Tag Archives: relationships

How to have a successful relationship

happy man and woman photo

How to have a successful relationship

Stop scoring points

A successful relationship always involves acting with integrity, Even if your partner doesn’t. Respond in the best possible way and treat them as you would wish to be treated. Stop keeping score as this leads to resentment. Communicate about what isn’t working rather than using this resentment to get back at the other person in order to even the ‘playing field’.

No game playing

They didn’t test, so I not going to text them either. This is short lived nonsense that will only temporarily make you feel better. Act as you wish to continue in the relationship. Game playing is the beginning of the end if it becomes a habit in the relationship and it reduces trust.

Be honest and open

Speak up when you feel the need. Talk about what’s on your mind as it fosters intimacy and a stronger bond. Be human. Be vulnerable. Take that risk for excellent rewards of a successful relationship.

Communicate as much as possible – don’t suppress

If something bothers you don’t let it fester. Pick the right moment and clear the air. Try to communicate regularly and dissipate any inner tension in doing so. You will feel closer and do better as a couple in the long run.

Pick your battles

Not every indiscretion needs to become a point of conflict. Decide on your boundaries and your ‘deal breaker’ areas and stick to those. Regular bickering and arguing ruins relationships.

Don’t try to change the other person’s fundamental characteristics, personality traits

If they are outgoing and lively, let them be that way even if that’s not how you behave. Stifle someone and you suppress their spirit and dilute their essence and they will end up resenting you for it. Give them freedom to be who they want to be and they will love you more for it.

Treat each other with respect

When respect goes you may as well give up. Respect means you still honour that person and don’t want to hurt them. When respect goes, the gloves are off.

Be assertive, don’t use passive aggressive tactics

Ask for what you want – don’t expect the other person to guess if you have not explicitly told them. Use assertive script to get your needs met: “when you….I feel…so what I’d like is…”

Using this format fosters cooperation rather than a defensive reaction.

Always work towards the ultimate goal of the relationship – to be close, intimate and best companions

When you feel the urge to do something that might damage the relationship, ask yourself if that action will contribute to a happy healthy relationship or not. Use this to guide your behaviour.

Healthy happy and successful relationships are within the reach of all of us. Tread carefully and be thoughtful and love can be yours forever.

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

 

What’s your love language?

 

love language photo

What’s your love language?

We all have different ways of feeling loved. Some of feel loved when our partners spend quality time with us, some of us prefer it when our partners do things for us – like cook us dinner or take us somewhere nice…. our preferred love language can cause problems when we automatically assume that our partners feel loved in the same way we do.

Just because you like gifts to feel loved and special might not mean that your partner feels as loved when you buy them a present. So, expressing your own love language to your partner and finding out what their preferred love language is can go a long way to improving the longevity of your relationship.

 How to spot your partner’s love language

Observe their behaviour – how do they express love and appreciation to others?

What do they request most – this will show you what they prefer. Do they ask for help with activities, chores around the house or do they harp on about going on a holiday with you?

The love languages

1) Acts of service

Getting breakfast in bed, mowing the lawn, fetching the dry cleaning…these are all examples of acts of service.

2) Quality time

This involves spending time together where you are focused on each other. It doesn’t count if you are in the same room but ignoring each other.

3) Gift giving

Gift giving and receiving is extremely symbolic.All gifts have an emotional value.

4) Physical touch

Affection, sex and touching can all help bond a couple together.

5) Words of affirmation

Some of us need to hear the words “I love you” as well as positive verbal affirmations about how much we mean to them, how important we are.

Relationships take work and the above five love languages can all be used to help a relationship along. Keep in mind all five and make an effort to use them all, especially the main one that you know your partner appreciates. The more loved your partner feels the more you will receive back too.

Mandy X

More info: Gary Chapman – The Five Languages of Love (Book)

Photo by Glenn Loos-Austin

arguing couple

Power struggles in relationships

 

Power Struggles in Relationshipsman and woman arguing photo

Relationships are rarely constantly equal as they progress. At times, one person will seem stronger and more in control than the other and this can change further down the line. What causes power struggles and what can be done to maintain as much equality as possible?

From what I have seen when dealing with couples, it is the person who tries to control and be assertive and remind everyone that they make the rules that is the insecure one in the relationship.  Those who lack confidence believe that they have limited effect on others and doubt their ability to be in control. This is why they behave aggressively and make rules for others to follow. This is how they try to assert their authority and feel powerful.

The struggle usually starts in childhood. Powerful, unwielding parents can create feelings of powerlessness in their children. These children then find ways to compensate for this feeling of powerless but go about it in ways that are often unproductive and anti social. These children often come from emotional chaos where they were unable to express themselves in a safe and balanced environment. As a result they do not learn to essential skills of being assertive and getting their needs met in mature effective ways. From childhood through adulthood, their sense of power is partly shaped by recognizing that they can alter the mood of those around them, this encourages subtle emotional manipulation – something they have learned a survival tool as a child but that no longer works as an adult in adult relationships. To prove his or her power, this tyrannical adult may overpower the relationship’s emotional energy.

Now, imagine your relationship as a see-saw. If both partners understand their power (or are empowered), the see-saw stays relatively level and balanced. But if one person in the relationship has brought in a feeling of powerlessness, he or she may try to  compensate by baring down on the see-saw, shifting his or her weight, and perpetually uprooting, destablilizing, ungrounding his or her partner on the other side. At best, the partner will be perplexed but willing to go along with these demonstrations of power. Just know that the longer you go without recognizing you’re a force and continuing to be an emotional dictator, the more likely your partner will be to retreat. Ultimately, this manifestation of your attempt to feel powerful will be to drive your partner away. 

Give up the power struggle by realising that you are no longer that powerless child and that there are very different dynamics in existence in an adult relationship is the first step. Understand that your partner is with you because they choose to be and that there is no need to try manipulate and control them in order to get them to do what you want. You are equal adults now and all that is needed is effective communication. Learn how to express yourself in positive ways that allow your partner to listen to you rather than to tune you out.

Mandy X

 

Photo by MCAD Library

happy couple hugging

Relationships – nurture them for contentment

couple hugging photo

Relationships – nurture them for contentment

Relationships are the heart of happiness. We all need people in our life, to share experiences and feel connected. Social research has found “rich and satisfying relationships” are the only external factors that will move your happiness score from “quite happy” to “very happy.” A common mistake we make is to get so busy pursuing happiness that we fail to give our best time, energy and attention to our relationships.

Remind yourself daily that happiness is in the connections you make, in the friendships you keep and in the love that exists between others.

If you want to be happy, be a friend. Identify your most important relationships, and think about how you can be a true friend to your partner, to your children, to your parents, to your colleagues, to your clients, etc. Another way to increase your happiness score is to make a conscious commitment to being the most loving person you can possibly be. Your intention to love and be loved is the absolute key to happiness. Love is the most fun you can have with anyone. In the final analysis, there is no difference between happiness and love.

Sometimes we just need a gentle reminder of what’s important in life.

Mandy X

Photo by Marina Aguiar Araujo

 

couple in love

What is love?

 

love photo

What is love?

I recently came across a love report from 2009 and thought I would share some of the interesting facts that have emerged from this report called “Lovegeist”. What is love exactly?

Interestingly, the report states that men are more romantic than women and those that have been in love at least once tend to be less romantic than someone who has never been in love.

Possibly people who’ve loved and lost have been put off after being hurt, or after hurting someone else. Or it may be that more romantic people are more idealistic, and therefore less likely to meet someone who fulfils their higher expectations. The report also mentions that marriage is on the decline.

Although 95.2% said they wanted a long-term relationship, only 53.7% said they wanted to get married (although only 11.0 % said they didn’t). The main reason for getting married was to prove commitment to one another.

Looking for “the one”

Single men believed in The One. They held a general belief that there would be one person with whom they would have a deeper connection over and above all possible others. Married men disagreed that there was just one person right for them.

Single women believed that it was dangerous to think that there was just one person out there for them. The married women agreed, saying that different people are right for different stages in your life.

This reflects the aforementioned finding that single men are the most romantic, and women are more pragmatic. So, perhaps for women, the teenage holiday fling with the fisherman who speaks no English inevitably gives way to the kind, reliable, but less physically exciting man with stable employment, whereas men continue to believe they could be happy with that Russian tennis player 30 years their junior.

Gender Differences

Men are significantly more likely to say “I love you” first. Previous research shows that, overall, women are more likely to say “I love you”. However, saying it first is a greater risk as it may not be reciprocated. Men tend to be greater risk takers. It may equally be because men are more romantic, so more likely to say “I love you” for the first time on a beautiful evening after a great dinner. Other results showed that old fashioned values persist. Typical gender-specific manners are important. Women are more likely to be attracted to money, and men reflect this by being more likely to pay for a first date.

Turn ons and turn offs

Women – top turn ons

1) Candlelight

2) Flirting

3) Dancing

4) Public affection

5) Thrills

top turn offs

1) Long hair

2) Piercings

3) Sarcasm

4) Tattoos

5) Skinny dipping

Men – top turn ons

1) Flirting

2) Candlelight

3) Long hair

4) Erotica

5) Thrills

top turn offs

1) Sarcasm

2) Piercings

3) Tattoos

4) Boldness/ assertiveness

5) Power

So what is love to a man and a woman? Here are quotes on what people think:

“Small gestures count for a lot…They mean someone’s thinking about you when they didn’t really have to”

“You are the sum of your relationships”

“Love is when everything’s stripped down and you still want to be with them”

“Love is a risk”

“Love is imagining being without her and not wanting to find out what that was like”

“Marriage doesn’t have the meaning it once did”

“I love her more now than I did before we married”

“At different stages of your life, you want something different”

“Marriage empowers you to do things you wouldn’t have done before”

“Love is not a puzzle that slots together. We all need time, work and effort”

In all aspects of love, there is one central theme. Love means different things to different people.

Mandy X

10 Things You Should Never Give Up For A Relationship

 

 

Young Couple in Relationship Conflict

Young Couple in Relationship Conflict (Photo credit: epSos.de)

 

10 Things You Should Never Give Up For a Relationship

 

1. Your self-esteem / confidence / self-belief

Some relationships bring out the best in us, others leave us feeling unworthy and unsure of ourselves. If you find you are full of self-doubt and are less confident than you were at the beginning of the relationship it might be time to analyze where this decrease has come from. A healthy relationship should provide a solid base from which to explore the world and achieve the best you possibly can. If your relationship is keeping you ‘small’ and diluting your strengths it’s a warning sign to take notice of.

2. Your independence – personal and financial

Being in a relationship can be a wonderful, loving experience. It’s always important to maintain your independence and resist morphing into one mutual identity. See your friends; enjoy interests that don’t always include your partner and keep a separate bank account for yourself. Independence is healthy and always helps you feel you are in the relationship because you want to be not because you need to be.

3. Your right to decide for yourself – freedom of choice

Never give up your opinions and freedom of choice to keep another person happy. Compromise is important and a win-win situation is the ideal outcome, but be wary of partners that try to control you. Whether it involves negative comments about the way you dress, the way you cook and/or clean the house or the friends you have – choose for yourself and do not be manipulated into doing things you don’t agree with in order to keep the peace.

4. Your right to be you

Protect your fundamental characteristics and personality traits and never give up the ‘essential you.’ We all change to a certain degree in relationships but be careful that you don’t try too hard and end up losing yourself in the process. Those who love you will adore the real you and all your imperfections. Constantly trying to change yourself will erode your confidence and self-esteem and it can be demoralizing.

5. Your happiness

There are times when our fear of being lonely is bigger than our wish for genuine happiness. As a result we remain in relationships that don’t bring out the best in us. We stay in lack-luster relationships because we fear the unknown and ultimately do ourselves a huge disservice. You only have one life – try not to waste it in a relationship that makes you miserable. Give up a relationship that undermines your sense of happiness and fulfillment during a long-term basis. If you feel unappreciated and unhappy, ask yourself why and assess whether the relationship you are in has anything to do with your sadness.

6. Your dreams and goals

Never give up your dreams for the sake of a relationship. A relationship should be a spring board from which to chase your dreams rather than a place that keeps you chained and disillusioned. Jealous and/or insecure partners try to stifle a creative, passionate mind and keep their talented partner where they feel they can maintain control. If this sounds like your relationship, realize this is unhealthy. Happy relationships encourage adventure and help the people in it to move forward and progress rather than stagnate.

7. Existing relationships that are important to you

Good friends can be hard to find and if you have a few wonderful and loyal friends, never give them up for a relationship. Any partner that expects you to give up friendships for him or her is selfish and likely controlling. A healthy relationship allows friends and family to happily co-exist alongside it. See it as a warning sign if your partner tries to isolate you from your friends and family.

8. Your self-respect

In our pursuit of love we can sometimes cross self-respecting boundaries that we wouldn’t normally consider crossing. Whether it involves engaging in behaviors that you find demeaning or whether you allow yourself to be treated in a disrespectful way, this is another sign that the relationship is not good for you. Never give up your right to be treated with respect and decency. If someone crosses this line you should get rid of him or her right away. If you allow this treatment to continue it will become worse and you will end up despising yourself for allowing it.

9. Your identity – don’t morph into your partner too much and lose yourself in the process

When we immerse ourselves in a relationship, we tend to take on the interests and habits of our partners. There is nothing wrong with this process as ‘mirroring’ helps us to bond and feel more in tune. The problem comes in when we do not have a strong sense of self to begin with and we take on too many characteristics of our partner instead of developing our own identity. If we are too influenced by our partners we may stop making decisions for ourselves and veer off the path of true self-discovery.

10. Your decision-making power

Think of decision making as a muscle that weakens if you don’t use it often. The more we don’t defer in decisions from our partners the less likely we will be to make future decisions and think for ourselves. This doesn’t mean you have to make every decision alone but be aware of habits you may have of double checking with your partner before making a decision – especially if it is for something fairly inane, such as a small household purchase. Think for yourself and keep making decisions, no matter how small. This helps to maintain your sense of individuality as well as your ability to stand on your own two feet.

Relationships can be heaven but they can also be hell. Take regular health checks on your relationship and use the above pointers to guide you through the process of assessing how happy and healthy your relationship is.

Mandy X

Source: Original article written by Mandy published on Lifehack.org

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/10-things-you-should-not-give-for-relationship.html

 

Valentine’s Day

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909.

Scan of a Valentine greeting card dated 1909. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Valentine’s Day. Happy every other day too for that matter. Why should one particular day be singled out for love and happiness? Valentine’s day highlights love for the day…the one you love, the one who loves you. It also highlights when love is wrong. Valentine’s day can cause anxiety for those in unhappy relationships as they are reminded of happy loved up couples. This highlights the lack of love and goodwill in their own lives. Many declare that they do not like Valentine’s Day and try to minimise the meaning and significance of the day, all the while secretly hoping that their partner really will make an effort and send them flowers, chocolates and/or a cheesy romantic card.
Those who don’t have a partner are forced to remember that they are alone and for many this can trigger a sense of failure. A feeling that they are somehow unworthy of love. Why can’t they find anyone? What’s wrong with them?
So, do I think Valentine’s Day is a good thing? Not on your nellie. I think it is overhyped and over commercialized. A good reason for the shops to make more money. Love is an all year round thing and the concept of having to show love on a specific day plus the implications and assumptions that remain around behaviour on this day is ludicrous in my eyes.
Of course, I do see the fun side – the light hearted side. I don’t want to come across as an old cynic. A celebration of any kind is a good thing but when it lends itself to creating anguish for those without and the emotions associated with feeling ‘on the outside’ looking in, I wonder about it’s general message.
In fact, the irony is that I have seen many people break up as a result of Valentine’s Day. One partner perceives a lack of effort from their other half and decides that they can’t really be loved at all if this is all their partner is willing to do to express their love. I have also witnessed couples split up because one person has been triggered by Valentine’s Day into analysing the state of their relationship. Having given it some thought, they have decided that they should be feeling that gushy infatuation they first felt at the start of the relationship. They come to the conclusion that the relationship has therefore run its course and promptly start racing for greener pastures.
I have seen more negative outcomes from Valentine’s Day than positive ones. The truly happy couples tend to show consistent love and give as much as they take out of the relationship. When the love is there, days like today don’t really have that much meaning. It is a natural state of being.
Mandy X