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how healthy competition can energise a relationship

Seeing newlyweds Kate Middleton and Prince William compete against one other in dragonboats during their official trip to Canada recently was real evidence of how the competitive element can add a special touch to a relationship.

The pair are known to enjoy battling it out in skiing and other sports and, although William's team finished first on this occasion, what was evident afterwards was the overtly flirtatious nature of their body language, followed by a tight hug from Prince William when he had his wife safely back on dry land.

The benefits? Healthy competition can energise a relationship, really helping the couple to see one another as individuals, with some couples claiming that it can actually operate as an aphrodisiac.

It also prevents the relationship getting stuck in recurring patterns as it introduces something new into the couple dynamic and encourages both to get out of their comfort zone.

The downside? Sometimes the competition can get too serious. If this is the case, then simply stop what you are doing and decide to go for something to eat or drink together instead.

Barry Dillon, from Delphi Mountain Resort in Connemara, agrees that competitiveness can add an element of fun.

However, he has also seen couples who have residual tension between them long after the activity is over.

"That's when it's important to follow through with an informal de-brief and discussion. Due to the fact that individuals within a team are so familiar with each other, often they are not afraid to let things fly and things can be said."

Health & Living