Love, Sex and Relationships Redefined: Keys to an EPIC Life.

What are the secrets to an EPIC life? Life full of passion and love. Life in a romantic relationship that is enriching, fulfilling and expanding our potential to the fullest.

Most of us seek long-term happiness in unions. Paradoxically, it’s one of the hardest things according to family statistics, as more than 1 in 2 couples fail to form a happy marriage.

On my personal and professional quest to find answers, I have had a pleasure to discuss this topic with my colleagues and some of the experts in the relationship field. These include a best-selling author of Men from Mars, Women from Venus, John Gray, a UK renowned celebrity therapist Marisa Peer, a couple who live an epic relationship for decades Missy & Jon Butcher and a popular sex columnist Dan Savage.

Here I would like to share with you some excerpts from these conversations. In the end, I also added three keys from my psychological research of working with extraordinary couples.


John Gray, the author of the best-selling classic Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, suggests exploring new angles in communication for better relationships.

Here are three takeaways from my conversation with John:

ROLES IN COMMUNICATION. She needs to be heard and he needs to feel appreciated. For her stress level to be low, she needs her oestrogens to go up and that means she needs to be seen & understood. The best thing he can do is to give her his undivided attention. For him to lower his stress he needs to have testosterone level go up. For that to happen he needs to be appreciated and admired.

SPECIAL QUESTIONS. There are three magic phrases men can use to create better relationships with women when she has just finished talking: ‘What else?’; ‘Tell me more’ and ‘Help me understand’.

BEWARE OF THE CYCLE. How do you improve sex life if you’re a woman? Talk more. Women are being so tough today. Tough, by the way, is testosterone producing. Independent is testosterone producing. Detached is testosterone producing. All these are masculine qualities. Pair bonding is something that stimulates huge oestrogen in women. Pair bonding is when you depend on someone for something. I need your help and you get help. Independence is testosterone. Needing someone is oestrogen. And for a woman’s cycle, from the fifth day after her period to the tenth day after her period, I call it the five-day love window. That’s when her oestrogen levels need to double. That’s when she feels her need the most.

John’s Life Story in 5 words: Understand, respect and appreciate differences

THE MYSTERY OF UNKNOWN - Conversation with Marisa Peer

Passion needs certain ingredients to be alive.

What are they?

MYSTERY TO BE HELD. According to Marisa Peer, a UK #1 therapist, a passionate relationship needs suspense and mystery. It needs to be fuelled by newness and romance, drama and excitement. When we live with someone for a long time, the mystery of unknown may wither away. It requires sparkle to be alive.

On one hand, intimacy is great for loving relationships: when we know each other’s habits, we know each other’s needs and how to satisfy them. Intimacy, on the other hand, can be a ‘killer’ for sex and passion as it demystifies a relationship.

BRING ON FANTASIES. Marisa’s advice is to bring in the FANTASY WORLD. Sharing fantasies could be a way to enter a different discussion and meet your partner in a place where they are mostly romantic and excited about. It’s the bridge between love and sex.

FOCUS ON THE RELATIONSHIP LONGEVITY. As we grow older together with our partner in a long-term relationship, we learn more about ourselves and can have a better quality of intimate life. A 58 year old claims to have better sex and orgasms than when she was 28 years old. A long-term partnership is a way to explore on a deeper level our passionate and erotic self.

Marisa’s life story in 5 words: Not enough love. Ample love.


Whether we should hold on to our relationship or let the partner go, we explored in a conversation with an American popular relationship blogger, Dan Savage, the author of the Savage Lovecast.

TOLERANCE LEVEL. People break up for many different reasons. But are they worth breaking up for? According to Dan, we have different levels of tolerance. Some people break up for things that others wouldn’t break up for. How many ‘deal-breakers’ do you have and do you need all of them? Would you like to be ‘right’ or be able to forgive?

GIVE VS. TAKE. What keeps people together? Open communication, a wish to be together and a desire to give and love rather than take and feel fearful.

To give is also to be vulnerable, to allow for someone to be there and trigger sometimes the deepest and the most painful ‘buttons’ to grow and learn together. This is a real purpose of a relationship.

PATTERNS CHECK. If people choose to break up and form another partnership, make sure there are no similar patterns. If there are, it doesn't matter which relationship you are in, you will need to work on them yourself. Unless you do, you will keep bumping into people with similar traits and challenges.

Dan’s Life Story in 5 words: A series of fortunate events.


Miss & Jon Butcher, the creators of the LifeBook Programme, have been together for more than 25 years and seem to have mastered a model for their relationships that is working well not just for them but for many more people who they teach.

Here is a summary of their life and relationship secrets:

PRIORITISE TIME TOGETHER ON A DAILY BASIS USING DAILY RITUALS. Missy and Jon spend at least one hour per day connecting after a working day. They walk around the garden together, have a meal and talk about what their day was like. An important nuance: they dress up to see each other every day. They keep their body in a good shape by exercising daily. Preparing to see each other is their daily routine. They live to love.

WEEKLY DATING. Weekly they have a date when they choose to be child-free (being parents to four and grandparents to 3). They organise travels and time at home when they are surrounded by sense-triggering experiences: candles, music, art and food. Even the way they prepare their body for meeting each other could involve a sugar scrub, a sexy smell that they use only for intimate dates to get the association. The food they cook can look and taste enticing, the atmosphere could be intimacy-provoking. They give each other personal gifts (it can be a daily gift of a personally written message or a surprise meeting). The idea is to give what the other partner wants.

STRATEGIC HOLIDAYS. Yearly they plan big trips where they explore new cultures and territories, have new experiences and meet new people. They bring their kids with them home-schooling and offering alternative ways of education. It’s their conscious choices and it takes courage, organisation and determination to make it happen. A Love relationship is like a garden. You need to look after it and weed it regularly. Take it seriously.

Missy’s Life story in 5 words: Earth. Love. Family. Magic. John.
Jon’s Life story in 5 words: Art. Science. Religion. Love. Missy.


And finally, here are three additional practical keys to have an EPIC romantic life based on the research during my private coaching practice.

BREATHING TOGETHER. Breathing in the same rhythm as your partner creates magic. 5-10 minutes of this practice per day can create a deeper intimacy, understanding without words and a more profound connection. Based on the neurological research, it creates bonding, trust and empathy on a deeper level.

12 HUGS. How many hugs do you get per day? If you get less than 12, you want to step-up your hugging skills. Hugs help us get closer, trust each other and connect better.

START AND END YOUR CONVERSATION POSITIVELY. To have an epic romantic life, we need to bring some sparkles into the relationship: positive words of appreciation, sharing wishes and dreams together, offering an act of service or remember to thank your partner with a gift of some sort, is a way out of most of the conflicts. Even if you feel they need to do the move first, start yourself and see the magic in action.

I hope you enjoyed the keys for an EPIC life and got inspired to test them out. I would love to hear from you: which ones resonated with you the most.

If you liked this article and if you want to learn more secrets on how to improve relationships, check out my best-selling book Enrich Your Relationships: 10 secrets to Rekindle Your Intimate Life, which you can get for FREE in your email box here >>> (

With love,



Darya Haitoglou, MSc(Dist), MPhil, BScPsy(Hons), NLPMT, PCC (ICF)

Find more information

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.