We all want to find and keep a good relationship, but many of us haven’t learned how to do that. In fact,many of us have learned the exact opposite of what we needed to learn to have a good relationship. Here is some of what I’ve learned along the way…
What Doesn’t Work in a Relationship:
- When you met someone you like — looking away and/or ignoring them
- Sharing too much too soon on the first date*
- Ignoring red flags
- Jumping into the relationship too quickly
- Fighting “below the belt”
- The relationship is all work and no play
- Personalities and values that conflict too much
- Pretending to be someone you’re not and trying to change him (or her) into someone they’re not
- Hinting and expecting him (or her) to read your mind
- Expecting your man to want to talk a lot (or expecting your women to not talk a lot)
- Neglecting yourself and having nothing left to give
- Forgetting about family and friends and/or forgetting about him (or her)
- Neglecting your life
- Believing — There are no good men (or women) out there
What Does Work in a Relationship:
- When you meet someone you like — making eye-contact and smiling*
- Keeping the conversation light on the first date*
- Paying attention to red flags*
- Developing the relationship gradually and going slow
- Fighting fair
- Laughing and having fun together
- Appreciating you personality differences and enjoying your shared values
- Being yourself and accepting him for who he is
- Asking for what you want or need
- Understanding that women and men really are different!
- Taking care of yourself and being there for each other
- Making the other person a priority and keeping your connections with family and friends
- Developing shared interests and activities and keeping some of your own hobbies and interests
- Remembering — No relationship is perfect. But you can have a good relationship that includes closeness, security, passion and fun!
You get the idea — BALANCE — taking it slow and getting to know the other person before you give too much of yourself away.
And for women, that particularly means going slowly in the physical relationship, because “where the body goes the heart follows.”
And even once you’ve found your good relationship, it’s important to keep up your relationships with family and friends, while also making your your relationship a priority.
I know it sounds so simple, but knowing what works and doing what works don’t always go together when it comes to relationships.
So, sometimes it helps to be gentle with yourself and remember “progress not perfection.” You don’t have to do this perfectly, but hopefully you keep moving forward.
*Thank-you Andy Whaling, MFT (Sunday Night Singles, 2000-2002) for all your great dating tips!