Healing Love

Love is who we are, what we are seeking, and how we want to be received. Love is the most simple and most intricately complex aspect of life. Love teaches, love hurts and love heals. Remember to love yourself first.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Relationship Success - What is Required?

This weekend I attended the Florida Marriage and Family Therapy Association Conference and I was reminded, again, about what relationships require to be successful.

1st - When you get into a relationship with someone, anyone, nobody owes anything to anybody else. Your partner does not OWE it to you to be kind and loving, to satisfy your needs - any of your needs. All that he or she has to do is be himself or herself - whatever that is, no matter how selfish it appears to someone else. All you have to do is be yourself, no matter how needy or demanding you appear to someone else.

2nd - Everybody is just looking to be understood, accepted and loved - without being required to change anything at all. We all want to keep things exactly as they are - and then add a person into our life who will just fit in, so that we don't have to change anything.

3rd - What appears to be addictive behavior, destructive or self-destructive behavior, inappropriate behavior, demeaning behavior, masochistic behavior - is all behavior that is designed and intended to be self-soothing - at the moment - although in the long run the behavior may create the opposite of the peaceful, good feelings desired.

4th - In most relationships, couples differ on these 5 different ways of thinking and being - neither is right or wrong, just different:

1. Independence First vs. Togetherness First
2. Present vs. Future Orientation (invest in future first or live for moment first)
3. Degree of Structure (Predictability first or spontaneity first)
4. Style of Reacting to Things You Don't Like (Slow to upset vs. easily upset)
5. Resolving Upset Feelings (Problem solving first or understanding first)

5th - Researchers have discovered that there are specific relationship skills/habits/ways of dealing with upsetting issues and an uncooperative partner - that can predict with 80-90% accuracy whether a relationship will succeed or fail.
It is not about the amount of difference on any of the important issues - but the specific relationship skills with which the differences are negotiated.

6th - The very most important quality that differentiates success from failure in relationships is the quality of disdain, judgment, feeling self-righteous/better than the other, feeling (whether or not you actually say it) just feeling that your partner is wrong/bad/selfish/unloving and you are right/good/giving/loving.
What happens is that if one person is doing something their partner does not like - and the partner becomes judgmental and disdainful, the bad behavior tends to increase and accelerate. The more the person feels criticized, the worse their behavior becomes.

7th - The next most crucial quality/ability/skill is to stand up for yourself, way before anything escalates, but to stand up for yourself WITHOUT PUTTING THE OTHER PERSON DOWN .

8th - And - if the other person does not respond as desired or expected, TO NOT MAKE A BIG DEAL OF IT and to repeat the process again and again and again - not immediately but over a long period of time - having the patience and the belief that eventually things will change, with a soft startup approach, standing up for yourself, and not putting the other person down. Even the most subtle body language, the left lip tilted in disdain, defeats the whole intention you may have of being non-judgmental, the partner feels judged and will react defensively.

9th - So - instead of beating a dead horse with the man or women your have loved, as the horse that just won't die, my educated recommendation is for you to keep examining:

* ways that you expected something from him or her (that he or she was either unwilling or unable to give to you)
* ways that you felt superior to him/her and judgmental of him/her (for his/her selfishness, inability to get close, need to be with strangers, anyone, everyone, need for variety, attraction to others, friendships with others, flirting with others, actually cheating with others, etc.)
* ways that you felt like a victim and could not speak up for yourself or ways that you spoke up ineffectively, with superiority, with neediness, etc.
* relationship skills that you have been lacking and need to learn to create a happy, intimate relationship with the next person

10th - Stop labeling another person or yourself as sick, sadistic/masochistic, giving/selfish. Stop the labels and accusations, especially of yourself and your relationship ability. Study relationship skills, even if it requires taking a weekend workshop about relationships. Then, if you meet a new person who you feel is sick, selfish, or whatever you don't like - either accept him as he is or get rid of him early on.

Relationships require skills that very few of us learn from our dysfunctional families.

What I am realizing is that you may be in an emotionally upsetting state of blame - blaming your partner for hurting you, for not caring enough, and for being able to seemingly move on so easily.

You are also blaming yourself for what you perceive as wasted time (months, years) and being personally "inadequate" and "damaged."

But you don't know God's (or the universe's) plan for you, or the timing. Maybe right now is the time you are finally ready to really learn how to love - yourself first and then another person. When the student is ready the teacher appears. When you are really ready to love, without the expectations and judgment of yourself or of the other, then someone wonderful will appear. That is according to the Law of Attraction.


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