Relationship Advice and Perspective

silhouette of couple

“Everyone wants to be loved.  But first we must make ourselves lovable.  We must prepare ourselves to be loved.  We do this by becoming ourselves loving, disciplined human beings.  If we seek to be loved – if we expect to be loved – this cannot be accomplished, we will be dependent and grasping, not genuinely loving.  But when we nurture ourselves and others without a primary concern for finding reward, then we will have become lovable, and the reward of being loved, which we have not sought, will find us.” -The Road Less Travelled

 

As far as relationships go…  I don’t know about you, but when I look at the people I know in relationships in my own life, there are a lot more examples of what not to do than there are of happy, healthy relationships.  I think this will make a good starting point to explain what not to do.

First off, I believe to have a successful relationship you must first master the one thing you can control, that being yourself.  By this I mean you need to have a high level of self-awareness.  You need to be able to manage your emotions and you must first be happy alone before you are capable of being happy with someone else.

Often times people are lonely and not happy with the way their lives are, so they look to a relationship as the absolute solution to all of life’s problems.  They are under the false belief that finding a boyfriend/girlfriend will suddenly make them happy forever.  Anyone who’s been in  a relationship before can tell you that’s certainly not the case.

Maybe in the beginning when you first meet someone they’re new, and exciting.  You’re attracted to them so you project all sorts of positive characteristics onto them, which they may, or may not possess.  You create blind spots to any negative characteristics they may demonstrate.  You apply self-serving meaning to everything they do and say because you are attracted to them and want so badly for them to be your perfect match.

But all the delusions fade after a few months and reality sets in.  To your amazement, this person was not PERFECT.  Who would have thought?  The point is, don’t let your emotions get the best of you, don’t ever expect anyone to be perfect, and be sure to see people for who they are.  The warning signs are always there and it’s usually obvious if someones intentions aren’t pure if you pay attention, and view their actions objectively.

Try to see people for who they are and not get caught up in what I just described.  This way you can determine if the good outweighs the bad, and if you can be accepting of whatever imperfections they may have.

One of the roots of all relationship issues is insecurity.  If you’re dealing with someone with low self-esteem you’re relationship may be doomed from the beginning.  This is why I believe you need to handle your insecurities while your single and before you try to establish a relationship.  Insecurity leads to a feeling of unworthiness which translates into jealousy in the relationship, constant fear of loss, acting controlling as a result of this fear, attacking your partner because you feel threatened by their looks or achievements, a whole list of things that will inevitably destroy the relationship when your partner reaches their breaking point.

If someone seems jealous or insecure they probably aren’t mature enough for a functional relationship, so you may want to save yourself the trouble.  This has no correlation to age either, you’ll find a huge range of variation in maturity at all ages.  And don’t even begin to think you’ll be able to change them.

You want someone who’s emotionally mature and stable.  Someone who’s on the same path as you, has similar values, goals, and interests.  You’re also going to want to find someone with a comparable level of intelligence to you.

Relationships are work.  They require time and commitment.  You have to acknowledge and accept this before diving in.  There are only so many hours in the day and there’s only so much your mind can handle.  If you’re going to choose to be in a relationship you need to realize you may have to sacrifice time and energy that could have been used for other things you value such as friends, your career, hobbies, and interests.

This isn’t a bad thing, this is the reality of the situation.  If the relationship brings you more joy and fulfillment then it well benefit you.  Balance in life is always important.  You never have to fully sacrifice any of these things to be in a relationship.  You simply have to acknowledge the additional demands on your time and attention.

Water Heart

So far I’ve discussed being careful with your selection and fully aware of the changes you create in your life when entering into a relationship.  It’s important to have standards, to know what your looking for in a boyfriend/girlfriend and never settle for less.  You need to have an abundance mentality in this, and all areas of your life.  There are plenty of people out there and if things don’t work out with that one specific person you’re currently interested in, there will always be more who come along over time.  Never become too concerned with the outcome when things are in the early stages.  It only makes you nervous which will hurt you more than it will help you.

Back to insecurity…  You will always need time to yourself, time with friends, and time away from the relationship.  Make sure the precedent is set for this early on.  I’ve seen friends get so caught up in the early stages of a relationship that it becomes normal to constantly be with their new boyfriend/girlfriend and when they’re apart, constantly texting or calling one another.  It creates this desperate co-dependency dynamic that will eventually drive you crazy.

Everyone needs their personal space.  No matter how much you care about someone, being constantly harassed with text messages and phone calls is a huge turn off.  This behavior is often times driven by insecurity and a lack of trust.  No matter how tempting it may be, do not allow yourself to get caught up in this type of behavior early on in a relationship.  You will thank yourself later on and if you actually like the person, they’ll probably be around longer if you can avoid this.

Another major issue I’ve seen quite frequently is when a relationship begins to fall apart, or when someone is being mistreated, they hold on in denial because they’re afraid of being alone, or that they’ll never be able to find someone better.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  These are just negative limiting beliefs that will lead to you enduring more abuse than you ever should have to, until you finally reach your breaking point.  Once you reach your breaking point, the level of damage done will more than likely impact future relationships in a negative way.

This is another widespread problem I’ve noticed over the years.  People have negative experiences and unknowingly carry the burden of their past relationships with them, even into new relationships.  If you’ve been through hard times you need to make peace with them within yourself, find the lessons to be learned, forgive yourself and those involved, then move on.

doug funny and patty

It’s so frustrating to meet someone who seems great, but they’re afraid to open up because they’ve been hurt in the past.  Or someone who gets weird and self sabotages a relationship as a defense mechanism to avoid the vulnerability of getting hurt.  Unfortunately, many people walk around with these sort of tendencies totally unaware of them and they become frustrated blaming it on everyone they meet.  (Common theme throughout all my posts; take responsibility for yourself).

If you become the things you’re looking for in a potential partner you will have a much greater chance of finding someone who also possess these traits.  If you take the time to preselect someone who is truly good for you, meets your standards, and is on the same path as you are, you will be on track to having a healthy, loving relationship.  The problem is most people aren’t awake.  They aren’t self-aware, they avoid responsibility, they don’t learn from their past mistakes, and they allow old wounds to remain open for years.  They act out of jealousy, desperation, neediness, and fear.  If any of these emotions are involved with leading you into a relationship you’re creating a recipe for disaster.

Dating and looking for an ideal girlfriend/boyfriend can be frustrating at times since anything of significant quality tends to be rare, but be persistent and eventually you’ll find what you’re looking for.  If you’re single and looking, in the mean time keep developing yourself, your life, your emotional intelligence in preparation for the day you do find someone worth your time.

That’s it for today.  Any questions or comments?  Get at me here or on Facebook/Twitter.  Or shoot me an email if you prefer.

For more on relationships check out this post at SoLongMediocrity.

Hope everyone has a great week!

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Andy RandonRelationship Advice and Perspective

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