Category Archives for "Love and Relationships"
There are 10 distinct stages of relationships, and how you handle each stage will make or break your relationship success. The chances are good that you have already failed in both the beginning stages and the later stages, so if you want to make your current relationship or future relationship successful, it is important to understand where you are going wrong.
Stage 1: The Lust Stage
Gaining interest in someone is a stage in itself that could be considered part of the relationship. It is a lust stage where you take interest in someone and what you perceive they could offer you, and during this stage the hormones estrogen and testosterone take front and center stage to turn up the heat.
The only thing you need to do to make this work is pull out your list of must haves and deal breakers (you have one right?) and take a look at the person through a critical eye rather than a hormonal eye. Yes, they may get your juices flowing, but if they don’t have the qualities that you are looking for, or if they have all the qualities you want to avoid, then it is best to lust after them from afar. The lustful feeling will go away eventually and you will be glad that you didn’t get involved with someone who was not going to be a good fit for your life. But, if they fit your list, then you will move on to the next stage.
Stage 2: The Passionate Stage
This is a short stage, but it is important. It is the stage of a relationship where you have intense feelings for someone, so much so that you are willing to do things you normally wouldn’t do and devote all your free time to being with and thinking about them. This doesn’t have to be a sexual stage, although you will likely feel an intense sexual attraction.
The saying ‘love is blind’ was developed from this stage. All your partner’s annoying traits and habits fade into the background as you see their potential, their positive qualities, and their ability to make you feel amazing. The hormones that are being released are responsible for this stage. Adrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine are rushing through you making you feel alive and full of pleasure and keeping your focus on your new partner.
To make this stage work, just enjoy it! There’s not much work involved with you are feeling passionate and in the right place with the right person. You need to enjoy this because you will want to recall this stage later on in your relationship when things get tough to remember those little things that you thought were amazing about your partner in the beginning.
Stage 3: The Attachment Stage
Have you ever heard the mistreated woman say, “I’m in love, I can’t leave him!” Or, how about the man who is being belittled say, “I love her and that’s just the way our relationship is.” Those statements try to make it look like love is the reason for the anger, hurt, or disappointment, but two people in love – real love – don’t have to say those things.
Love is an important part of our lives. It can make us stronger, healthier, and happier – but only if we don’t buy into the myths of what love should look like and, instead, focus on the true elements of love. Following are some common myths about love that need to busted for healthier and happier relationships to occur in your life.
The ‘You Complete Me’ Myth
It seems sweet to say it, but it is actually quite an unhealthy way to think. In fact, this common belief is one of the most devastating beliefs to healthy relationships because it promotes a way of thinking that encourages weakness and neediness in individuals, which makes the relationship suffer.
The need to be clingy, jealous, and controlling all stem from the belief that someone else is supposed to give you something to make you whole, and if they don’t you are lacking something in yourself and in the relationship. The bottom line is that people who think that someone else completes them do not have the self-esteem that promotes true well-being as an individual and as a partner in a relationship.
Other people can make your life better in a number of ways, but they don’t complete you. They don’t magically add something into you by accepting you as their partner. They complement your life, not make it whole.
Two people in love are whole as individuals and as a couple. They each recognize their own value in the relationship and that is what makes the strong and exciting for as long as they are together.
The Fantasy Relationship Myth
Thanks to romantic tales that depict two people in an incredible, passionate, and perfect relationship, a lot of people feel that love has to have a fantasy element in order to be real. That belief creates unhealthy relationships in so many different ways.
For instance, in the relationship one person will hide their true feelings about what they need so conflict doesn’t occur, because conflict doesn’t happen in fantasy relationships. As time goes on, they will start to feel resentful because their core needs are not being met. They start to feel so unhappy that conflict ends up occurring anyway, and it becomes much harder to fix because the time spent in denial has made the hurt deeper and their beliefs about their partner more negative.
In addition, because fantasy-type people don’t exist, it can feel like settling when you can’t find that ‘perfect’ person. When someone feels like they have settled, they will be critical towards their partner and cause tension and anger in the relationship. Someone simply can’t live up to a fantasy that someone else has created because fantasies don’t contain flaws, but humans do.
It is important to keep your expectations in the real world. Expect a person with flaws. Accept your partner for who they are. Forgive mistakes that are forgivable and find ways to make the relationship stronger every day.
Also, remember that in the beginning, your hormones are painting everything in a much better light than other people would see. When you are in the initial stages of attraction, adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin are all released. These hormones cause you to feel an intense amount of pleasure (similar to cocaine!) and keep your focus on the good details of the relationship while lessening the bad. After these chemicals wear off, you will be able to clearly see the good and the bad, not just the fantasy that has been playing in your head. When that happens, real love elements take over to make the relationship last.
These elements include communicating, even in the difficult times, and working on the relationship to stay healthy and strong. That means opening up to your partner and talking about issues you are having. It also means listening to your partner’s issues with an open mind so that you can understand where your partner is coming from and be sympathetic to their concerns and needs.
The Grumpy Old Couple Myth
If a relationship is in trouble, and you are looking for answers, almost every article you read will tell you to work on your communication skills. Actually, even if a relationship is not in trouble, you will still hear how important communication is to get the results you want out of the relationship, such as happiness, support, and satisfaction. But why is communication so important? Or, rather, why is the lack of communication in relationships so devastating to them?
If you do not communicate properly, then misunderstandings are going to happen. This occurs when you say something and the person you are talking to hears something completely or slightly different. I know this has happened to you, and I’m sure you understand how frustrating it can be for a relationship, but if you don’t, let me make it real clear.
When you are not clear with what you want from a conversation or what you are trying to say, you cannot let someone else know what you require of them or what you want them to understand about you and your message. This results in them doing something that you don’t want or reacting in a way that you don’t want, which eventually leads to conflict.
Also, hearing what you want to hear is not going to help you understand what someone is trying to say to you. You may get offended if you don’t understand what they are saying or you may carry out a request in wrong way. This will be extremely frustrating later when the message is made clearer, and you better believe it will feel like a huge waste of time on your behalf. You could have avoided the frustration, and possibly the extra time and energy, by just listening and clarifying the first time you had a conversation.
2. Lack Of Trust
A lack of communication will result in a lack of trust. When you are only willing to give so much information to someone, they have to make up the rest in their mind.
For instance, if you tell your partner that you are going to go out with some friends, but leave key details out, such as where you are going, who you are going to meet up with, and what you are going for, they will have to make up the rest of their story in the mind.
Unfortunately, when people are left to make up stories in their mind, they are not usually full of lollipops and rainbows. Worries and fears creep up, and people tend to imagine unpleasant scenarios. Visualizing unpleasant scenarios results in unpleasant feelings, and eventually conflict arises.
In addition, not giving the details makes it seem like you are hiding something. People who have nothing to hide are open and willing to get detailed about their life and what they are doing.
3. Broken Connection
How does a marriage go from happiness, fun, and intimacy to sadness, anger, and the avoidance of touch? It seems to happen quickly, but the truth is that a series of events over time are what contribute to a bad marriage. The good news is that these things can be addressed, but you have to recognize what they are first.
Problems Go Unresolved
Small and big, all problems should be resolved before you move on to the next day or week in your relationship. Not fixing issues that come up may seem like the easy way out, but all it really does is cause resentment, hurt feelings, and ammunition for future problems. And, each unresolved problem adds up to create more animosity in the relationship, which contributes to the overall poor health of the marriage.
For instance, a wife who feels upset that her husband doesn’t listen to her may brush it off and use the reasoning that he is simply not capable of listening. But, the fact that she is upset demonstrates that it is a core need for her to have her husband to listen to her. That need doesn’t go away just because of an excuse. It lingers in her unconscious and waits for the next time it feels unfilled. Then she becomes even more angry, hurt, and resentful of her husband. The problem grows from an annoyance to a huge issue and that’s when it starts to cause problems in the marriage.
Marriages can be really fulfilling, but, not if you don’t work at them. Everything in life either gets better or worse in some way, and marriages are no different. If you fail to take care of your marriage, it will start to become a drag that makes you feel unhappy and unfulfilled, which will affect every area of your life negatively. So take care of your marriage! Following are some ways to get that happiness back when you’ve been neglecting the marriage for a while.
Start Over Again
No, don’t divorce! Instead, make a date to go out and start fresh with each other. Allow yourself to see your spouse through fresh eyes. Treat it as you would a first date where you are interested in learning more about this person and looking forward to discovering what they have to offer you.
Why do this? Because you have both changed since you first got married. New experiences have shaped you into slightly different people, and you need to reintroduce yourselves to each other in order to start from a place of understanding, compassion, and love. When you understand that your partner may not be a replica of who you married – and that you have changed too, you will have an easier time making necessary changes in your marriage.
Discover What You Need From Each Other
Once upon a time, it seemed that couples really needed each other in life, but now married people are more independent. They don’t necessarily need each other for survival or financial sustainability.
Furthermore, when you first got married, you probably needed each other for various reasons. Maybe one of you had the home and the other one had the confidence, but over time, you have both developed confidence and created a home together, and your needs have changed.
As Dr. Phil points out, there are five categories of needs: emotional, spiritual, social, physical, and security. And fulfilling your spouse’s current needs is important to their happiness and the happiness of the marriage.
Anyone can find a certain level of love. People who lower their standards or accept the first person who comes along can easily get into a relationship. They may even be happy for a while, but soon the relationship starts to crumble and unhappiness sets in.
It takes more effort to find love that lasts. But, it is worth the effort! When you get into a relationship with someone who is your perfect match – or as close to it as possible, then you will have an easier time working through issues and making the love stand the test of time.
Remove Your Limiting Beliefs About Yourself, Love, And Others
I have a friend who runs a blog focused on giving out dating advice. Every day he hears complaints from men and women who cannot find love, and most of those complaints are filled up with limiting beliefs.
What do limiting beliefs sound like? They are beliefs that are not true and they limit you from going after who you want or becoming who you want.
For instance, “I’m the unluckiest person in the world when it comes to love!” is a limiting belief. The person believes that they have no luck in love, which could hold them back from taking action on going after someone because they think they will likely fail in one way or another.
Other limiting beliefs include:
– I am worthless
– Nobody could love me
– I’m not worthy of a decent person
– It’s impossible to find a decent person anymore
– Love is supposed to be hard
– All women are mean and evil
– All men are jerks
– I am incapable of changing myself
By getting rid of limiting beliefs, you will open yourself up to a new world of dating and have an easier time finding love that lasts.
Stop Desperately Needing To Find Love That Lasts
The signs of an abusive relationship are there from the beginning, even though they are more subtle. An abuser needs to trap you before they can show their true cards, but their natural self will shine through enough for you to be able to spot that something is wrong. If you want to avoid an abusive relationship, then you have to know what to watch for before you become too invested in the relationship and have a harder time getting out.
Of course, this means that you have to be completely honest with yourself and view your new partner with the eyes of an outsider instead of getting blinded by love. Always remember that you have to take action on your own happiness in love because nobody else can do it for you.
3 Signs To Watch For In Your Partner
An abuser will blame others for their behavior. “You made me do it!” or, “If you just did it the right way, things would be fine!” These types of ridiculous statements may not be said in the early stages of an abusive relationship, but you will still find yourself being blamed for things that went wrong in a more subtle way. Remember, you are not accountable for their behavior, luck, or life. They are. When they start pointing the finger at you early on in the relationship, then you will know that things are only going to get worse.
An abuser will feel entitled in the relationship. They believe that they are more important than you and will make that known later on the relationship as they look after their needs and expect you to look after their needs, but forget about yours altogether. Early warning signs may be doing less for you than you do for them, feeling they deserve more than you do, or believing that they have a right to something that you don’t. Keep your eyes open for a sense of entitlement.
An abuser will be controlling in the relationship. Their abuse is not just something that makes them feel good, it is a way to control you and how you behave, act, and interact. Early warning signs of controlling are having to know where you are at all times, want to be with you when you go out, or correcting the way you behave. And, an abuser will often physically punish you for behaving in a way they don’t approve of. A shove, an intense grip and shake, or an ‘accidental’ punch to the face.
2 Signs To Watch For In Yourself
A loving relationship should not be full of pain and sorrow. If it is, then it’s time to take action and work on healing the relationship. In fact, your number one goal should be to create a healthy relationship again because it impacts your life in such a profound way. Your career, success, health, other relationships, and everything else will be impacted negatively when your relationship is unwell.
The Hardest Thing To Do Can Also Be The Best Thing To Do
When a relationship is in trouble, most of us cling on to the other person for fear we will lose them. Even though we are arguing or unhappy, we stay close to them and try to remove the risk of separation. But sometimes a separation is exactly what can heal the relationship when love hurts too much.
It’s hard to do. But, giving each other some space does some positive things.
First, space allows seemingly large issues minimize themselves. When you don’t give yourself any space, negative situations are blown up to be huge situations, and the negative emotions grow stronger day by day impacting how you relate to your partner. But, when you get some space from what is happening, you can minimize the importance of those situations and let your emotions cool down so you can get some clarity.
Second, space gives you clarity that what you were doing was not working. When you are caught up in the moment, you will try to do the same thing over and over again in the relationship because your emotions are fueling your decisions. But, when your emotions are allowed to cool down, you can build a new plan on how you need to move forward and take new, more helpful action on healing your relationship.
Lastly, space allows you to re-evaluate your relationship and your role in it. You may find that you don’t want to be in the relationship any longer. But, in most cases, people realize the importance the relationship has on their life and they get a clearer perspective on their contribution to the relationship, their partner’s issues, and what is going wrong in the relationship. This means that when you come back together to work on your relationship, you can come from a place of love and motivation to make the relationship work.
Work On Repairing What’s Wrong
There is something that is not working in the relationship that has led to the state it is in. It could be a lack of trust, lack of communication, too much blame, too much judging, too much controlling, having an emotional disconnection, or having a physical disconnection. Or, it could be a combination of these. The important thing is to be honest about your relationship and the negative cycles you are stuck in.
The single life may sound appealing when your marriage is on the rocks, but the truth is that a happy and healthy marriage is one of the best ways to maintain happiness and health in your life. Having a constant person in your life to get support, contact, and love from will be deeply missed when your marriage goes down the drain. Therefore, if you feel like your marriage is starting to slip, take the time to do something about it. It does take some effort, but it is well worth it in the end.
1. Start To See Things From Their Point Of View
When your marriage is lacking happiness, you tend to focus on what your partner is doing wrong, not what you are doing wrong. This perception can keep the relationship stuck in an unhappy state and, ultimately, progress it to complete disaster. You simply cannot let go of your point of view, which means you will not see yourself as being a part of the problem. That’s why putting yourself in your partner’s shoes is so important. When you can see why they are unhappy in the marriage, you will have a clearer picture of what you need to do in the marriage to start to turn things around.
2. Start To Work On Yourself
Once you see how you are contributing negatively to the marriage, it’s time to start to work on yourself. Don’t wait for your spouse to do it first. That’s a one-way ticket to divorce. Somebody has to make the first move, so swallow your pride and make it you. Once you start to work on yourself, your spouse will take notice that you are actively doing something to save your marriage and be more inclined to also make changes on their end.
3. Don’t Put Down Their Efforts
If you are in a relationship with someone you are attracted to, then you are on the right track to having a happy relationship. But, you are not guaranteed to have a happy relationship. Relationships that are healthy and fulfilling have a few common characteristics about them. The good news is that everyone can make these things a part of their relationship with some effort.
1. Be Honest
Lying about anything is just a waste of time in a relationship. Doing so will always promote unhappiness on some level because those lies stick with you like glue and have a negative influence on how you view your partner and how you interact with them. Therefore, be honest about who you are, what you want, what bothers you, what you love, what you need, and what’s not working for you in the relationship. Honesty is the only way to get what you want out of the relationship and make your true self heard. Honestly also helps you release feelings of anger or guilt so that you can forgive and move on – which is very important if you want to have a happy relationship.
2. Work On Yourself
You can’t change your partner. It’s impossible. They are a human, not a robot that can be reprogrammed with a few pieces of code. They have to feel the desire to change before they will. Therefore, the only thing you constantly have control over is yourself. You can become a better communicator. You can become more compassionate. You can develop a deeper understanding of your partner. Interestingly, when you work on yourself, your partner may start to work on themselves too. They see the changes in you and how you interact with them, which can motivate them to become someone better too.
3. Don’t Allow Any Level Of Mistreatment