If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, what planet is their relationship on?
John Gray's bestselling book used a planetary analogy to understand relationships. It proved very popular as a way of understanding and interpreting the behaviour patterns that men and women display.
Astrology also uses planets to understand and predict character traits and behaviour patterns. It is an extremely effective tool for analysing relationships. Venus and Mars are not the only planets looked at, although they are important. In total there are ten planets to consider and 12 different signs that each planet could be in. This gives a very high number of possible combinations, which can lead to an insightful and detailed analsis.
One of the reasons astrology is such a useful tool is its neutrality. By describing a relationship astrologically, a distance can be achieved. Difficulties then become a shared problem which could be resolved through co-operation. Identifying the problem as 'We have a Mars opposition' is a much more neutral way of saying 'We argue all the time' or even ' Why do you always argue with me?' What's more, astrology can even help to identify the timing of both good and difficult times. Knowing that things will get better can dissolve a lot of tension.
In any relationship there will be combinations of harmonious and challenging aspects, but there will often be a way of relating to each other that seems to work most of the time. It becomes a habitual way of interacting, the line of least resistance. Sometimes one particular planet provides a dominant theme for the relationship. In effect, it is the planet on which the relationship is based.
It could be the moon, signifying that emotional rapport and domestic compatability are the foundation on which it is based. Or it could be Mercury,indicating that both partners are on the same wavelength, can communicate well with each other and enjoy chatting or even writing to each other. Or perhaps it is the Sun, suggesting compatability at a deep level and that fundamental values and ways of approaching life are in harmony.
Only three examples have been given here, but there are lots more. It can get very complex, but the fundamental principles are simple and can be grasped by anybody sufficiently motivated to understand them.
If you want to understand the dynamic of a relationship, you should first try to understand each person as an individual. Astrology is a great way of doing this. It can help identify what matters most to you. If you are fundamentally an emotional person, emotional rapport will be the most important aspect of any relationship you have. A relationship that is great in lots of other ways, but does not meet this need, will ultimately be unfulfilling. Equally, you may tolerate all kinds of other difficulties if you are in a relationship where you feel a deep emotional connection. Discovering which planet you want the relationship to be on, is crucial. A great relationship on Venus may be fine for some people,but you might personally be happier with one based on the moon.
Astrology is a fascinating subject. After all, what could be more interesting than studying yourself, the person you love and the relationship that you have? It's worth investing some time to understand it yourself, rather than relying on other people's predictions and interpretations. It can be easy to place too much faith in an expert interpretation. There are some very experienced astrologers out there, but you are the most qualified person to understand yourself and your relationship. Astrology gives you the tools to do so in a neutral way, and it's also great fun. So, if you do feel inspired to look at it in more depth, be sure to enjoy yourself whatever planet you are on.
By Elizabeth White
Rabu, 16 Juli 2008
If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, what planet is their relationship on?
Everything was great.
We had been dating for 6 months. We shared the same interests, felt very at ease together, had (often) discussed future plans and had even spent some of the holidays together. Our relationship seemed right on track and just right in general.
Then, without warning, he said he "needs some time to think and figure things out." He stopped calling and rarely returned my calls. When he did, I was often met with silence on the other end of the line. When I asked "what happened", I just got a verbal run around of excuses about how busy he is and/or how much stress he is under right now.
What happened? What did I do? I don't know what to think.
Does the above scenario sound at all familiar? If so, you can relate to being confused and stunned over the sudden change in a boyfriend's/girlfriend's behavior.
Now think about this - What if your relationship wasn't what you thought it was? What if unspoken issues had existed all along? What if there were signs you chose to ignore or just didn't see? Are any of these possible?
This sudden change in a couple's relationship is reported quite a bit by individuals who have just broken up with a significant other. Unfortunately, it leaves the person who has been "dumped" with feelings of low self-esteem, regret, inadequacy and anger.
There is often no real closure, as the couple is never able (willing) to talk through what went wrong or was never right with their relationship.
So, how can you know what the problem was and hope to avoid a repeat of this hurtful experience? You can do this by examining your failed relationship and gaining insight and understanding about what just wasn't right between you.
In order to assist you with this; I am providing a basic framework of the relationship stages a couple must pass through TOGETHER in order to get to a place of shared intimacy and commitment. If either person's feelings change before, during or after one of these stages; it is not necessarily the "fault" of the other individual. It is simply a statement about the individuals' rightness (or not) for each other. It is also a reflection of each individual's relationship readiness and ability to handle long-term, committed intimacy.
How an individual handles their changing feelings and resultant behavior toward the other is a subject for another article.
Relationships have stages. We have all read articles and books by authors who have come up with their own unique number or names for these. I will try to take a very basic approach to this and keep it simple and as universal as possible.
This is the first stage. It is physical, intellectual and emotional - on a very surface level. Girl sees boy and vice versa. They flirt, talk and get a very basic sense of the other. They are usually responding to a physical pull. He/she is cute, funny, charming, interesting to talk to, etc.
Without attraction, first dates wouldn't happen. It can therefore be assumed that the other person finds us attractive if we have gotten to a first date.
In a way, this is the easy one. We are unknowns to each other. Things progress from this point or they do not. Hurt feelings are minimal. We usually chalk up rejection to; "I'm not his type". There is no need to analyze or wonder what went wrong.
If both people feel a strong enough level of attraction continues to exist after a few dates, they usually move along to stage two. However, if one finds the other has unattractive characteristics or behaviors, this can lead to an abrupt change in the relationship.
Remember, these behaviors or characteristics would be ones that would manifest in the very early stage of dating. Some examples: frequently late, never offers to pay, dresses or grooms sloppily, rude to waitress, etc.
In this second stage, couples begin to test out the idea of themselves as a unit. Dating is no longer brand new. It is more comfortable and predictable. Sharing romantic dinners and exciting special interests are typical dates during this new and fun time in a growing relationship.
During this stage, flowers are given for no special reason and loving cards are slipped back and forth with words like "thinking of you". It's a happy carefree time, when lovers tend to idealize, romanticize and overlook that which can be right in front of them. The relationship seems effortless and spontaneous. Affection is shared openly and frequently. One's partner seems perfect. There is rarely conflict during this period. The partners often share the unrealistic belief that their relationship is so special and unique that it will always stay this way.
This stage can last from three or four months up to more than a year. It is actually the shortest stage that any long-term relationship goes through. It is also the one we wish we could hold on to forever and long for when it is gone. This is the stage that love poems speak about. It is also believed (falsely) by many that this is what long-term committed love will always be like.
Many relationships begin to stumble at the end of this period. For that is when reality begins to set in. As partners begin to experience some disagreement, conflict and/or shared challenges- the relationship shifts as do the dynamics between the partners.
Though many relationships move past this stage, a number do not. Why? There are many reasons. These can include:
* lack of readiness for the challenges of the next stage
* issues with commitment and fidelity
* immature beliefs about what relationships should be
* being stuck on an idealized, romanticized notion of love
If one of the partners is not ready for a less than perfect and more demanding stage of love, they will exhibit this in their behavior, language and overall level of openness and availability towards the other.
This is when the couple begins to think more seriously of a future with each other. The focus tends to be; how well do we get along, do we share similar interests and do I want to date this person exclusively?
Growth Through Negotiation
This is a very challenging and growing time in all relationship building. Reality comes into play as the couple settles into the comfort and predictability of their togetherness. Little issues can become blown-up into large conflicts. The individuals begin to compete for their share of control and their place in this growing union. Differences can become highlighted instead of minimized.
This is often the period when couples experience their first fight. Hurt feelings can occur as that once loving and completely accepting other person airs a criticism or voices annoyance or concern. Often, the individuals believe it is the other person who needs to change.
This is where the need for (or lack of) communication, problem-solving and negotiating skills becomes apparent. For without an adequate measure of these, disagreements can break down into screaming matches where insults and recriminations are fired like missiles.
If the individuals can listen, be supportive of each other's feelings, compromise and not lay blame, they have a good chance of working through this stage and achieving a true intimacy. This does not mean they will share all the same beliefs and opinions or that they will necessarily even like the other's view. However, having and showing respect is a cornerstone of a healthy relationship.
Not only will relationships fail without these relationship-building strengths, they can also abruptly end if one of the partners decides that they don't feel the same way about this person in their less than idealized state. The reality may not be to their liking or just something they are not ready for in general. Either way, they will pull back, present differently or disappear without warning. How they handle their changing feelings is further information about their level of relationship readiness and maturity in general.
Intimacy is the reward that is gained when a couple has successfully worked through the difficult last stage of negotiation. It is almost like a new coming together with much greater self (and other) awareness. This new information can work to solidify the union or give one of both individuals enough new information about the other to require a reassessment of their desire to remain together.
Each person looks at the other in their (naked) state and asks; "is this the person I want to be with"? Here their individual differences are highlighted. The early romantic haze has cleared. What they have to offer to each other and to a future life together comes into play.
This is a time when couples often begin to contemplate each other's attributes in a more practical way. They look at the other's strengths and weaknesses. They evaluate each other's potential as a future spouse, parent, provider, caregiver, partner, etc.
Relationships can be tested more during this time. Infidelity is one dysfunctional way that some individuals do this. Often, this leads to the end of the relationship.
When differences can be seen, aired and accepted, the couple has a good chance of moving on together from this place. Essentially, they have decided they want to be with the other, warts and all.
When the behavior of one or both partners change, it is generally because they have made a conscious or unconscious decision regarding the wrongness of the other for them or for the type of relationship they seek.
This is the final stage of relationship building. Once individuals have reached this place, they are ready to cement their bond. While much growth and work will lay ahead in a future life together, they are ready to begin this life soon.
New challenges arise during each stage, and will happen here as well. However, if the couple has successfully worked through the previous stages, they should have many of the tools they need.
The external problems and pressures that come with life will test their resolve and commitment over the years. They may need to reassess, re-negotiate and renew their feelings and commitment. Fortunately, they will be in possession of the basic tools required.
If they choose well to begin with, they should be successful.
As you evaluate your failed relationship, note the stage you were in when the change occurred. Chances are that the necessary level of readiness and maturity was not present in one or both of you. Perhaps one of you decided that this is not the kind of partner or relationship I am seeking.
This new information and insight should help you to choose a future partner who is better suited to you and desirous of the same kind of relationship that you are.
By Toni Coleman
So your relationship has changed over the years since you said "I do" and sex isn't what it use to be. First you should know that this is normal and common place in the majority of marriages. Knowing that you are not alone does not make you feel any better nor does it get you the satisfying sex life that you once had. You simply can't go through the trials of life without changing.
Some men and women feel that if their spouse is not interested in sex, this gives them license to have an affair. Being in a committed marital relationship puts the responsibility on you to improve your marital sex. Though bringing the passion back into your marriage is not a one-way street. At the end of the day, you can only change yourself.
Take a look at your lifestyle first; this will help you determine what needs to change. If your are both so tired from dealing with children, work, money and household chores then no wonder your time between the sheets is a wee bit dull. So you find that you are both working 24 hours a day seven days a week, now you realize that it is time for a break and enjoy each other just like you once did when life was a little more carefree.
One of THE BIGGEST mistakes a couple can make is to not pay for child care, pay for a maid or take little mini vacations, in a nutshell, taking time for each other without all of the stresses of running a home and family. Yes, I can hear you saying that this is costly. Let me put it to you this way, would you rather pay for a maid every now and then to give your wife a break or a Marriage Councilor or worst a Divorce Attorney. I know, not every sexually dissatisfied relationship ends in divorce however a dissatisfied sex life is statistically one of the biggest reasons that people get divorced. So here is a little tip for you to improve marital sex.
Locate a Parents Night out service to care for the children and take your time with each other to do the things that you fell in love with in the first place. Other things that you can do, is to take a little more pride in how you look. Studies show that men respond to visual stimulation so ladies, take head and spruce your self up from time to time. Let's face it, the sweatpants are great for doing chores around the house but when your husband comes home from work, freshen up for him and maybe even make your man melt when he lays eyes on you. Men are not off the hook here either, that extra tire around the waist may need to go. If you've been carrying around too much extra weight since your dating days, maybe it's time to get a Health Club membership. These behaviors happen to all of us, it's easy to fall into a rut; that's ok but if you want more passion, then act like you're dating each other all over again. I can't guarantee that you will get some tonight but you are no doubt on the right track.
Let's not forget about communication. This is touchy though if you have a spouse who is uncomfortable talking about sex. If you choose to put this effort forth, you must bring up this subject in a calm; relaxing environment. Talking about this during a marital argument is a definite no-no. Bringing blame or being defensive won't solve the problem either. Above all be patient with each other, try new things, have a sense of humor and remember to make time for a date night which of course includes time for a spicy, passionate sex life.
Often sex is plentiful just simply boring. It is a challenge for most married couples to add newness. Trying new love making positions or even experimenting with adult sex toys could bring you right out of the rut you are both in. To learn more and to discover free sex tips to improve your marital sex, log on to www.sweetintimacy.com.
©Copyright 2004 Innovative Associates.
All Rights Reserved. Freedom to post this article as free web content is permissible only in it's entirety and must include all links. Content may not be changed.
By Sharon Koenig
This quiz is based on key areas of communication and intimacy in relationships. The easiest way to take the quiz is to print it, so that you can circle your responses and add up the results. Use the scale below to gauge the health of your relationship.
The questions are designed to assess the likelihood of your relationship being a success in the long term. Take the results seriously, but realize that no quiz can take into account everything that may important to you. Please do not feel completely discouraged if you don't score well. Instead, use what you learn from the questions, and let the results motivate you to identify patterns of negativity and areas needing improvement.
Please answer the following questions using the 3-point scale provided. Answer according to how often the experience occurs in your relationship to either you or your partner. For more honest results, take the test alone before comparing results.
1 = Never, 2 = Sometimes, 3 = Always
1 2 3 We speak freely to each other and don't hold back feelings to avoid conflict.
1 2 3 We show each other respect even when we argue.
1 2 3 We settle disagreements by finding common ground and end with compromise.
1 2 3 We are equal partners in the relationship.
1 2 3 We have good talks. We share our feelings and opinions.
1 2 3 We have girls/guys night out without jealousy becoming an issue.
1 2 3 When we settle an argument, it stays settled and does not become a recurring problem.
1 2 3 We can joke around with each other without one of us taking it the wrong way or getting upset.
1 2 3 We respect each other's opinions, feelings, and beliefs. We see eye-to-eye on most things.
1 2 3 We like each other's choices in friends.
1 2 3 We have good relationships with each other's families.
1 2 3 Our fights do not escalate to the point of pushing and slapping.
1 2 3 I feel fulfilled and not lonely in the relationship.
1 2 3 We can argue without using threats of divorce or abandonment.
Now add up your points and assess your score:_______
36 to 42 "Copasetic"
If your score is in the 36 to 42 range, your relationship is in great shape. You are very fortunate to be in this category, so keep up the good work. You and your partner are a good match, and the likelihood of long-term success for your relationship is high. Everything may be copasetic now, but don't get complacent. Continue to be open, honest, and involved with each other.
26 to 35 "Caution"
If your score is in the 26 to 35 range, then the caution light is on. It's probably time to take a serious look at the direction your relationship is taking. There are obviously some very positive aspects of your relationship that are worth preserving and reinforcing. Your long-term success is in question now. It's time to work on those respect and communication issues. Take note of the questions that scored 1's and 2's and talk about them.
14 to 25 "Conundrum"
If your score is in the 14 to 25 range, as I'm sure you already know, your relationship is in peril. Your score indicates that there is very little chance for long-term success. Negative patterns of behavior are destroying your relationship and making you and your partner miserable. If you intend to continue the relationship, you must take immediate action Seek outside help if possible. The Internet is a good place to start. Visit a website that specializes in relationship building. Post your questions in a good relationships forum. You will find amazingly helpful people with similar experience and golden advice. Best of luck.
By Slade Hartwell
So, you want to fall in love? You are certainly old enough and moving well along your chosen career path. Many of your friends are either married or in committed relationships. You have grown weary of the singles scene
and the solitary life. Therefore, you must be ready, right?
So what is relationship readiness anyway? Exactly what it says. You are adequately capable of handling the commitment and challenges that a healthy, intimate relationship requires.
How do you know if you are ready? What are the characteristics you need to have or acquire in order to be ready for true love?
There are four primary areas that you should explore in order to assess your present state of readiness.
1. Take an inventory of past traumas and related major issues.
You should mentally review these and honestly look at how well you have already addressed and resolved them.
As you work through each, ask yourself, "Is this impacting me negatively in my present life." Also explore with yourself the possibility that the issue could become problematic once you have entered into an intimate relationship.
If you believe that there are things you have not yet adequately dealt with, you need to go to work on these. If you are unsure, then they bear closer examination. Consider utilizing resources such as therapy or joining a support group.
An example of such issues can include, but not be limited to; emotional, physical or sexual abuse in childhood, parents' divorce, loss of a parent or other loved one, or a past abusive or dysfunctional love relationship.
2. How's your self-awareness and self-esteem?
If you do not possess adequate self knowledge and a positive sense of self; an intimate relationship will be difficult or impossible to sustain.
For instance, do you know yourself well enough to answer the following?
Can you state your most deeply held values?
Do you know what you can't live with or without in a relationship?
Do you have a good grasp of your life goals?
Do you know your own strengths and weaknesses?
Now, do a quick assessment of your self-esteem.
How do you see yourself?
How do others see you?
Remember you present different selves:
in gatherings with acquaintances
If your answers tell you that you have difficulty accepting and liking yourself, or if others frequently respond negatively to you in your interactions with them, then this is an area you should begin work on. Self-love is at the foundation of all healthy relationships.
3. Are your past relationships really in the past?
If we don't get adequate closure on painful experiences/issues from past relationships, we are at risk of bringing them into present and future relationships in order to relive and resolve them.
Therefore, it's important to know that you have dealt adequately with any significant hurt or loss and have learned from any dysfunctional dynamics you may have contributed to.
If you find yourself slipping into unhealthy patterns in your thoughts or Behaviors as they relate to others; stop, identify, and then deal with that leftover issue.
4. Do you know what you want from a relationship?
We enter into relationships for many different reasons and with many different expectations. Knowing what yours are will help you to determine if this is the right relationship for you.
Too often we "choose" someone using an unconscious level of thought as our primary input. It is there that we hold our deepest unmet needs, fears and desires. Unfortunately, there is often a chasm between our conscious and unconscious selves that keeps this information "hidden" from our rational and thinking side.
Therefore, it is very important to examine all of your feeling and needs regarding any future relationship. Honestly look at what you must have and cannot live without.
You must know what you want and need from a future partner in order to choose the right one for you.
Now, spend some time exploring these four important areas before you enter into a serious romantic relationship. By doing so, you will be helping to ensure that your new relationship will be a healthy and lasting one.
By Toni Coleman
1. Be predictable.
When do seeds of suspicion emerge? When one begins to think, What's up? Why is he doing that? He's never done that before. That is so unlike him. He loses 30 pounds, buys a new wardrobe and comes home late from work. He changes his patterns. His behavior becomes unpredictable. You get the picture? Any movement away from predictable behavior can become suspect and trust can deteriorate.
Focus on acting predictably if you need to build trust. Be consistent in what you do.
This doesn't mean you must be boring. If there is a twinkle in your eye and a dose of spontaneity every so often, for goodness sakes be spontaneous and fun loving. But, be spontaneous consistently! Be true to who you have always been and be that consistently, whoever you tend to be!
2. Inform your significant other when you become "unpredictable."
No one goes through life the same person. We all make shifts and changes. Frankly sometimes we may be fairly clueless about what is happening and where we are going. Those times may be very intense and we do some silly things or make some downright dumb decisions. Life can get very squirrelly and unpredictable. (I have a favorite phrase: Gold is refined through intense heat.) Growth in an individual, marriage or family often is accompanied by a little chaos.
Welcome these shifts, for there is a part of you searching for something better/different/richer/deeper, but for heaven's sake, inform your partner of what you are experiencing. Say, "I really don't know what is going on in me right now, but I'm moving in a different direction. Be a little patient with me while I figure this out. I might do some silly things, but my intent is not to harm you or scare you. Accept some of my wondering and wandering and please be there for me? I may need to run some of this by you every so often!"
3. Make sure your words match the message.
Mean what you say and say what you mean. When your partner hears one thing in your words but your tone of voice, body language and facial expressions are really saying something else, you open the relationship to some crazy making days. Which message is she to believe? This can waste a tremendous amount of energy and she learns not to trust part of what you are saying.
Here's a very simple but common example. You are getting ready to go to a formal dinner. Your wife comes to you and says, "How do I look?" (And she's wearing a dress you don't particularly like and her hair is pulled back in a way that turns you off.)
Not to spoil the evening you enthusiastically say, "You look great." You don't really mean it and a part of her knows you really don't mean it. But, you leave it at that.
This might not seem like a big deal - we all have done something similar - but if trust is shaky to begin with, it is even shakier now.
Here's how to match the words with the nonverbal: "I think you are a beautiful person. I want you to know that. I love you dearly and it will be wonderful to have you by my side tonight. Others will see your beauty. (As you say this, you look into her eyes as you put your hands around her waist.)
She's not concerned so much with how she looks but is expressing a need for affirmation. She's not talking about her dress or hair, but about wanting to know the evening is going to go just fine. You respond to the real message.
You can take this one step further, if you like. At some point you might bring up her need for affirmation and talk about that. Ask her is there is anything you can say or do so that need is met.
Trust is awareness of the intent beneath the obvious message and responding to that!
4. Believe the other person is competent.
I hear this phrase very often: "But, I don't want to hurt him." A couple things are at play here. First, she may not have the skill of confronting the other with the truth in a way that brings reconciliation and understanding. She believes truth telling is destructive or entails some sort of drama. Neither is true. The truth is never destructive and can be conveyed in loving ways. (With that said, what we believe to be the truth may indeed be a distorted perception that fits our personal needs.)
Or, she may see the other person as a wimp; someone she believes cannot handle rigorous personal confrontation. She doesn't trust that the other person has the internal strength or stamina or skills to be in a relationship of mutual respect and equality. The other person picks up on this mistrust and does what he does (feigns inadequacy and incompetence) to avoid the personal confrontation as well. A dance is acted out.
Believe and know in your heart that the other person, somewhere and somehow, beneath the games, has the internal strength and capacity to handle anything. Such trust builds trust in the other person and begins to pervade the relationship. "Hey, she thinks I can handle this! Hmmmm, this is mighty good! I CAN engage her and be truly intimate!"
5. Be very very careful of keeping secrets.
If he knows there is an elephant in the room and doesn't talk about it, the elephant takes up tremendous space in the relationship. It takes energy for him to walk around it. She may not see the elephant but knows he is bending his neck to look around something. She will be curious, mildly disturbed, have feelings but no words to wrap around them, might wonder if something is wrong with her or struggle with trusting her intuition (her intuition KNOWS an elephant is there.) And, when we can't trust the messages that come from within us, we find it very difficult to trust the messages of the other person.
Secrets demand tremendous energy and erode trust. The relationship is doomed never to experience wall-banging intimacy. This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging. She is not so much concerned about him having sex with someone else as she is about the betrayal, lack of trust, the secrets and deception that are crazy making and energy draining.
Now, please. I'm not saying that you sit your partner down and divulge the 23 secrets of your illicit past behaviors. If you have resolved those, i.e. forgiven yourself, understand those behaviors, learned from them and were able to use them to make the internal shifts necessary for your personal development, they do not qualify as an elephant. Hopefully, in the course of growing intimacy in your relationship you may want to share some of those events as you disclose to your partner where you were and where you are now. You do so without emotional charge.
However, if a secret takes up room, i.e. still has an emotional charge and holds you back from disclosing more and more of yourself in the growing stages of intimacy, you have a problem that needs to be addressed with your partner.
6. Let YOUR needs be known - loudly.
Be a little - no, be a lot - self-centered. (Be self-centered, but not selfish!)
Here's a problem I run into almost every day. He is backing away (perhaps attached to work, another person, etc.). She feels the trust and intimacy eroding, is scared and wants to "win him back." So she begins an all out effort to "work on the marriage." She invites him to do so as well. He may reluctantly agree. She blasts full throttle ahead trying to "be nice" and meet every need he ever said he had. She's going to "fill his tank with goodies."
Doesn't work. Her eyes are riveted on him. He feels "smothered" or maybe even resentful: "Why is she doing this NOW!" She's hopeful, but eventually that turns to resentment. Her underlying motive - if I meet his needs, he will feel good and meet mine - just doesn't work. It's perceived as manipulation, which it is. Of course, he doesn't say anything. After all, how do you get angry with someone who is so "nice and caring?"
Trust disintegrates under a blanket of quiet niceties.
Start with your eyes focused on YOU. What do YOU need? Explore your personal need system. Dig beneath the surface. And then say to him: "I need?x, y and z. I would like to talk to you about them. I would like us to work out a way so my needs are met. Are you open to that?"
He is empowered to say yes or no. Or, he may say, "What about my needs?" You respond, "I am very interested in hearing what is important to you, certainly."
Have you ever been around someone who stated clearly what they needed/wanted?
Didn't you respect that person?
Because you knew where he stood, and therefore where you stood, didn't that interaction move toward a trusting relationship?
7. State who YOU are - loudly.
It is very sad to see those in relationships of emotional investment hold back from letting the other person know who they really are.
You build trust in a relationship by entrusting your SELF to the other person.
This sounds easy but I find it difficult for most to pull off. Most of us have a difficult time declaring our SELF. For one thing, if you're like most of us, you haven't given much thought to what it is that makes YOU truly YOU. Don't you feel like you glide through life on autopilot, focusing on tasks, goals, accomplishments, problems and the external realities?
Don't you tend to focus on those things out there or that person out there? You're concerned about what he is thinking, how he is responding to you, whether he likes you, whether he will be an obstacle and where he will fit in your life?
Your conversations may be pleasant but fairly superficial and bluntly, boringly inane. You converse about things/relationships/events out there. You are reluctant to share your thoughts, values, and impressions or take a stand. This doesn't destroy trust. But it doesn't create it either.
And, if you do take a stand it may serve the purpose of protecting you or entrenching you as you react against someone. This more often than not creates trust barriers.
Take some time to reflect on your standards. What are your standards for a relationship? What standards do you hold for yourself? What do you order your life around? What are the 4 top values in your life? What are some themes that you live by? What are you known for?
And then?begin letting significant people in your life know.
They will respect you. They will know you more deeply. They will thank you for the opportunity to know you. They will see you as a person of character.
They will trust you. They can count on you. They know exactly what is behind and within you.
8. Learn to say NO!
Sometimes you need to say NO! Often it is crucial to say NO!
Saying NO sets boundaries around you that protects you from being hurt or venturing into territory that will be destructive to your heart and soul. You draw a line. You stop tolerating that which drains energy and makes you less than YOU. You refuse to allow the destructive behaviors of others to destroy you. You build a moat around the core of your life.
You do this by informing the other person of what they are doing. You request they stop. If they don't stop, you demand they stop. If they don't stop you walk away without a snide remark, eye-roll or comment.
To some this seems harsh, but saying NO is RESPECTED.
Fear is the basis of mistrust. If you fear that someone will hurt you and believe you have no recourse but to endure that hurt, fear will prevail. How can you trust when you are in fear?
Saying NO, protecting yourself, sends a message to the other person that you will not live in fear. This usually triggers a response of respect from the other person. After all, if you can protect yourself and refuse subjugation to that which is destructive, will not the other person come to trust you and see you as a person who just might protect him/her from harm as well?
9. Charge Neutral.
When your significant other expresses something powerfully, charge neutral.
Most of us are afraid of strong feelings or points of contention in a relationship. I commonly hear people respond by defending themselves (to a perceived attack), explaining themselves, counter-attacking, shutting down, or walking away. Of course, the relationship remains stuck in this quagmire of mistrust and fear.
Rather than reacting and having your feelings flowing all over the place or shutting down, practice charging neutral.
Communicate calmness, not only in your tone of voice but also in how you carry your body. Don't speak with a charge to your voice. Control your voice! Say what you must say, state the truth and do it directly and calmly.
You can do this, once you master your fears. It will dramatically change the flow of the relationship.
You will be able to point out something big, without making a big deal out of it. You will be in control of you. This not only feels great, but your partner trusts that you won't fly or fall apart.
You will experience your personal power. This makes you very attractive. Don't people really trust someone who knows their personal power and how to use it for the welfare of themselves and others?
Your partner will love the fact that she can trust you consistently to operate from your "quiet center," remain engaged, not back down and speak the truth with conviction and calmness.
10. Dig into the dirt.
Relationships of emotional investment, by their nature, bring trials, tribulations, fears, chaos, turmoil, change, stretching and growth. They become the grist from which your life is shaped and formed.
Be fearless when faced with turmoil, upset, crisis, questions, and fears. When the time is right, seek them out. Move toward the frightening unknown. Dig into the dirt of your relationship and uncover the treasures. Do you really TRUST that this can happen?
The purpose of your relationship is not to make you happy. Do you realize this? Happiness may be an outcome, but your other is given to you to move you to where you really want to be.
Obstacles, trials and moments of pain are given as lessons on which you intentionally write the script of your life individually and together. Embrace the difficult. Trust that in this embracing you will find more of your true self.
Trust that you are given the resources and capacity to face what you and your significant other are to face.
Once you are able to believe and trust these ultimate purposes, trusting your significant other will be that much more easy.
By Dr. Robert Huizenga
We hear it all the time. "He just won't make a commitment." "She just wants some space right now." "I'm not sure if I'm ready for a serious relationship."
What does having a fear of commitment really mean? Actually, it means basically what it says. For SOME reason you, or someone you are involved with, isn't ready to take this relationship (or any relationship) to the next step.
So how do we know if we or our (hoped for) partner are truly afraid of commitment? How do we know that it's not something else? Is there any real difference between these two anyway?
Do these excuses sound familiar? "I'm just under a lot of stress right now." "It's not you, it's me." "I can't focus on a relationship right now because of my overloaded schedule."
Very often, we want to accept these reasons because we fear the real truth. Other times, we are just very confused by our feelings and the often mixed messages from the other person.
So, how do we evaluate our ability to make a long-term commitment? How do we know if he/she is really ready or willing?
There are only two real issues here to examine.
The first issue involves looking at a true fear of commitment itself. If this is the problem it's important for the person with this fear to ask themselves a few key questions.
Are you concerned about the idea of forever?
Do you fear you could make a mistake in who you choose?
Do you fear a loss of your freedom/autonomy?
Are you afraid of a bad marriage- like your parents for instance?
Do you fear you would be a bad mate?
If you answered yes to any of these, it would be a good idea to begin working to understand where these feelings come from. Once you understand them better, you can choose to address them.
Perhaps you need more time or emotional growth before you consider making a long-term commitment. There can be several factors that influence your fear. Explore these and arm yourself with a plan to put them to rest.
If you would like to deal with past relationship feelings, understand if you are relationship ready or evaluate your self-awareness, go to http://www.consum-mate.com/articles.htm for articles that can assist you with these issues.
Greater self-knowledge will help you to overcome this block to building a lasting and satisfying relationship.
The second issue is the inability to make a commitment to a PARTICULAR relationship. This may not be the right one. Perhaps there is a sense of this but it is written off to being a "commitment -phobe" in general.
Focus on the true level of involvement with each other. Is there a genuine connection? Or is there a vague feeling of something missing? Evaluate the quality of your intimate relating. This does not mean how often (or even how good) the sex is. This is about how open, sharing and real you are in your interactions with each other.
Does any of this sound familiar?
It seems like we are only killing time?
He/she doesn't seem to want what I want.
We seem to be off and on in our level of contact/affection.
I/they are still not over a past relationship.
I/they just don't seem to know what I/they want.
Remember to focus on the involvement or lack thereof between you. If either person is disengaged in any way, it's time to address the real issue of; "Is this the right relationship for us?"
Exploring your ability to make a lasting commitment should be a first step in your plan for building a healthy and lasting relationship.
By Toni Coleman, MSW