Relationships are at the core of human behaviour. We all relate to other people. However, relating to another is a mixed bag of excitement and fear, anticipation and dread, struggle and elation, closeness and distance, intimacy and loneliness.
Relationships are dynamic and ever-changing. Here are 10 steps you can take to maximise your relationships so that you feel valued, loved and nurtured, and to minimise becoming a relationship casualty.
- Develop a sense of trust: that is the condition in which you can be seen, heard, understood and accepted.
- Accept that physical closeness is only one expression of intimacy.
- Acknowledge each other's need to be autonomous, to stand on your own two feet and to make your own decisions.
- Create a safe space with your partner in which you can both express problems, doubts, fears and weaknesses without fear of rejection or punishment.
- Be willing to communicate, to share what is in your heart and mind and to listen to your partner's expectations, needs and wants. Listening does not mean having to fix the problem if there is one.
- Be willing to negotiate around your differences with respect and generosity. You are not going to get your own way all the time.
- Be aware of and honestly acknowledge the personal issues you bring into the relationship and the unrealistic expectations you may place on your partner.
- Take time out to be alone and have some space. Without the capacity to be separate you will lack the capacity to give yourself freely to another.
- Maintain and build supportive networks of friends outside of the relationship. It is not possible for one relationship to meet every need.
- Develop the capacity to laugh and not take yourself too seriously.
#101 Copyright © Mensline Australia 2004
adapted with permission from original document ; author Sarah Dunning