Empathic Understanding

Connection via empathetic understanding is the real connection between two people and is the most endearing act of love and honor which one can present to another. This connection is the most meaningful part of any relationship. You know it. You remember when you’ve felt it. When your friend finishes your sentences, when you’ve had a strong bond with a teacher or mentor, you felt connected, understood.

You know this. Yet, surprisingly, I see a lack of empathetic understanding as the underlying indicator of trouble ahead in the most important relationships, between lovers. Maybe you felt a connected and/or understood in the beginning (though that was likely a more powerful driving force than connection) but after a while, you realize that the connection you felt was simply you projecting your desire to be connected and understood onto your partner.

When you’re in the projection mode, you see everything interpreted through your special lens which is rose-colored and sees synchronicity in all things. Following the passing of time, things that used to be “cute” are becoming annoying, and you’re no longer feeling as though you are connected or understood, as you once thought you were.

When you’re projecting your feelings onto your interpretation of another person, you feel as though they are feeling your feelings, even when no such connection exists.

It is this feeling of another’s feelings that Stephen Covey refers to as his, “Habit number 5: Seek first to understand then to be understood” in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This is the connection which exemplifies the highest integrity and connection between two people, whether used in business relationships, or more importantly, at home. It is a powerful connection which promotes and deepens respect, trust, and intimacy.

This simple method of joining the worlds of two people into a united vision felt by two is the secret of the most successful relationships. Sometimes it just happens organically, and the two people don’t even know they are doing it. For the rest of us, we need to first understand the concept before we can even think about attempting such a thing. And it’s on you to proactively take the first step.

Understanding is not giving advice, being over-protective, or fixing things for another person. Empathetic understanding is simply the process of actively listening, inviting them to dig deeper, and even more deeply, until they have gotten it all out, while you are using your imagination to feel what it might be like to be in that other person’s shoes, empathizing with him or her.

Empathetic Understanding

If you’re unaccustomed to this higher level of listening, it may take some practice. Creating a safe and sacred atmosphere can be an important component when someone is sharing something close to their heart, so eliminating distractors, such as the TV, music playing in the background, or retreating to a place where more privacy can be established are excellent ways to honor your partner’s sharing.

Nodding your head and looking them in the eye indicates you’re listening, while you are resisting your inclination to interrupt or interject when they are sharing. Let them speak their piece and listen carefully. When they pause, simply try to restate what they just said in your own words, starting with, “Let me see if I get what you’re saying…”

Then ask them if there’s anything more they’d like to say about that? And let them continue. Repeat this as many times as necessary, until they’ve announced that’s all they have to say.

Rather than give in to the urge to counsel or help him or her fix something your partner is concerned about, after first imagining what he or she might be feeling, feeling it as though you were feeling them yourself, offer up validation of your partner’s feelings. Something like, “Wow, you must have felt devastated.” And allow them to either agree with you or reclarify what they are feeling about what they were sharing. If they reclarify, imagine what it would feel like from that perspective.

If you have different opinions about something like your partner was terrified by a ride at the amusement park and you found it exhilarating, you can validate your partner’s feelings while agreeing to allow each other the right to their own experience. For instance, you might say, “I can feel how terrified you must have been on that ride,” (empathy, and continue) “but I was having the time of my life.” It’s okay to have different points of view, but very important to deeply understand where your partner is coming from and honor them by allowing them to have their experience any way they want to.

If they’ve intimated their story to you devoid of feelings, it might be helpful to lightly probe and encourage them to share their feelings by simply asking, “How did that make you feel?”

I think you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level.

Couple Connection and Difficult Conversation

If you want to connect, communication is the gateway to a deeper connection which will enhance the longevity and intimacy in any relationship, but before you expect to have a truly intimate connection, you must have these two things as your firm foundation. They are,

Trust

Before you can truly open up and expose those most intimate and private parts of yourself, exposing yourself far more than your naked body, you must be able to trust your partner.

Trusting your partner means that you feel as though you can rely on his or her performance, you know if he or she says something, you can expect it will come to pass based on your experience.

Not having trust, or breaking trust, can be destructive, even more damaging than an affair. Lack of trust destroys more relationships than affairs. Whether you’re unable to trust or be trusted, if there is lack of trust there will be no intimate, open and honest connection.

Besides, trust, you will also need an equal amount of,

Appreciation and Gratitude

Life is moving so fast, we can take our partner for granted, forgetting why we fell in love with this person in the first place, and things can just start to deteriorate. You must make time and find ways to express appreciation and gratitude if your relationship is going to not only survive but thrive.

If you’ve let the appreciation and gratitude slip in your relationship maybe it’s time to take action. You can start by asking yourself how your life might be if your partner was no longer in it. What might you miss?

Remembering all the sweet things about your partner that were so endearing in the beginning of your relationship could help take you back in time, feeling those original love vibrations, and when you come back to now, you can bring those vibrations with you into the present moment.

Having the firm foundation of trust, appreciation, and gratitude can give you the firm foundation to approach any situations or circumstances that may approach and/or threaten your relationship. Keep in mind that many challenges which threaten a relationship can come from within. In those moments you will need this foundation to successfully navigate your most

Difficult Conversations

You know, this is when you’ve let something go for a while, and now it’s come to this. It’s time for you to have a serious talk before things go from bad to worse.

How can you best prepare for a crucial conversation?

Taking time to prepare for a crucial conversation will be highly beneficial. Every minute spent planning will eliminate 3 minutes of extraneous drama and unnecessary conflict.

1. Clearly Define Your Concern

Take a few minutes, or as long as necessary to clearly define what your concern is. Reduce it to its simplest, shortest and most concise form before even thinking about scheduling, “The Talk.”

Once you’ve done so, ask yourself if this is “Critical” or “Negotiable?” Your definition should come with the determination of knowing in advance if this is critical or a deal breaker, or negotiable, something that can be compromised. Most sources of relationship angst are comprised of the 97 percent of issues which left to themselves are really no big deal but because they’ve been swept under the rug the pressure has built to intolerable when a simple compromise could have avoided all that pain and disconnect.

If the concern is centered around the three percent of meaningfully important core issues that can destroy a relationship, then continuing to have a crucial conversation is prudent.

2. Look Within

In my experience with couples, more often than not when one partner is feeling a great deal of angst about the other partner, it is because he or she is reflecting back inadequacies of the complainant, who is refusing to see his or her shortcomings in the relationship.

You can avoid this step, experience all the drama and relationship breakdown, only to discover it later in counseling or relationship coaching, or you can head it off at the pass by asking yourself the question,

“How might I be doing the same thing?”

If you feel like you’re not getting something, you might be surprised to see that you’re not giving it. In the event that you realize this, you can avoid any unnecessary relationship drama by giving that which you desire. When you change and give what you want, your relationship changes and you start to get it in return.

If your inner search comes up empty, then you can continue to plan our talk.

3. Schedule an Appropriate Time and Place

Find out from your partner when would be the best time. Keep in mind that men are better equipped to have a serious conversation late in the afternoon, and not too late at night.

Give your partner the space that he or she needs to select a time that is good for him/her. Keep in mind, you may want to talk now, but tomorrow afternoon or this weekend might be better for your partner to properly engage in an important conversation.

Select a location that is not the “scene of the crime.” That is to say, for instance, if your concern is about sexual intimacy, do not conduct this crucial conversation in the bedroom, etcetera.

Side by side is an appropriate, non-threatening posture for a crucial conversation, rather than across from each other, which is more adversarial. Walking and talking (especially in nature) can be a healthy environment for an otherwise heavy conversation.

4. The Difficult Conversation

Start off by issuing a positive statement (or up to five declarations) about how important your partner is and how much he or she brings to the quality of life that you enjoy with your partner.

Then you can express what you need or want in its best possible light, such as, “It would mean so much to me, and I would be so full of love and gratitude, if you could…” (fill in the blank). Pick a statement that you feel comfortable but let it represent how it would make your heart soar, if only…

Avoid the use of apocalyptic fighting words, like, “You always,” and “You never.” Nothing good ever comes from a sentence which starts with either of those as they accuse and attack your partner, only promoting defensiveness. Plus, you know it’s not true. Rarely, if ever, is anyone “always,” or, “never.”

Avoid inviting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to join your conversation. According to the Gottman Institute, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are (1) Criticism, (2) Contempt, (3) Defensiveness, (4) Stonewalling, and these are the primary predictors of relationship failure.

Remember, this not about me against you, or who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about wanting love, to love and be loved in a manner which is pleasing and respective of both partners who desire to raise their love relationship to be the best it can be, and even more.

If your partner is male, try to avoid pushing him into a condition which is referred to as, “Emotional Flooding.” This is when they lose cognizance as their emotions take the driver’s seat. It’s a real thing, and they are likely to lose the ability to consciously rationalize and communicate as they are overwhelmed by rampant emotion.

What if it gets out of control?

You can take a “time out” and reel it back in.

It’s a good idea, when there is no conflict or need to have a serious talk, to establish a signal which can be offered up at any time by either partner, which indicates it is time to take a break. It can be as simple as making a timeout “T” symbol with your hands and actually saying, “Time out!” or some other signal or saying that you both can agree on.

Once this signal is initiated by either party, you both have pre-agreed to stop everything and take a ten to twenty-minute break. And if you want to maximize your time out, you can use this time effectively by writing. Write three things, what you’re frustrated about, what you think a good solution might be and a list of the things you absolutely love about your partner.

By now, you should be calmer, more centered, have a plan, and are ready to re-engage for love’s sake.

You are deserving of love, but it often does not come easy because we have so much negative self-talk that goes on behind the scenes that limit your ability to accept love. These love-limiting beliefs include phrases, like,

All men are “dogs”
(or their shirt-tailed cousins,
jerks, babies, cheaters, liars, losers, etc.)
Nobody loves me, nobody cares
I am broken and undeserving of love
I will never have great love
I can’t-do it, love is too hard
If it’s not perfect, I don’t want it
Love means one of you must give up everything

You might feel unworthy of love and/or feel like you must accept the plight of the martyr to have any hope of maintaining a “successful” relationship. You, just like anyone else, are totally deserving of love, and you might have the full potential to have it all in this moment in time, if you just reach out for it.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your underserving or asking for too much. You’re not. And most likely, your partner desires to be there for you in a way that honors your highest and best love, if he or she only knew how.

It’s up to you to find ways to express your needs and desires and allow your partner to find ways to give you what you want in his or her own way.

Reach Out and Connect

When you’re reaching out to connect to people, then by all means do it.
In a society where connecting is more and more limited to less and less; that is to say less face to face communication and more electronic interaction, with less content. Today, we maintain such a high pace and level of activity, that we don’t have time for anyone else but that which we focus on.

What are we focusing on that is so important, and what do we have to show for it?

I don’t know; let me check how many people liked my last post?

It looks, to me, like there is some force at work in the background of our society to keep us so busy doing nothing and keeps us separated with an artificial sense of remaining connected. Whether there is any underlying purpose, or not, the fact of the matter is that our culture is changing, and it you want to connect with someone in a relationship, a business affiliation, or as part of a movement, you’re going to have to have a different approach.

Technology is definitely a part of how we connect, there’s no denying that, but do something more. Yes, connect with each other on social media, but If you want more out of this relationship than a tick on your social media account create a better connection by offering something of value.

I always try to leave someone better than when I met them, if I can. Encourage them, help them see the good in something they thought was not, give them something that could potentially change the way they previously thought about something, or help them imagine what a better life might look like.

None of this is tangible or costs you anything but a few moments of your time, yet can be extremely valuable. Value does not depend on your cash outlay, or a retail price, but more value is placed on things that touch our hearts, or make us feel something.

If you can leave them with something to touch that they can keep with them, even better. Even with business cards fading into the dark ages, I still think of them as a physical item that can be put in someone’s hand. It may have little or no value, but to remind them of you and your conversation (hopefully it was a good one). It doesn’t have to be a business card, it could be anything, a lucky penny or stone, a napkin with your name and email scrawled on it or something that might cause them to remember this meeting sometime after departure.

They may not reach out to you, but BRAVO, you’ve made a connection, one that has a potential of being more meaningful than a new Facebook “friend” or Twitter follower.

If I want to hear from someone again, I like to give them a reason to contact me; so I’m likely to ask them to do something that they can get back to me on. Most of the time, they don’t (not soon, anyway) but it’s given them something to think about, and it gives them an excuse to reach out to me and create an even more meaningful connection.

I hope the future of relationships is not on the brink of vanishing from the planet altogether. The good news is that people still desire connection, and they’re supporting it with their dollars. They are willing to pay to feel like they are a part of something, and “connection” is the only thing that businesses are effectively using to compete with the big corporations.

This is a very good sign that there is hope for connectedness in the future.

If you don’t believe me, just ask your hairdresser.

Reach out, connect face-to-face, give them a talisman, an invitation to follow up, and bless them.

Deception by Withholding

“I didn’t lie to you.”

That’s what the deceiver says when being confronted by the truth coming out about something they knew would rather have kept secret. That’s why they did not disclose it in the first place. But the crafty deceiver holds fast to the idea that because they didn’t actually say anything that was untrue, so their superior intellect and “morals” are supported by the idea that they did not lie.

The question that comes up in counseling is, “Is withholding really lying, since they haven’t actually verbalized a lie?” Good question. While there are hundreds of possibilities, it largely depends on the participants and their belief systems. But regardless of what your belief is (even if you think it’s okay for you to do) when it happens to you, all of a sudden it doesn’t seem so right.

From a trained Catholic point of view there are two types of sins; the sin of commission and the sin of omission. In terms of lying, actually telling a lie would be a sin of commission, while withholding would be a sin of omission, both sharing equal consequence. Regarding the sin of omission, Jesus’ brother says, “Whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17) which incorporates so much more than the unspoken words, actually including the right thing(s) one should have done but didn’t do.

But in a relationship, is it really all that bad to purposefully not disclose certain information that really wouldn’t accomplish anything but hurt someone’s feelings? Someone who thinks this way might say,

“I’m not lying, and I don’t see the need to hurt someone’s feelings when I didn’t really do anything wrong.”

This is due to the gray area representing activities or indiscretions that could have been worse.

An example might go something, like this…

Let’s say your boyfriend says,

“My friend’s mom is sick and he has to go to meet with his attorney and go to night court and he wants me to be there with her, while he’s gone.”

This doesn’t seem unreasonable so your boyfriend heads out to his friends house. He has his cell phone with him, so you can stay in touch.

His last text at 8:40 pm says,

“I forgot my charger, battery’s dying. I will text you when I get home.”

In this day and age, that could happen. You might even remember a time when your phone died, like that.

A couple of weeks later, you run into a girlfriend who saw him at a concert that night, and you assume she must be confused, because you know where he was that night.

As it turns out, the truth was that he did go over to his friend’s house to sit with his mother while he took care of his legal issues, but what he neglected to tell you was that he went to the concert with friends.

Regardless of what else may have happened, you were not made aware of his other friend’s extra concert ticket, and he neglected to tell you that, because he thought you might get mad, if you’d have known. Since nothing bad happened (like copulation), there was really no harm in sparing your feelings needlessly.

He may justify or think, he was only looking out for your best interest in the omission.

Whether his concern was innocent, or not, the fact remains there was purposeful deception. In this scenario, the boyfriend indirectly lied as he omitted critical and important details, to deceive. With the intention of allowing you to believe all is well, and there was no opportunity for transgression.

Another example might be the urge to use a vague response to a question like, “What did you do last night?” A vague answer might be, “Oh, nothing, really.”

The key here is to remember that it’s just not sociopaths who use these slick methods of deception. People just like you and me do it also because we know that it’s wrong to lie, so we don’t want to do that. Because we have a conscious, it somehow feels better to tell some of the truth and to leave out the pertinent details that might otherwise cause needless confusion or conflict.

No one can really say if it’s right or wrong, but the truth is, if you feel sighted, hurt, betrayed, or indirectly lied to, then it’s definitely not a good thing. This is not a healthy state of mind to be in for very long.

We all deceive using different motives, such as making ourselves appear to have it more together than we actually do, to hide sensitive details or information (which may have negative consequences), and to hurt someone (maliciously, or in self-defense).

So what can you do when someone has hurt your feelings by withholding information?

Try to avoid labeling him or her as a liar. Allow him or her the opportunity to disclose the non-disclosed portion of the story on their own. Try to keep your emotions in check and instead try to think about why he or she would feel the need to withhold. Maybe some counseling might be in order, if they have unresolved issues, addictions, or trauma from the past.

Communicate where your boundary is on undisclosed information, make sure he or she understands, and hope this doesn’t happen in the future, while keeping in mind that you cannot change someone or expect them to change on command. The best you can do is to communicate your expectations and hope for the best. And if you find you cannot live with this type of behavior, then you must do what is right for you.

No one expects anyone to be 100% honestly disclosing everything 24/7, that would be unreasonable and abusive.

Disrespect and Hurt Feelings in Relationships

Have you ever found yourself laboring to explain to your special someone how they hurt your feelings or disrespected you?

As two people come together and get to know each other, it is reasonable to expect things will come up as an indication that the two of you don’t see eye to eye on a particular subject. In some cases, you may feel bad, disrespected, disregarded or betrayed, and depending on how a sensitive a person you are, you could be hurt badly.

But you’re getting to know this person, are developing feelings of attachment, and/or falling in love with this person. You fancy the idea of having him or her in your life enough to reach out to them in an effort to help them understand how you feel, which is a normal course of action in any relationship.

On your first attempt to explain yourself to someone, you expect to be heard and felt. Everyone is entitled to make mistakes, as you know you, too, probably have disrespected some one else, not on purpose but in a moment when you were busy, focused, distracted, or had lost track of time, etc… and hurt someone’s feelings unintentionally.

Or maybe we’re talking about crossing boundaries. When you’re in a relationship, you can expect to cover all the rules and boundaries that exist in your head and your heart in the beginning, and you just sort of assume that you’re both completely compatible based on how you feel about this person.

If you and your partner have healthy boundaries, of course, the best way to communicate your boundaries is to merely talk about them and establish a mutual respect about each other’s boundaries. The next best way to bring up your boundaries is when either one of you find yourself crossing the other’s boundaries.
This is a good time to communicate, establish and negotiate the honoring of the boundary in your relationship or to make amendments or accommodations for the boundary in question. Some boundaries protect us from physical or emotional pain, but may change over time, the less we need them and as we continue to grow emotionally, while some may remain non-negotiable.

Okay, so someone’s crossed the line, and your feelings were hurt. You were considerate enough to explain the situation to your partner, and he or she herd you, respected you, apologized and agreed to take your feeling into consideration, should the same set of circumstances appear once again. And in a perfect world, in an adult relationship between to people who care about each other this is the highest and best approach and outcome.

But what if it happens again?

Even though you felt like the two of you were perfectly clear and in agreement, now, you’re second-guessing, wondering if your initial expression was misunderstood, maybe you didn’t make yourself clear enough and it may be reasonable to talk about this particular situation again.

So, this time, you’re explaining to your partner in greater detail, including much more stories, demonstrations, possibly including audio/visual tools, drawing charts, graphs, maps and using bullet lists (yes, this can go into outrageous extremes, depending on the one doing the communicating) to make sure there is no misunderstanding in the future.

If you feel like you’ve been heard and your partner has endured your presentation, thanked you for clearly expressing yourself, understanding the two of you are basically using a common language and level of understanding in respect and honor of your clearly expressed ideals, and he or she agrees to honor your perspective if face with similar circumstances in the future.
Well done.

That should do it.

If it doesn’t, and the same grievance comes up again, you can be relatively certain that something else is going on, here. You know you’re being heard. You’ve made every effort to establish rapport and understanding, yet here you are again.
This could feel like abuse, and anyone who knows you intimately, like your friends and family, might jump to that conclusion immediately, especially if you (or they) have had experience with a similar situation which did not fare well in the past.

The truth is, by this point, you can ascertain that this person is not going to change his or her thought or actions on this deal to accommodate you. You have to realize that this person is hard-wired this way and is never going to change for you.

Going back to the drawing board once again to try to explain yourself is fruitless. Nothing good could come from it, and your partner will only be going through the motions, agree to do or say anything you want to hear, but not really. They just want your grueling expression to stop, so they can get back to living their life.

Plus, you might be imposing abuse on your partner by badgering him or her endlessly about this particular subject. Just stop it. This could go on forever, and nothing good could come from that.

It’s not on you to expect to change your partner, just as you would not expect your partner to want you to change for him or her, although, some compromise along the way is reasonable, as long as it’s not too extreme.

Oh, you might think that if you love him or her enough, that they will realize one day that you were right all along, he or she instantly changes, as if being touched the a magic fairy’s wand, and the two of you will walk off into the sunset hand in hand in perfect harmony, with sparkles and butterflies all around.

The chances of that are pretty slim. So, at this point you have to ask yourself, “Can I live with this?” It’s on you at this point, not the other person. Some day this person might change due to their own personal growth and evolvement, but you have to know, this is the way it’s going to be, probably forever. Can you live with that?
If loosening up on a boundary here and there is acceptable to you, then think about changing the way you think about this particular situation, consider making a compromise. Keep in mind if you are making the majority of the compromises, this will likely not be in your best interest in the long run, and you’re likely going to resent or regret this later.

On the other hand, in the rarest of circumstances, both parties begin to grow and change in synergistic harmony, evolving together in a symphony of continued awareness and enlightenment. If each of their individual paths is harmonious with the other’s, this can be the bliss which we all seek in a long-term relationship.

Relationship Skills for a Better Life

Since you do not live in a vacuum, you are surrounded by a wide variety of people who add color and depth to your human experience, how you manage these people (or how they manage you) are based on your relationship skills.

Relationships come in all shapes and sizes from spousal, cohabitation, familial, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Sometimes, family (our closest relationships) are the most difficult to manage.

Probably, the most important skill you can have in managing your relationships is communication. How adept or inept you are at demonstrating your communication skills can have a huge impact on the relationships you manage.

It’s pretty apparent if you possess pathetic communication skills. For instance, people constantly misunderstand what you’re trying to say, you are prone to get into heated debates (even though you may feel like you’re winning), and your emotions run high when you are talking to someone about something that is important to you (and more likely, not positive emotions). Is it any wonder people are less likely to want to be in your presence?

By building your relationship skills, you can develop deeper, more meaningful relationships, which promotes more success, abundance, and happiness in your life.

Some things you might consider in building your relationship skills might be,

When a conversation is heading into difficult territory, avoid bringing up the past. By staying current, you and the other participants are less likely to be defensive of fill like they’re being attacked.

Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. What might it look like from their point of view, having lived the life they’ve lived? Sticking to your guns, and not allowing someone to see, think of feel differently, only causes separation, while allowing people to be who they are creates more affinity.

Pay attention to what they’re saying. Use active listening skills by repeating what they’ve said in your own words to acknowledge them and let them know you’re understanding what they’re saying.

When somebody says something that is contrary to what you might believe, or you’re feeling criticized or challenged, don’t ready yourself for a battle. Try not to be so defensive, and respond with an affirmative, “Oh, that’s interesting.” And if they try to pick a fight, don’t let them drag you into destructive banter. Stay your ground and remain positive.

Give up the idea of winning and seek ways you can arrive at compromise. Finding a way to compromise means “everyone wins.” Avoid win/lose conversations or situations, and don’t settle for win/lose compromise where one party is making all the concessions. Make sure both parties give-in and both parties get some of the important things they wanted.

If the conversation is getting heated and emotions are rising, take a break. Agree to do something else for a pre-determined amount of time and return to the subject at hand, after taking a break, when you are refreshed and can revisit the topic with clear heads and hearts.

Blaming someone never accomplishes anything but causing more division. Find ways to take responsibility for whatever you can. This helps to relieve the pressure, plus it gives you more control, the more responsibility you take. Why? Because you’re the only one who can control you.

If you think things are getting away from you, then seek a coach, counselor or consultant who can advise and act as a mediator to break through any barriers you may be facing.

Make time to cultivate your relationships. Don’t let texting or social media be your only connection method. There’s nothing that compares to authentic face-to-face time. Create opportunities for more in-person conversation, leading to a deeper, more meaningful connection.

It’s not just enough to be in the presence of someone, like at a movie, or a conference. Make time for a little face-to-face interaction before, after, or during breaks to communicate and interconnect directly.

If you’re not in the habit of it, be bold enough to freak out your friends and family by calling them via voice phone (no texting allowed, here) for no other reason, just to say, “Hi,” without any agenda, other than to let them know you were thinking about him or her.

If someone is important to you, let them know, even if only in some small way. Send them a note, or some small token of your affection, thanking them for being a positive influence in your life. These people help give your life meaning.

If your relationship is built on a foundation of love, don’t be afraid to let them know, if not by words, then by touching them appropriately while communicating with them, or greet them with a light hug or some other appropriate gesture.

Signs of a Bad Relationship

If you’ve found this searching the Internet looking for signs of a bad relationship because you might be with the wrong person, there’s a good chance that you may be courting the wrong person. What do you do when you find yourself loving the wrong person? You start expending some effort to see if you can cut off a potential disaster before tying the knot. The last thing you want to do is to wake up one day discovering you’ve married the wrong person.

If you’re already married, you may be saying, “I married the wrong person. What do i do now?” First of all, we all can hope that you’re over-reacting. Often after you’ve committed and made vows to love someone else no matter what, no matter what is waiting in the wings to make a laughing stock out of you. Love can sometimes be a cruel joke. Nonetheless you don’t want to think, “I married the wrong person.” Or find yourself asking, “Did i marry the wrong person?” Chances are things are not as bad as you think, you’re just having second thoughts (like buyer’s remorse), but if you have married the wrong person, here are some signs of a bad relationship.

Obvious Bad Signs

Some of the easiest signs determining you’re not in a healthy relationship are the ones that are painfully obvious, such as sharing more negative energy when you’re together than positive, engaging in harmful habits such as drinking, smoking, laziness, gambling, addictive behavior, lying, angry outbursts with a veiled (or overt) threat of violence, or clear signs of a lack of self control i.e. over-reacting, overeating, overspending or unexpected credit charges.

Lack of Integrity

In a healthy relationship, you can depend on your partner. You know if they’ve told you he or she was going to do something, you can rest assured that it will be done. If you’re not in a healthy relationship, promises are made but rarely kept and important integrous signs will be lacking, such as trustworthiness and dependability. If someone is not integrous, they may be disingenuous, selfish, and also lack empathy, warmth or have the ability to maintain any meaningful connectedness.

How Do You Feel About You?

When you first met, you had a relatively fair amount of self esteem and found yourself enjoying life. But since your hookup with your partner you’re finding how you feel about yourself and the things that you find joy participating in, thinking or daydreaming about on a rapid decline. In healthy relationships, as you spend time with your partner, you feel better about yourself and find ways to enjoy life together, even if the things you do together are markedly different from the things that you used to do before you met.

You Are Not Encouraged or Supported

You can take an honest look at your life and review your personal growth since you’ve been together. Does he or she have a positive influence on you, encouraging you to life a better life full of more fulfillment and happiness? This is what you should expect from a great partner, who is a supportive team player. It’s a huge red flag, if your partner puts you down, doesn’t support and offer to help you with projects that are meaningful to you, or worse yet, puts you down or laughs at these things.

If your growth is hindered and is not supported, there is no team. And relationships are the ultimate team, where lives are delicately balanced. If you can’t think of ways you’ve supported and encouraged each other to grow, or haven’t grown together, this is not a good sign.

When You Are Not Around

What does he or she do (or not do) when you’re not around? If he or she lives one life when you are around and a completely different life when you’re not around, chances are you are living separate lives. This is a clear indication that your lives are not compatible. If effective relationships, partners share each other’s interests and give and take. If their lives are compatible, they can find consistency in the lives they live, even if they are separated, the tone remains constant and stable. And if he or she is not mindful of you when he or she is away, there is no intention of maintaining a connection (even if only a text or emoticon). Not a good sign.

The Blame Game

If you, or your partner, is blaming the other for not being able to live a better life, this is not a good sign. It’s one thing to blame your partner to his or her face, but if you do blame or complain about them behind their back, to your family and friends, the damage is more dreadful and the effects more far-reaching. If either of you cannot keep a handle on your potential to blame the other person, you will never feel like this could possibly be a healthy relationship.

The Silent Treatment

If you find your partner cutting you off, stonewalling, or giving you the silent treatment when they are not getting their way, or for any reason, they may be blocking you from participating in his or her life in any significant way. If you cannot find ways to communicate and reach out to each other, even in difficult times, no good could come from this.

Lack of Connection

If there is a strong emotional attraction, it’s easy to overlook how deep your intellectual connection is. After a while, though, you start to see your conversations have no deeper meaning, it all seems so superficial and lacking substance. They seem friendly and talkative enough, but there is just surface talk, mostly centered on them and/or their past experiences. Wonder why they aren’t more interested in the meaningful details of your life? The answer is simple; they’re not that interested in you. If you stop to think about it, and realize that you know more about our partner than your partner knows about you, there’s a good chance you’re paired up with someone who is far more concerned with themselves than you, and possibly a narcissist.

Criminal Background

A criminal background could be a huge red flag, but before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, consider that while many people feel that people cannot change, I have been in the change business for X Years a long time. People can change, but it doesn’t come easy. If your partner is honest and upfront about their less than integrous past and they sound like they are taking full responsibility for where they’ve come from and how they’re changing their life (they are not blaming anyone or anything for their circumstance or behavior), and you can see and feel the difference, you may be witnessing a metamorphosis. Even so, you should proceed with caution, because just as likely that you may be witnessing a real transformation, you could be set up to be the next victim of a psychopath. You must decide what you can live with, just be careful.

Your Loved Ones Are Cautioning You

Your relationship should never be controlled by others, because often our friends and family truly do not have your best interests at heart. Sadly, it is true more often than not, that our friends and relatives are far more selfish about us and our connections to others than they could ever see or admit. They just know they are hurt or jealous because someone else is getting the best of you. But, if you’re seeing a pattern among the people who love you the most and you are finding they are sincerely concerned about your relationship with your partner, consider they might be able to see something from their vantage point you might not be able to see from your own. So, if the people you care about the most, and you know they care about you likewise, and they’re urging you get out, you might want to tale a look around to see if their concerns have merit.

Something’s Just Not Right

If you find yourself in a relationship that looks good on the surface, you know you have no reason that you can put your finger on indicating that something may be amiss, yet you feel something in your stomach or heart that just doesn’t seem right about it, this may be your inner voice or intuition telling you that things are not as they seem. Start to recognize your inner guidance systems attempt to warn and protect you from potential unwarranted exposure or harm. If you are certain these feelings are not from some other medical condition or in response to questionable restaurant shrimp, start looking for clues as to whether or not this relationship is in your best interest.

Weigh the Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking about taking a deeper look at your relationship and possibly calling it quits, take the precaution of looking at the statistics, just to prove to yourself that your concerns are not just based on mood or wavering emotions. To do this, simply create a basic T Chart and on one side list all the positive things about your relationship. On the other side, list all the negative things. Reviewing the list may help bring you back into a sense of calm as you realize the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. On the other hand, if the relationship clearly has more negatives than positives, it might be a good idea to start taking a closer look at your partner, and asking yourself if it’s not time to think about putting an end to it.

My intention is not to dissuade you from being in the relationship that you are currently engaged in, but there is no doubt that you deserve an awesomely healthy relationship so that you can enjoy all this life has to offer. Hopefully, you are not in a toxic relationship and fortunate enough to consider these things prior to marriage, if not, you are in a far more precarious position.

Sometimes bailing out is not the answer, if there is hope for change and finding a new path that you and your partner can travel together. But if it looks like there is more pain than gain along the way, and you’re seeing signs of relationship ending, just realizing you are on different paths and honoring this fact by allowing your partner to go on without you, may be the best option as you walk away and let it go. Feel free to seek advice and opinions from others but keep in mind that these people are not you. Only you can and must make your own decisions and ultimately it is you that reaps the rewards or consequences of your decisions. Be cognoscente and smart and follow your heart.

15 Signs for Relationship Ending

Let’s face it, if you’re open to having an effective romantic relationship with another person, you probably already know you’re swimming in shark-infested waters. Still, we want to believe true love is possible – and I believe it is – so we continue to allow ourselves to be open and somewhat vulnerable because we know that is the only way to have a truly meaningful relationship.

15 Signs for Relationship Ending

The earlier you notice the warning signs of a potentially problematic or toxic relationship, the better. Although unfortunately we find ourselves in relationships and are only able to see the red flags after they have established a level of comfort and let down their guard. At that point you have to decide if it’s time for you to conduct your relationship ending to allow for a more healthy relationship to appear on the landscape.

15 Signs for Relationship Ending

1. It’s All About Me

If your partner is self-absorbed there may be no room for you in his of her life. Certainly, you might be invited to participate in their life but more as an accessory than a partner. You might be able to see signs of potential narcissistic personality disorder on their facebook or other social media accounts. Look for obsessive selfies and little else. If it’s all about them on their social media, it’s a good indicator that any relationship will also be about them, too. Look for someone with the capacity to have relationships with friends and family if you hope for them to have the ability to become a team player in your life.

2. Do This, Don’t Do That

If they have a long list of rules they expect you to follow and more often than not making suggestions to change you, this is likely never going to change, and you shouldn’t be expected to. This may also be a warning sign that you might be getting involved with a psychopath or someone in the anti-social personality disorder spectrum. If they’re expecting you to change to meet their requirements, consider changing prospective mates.

3. More Interested in What You Do

If your partner appears to be more interested in your career (and you have a good job with benefits, opportunities for promotions or influential in the community) then he or she might not be interested in you at all. It’s likely not just about liking what you do, but they’re more focused on what you can bring to the table for them. If it’s not about you, who you are as a person, it’s because they’re not interested in you and they lack the capacity to connect in a real way.

4. Not Interested in What You Want to Do

If you’re constantly trying to invite our partner to participate in activities that you enjoy and he or she is resistant to going along or could care less, how long could you live like that? Though, they might be quite expectant that you participate in their activities. If they’d rather you go alone and administer endless guilt trips for doing so, these are not signs of a potentially successful long-term relationship. It’s not up to you to always be the sacrificial lamb or the martyr. A true partnership includes a bit of give and take if it is expected to last.

5. Conversation Domination

Are they constantly talking about me, me, me and don’t seem to be interested in you? You can clearly see it when you’re trying to communicate with them. They rarely if ever ask you about you, and when you find yourself intimating details about you, your day, your life, they interrupt and make it about them. Try disagreeing with the. If they are more focused on defending their position than listening to your point of view, then what’s the point? Conversation – just like your relationship – needs to be a two-way street, if you want to be more in someone’s life than an audience member validating their sense of importance.

6. Doesn’t Keep Promises

Your prospective mate is armed and ready with a long list of excuses about why he or she was unable to d what he or she said they would do and may even look to blame you in some way for his/her inability to fulfill his/her obligation(s). This is not only shirking responsibility, but may be a clear indication that this person has no sense of integrity to bring to the relationship. How can you be expected to trust someone who won’t keep their promises?

7. Could Care Less About Others

If someone is self-centered, inconsiderate or rude, they may be borderline narcissists. You see it every day, the person who dominates the fast lane at low speed not aware of anything or anyone else being on the road, they stand in doorways unaware of others who would like to use the egress point, they talk out loud with their blue tooth device stuffed in their ear in public, are constantly checking their phones at inopportune times and places, holding up foot traffic or disrespecting other people attempting to engage with them. You are not likely to be truly seen by this person as the person you truly are, only a less than visible passer-by. Don’t hold onto the false hope of making a genuine connection with this type of person.

8. Pointing Out Others’ Faults

If your partner is constantly pointing the finger at other people, putting them down, disrespecting or making fun of them and/or their shortcomings, then they are nothing more than selfish nincompoops. There are deep-rooted reasons why someone needs to validate themselves by putting others down ranging from lack of self-esteem to psychopathy. Regardless of the root cause of this type of personality trait, it does not indicate an openness that leads to a long-lasting, meaningful relationship, knowing all the while he or she is monitoring everything you do for use as a comedy sketch in the future. Only fools hang with the foolhardy. Don’t be a fool.

9. How They Respond to Their Past

If your potential partner lies about his or her past – or worse yet – doesn’t talk about it at all, it does not reflect well on any potential relationship you might have with this person. Either they are a sociopath covering up their long list of casualties or they are too broken and timid to participate fully because they feel they have been victimized or afraid that you might leave, if you knew the truth. Unless you can freely and openly share the wounds and scars about your past with the person with whom you can be intimate with, there is no real possibility of making a connection of any significance. That onus is on you, too. You also need to be able to conduct a conversation about this person’s past, without ridicule or judgment.

10. Living With Their Ex- (in their head)

How can you be expected to have a quality relationship with someone who is still attached to their ex-? This person is clearly not ready to move on in any meaningful way. A little dialogue about exes may be helpful in getting to know someone’s capacity for relationships, but endless stories about the ex- go far beyond annoying. You’re participation in this person’s life may be relegated to being the rebound or transition person, making them feel better as they work through their grief of loss, only filling a temporary void until someone else comes along. Look for healthy recollections of the ex- and make sure he/she has had some time to disassociate and establish some independence.

11. No Same-gender Friends

If he or she doesn’t have any friends of the same gender and insists that they just don’t get along with individuals sharing the same sex, this could be an indicator of problematic social entanglements which could rear their ugly faces in the future. If his or her ability to have friends is predominantly relegated to friends of the opposite sex, he or she may not have the capacity to engage in a high level of friendship at all, and isn’t that what you want your partner to be, your best friend? You just don’t want to be one of his/her other friends (unless that is what you want). Some speculation could be made about the reasons why he or she is only attracted to making friends with the opposite sex, which could take years to unravel. A good partner has friends who are of both genders it exemplifies their ability to partner.

12. Tries to Trip You Up

Instead of looking out for you and celebrate your individual successes, if they’re more likely to downplay your wins, they ma potentially be destructive, looking for ways to make you stumble so that they appear to have the upper hand. This can be the case when a pair of successful people gets together, especially if one of them may have narcissistic tendencies. Look for someone who celebrates you, encourages you to do better, even helps build you up along the way to success, stay away from anyone who wants to sabotage your personal or professional growth in an effort to keep or tear you down.

13. My Way or the Highway

This potentially narcissistic person is more likely than not going to insist that you comply with their expectations, or follow up with a demand to, “Hit the road, Jack,” or issue a Dear-John letter post haste. If you don’t like it, leave it. They obviously don’t care about you as much as they do themselves. Take advantage of the invitation and just leave, you’re better off without them, cut your losses, leave now, because eventually they will just throw you out anyway.

14. Financial Infidelity

If your partner is weird about finances, keeping financial agreements, or may have undisclosed sources or hordes of financing options, be on guard and be looking for clues of someone who may not be honest with the way they conduct their financial affairs. Money issues are one of the most primary indicators of relationship troubles. You don’t want to be left holding the bag, while your partner scurries off to drain his or her next victim.

15. Abusiveness

There are many discourses on catching the early indicators of a potential abuser. The last thing you want to be in is an abusive relationship. Even though predators are very stealthy early on in a relationship, you may be able to pick up on sings such as how they interact with wait staff, animals or children.

Keep in mind that all abuse is not relegated to only physical. Other kinds of abuse include verbal abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, manipulation, humiliation and/or substance abuse. Healthy relationships should be maintained as abuse-free as possible. And for god’s sake, never think that you can change a potential abuser. Is it possible? Maybe, but not likely.

Love Lies Why Lovers Lie

Why Do Lovers Lie?

When you enter into a committed relationship, an evolution takes place. As time goes on couples experience a metamorphosis as each of the participants grows and changes interdependently. Though they may be “one flesh” in the utmost romantic sense, they are still separate individuals both trying to do the best they can with what they have.

The only thing that truly bonds a couple together is the level of integrity and trust they have one for the other. If we can trust impeccably, be open and honest, we have the main ingredients of a highly successful and long lasting love life together. For if we do not have trust, what do we have?

As each lover evolves, there may be moments in time when they may be out of sync with their counterpart. What then?

Do you say, “This isn’t working for me; see ya,” as you depart with little concern for the former mate left behind?

Or do you lie and say, “I love you. Everything’s okay. You mean the world to me, nothing could come between us.”

Relationships are hard and no matter how we try to establish hard and fast rules for relationships, it is nearly impossible to have textbook answers for every conceivable scenario. We, as human beings, are far too complex for that.

While there are liars who selfishly lie to the extreme (we call them pathological liars) without regard to others (even if it appears to not be necessary to lie at all), alternatively we are talking about compassionate liars cohabitating in the space somewhere within the bounds of love.

While being totally open and honest are vastly important in relationships, being too open and honest can easily render a relationship null and void. Sometimes in a long term romance, the ability to lie is not only warranted, but may be a necessary component of romantic survivability.

Indeed, a long-term successful and loving relationship between two people consists or a delicate balance between truthfulness and deceit. Just ask any individual alone and off-camera who is part of a successful couple that has enjoyed a state of relationship bliss for many years what is the secret to their long-standing love affair? The answer (if conveyed honestly) will reference the delicate balance between truth and lies.

Why lie in a loving relationship?

For the sake of the big picture, in a selfless effort to preserve all that is sacred in a relationship, the occasion may (and often will) arise when the importance and reverence for the relationship exceeds the need to assert an opinion, fact or truth which might cause harm to the sacredness of the couple’s bond. Thereby justifying a bit of tale-telling to ease past what might have been a difficult situation that may have compromised the relationship or led to its dissolution altogether.

Let’s assume for a moment that the emotional spectrum of a relationship spans from love and acceptance on one end and anger and judgment on the other. Lovers often balance delicate of critical issues by where the consequence will end up on this spectrum. The unbridled truth may end up putting the relationship at risk by hurling it all the way into anger and judgment, while a love lie might not put the relationship at risk at all.

We learned this method of mitigating emotional-charged relationships in our youth. Where the truth may have sent our parents into a fury-filled emotional outburst with negative results, a little lie would sidestep the darkness and pain of disappointment and or impending punishment, and all was well.

I’m not saying it’s wrong or right. No two relationships can possibly be compared and everyone needs to find their own way. These types of “love lies” for the most part will go by completely unnoticed, except in the instances where the deception is interrupted by the otherwise naïve other lover. If we are honest, we would all admit that we do this to some degree without intent of malice.

In fact, we may tell a love lie because we love, honor and respect our mate so much, that we might do or say anything in support of the other and increase our love one for the other, even though our heart may not be totally vested at that particular moment in time. In most cases the love lie goes unnoticed and a greater love prevails.

When the one of the lovers discovers a love lie unawares, the couple needs to address the issue of the existence of this kind of deceit within the relationship. Each couple will have their own unique strategy for dealing with these types of inconsistencies.

The hardest road of all for a couple to attempt to maintain is that of complete and utter honesty regardless of the feelings of the other lover. In some cases this can work, but it takes a unique chemistry between two individuals who can manage such a relationship for long.

This is the emotional high road that if navigated correctly, with love and tolerance, without anger or judgment , we simply accept things as they are and allow each other to be without taking the unbridled truth personally or as an assault to be defended against.

For the rest of us, we try to set and manage boundaries for truth and honesty and believe that our love will survive the test of time, if we truly honor and value each other and the relationship as a whole.

What a Man Wants

What a man wants in a woman

If you peruse the latest editions of the contemporary magazines, you will likely discover that the publishers pretty much agree on what it is that men seek in a woman to have a long-term relationship including the possibility of marriage and building a life together.

The general consensus is that men are looking for an optimistic woman who is not over confident or suspicious and a good homemaker.

Armed with that information, women in search of a long-term relationship, willing to exchange wedding vows, will try to key in on these characteristics with the hope of attracting their respective Prince Charming.

While well-intended magazines and tabloids try to help women get the men and relationships they are looking for, they are disappointed when the man bids her adieu, protesting “But I was everything he could possibly want. Why would he leave?”

It could be the things you were told (even if you were to ask the men directly) what a man wants, are not as accurate in real life romance.

What does a man really want in a woman?

What a man really wants is an attractive, independent woman without drama, who he can enjoy life with.

Attractive

There needs to be an initial attraction. While much attention is focused on physical attraction, there is much more to attraction than simply one’s physical appearance. Men find women who know how to dress up for a formal event as well as dress down for a casual play date at the park, or a hike in the woods.

A man likes a woman’s natural beauty, as well as their adeptness at applying makeup. Too much of one or the other may cause him to seek which one that is lacking elsewhere.

Avoiding routine and suggesting a bit of spontaneity is also seen as an attractive trait in a woman.

Independent

Forget trying to be a helpless weakling if you’re looking for a solid long-term relationship today, and forget taking dating advice from your mother or grandmother. Times have changed and so have the men. They don’t need someone to make them feel good about themselves (which was valid through the fifties and early sixties).

A man wants a woman who is more his equal, someone he can share all the elements of his life with. So, if you want a man who has a sense of purpose, is confident and secure in himself then you need to bring the qualities you seek to the table also.

The day of the subservient housewife is diminishing as men are more attracted to a partner in life, a confident woman who has her own sense of purpose, has the necessary space in her life to support and encourage him to embrace his own goals and ideals.

Work together when appropriate or feasible, but carve out plenty of together time also, when aspirations are set aside for focusing on each other in tandem.

No Drama

How do you deal when your relationship is visited by Miss Interpretation?

It’s easy for men and women to have misunderstandings when seeing things from individual perspectives. How you deal with these items when they appear will determine how interested a man will be in committing to a long-term relationship.

A wise woman will state her perception/interpretation while delineating her feelings and not accusing or threatening the man when facing a potential misunderstanding. This also sets the pace for the man as he is more likely to explain his point of view without feeling threatened which could escalate the issue at hand.

We are all entitled to our feelings and communication is encouraged without having to project one’s feelings on your partner. An emotionally sound woman will embrace a clear communication style without unnecessary drama.

Enjoy Life

Everyone has to find their own joy. Try to match yourself with someone who enjoys the same things in life that you do. When you can have playful fun with activities representing common interests, this helps strengthen the attachment bond between two people.

Expressing yourself, your wishes and dreams with a man is a intellectual approach to relationship building but most men are more kinesthetic. That is to say men are more likely to develop a deep sense of attachment by doing things together, rather than talking about them.

Find meaningful and enjoyable things to do together and lay a firm foundation for a long-lasting relationship that can stand the test of time.