Often in relationships we are comparing our partner to past partners and we are comparing our current relationship to our past relationships. To avoid comparing your partner, Try This:
Always look at your partner and your relationship with fresh eyes. Treat your partner each day as if you are meeting them for the first time. We are often less inclined to show strangers our ‘true’ colors. You should still be yourself in your relationship. Being yourself is very different from acting out your built up emotions from the past to your partner.
Forgive your past. You can’t forget your past, but letting your past partners and relationships go can help you move forward in your current relationship. Forgive the past so it doesn’t have to come up in your present relationship.
So what if this is the other way around? What if your partner is so critical of you because of their past relationships? What if they bring jealousy into the relationship because their ex cheated? What if you are paying for the mistakes their ex made?
You can not change the way a person thinks. However, you can decide how you will let someone treat you. If your partner is constantly condemning you for situations that have not taken place in your relationship, but have in their past relationship, it is time to ask yourself if they are over the hurt from their past. You can not be the person paying for the hurt that leaked into your relationship due to your partners inability to let it go. There may be a transitional period for your partner to get used to you, but this should only last a couple of months. If you continue to have a relationship with a partner that compares you to an ex or to past relationships, you should openly communicate this. Let your partner know that you are not comfortable with the dynamic of added stress from a past you couldn’t prevent.
When you drive your car, it is important that you pay attention to signs and traffic signals. If you are paying attention to the car in front of you, you are bound to make a wrong move if they do.
So what does this have to do with your relationship? If you pay attention to the correct relationship signs and signals; the ones that are given to you by people of proper guidance, your relationship will be driven in a better direction.
I often hear random conversations of friends giving advice to other friends about what to do in a certain relationship situation. The problem with some of this advice is that although it comes with good intention, it is not necessarily the proper prescription. I am not suggesting that you don’t let your friends give you advice or help. However, you should be more discerning in who you listen to when it comes to matters of your heart or situations in your relationship.
Furthermore, paying attention to other relationships for what is typical, might not be what is typical for your relationship. One couple may fight and fight and this may suggest to you that it is healthy to argue in a relationship. However, the proper “signal” for your relationship will be different. (When it comes to arguing, that’s a traffic sign relationships can do without).
You will go through your relationship and build a sort of “city“. Your own city, where you will place your own traffic signals. Take note and learn from other relationships, but know that you are the best developer of your own traffic signs; the two individuals in the relationship need to work together to build them.
Most of us will view this article as a preview for a break up. You hear someone say “I need some space” when they want to take some time apart. I am not addressing that sort of time apart. However, consistent time apart can help prevent taking time apart or a break in a relationship.
I am encouraging time apart consistently in a relationship to feel like a complete person in yourself while also being a dependent partner. Life is about balance. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. We have heard the saying, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and this is true.
If you live together time apart still takes place at work, while in the company of friends, or while participating in your own hobbies. Having your own autonomy suppresses too much dependency in a relationship.
Wanting to take time apart or feeling like we need time apart happens by not practicing a healthy balance of time together and time apart. An article in Psychology Today expresses making a habit of this balance and how it can help a relationship be successful.
As we develop a long term relationship it is difficult to distinguish who I am vs. who we are. Is it important to keep your individual identity as you develop the couple’s identity. Your individual identity plays a vital role in the success of your relationship.
Does your partner seem less invested in the relationship these days? Do you really have him or her where you want them? I am only talking about having your girlfriend or boyfriend appreciate and tend to the relationship in ways that are normal and will help the relationship be successful. This is not advocating playing games that are harmful to the relationship; just the kind that will help your partner check back in to the relationship if you feel they are not as “into” it as they had been before.
Inappropriate Games to Play Include
Flirting with people in front of them or behind their back
Going on dates with other people
Meeting new potential partners while you are still in the relationship
Lying or doing anything decietful
Trying to get your partner to be more attentive, must be subtle.
I also have learned that having an open conversation with them about how they are not being attentive will not always work. We talk about communication being the key to a good relationship, and it still is. However, today it is easier to get anything you want than in the history of our cultures (fast food, etc). That means that people want to find faster and easier ways to do everything. They even want to do that in relationships. They want to do the least amount of work.
So an example is a girl that doesn’t get flowers or notes anymore. Or a man that doesn’t get random texts or sexy lingerie. How do you get those things back?
Appropriate Games to Play Include
Being busy. You have work or maybe school; family and friends that you need to be with. You are not being decietful, but you are making this person appreciate you by missing you.
Not “thinking” of them all the time. If you constantly bring dinner over to your significant others house- stop doing it! Get in the habit of worrying about yourself first and it should help them take the lead with taking care of you.
Less is more. Just pay less attention to the relationship and invest your time in other things. Volunteer at the local children’s hospital. Do something that keeps your heart active. It is not bad to have someone be on their toes. This way you can make sure some of the later steps in the relationship take place (such as getting engaged).
With Generation Y including those born in the early 80′s to the early 2000′s that is all of us ranging from 11-31 years of age. My initial response was how large that gap was, but then I remembered that kids these days are “hooking up” and experimenting with the opposite sex as early as 5th grade. If that isn’t scary enough as a parent; generation “hook up” will seemingly have a more difficult time engaging in real quality relationships. Even after you talk with your teens and pre-teens about sex, how can you teach them about the quality of old school dating habits with all the social hype encouraging the complete opposite?
The first thing you can do is: Build and instill confidence.
The second is timeless: Good parenting that will help your kids to be more appropriate in their relationship choices.
Lastly: It is never too early to begin the teaching. Children are influenced by what they see at a very young age. It would be nice to see mom and dad taking date nights, and just mutually enjoying one another.
Above all, don’t be afraid to talk with your kids about their relationships. Although teens often push you out the door before you can get a word in, they are listening and inspired by your encouragement.
How attached are you to your cell phone? Let’s be honest, more than likely it’s near you 24/7. You probably even sleep with it by your bed. Don’t give me the “alarm clock” excuse. They still make alarm clocks you know, and they work just as well as that ridiculous ring-tone on your cell.
My point is: too much time on your electronic devices, constant texting, or too much Facebook stalking could be causing strain on your relationship. Too much technology pushes us away from having to employ actual social skills. The actual social skills are what we need to have good communication in our relationships.
It’s not even the individual time you spend with these things, but how much time do you and your partner spend in the same room both surfing facebook or typing texts?
If this photo looks at all familiar, it is time to evaluate just how much time a week you spend communicating with electronics rather than people. Relationships require active communication, listening. and interacting with one another.