8 Tips So You Don’t Lose Yourself In Your Next Relationship

“Never lose yourself in a relationship. Love your partner fiercely, but always follow your unique dreams and desires. Be true to yourself.” ~Unknown All my previous relationships drained me. Not only because I was with the wrong men and kept trying to make things work where there was no way, but also because I was a queen of justifying, accommodating, and compromising. I accommodated men because I wanted to be liked and avoid rejection. I justified their lousy behavior because I wanted to be in a relationship and not be alone. I compromised on my values and romantic ideals just to have someone in my life. On the surface, I was an independent woman, strong, fierce, and full of energy and opinions. When it came to relationships, I'd lose my power and myself completely in them. I would become a meek mouse with no voice or opinions. I would put my boyfriend’s needs first and ignore mine. I would keep quiet about how I felt. I wouldn't question things. It took me a few love attempts and ten years of random dating to recognize my unhealthy patterns. Firstly, I was subconsciously copying the behavior of my mum, who needed to survive with my despotic dad in a very turbulent relationship. I didn’t know any better until I learned the hard way. Secondly, I didn’t feel worthy of love. I didn't feel like I was good enough for anyone. I was afraid to be myself, as I didn't feel like I had much to offer. Thirdly, I wasn’t happy with myself and my life and I believed a relationship would change that, so my desire to be in one was pretty strong. These patterns made me feel and act like I was desperate for love. So, once I landed myself a boyfriend, I'd do anything to please him and keep him in my life. I would be a cheerful giver. I would take all the responsibility for the relationship on my own shoulders. I would make my men's life easier by doing things for them and sometimes against myself. I would accommodate their busy schedules, moods, and issues. I would help them improve their self-esteem and lifestyle so they’d feel happier within. I would completely disappear in my relationships. Everything in my relationships was about the men. They became my main focus and the most important thing in my life. I would abandon myself. I would give up my friends, my passions, and my dreams. I would lose my own identity in the name of love. My main priority was to keep them happy so I could keep the relationships. But even all the crazy giving and accommodating wouldn’t keep dysfunctional relationships going. So, when it came to an end, I would have nothing left to give. Every split left me feeling empty. It almost felt like a little part of me died after every relationship. I didn't know who I was anymore because I was [...]

2018-04-17T05:20:50+00:00 By |

How to Keep Your Marriage or Relationship Strong and Beat the Statistics

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown   You can`t take it anymore. Life’s getting boring, you fight over everything, your relationship has lost its spark, and you can’t look each other in the eye without feeling regret. Many marriages and relationships get to this place eventually. According to recent surveys, one of every two American couples gets a divorce. This means you only have a 50 percent chance at making your relationship work, no matter how well it began. The only way you can turn things around is by making some changes in how you interact. According to experts, these are the top eight tips that, if followed, will give your relationship a fresh breath of air. I’m not married, but I’ve applied these tips in my romantic relationship, and it’s gotten a lot stronger as a result. 1. Understand that there are usually underlying issues behind every fight. Most of my past arguments with my girlfriend weren’t about money, but they usually happened when I was struggling financially because I was feeling bad about myself. In the past, any time my girlfriend and I talked about finances, I would use aggression and humor to protect my ego and deflect the conversation elsewhere because I felt inferior. It wass’t about her, but I made her think it was. So yes, at many times, it’s not about you. It’s your partner being angry—even at themselves—that is causing problems. What to do then? Ask them questions to help them get to the root of what’s really bothering them. If they have the self-awareness to identify what’s going on and they choose to share that with you, let them know you understand their feelings and agree to talk through this issue when they’re ready. It can be hard to be understanding and to not take things personally when someone gets upset or accusatory, but this is the most helpful thing you can do. And they will likely remember this later when the same thing happens to you. 2. Avoid the “The Four Horsemen.” According to John Gottman, marriage coach and bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, there are four signs to whether a couple will separate or stay together. Gottman calls them The Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Avoid these horsemen and your relationship will be a lot more connected and peaceful. Criticism: Attacking the other person, not their behavior. Contempt: Too much sarcasm and cynicism with a sense of superiority over your partner. It’s a disguised form of disrespect and disgust. Defensiveness: Not accepting responsibility and blaming it all on the other person. According to Gottman, defensiveness escalates conflicts, which is why it’s so deadly. Stonewalling: This means disengaging and avoiding conflicts by all means. Leaving the room or not responding to your partner not only withdraws you from the discussion but from the relationship as well. 3. [...]

2018-10-25T19:05:21+00:00 By |

3 Relationship Myths (and Why We Need to Stop Believing Them)

“Love isn't always perfect. It isn't a fairytale or a storybook. And it doesn't always come easy. Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on and never letting go.” ~Unknown When I started dating, I idealized love. I had many false notions about relationships, which I formed from my friends, watching movies, and reading romance novels. Many of the beliefs I had about how relationships should work caused me pain and disappointment because reality turned out to be different from what I expected. Dating became a journey of resetting my expectations and letting go of false beliefs. In order for me to find love, I had to let go of the myths I had around relationships. Myth #1: Opposites attract and make for more lasting long-term relationships. I found myself drawn to men who were very different from me during my early stages of dating. They were the stereotypical bad boys who rebelled against authority, the ones with a wild independent streak who were emotionally unstable. These were the type of men I was attracted to. They made my life exciting and helped me expand my boundaries. I thought opposites would create a balanced relationship, making for an ideal union. Luckily for me, none of them worked out. Looking back, it would have made for a bumpy, unstable relationship. We’re fascinated by people who are unlike us because they represent parts of ourselves that we’d like to let out and explore. We tell our friends we can’t help who we are attracted to, but often we are attracted to people who are wrong for us. While it's true that we can complement each other with some differences—if, for example, one person is more laid back and the other is more Type A—couples who are more similar have longer lasting relationships than those who are complete opposites. Dating someone similar means we get the support and validation for our core life values. There will be fewer disagreements on the most important issues and opinions that shape our lives. Core life values may be spiritual, religious, social, family, and health-related. Taking a closer look at what you prioritize in your life and where you invest your time will tell you your values. This also means that having similarities lead to more positive feelings because of the reciprocity rule in relationships: we like others who are like us. It’s exciting to date someone who is the opposite of you at the beginning. But as the relationship progresses two people with different life values will start to separate and head down different paths. Opposites attract like strong magnets for the short term, but if you’re looking for the long term, it’s similar core life values that will keep you together. Myth #2: You should be honest about your deal breakers upfront to save time. The other day I went to lunch with one of my friends, who is a serial dater with profiles on three different dating [...]

2018-04-17T05:01:07+00:00 By |

Unhappy Marriage? Here’s What It’s Doing to Your Body

Is Your Relationship Causing Harm to Your Health?   You are going be surprised by this research on how unhappy relationships compromise your physical body. The latest research on couples points to a gruesome conclusion: People in marriages filled with resentment heal more slowly (physically) and die sooner than those in happy marriages. How does an unhappy marriage literally steal years from your life? It comes down to the toll a bad relationship takes on your body. Living in relationship stress is living in a state of chronic, physical stress. As with any chronic stress, the body reacts by resorting to chronic fight or flight physiology, which sets in motion a series of biological events that are medically proven to shorten life. One of the primary dangers of relationship-induced stress is slow healing due to a compromised immune system. The study conducted at Ohio State University shows how physically harmful arguing can be. In the research, 37 married couples were given vacuum blisters on the arm and then asked to engage in mutual conversation for 30 minutes. Each couple was videotaped so researchers could grade them on their communication skills. After 12 days, the researchers discovered that the blisters healed faster for the people who enjoyed positive communication styles. The couples who engaged in mutual hostility had the slowest healing blisters. Why does resentment prevent physical healing? The researchers at Ohio State who did the study think it might have something to do with oxytocin."Oxytocin is a protective hormone," says Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, the lead author of the study. Kiecolt-Glaser observed that better communicators had the highest levels of oxytocin in their blood samples. Bad relationships slowly destroy people, one drop of blood at a time. If you're in a stressed out relationship, you really have two options: 1) work to heal the relationship 2) leave. Neither of these options is simple in real life. With so much at stake - finances, children, the overwhelming prospect of starting over, the painstaking process of mending the relationship - it may be very tempting to "ride it out" a little longer and give in to being unhappy. Of course, this is a grave mistake (no pun intended). Why don't more people actually resolve their marital difficulties? In my experience there are lots of surface excuses, but three fundamental reasons why people do not successfully work on their marriage. 1. Lack of knowledge. It's true that many people simply do not know where to begin. Which communication skills are vital to success in relationships? How do you manage the inevitable conflict along the way? How do you know if you are truly compatible? How do you deal with someone who doesn't want to make the effort? Where do you even begin? These crucial questions are thoroughly addressed in the new Dating, Relating and Mating course offered by Jake and Hannah Eagle. Jake is a psychotherapist in Santa Fe who has literally cracked the code on romantic relationships. From A-Z, [...]

2018-09-05T14:16:56+00:00 By |

Four Reasons Why People Settle for Unsatisfying Relationships

Learn How Not to Settle for Less in Love!   Ever know anyone who clearly settled for a less than an optimal relationship, or even a painful one? It happens all the time. Why do we do it? In fact, in one survey of 6,000 men, 31% of them openly confessed that they would be willing to settle for someone they didn't love. And 21% even claimed they'd partner up with someone they found unattractive. These are they who were willing to admit it. How many other people are willing to settle, but wouldn't admit it? Even more interestingly, how many people knew they were with the wrong person even as they walked down the aisle? You may even know someone who has done this. Addressing this question takes us straight down the path toward the deeper issues in life, so let's get to it. Here are four reasons why some people settle, according to experience and research 1. Fear of being alone A recently published study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology has found that fear of being single is a major predictor for settling. According to lead author Stephanie Spielmann, people who have strong fears about being single tend to be willing to settle for less in their relationships. This may encourage them to stay in unhappy long-term relationships. They may also date people who do not treat them well. The study found that both men and women experience fears of being alone and that these feelings create similar tendencies in relationship behavior. This directly contradicts the popular stereotype that only women experience a fear of being single. The guys are coming out with their fears now, which is probably a good thing in and of itself. 2. Many people simply do not know how to create healthy, happy relationships Psychotherapist Jake Eagle, co-author of the Dating, Relating and Mating online education program, claims that most people get the dating, relating and mating process all wrong. According to Eagle, we: • Don't date enough people before committing to "the one." • Share intimate information too early in the dating process, often on the first or second date (missing the chance to just have fun together and establish a friendship). • Have sex too soon. • Get married first, then attempt to solve the problems in the relationship. • Don't measure compatibility in terms of values, dreams of the good life, communication styles and chemistry. • Are often not willing to end a relationship that clearly doesn't work because we are driven by unresolved psychological issues. When you don't date around much, get involved sexually before you know the character of the other person, get married before you learn to solve problems, then you are primed for pain and failure. Given that so few people were never taught the rigors of creating a relationship intentionally, many settle because - well - they simply give up trying to figure out how it is [...]

2018-08-31T17:48:21+00:00 By |

5 Healthy Reasons to Get Out and Date

Dating Can Increase Your Self-Confidence!   Dating does far more than just silence that part of yourself that craves companionship – it’s something that stimulates mental and emotional expansion, and has the potential to teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you. Dating isn’t just a romantic, or social activity, it’s something that can change your perspective on life, and open your eyes to a new world that you’ve never seen. 5 Reasons to Make Dating a Priority in your Life 1) It teaches you to be social Dating is one romantic activity that forcefully throws you into social situations that you may not normally encounter. It pushes you to put yourself out there, and it drives you to be more sociable, and active in the world. By consciously choosing to date more often and with more people, you’re doing more than just flirting, you’re building up your social presence, and becoming more approachable, and charismatic as a result. 2) It gives you insight on the people around you When you go on a date you’re not just going out by yourself; you’re going out with someone else, and that basic social interaction gives you insight into other person’s motivations, intentions, and social behaviors. When you agree to take someone up on their offer to go out on a date, you get an opportunity to learn more about them, and you also invite them to learn more about you. 3) It makes you happier We as humans are all social creatures. This means that going out, having fun, and choosing to be sociable drives our wellness, and also our well-being. Humans have an incredibly strong need to connect with other people on a deep level, so by actively choosing to date you’re not just having fun, you’re also improving your mental and emotional health in the process. 4) It can improve your attitude Choosing to date means that you’re choosing to share the spotlight and this leads to an improved attitude, and more empathy. Choosing to date someone means acknowledging that the world doesn’t just revolve around your feelings, and you’re forced to care about another person’s well being. This creates a safe environment to connect, and it also naturally breeds empathy, and concern for the people around you. 5) It boosts your self-confidence One of the biggest upsides to dating is that it can genuinely boost your confidence and it can make you find your true love. By putting yourself in situations where you’re interacting with, and having fun with someone that you’re romantically interested in, it makes it easier to be open, honest, and confident in the future when you’re dating someone new. Choosing to make dating a part of your life will turn your entire existence into a learning experience. Everyday you’ll learn something new about either yourself, or the person you’re choosing to spend time with, and that worldly knowledge will stay with you for the rest of [...]

2018-08-28T18:35:45+00:00 By |

A Little Appreciation Can Go a Long Way in Your Relationships

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than bread.” ~Mother Teresa I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over four years. We’ve had our fair share of great times and not so pretty moments, but this summer our relationship was put to the test. During that time, I went through some major  transitions with my career and personal development, all things that needed to happen for me to be the best version of myself. Those months were filled with long hours of working and being alone, solely focusing on creating the future I wanted. I was in deep, chasing my dreams, and wouldn’t let anything get in my way. As time went on, I noticed that my partner was slowly slipping away. It wasn’t that he wasn’t coming home or was nowhere to be found. He was responding to the fact that I had lost focus on him. I was failing my partner in the following ways: I didn’t say thank you for all the little things he did for me. I didn’t ask him how his day was. Instead, I was eager to share how my day went. When I faced an obstacle with my goals, I would be rude and short with him. Instead of greeting him with a smile when he arrived home, I treated him as if he was a burden getting in the way of the work I needed to do. Rather than planning and spending time with him, I would work late into the evening. Lastly, I wasn’t present with him. When I did spend time with him, all I did was think about work. My actions and behaviors were so self-centered that I stopping thinking about how he was doing, how his day went, and what he needed support with. The end result: he withdrew. At first I thought he was no longer interested in me, but I eventually came to realize that I wasn’t even close to meeting his needs. And what he needed was simple: appreciation. He had hinted at it several times in his own way, but I’d had blinders on. After months of neglect, my boyfriend and I sat at our kitchen table making small talk and slowly tiptoeing into the conversation of what was and wasn’t working in our relationship. He said, “All I ever want is for you to appreciate me. I don’t need you to cook for me or get all dressed up or buy me things. All I want is to be appreciated.” His honest and vulnerable declaration brought me to tears. I realized then that I had been causing my partner significant pain and suffering for no reason. So, with my heart on the table, my eyes swollen from crying, and a common ground of love to move forward on, I told him this: “From now on, I will appreciate you—the big, the small, the silly, and imperfect. I will appreciate it all. [...]

2018-04-17T04:45:49+00:00 By |

Is It True Love? How To Know For Sure

Is Your Relationship the Real Thing?   When we first fall in love with somebody we are falling for their persona, the role they play. These are the type of things you might find in a dating profile such as their likes and dislikes, hobbies, jobs, style, and so on. As you really get to know each other and each of you stop playing roles, who your partner is becomes less clearly defined. Each of us are complex creatures containing at some points both extremes of every quality. Even the nicest people will have moments of being terribly mean. Yet you still love that person. All the things you fell for no longer matter. It is hard to say exactly what we are in love with at this point. Perhaps it is their soul or their essence that we love. However you define it, that deeper love can be felt even if it is hard to explain. The best way I can understand this sort of love is comparing it to a parent’s love for their children. What Makes A Mother’s Love Special? As a parent, I have been blessed to get to experience true love. The love for my children is not muddied with all the stuff that a romantic love most often is. It is not dependent on my children’s behaviors, words, or whether or not they meet my needs. It just is. When comparing the two forms of love, it is the just is quality that can be very helpful in judging if your romantic love has the same neverending, ego-less, forever quality as the true love you find in a mother’s love. A mother’s love loves even when the child is behaving awfully. It is love even when they are being as unlovable as possible. Often romantic love is conditional. The wrong words or actions can quickly turn one partner against the other. This leads to the continued playing of roles, increased insecurities, and limited feelings of love. Now Time For A Small Disclaimer Although I think we should all strive for a romantic love relationship where each partner is accepted fully and loved despite their mistakes, there are obviously words and actions that simply go too far to be accepted. This is even true in a mother-child relationship although it is harder to imagine when those lines would be crossed. Also loving someone even when they are being unlovable is not the same as accepting the behavior. Challenging, questioning, and comforting your partner when it feels appropriate is a good thing, and can be done with a heart full of love. It could be a step in strengthing your relationship or helping your partner grow as a person. So make sure you are being true to yourself. Trust yourself if you feel your partner has gone too far. The Question To Ask Yourself To Know If It’s True Love When you say something stupid, selfish, ignorant, or mean are you [...]

2018-08-28T17:30:38+00:00 By |

How to Get Past Blame and Shame and Strengthen Your Relationship

How get the best out of your relationship.   I used to think that if I told my wife exactly what’s wrong with her, her response would be, “Yes, I see it now! Thank you for showing me the errors of my ways.” To my surprise, that never happened. Finally, I saw that I was going about things the wrong way. Complaining, blaming, and shaming were simply not an effective strategy for creating more love and harmony with my wife. Duh! Once I realized this, I went in search of what really did create more love and harmony. Fortunately, several great strategies—backed by actual research—helped show me what could work. So why do so many couples continue to use the “blame and shame game” to try to get their mate to change? Because they don’t know of another alternative. In this culture, that’s what we’ve learned. Fortunately, there are three simple methods that can help you overcome blame and shame and get back to the love and connection you really desire. Positive Intention One way I learned to let go of blame and shame was to tune into my wife’s “positive intention.” A positive intention is the ultimate positive reason your partner is pursuing a certain behavior. For example, if your partner complains a lot, you probably don’t like that behavior. However, you can tune into the positive intention motivating it. The positive reason someone complains may be a desire for more comfort or pleasure, or to feel better. Those are all fine things to want. The problem is that your partner’s strategy for obtaining them may be counterproductive in the long term. Trying to figure out what your partner ultimately wants from his or her “irritating” actions can be a major step in establishing empathy. As I started to understand my wife’s positive intention for behavior that irritated me, I was better able to respond with love and kindness. Try it for yourself right now. Think of a behavior your partner does that you don’t like. Stop reading for a moment and really do this. Now ask yourself: “What could the positive intention be behind that behavior?” If you can imagine your partner’s positive intention, it will help you let go of judgment and allow you to be more accepting. Such acceptance is often the first step in helping your partner find a more effective method for achieving what he or she really wants. Knowing What You Really Want Knowing your partner’s positive intention is a great way to let go of blame and shame, but so is knowing your own positive intention. What are you really after by trying to blame, shame, or change your partner? In other words, if your partner changed in all the ways you wanted them to, what would you have that you don’t have now? Usually, we are ultimately trying to experience a different feeling with our lover, such as more love, safety, trust, intimacy, or belonging. Unfortunately, [...]

2018-10-25T19:11:29+00:00 By |