The three points for successful relationships
1. Know who you are and what you want.
2. Know who they are and what they want.
3. Communicate openly and honestly .
As simple as this premise is however, I am oftentimes amazed at how often people are afraid of honesty. Hurt feelings, guilt or even shame may be some reasons for a person's lack of honesty. Most would agree I think that these reasons, the very ones we hide, come out in the end anyway and the end, tragically, is the end of the relationship. So what was solved? This premise can be used with just about any relationship, but I will venture to concentrate on romantic type relationships, especially pre-relationship. I will lay out and explain the three points, then continue on about general relationships.
Chapter one- Defining ourselves
I truly believe that one of the main problems, and one of the hardest to conquer, is being honest with ourselves and as a by product of this, our prospective partner. How many times have you seen your friend act differently around the opposite sex, or the same sex if that's what they prefer? What about you? Are you completely at ease around a person that you are attracted to? Or, as Billy Joel wrote in a song, do you "*Wear a mask"? 1 Let's face it, we are social animals that want to be liked and looked upon in good favor. It's perfectly normal to be nervous or apprehensive in prospective type situations. To put our best foot forward as it were. Let's ask ourselves some simple questions. Are we really that courteous, respectful, playful, romantic or even punctual in a steady relationship, or are we just like this on the first few dates?
So how does one go about defining themselves? An easier way is to ask yourself who you are . Go ahead, sit down in your comfortable spot and think about this question. Remember, there's no one around that you would be lying to, just yourself. If you lie to yourself, then what real chance do you have of a successful relationship with another person?
Here are some examples of things you may want to think about :
1. My family upbringing
2. My religious beliefs (or belief system)
3. My past relationship experiences
4. Views on different topics (political, social etc)
5. Feedback from friends and family
6. Favorite pastimes
7. Worst traits/best traits
You get the idea, right? Look at where you came from and what you were taught, and by whom. Realize that much of who you became had to do with your upbringing. Were you bullied in school, or the bully or neither? Who was your first crush and what was the outcome? Were you taunted about your crush by a sibling or friend? Did you have a lot of support?
Chapter two- Defining them
Ok, it's a little harder to define someone else than it is yourself, especially when their putting on their nice face also, just like you. So what can you do? Two things come to mind, give it some time and cut them a little slack .
Most relationships develop over a period of time, not all, but most. Prepare to give him/her the same amount of time to get to know them as you would want them to give you. It's not only fair, but it gives them a chance to open up more when they get more comfortable with you, and visa versa. Time seems to define us better than we realize.
Also, remember that they are probably just as nervous and maybe intimidated as you are, so they are going to exibit a certain amount of shyness and/or awkwardness that they won't after some time. So just as you would want someone else to do for you, cut them some slack. Realize that just like you, they probably have there guard up.
Taking this all into consideration, ask the questions that you feel comfortable asking, don't rush though, you have time.
Chapter Three-Honest communication
Ah, the tricky part! Why tricky? Because many of us can't be honest with ourselves, and when that's the case, how can we be honest with a prospective partner? If you were able to define yourself well in chapter one, it shouldn't be too hard for you to communicate honesty with your partner. I mentioned in defining them that one needs to give it time, this is not so much the case in honest communication. One should be upfront right away. If your partner likes to go out and drink on the weekend, but you don't, let them know that. If your partner likes pets, but you don't, let them know that.
There is a tendency for us to want the person to like us and have things in common with us so much that we lie just a little bit-avoid this like the plague! Down the road these little white lies are going to come back to bite you in the butt. You already know who you are and what you want, so communicate that honestly with this person. In the long run it's the best chance you have of a solid relationship.
*from my upcoming e-book: "Relationship Digest, the three points for a successful relationship"
Details to follow :)