussions.
Try the good-bye sandwich: something positive ("I haven't laughed this much in a long time") + it's over (I get the feeling we just aren't the right fit") + well-wishing ("you'll make someone lucky really happy"). In fact, Colorado's divorce rate is 20 percent higher than the rest of the country's. To begin with, says Markman, our standards are skewed because of what he's dubbed the Colorado Effect: "Generally, there are higher expectations for happiness here," he says, "because people think, 'I'm in a beautiful place, therefore I should be happy.'" In other words, if something's not perfect, we're less likely to work at it than those who live somewhere less inspiring."We have a tendency in relationships to move on too quickly." To relieve this pressure, Markman says, you've got to understand the dynamics of your relationship in the context of where we live.