Tag Archives: happy relationships

How to overcome insecurity in relationships

 

insecurity

How to overcome insecurity in relationships

A lot of it is made up

Separate what is your imagination and what is reality. When you feel insecure, you will be on high-alert for any possible sign that your partner doesn’t love you. Be willing to detach slightly from this type of thinking as it can increase insecurity in relationships. More often than not, you will find that your fears don’t come true.

Accept uncertainty

You can never have 100% certainty in any relationship unfortunately, so get into the habit of accepting that there is some uncertainty that is just a part of life and a part of relationships. It isn’t something you can control so try to focus on something you have control over instead – like how you behave when you are with your partner. Work on being as confident as possible, even if you don’t feel it inside.

Flexible thinking

You may have a rigid idea of how someone should behave if they love you. When your partner doesn’t act this way, you automatically assume they don’t love you. Be careful as this thinking is terribly flawed. We all show our love in different ways. Learn to relax and accept that your partner may not necessarily show their love for you in the way that makes you feel loved. There are in fact, many ‘languages of love’, such as gifts, quality time, acts of service and so on. Be more flexible in your thinking to help you minimise your insecurity in relationships.

Stop Mind Reading

Be aware when you are making assumptions about what your partner is thinking. Mind reading is an unhelpful thinking style as it is not based on evidence. Make sure you see the difference between what is going on in your mind and the real facts of the situation. Perhaps your partner is thinking the complete opposite of what you are assuming.

Focus on your good points

Remind yourself of all your positive points. Often, insecurity comes from not having enough confidence and self acceptance. Regularly remind yourself of how lovely you are and why anyone would be lucky to be in your company. Really – it’s important to speak to yourself in this positive manner as often as possible.

We can all feel insecure at times. Try not to focus on those negative thoughts that leave you fearful and anxious. Instead focus on what is going well and on what you can control. Remind yourself that you will cope with whatever comes your way. We cannot control other people in our lives, all we can do is control how we think and react to others. Learn to let go and enjoy life more without trying to control everything around you. Go with the flow a little more. Be philosophical and learn to trust the process of life more – that things are unfolding as they are meant to.

Mandy X

 

What makes relationships work

 

happy relationship photo

What makes relationships work

I have often wondered what it is that makes a relationship work. Believe me, I have tried many different strategies to see whether I could come up with a foolproof method in order to be successful in the dating game.

I tried being really nice and keen. I also tried acting disinterested. After a while of internet dating, I upgraded my car and wondered if a nicer, more expensive car might improve my chances. I also moved home during my dating phase into a larger more expensive home. I kept some men guessing and didn’t return their texts straight away. I tried many different scenarios. Unfortunately, each different strategy didn’t produce overwhelmingly positive results and each time I ended up back at the drawing board where I originally started.

All of this made me realise something. Mostly, it’s not about the car you drive or where you live and it’s not about being too nice or treating them mean to keep them keen. What makes relationships work is down to one fundamental thing – how much the other person likes you and wants to be in a relationship. It’s that simple!

If the other person likes you, they will make allowances for many things. If they like you – that is, how you look and they fancy you physically and like your personality, the rest is less important.

You can stand on your head and do cartwheels and give your best impression ever but if the other person isn’t into you, nothing you do will change their mind.

So, the lesson here is – just be yourself!!

Obviously, you may be on best behaviour initially but fundamentally you need to be true to yourself. No one can keep up a pretense forever and you will just make yourself anxious trying to be someone you aren’t. Be confident in yourself and like yourself and others will be inclined to do the same. If someone doesn’t love the true you then it is their loss and this leaves you free to find someone who loves and appreciates just as you are!

Here’s to ‘TRUE LOVE’ – being true to yourself in love xx

Mandy X

How to attract a healthy relationship

 

happy healthy relationship

How to attract a healthy relationship

I have had awful relationships in the past. There seems to be a slightly dysfunctional part to me that assists in focusing my ‘relationship radar’ in the wrong direction. I have had relationships with people that have been controlling and abusive – emotionally and mentally. My own needs and wants have been completely unimportant in my pursuit of love and acceptance – and that was my first big mistake.

I have always had to work at my self worth and there have been many times in the past when I have felt grateful for any small amount of affection and love. The reason for this is that I haven’t loved myself enough. I have never felt worthy of love and have felt inherently unloveable.

My messages to myself were that I was lucky to have attention from someone else and that they were doing me a huge favour. Entering a relationship with this type of inner dialogue was bound to lead to an unequal dynamic where I tried too hard and ended up with a complacent partner.

Once I started seeing myself as a valuable person who would be an asset in someone one else’s life I began to feel that I deserved love and attention. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and changing my behaviour in order to attract more healthy relationships. Here is some advice from my own experiences:

  1. See yourself as a ‘prize’. Ensure that you think highly of yourself…always – wear your invisible crown at all times.
  2. Don’t allow a pattern of neglectful behaviour from your partner. Everyone slips up now and then but if there is a lack of respect that continues – you need to nip it in the bud.
  3. Be assertive and ask for what you want. Part of honouring who you are consists of asking for what you need. Don’t expect the other person to automatically know – tell them.
  4. Trust your gut instincts. Sometimes we so desperately want love and begin ignoring the warning signs; Keep your wits about you and don’t ignore warning signs. Your inner wisdom will always try to tell you – tune in to it.
  5. See yourself as an equal in the relationship.
  6. Don’t expect your partner to meet all of your needs – make sure you have a varied and interesting life away from your partner.
  7. Keep your friendships going – they can sometimes last longer than romantic relationships do. Never neglect your friendships.

The more you respect and love yourself, the healthier your relationships will be. Focus on all that is good about you, remind yourself regularly of your strengths. There is someone out there for you who will not expect you to change and will adore you, warts and all.

Mandy X

 

Ground rules for healthy relationships

 

release photo

Ground rules for healthy relationships

  1. I will face my emptiness – I don’t expect you to fill my gaps and be everything to me.
  2. I will trust (and tell you when I don’t).
  3. I will be there – you can count on me to be reliable.
  4. I will tell you if I am leaving the house/coming home…I will try not to be mentally absent from the relationship.
  5. I will attempt to communicate my thoughts and feelings as far as I am able to and will do my best to express myself with sensitivity.
  6. I will be vulnerable with you as often as I can. This fosters intimacy and trust.
  7. Sometimes we will agree to disagree and accept that this is okay for both of us.

Finally, I will do my best to take responsibility for my actions, to apologise when I am in the wrong and to work for the good of the relationship rather than to play unhealthy games when I don’t feel like communicating.

I will be receptive to giving and receiving.

The above are great guidelines for a happy, healthy and rewarding relationship.

Mandy X

Thoughts on marriage and divorce

 

marriage photo

Thoughts on marriage and divorce

I have never been married. Not that I have ever been against marriage but I have never felt the urge to marry anyone. I honestly don’t believe that marriage strengthens or weakens a relationship – if it is the right relationship, it will last regardless. I am also not idealistic enough to buy into the idea of “till death do us part”.

In some ways, marriage causes more problems than it solves and I have come across many people who were doing just fine together until they married each other. Go figure!

Many reasons for divorce can be positive. Gender roles have changed dramatically, eroding the traditional structure of marriage and creating conflict. There is more equality between males and females and people are living longer. Many relationships now are more than just a ‘romantic pairing’, it has become a transaction. As long as each person’s needs are being met, the relationship continues. When one or both people begin to feel misunderstood or alone on the relationship, the marriage transitions into a restless zone.

When costs go up and rewards decrease, the future of the relationship is in jeopardy. So there will always be a threat to marriage with each person asking themselves, “Is this marriage making me happy?”.

Less serious reasons are arising for divorce – such as being boring in bed as opposed to more serious reasons such as infidelity.

Those who survive marriage are emotionally mature and they realise that even someone who loves them to their full capacity can still hurt and disappoint them. They realise that no one is perfect and that marriage involves sticking together through the tough times and emerging stronger and more bonded than before. Marriage is definitely not a ticket to a permanent state of romantic bliss as many Hollywood movies would have us believe.

To me, true love is sticking by someone even when the going gets tough as well as making a commitment to support that person and help them achieve their true potential. A friendship that helps you to grow.

Mandy X

 

The most important key to a healthy happy relationship

English: Two chairs that are like separate ind...

English: Two chairs that are like separate individuals, happy to be apart but equally happy to come together, to fit inside each other and create a third identity, a relationship. Version three was a gas. “come and see the house” said Emma. I thought we were in it, but no, we drove through the only snow storm of the year, through a parkland, crossing a bridge over a narrow lake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to build a happy relationship

There are so many factors that make up a successful relationship. I remember learning one theory about the basic building blocks of a good relationship:

Shared values and commitment being the basic foundation with intellectual, physical and emotional compatibility not far behind. I see the value in this theory as the relationship is going nowhere if you are poles apart when it comes to issues like bringing up children, religion, how you see the world and whether you just want a casual affair or marriage.  The above concepts can be compared to being in the driver’s seat with the key in the ignition.

When it comes to navigating successfully, (driving the ‘car’), communication,compromise and consideration play an important role. Selfish people who rarely give back to the relationship tend not to enjoy successful happy relationships. Think of a relationship as a ‘love vessel’. It starts out empty and the more you both put in, the more there is to take out. If no one is putting anything in, the love vessel will be empty and the relationship will die out. A friend recently likened a relationship to a room full of burning candles. Each time there is a problem or a ‘knock’ the the relationship, a candle goes out. If this happens enough times, the room will go dark and the relationship will be over – the love will have been extinguished.

Ultimately though, the true key to a happy relationship above all else is self love and acceptance. When we search outside of ourselves for love, safety, security, acceptance, relief from loneliness or whatever else it is that you think a relationship will provide for you, you dilute your personal power to provide these things for yourself. As long as the expectations exist that a relationship will fulfil our emptiness and protect us from anxiety, loneliness and the stress of life – we will continue to search and feel disappointed when we don’t find it. No one can give us safety, security or permanent happiness. If they tell you they can, it will be on their terms and that isn’t freedom.

Be realistic in your expectations of what a relationship can offer, such as companionship, laughter and shared experiences but do not expect a relationship to be able to fill internal voids. This is when resentment sets in. When you understand where the boundaries lie between self fulfilment and fulfilment from a relationship, everything starts to work smoothly.

Mandy X

 

 

What happy couples don’t do…

Happy couples

Happy couples

 

Some couples seem sickeningly happy. Holding hands and gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes. So what have they got that we don’t? Why do they seem to fit so well together? Is it because they are ‘soul mates’, if such a thing exists, or is it their attitudes that make the difference? The truth is – it’s a bit of both. The “soul mate” bit is harder to control but the attitude part is something we can all influence. Here are common behaviours that happy couples don’t engage in that makes their relationships better…

1) Happy couples aren’t jealous or possessive of each other

A little bit of jealousy can be a good thing. It’s nice to know that your partner loves you and wouldn’t necessarily want to share you. When this healthy jealousy crosses the line is when one partner starts checking up on the other. Checking mobile phones, Facebook or emails is not the way to go if you want a happy relationship. Suspicion breeds mistrust and the cycle only worsens. If one person in the relationship wishes to cheat, they will find a way to do it. Relax and trust that your partner loves you. Innocent until proven guilty is the right approach.

2) Happy couples don’t regularly criticise, undermine or insult each other

Verbal abuse is something that I come across often in my job as a counsellor. Once a couple become more relaxed with each other, a nasty toxic side emerges sometimes. Comments such as “can’t you do anything right” or “how many times do I have to tell you?”. These kind of comments wear a person down and erode the love. Whilst it’s okay (and even normal) to get angry and frustrated in a relationship, there are healthy ways to express this. Insults and criticism break a relationship down. A strong character will eventually leave a relationship like this. Someone with less inner strength and confidence may stay but will end up a ‘shell’ of their former self. Emotional and verbal abuse is insiduous and is also, sadly, very common.

3) Happy couples don’t ignore the relationship

It’s easy to put a relationship behind work and other commitments but it won’t promote a happy, strong relationship. Spending too much time apart or regularly putting the relationship on the back burner to pursue work goals or other interests will eventually effect the relationship negatively. Happy couples know where they need to put effort in and they rarely allow their other half to feel second best and ignored. Of course, life has its ups and downs and at times, other areas of life need extra attention but happy couples know where their true happiness lies and they always make time for their relationships.

4) Happy couples don’t compare themselves to others

Happy couples are quite content with where they are in life. They don’t worry about who is buying a home, getting married or having babies amongst their friends. They understand that each couple is unique and has their own time span for life events. As long as they are both happy with their progress within the relationship, that is all that matters.

5) Happy couples don’t avoid conversation

If there’s something on their minds, it gets spoken about. Communication is key in a happy relationship and close couples spend a lot of time chatting about their dreams and goals. They readily talk about the state of their relationships and speak about their needs. They don’t make assumptions, instead they ask their partner if they feel they may have misunderstood. Assumptions can lead to misinterpretations which can lead to resentment, a decline in communication and the eradication of intimacy and closeness. Any issues are ‘nipped in the bud’ before they grow out of hand.

6) Happy couples don’t avoid physical intimacy

Part of feeling close and connected is physical intimacy. There is an exception to this rule however. There are some couples (in the minority) who really don’t want sex or miss it. When BOTH people are happy with the situation, happiness can thrive. I am mainly referring to couples where one person wants sex and the other doesn’t. The person who wants physical intimacy will have to suppress some of their needs in order to function well in the relationship. Long term this can lead to problems.

7) Happy couples don’t pick their partners for the wrong reasons

I see it all the time. Clients tell me that they married their partner because they were getting older and felt it was the right thing to do at the time. Some have chosen their partners to gain recognition, status or wealth. Inevitably, these relationships are never as happy as those where two people are alike and really enjoy each other and share similar values. When choosing the right partner, ask yourself whether you miss that person when you aren’t with them. Whether life would be empty without them to share it with. Can you just ‘be’ in each other’s company and be happy and content? Friendship and emotional, intellectual and physical connections are the keys to long lasting happy relationships.

8) Happy couples don’t play emotional games

Happy couples aren’t perfect and there may be some game playing going on but as a rule, both parties try to keep the relationship open and honest. When one person feels hurt, instead of thinking “well, I am not going to phone him/her today just to teach them a lesson”, they put the incident aside until it can be talked about later. They express how it made them feel and deal with the issue head-on. A healthy and mature way to handle a successful relationship.

9) Happy couples don’t betray trust

Unless you’re into polyamory, having affairs is a no-no for most happy couples. If one person is having a secret affair, it begs the question – is there something lacking in the primary relationship? Boredom, lack of sex and monotony can lead to sex outside of the relationship. Happy couples find ways to keep their sex life fun and interesting and try to make the effort to keep the physical aspect of their relationship alive. They don’t have secrets when it comes to sex with others and wouldn’t consider this if they are happy in their current relationship.

10) Happy couples don’t allow boredom to permeate

Boredom is the enemy of all good relationships. It therefore pays to keep things interesting. Try new things together..go ice skating, bowling, bungee jumping…whatever takes your fancy but be bold and keep novelty in the relationship. Boredom can breed restlessness.

Relationships can be wonderful and a good relationship can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life. Relationships do take effort though and don’t chug along endlessly without some tweaking along the way. Keep the above tips in mind and you’ll already be on the right path to a more fulfilling and rewarding parnership.

Mandy X

 

Men, Women and Sexual Relationships

Men, Women and Sex

Men, Women and Sex

 Men, Women and Sex

When it comes to sex, men and women in relationships really do tend to hold very different perspectives… A woman, in general,  needs to feel emotionally connected to her partner in order to enjoy and want sex. A man on the other hand, is pretty much always up for sex irrespective of emotional closeness.

This is how it usually goes:

There will be disagreement within the relationship or unmet needs on some level. Often, this will cause the woman to detach slightly on an emotional level. This can happen on an unconscious level, rather than a conscious thought process whereby a woman tells herself to emotionally detach. It is often a natural reaction to discord in the relationship. The man will bumble along, oblivious to the inner storm brewing and will pretty much always be up for sex. Men tend to take the relationship at face value whereas women tend to fret and worry in silence.

So when his advances are rejected, he will undoubtedly be surprised and not understand where this has come from. I have often had couples see me for therapy and after the first session, the husband is expecting physical intimacy afterwards. Many don’t seem to understand that the longer the difficulties have been going on in the relationship, the longer it will take before they can meet happily in the bedroom again.

Men – if you want a partner that is interested in sex consistently, make sure that her emotional needs are being met. Connect with her, check how her day has been. Buy flowers or something similar..women like to feel wanted and cared for in between sex sessions, so to speak.

Some men are not affectionate, do not connect on an emotional level (sadly, some don’t know how to) and then expect sex on tap. This doesn’t mean that what men are doing is wrong, it is just that it is a different approach and it is one that doesn’t work well with women.

Men can easily separate sex from other areas of life whereas women tend to become emotionally attached – it is more of a holistic approach. A package that includes, physical, mental and emotional. All three areas need to be attended to.

I am sure there would be many more happy couples (getting a lot more sex!) if they paid more attention to the different approaches when it comes to sex.

Mandy x