You’re a friendly person. You’ve made some friends. Then one day you wake to discover that there are friends and there are “friends.” So, who are your real friends?
Friends may look and feel similar on the surface, you feel good around them and have fun. When things get lean or rough, or maybe you need a little more support than usual, that’s when you find out who are your real friends.
Real friends have your back no matter what, unlike friends who may not be so genuine who make themselves scarce when times get rough. They are supportive of you, even when you suggest that you might like to try a bit of coloring outside the lines. If you want to explore or experience something new, they may or may not agree, or come along, but they will always support your right to do so and be excited to hear your stories about how it went, without judgment.
Over time friends get increased access to all the different sides of you. As they get to know you and all idiosyncrasies, real friends see these as interesting or “cute” sides of yourself, even that whacky unpredictable side of you that very few people know. They see these as individualities which make you a “cool” person, and they feel a sense of honor for getting to know you more intimately.
Unlike your shallower friends, those who are your real friends accept you just the way you are, however and whenever that might be. You don’t have to get dressed-up or fix yourself up to do a live video chat with your real friends. And they know that it goes both ways. You can meet at a coffee shop in your sweats like it’s “no thing.” It doesn’t matter because you share more than a superficial surface connection.
All your friends want you to make time for them, and you do a pretty good job, but what about when you would like them to come along with you, or meet you to share some quality time? Where are they? Your real friends will make time for you, even if it’s outside their normal schedule because real friends actually care about you, just as much as you care about them.
When you really need someone talk to, to share your heart with, your real friends will be there supporting you even in your toughest of times. If you’re sad, they might feel just as sad as you do but will try to be the strength you need when times get hard. They do not impose their views or advice, nor tell you what to do about whatever it is that’s troubling you. They let you express yourself fully, without judgment, empathetically supporting you along the way, reassuring you that things will be okay.
When all the other friends have faded away, your real friends will still be there. Even after long periods of time of not being in each other’s presence, when you get together again, it’s not like one day has passed and you pick up right where you left off.
And when you step on the wayside, lose your balance and falter, if they are not there to catch you when you fall, they will be there to help you pick up the pieces. Even if you’ve done something that has inadvertently caused harm to your friends, your real friends will not hold a grudge and they will forgive you because they are compassionate and know that they make mistakes, too, sometimes.
Above all your real friends value your confidence. They trust you and you trust them. You can tell your most intimate secrets to a real friend, and they will not tell your tales behind your back. Real friends protect you and respect you’re entrusting them with these sensitive details.
Who are your real friends? They’re the ones who’ve got you, no matter what.
Your partner has done it again, and here you are finding yourself caught up in yet another round of the same ol’ thing that you got in an argument the last time. You ask yourself, why are we always fighting over the same old thing(s)? What can you do about your relationship repeat offender?
Here you are again, standing your ground and willing to risk all over this issue that keeps on coming up and simply will not go away. It’s as if your partner refuses to listen, or doesn’t care about your feelings at all, which makes you even more upset, angry, or outraged.
If you can think back to when you were a child, you will probably remember your parents arguing over some of the same issues over and over again, too. Generally, this is where you learn how to act in relationships, and even if you’ve vowed never to be in a relationship like your mom and dad, here you are.
You don’t do it on purpose, but subconsciously, you’ve set your relationship the same way, because it “feels like home.” I know, it’s bizarre, but it’s perfectly normal.
Once you realize this, though, you can choose to approach the relationship repeat offender scenario differently. When you see this issue coming up and feel your anxiety building, you can remember what it was like watching your parents and choose a different tactic.
What if in your recollection of your parents’ recurring argument, if you could go back in time and play the part of either of your parents, how could you have done it better? This may give you an idea of what you might try differently in the present.
Taking this momentary reflective pause gives you a chance to apply a new approach to the scenario as an alternative to just launching into your normal responsive reaction when you’re triggered (and you already know what to expect from that), thereby interrupting the old pattern.
When you try a different approach, you open up a world of possibilities for a different outcome, a better result from your previous style of approaching this issue. Everything is not always black and white, and you’d be surprised how much closer you and your partner could be if you throw in a dash of tolerance or compromise into the mix.
If your first line of defense is to post up and ready for battle (or flee) this is learned behavior which you have embraced as a survival skill, but really, you are far better than that. In every relationship, there needs to be a degree of openness, honesty, and vulnerability.
By taking a different approach and allowing other possibilities, you may have eliminated the relationship repeat offender altogether. You have the power to do this.
If you really want to grow in love and compassion in your relationship, you must be willing to lay down your sword and shield, be present and stay in the game. If your normal response is to withdraw or leave the room, stay and play it out. This is your life we’re talking about.
I know you’ve probably heard it before, something like,
You have to love yourself before you can truly love anyone else.
As ridiculous as it might sound, it’s true. If you’re constantly looking for acceptance or approval from your mate, you will be periodically (or continually) fighting for validation. If you are full of love for yourself, you don’t need validation as much from your partner, or anyone else for that matter. Sure, it’s nice when you are recognized, complimented, or even applauded, but you don’t need it because you are in such a good, loving space regarding yourself.
This also changes the way you view disrespect from your partner (or anyone else for that matter). If someone disses you, and you have a healthy love for yourself, you can simply shrug it off as no big deal, and have compassion for whoever verbally assaulted you, because you realize they are acting out of their own discontent and you can have compassion for them, for they are only doing the best they can with what they have (as are you).
Love yourself. And the next time you get triggered and feel a battle coming on, put down your weapons, stay in the game, take a breath and ask yourself, “How could I do this better?” Then, try something different.
See what happens when you allow infinitely new possibilities to unfold in the loving space you chose to inhabit and share with your partner.
Living life is all about advancing, growing and changing. Not settling for mediocrity, nor staying in the same place. Real life is about transitioning from one stage to the next, making the necessary adjustments along the way, and relationships come and go, though some remain.
As you move through this life, you will encounter and bond with people along the way who will vary in significance. You may develop deep relationships which serve you in the deepest, most meaningful ways. You would like to believe that people who play such a key role in your life today will be there tomorrow. Yet in many cases, this is not meant to be.
The best lives are built on a foundation of growth and change, and sometimes, the people who mean the most to you today may not be suitable for the path you are destined to follow. Everyone has their own journey; some relationships can be sustained longer than others.
In order to keep growing, changing, and continuing on your sacred journey, you must be able to find comfort in moving on from relationships that no longer serve you, as you move on.
You’ve shared life and love with them, will cherish the memories, carry them always in your heart, and keep moving.
Everything is in divine order, and these people of varying significance were integral to your success and metamorphosis. They were there for you, supported you, cared for you, loved you, and gave you the strength to keep going on.
Returning to places or revisiting people from your past via celebration or reunion brings a flood of nostalgic emotion, instantly taking you back to the moment in time when these moments from your past were so integral to your survival and transition, and you are blessed.
As much as you might want to return to those times, you know you no longer are connected to those people, places, and things, like you were before. You are an entirely different person now, and so are they, living lives so different, each better in your own ways.
Realizing that relationships come and go helps you to appreciate the people who have significance in your life. You are far more appreciative, cherishing and honoring each moment because you know it may not last forever, though it may feel like it in the moment.
When relationships come to us we are blessed, sometimes sharing the most intimate of moments, when relationships go, it can be hard to say goodbye, even lead to heartbreak, or depression, but life goes on.
New people will be attracted to you to help you on your journey, and others will come into your life who will test you, help you to learn, grow, and expand into the best version of yourself.
There will be those who may be on a similar enough path to yours to accompany you for much, if not all, of your journey. These are those, the most special of whom will be there forever.
For those who you’ve left behind, they can live on forever in your memories, in the deepest most precious recesses of your heart, always honored and remembered for their blessing you along the way. In a sense, still encouraging you and supporting your continued growth and transformation from within.
Continue to love and bless them, and they may continue to love and bless you, even though you may never cross paths again, as you live a better life, your best life, and make the world a better place.
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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.
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.
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 heard 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 two 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 ideas, and he or she agrees to honor your perspective if faced with similar circumstances in the future.
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 thoughts 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 by 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. Someday 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.
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.
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.
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.