One thing I hear a lot from my friends is how good my relationship is with my wife. Of all the emails and messages I've received I get a fair amount of questions on relationships. They can be the source of love and pleasure and also be the source of much pain. I am going to attempt to answer some of those questions with this blog post.
Relationships are essential to survival---relationships impact ALL areas of your life. Relationships contribute to your mental attitude, outlook on life, coping skills and resiliency, and what you accomplish. The same can be said for the opposite; relationships can create mental stress, cause you to want to give up, and hold you back.
Since relationships make up an ENORMOUS part of our life, lets examine further what it is we need to know about relationships and how they form. The three most often relationship questions I get asked about are:
1. HOW DO I ATTRACT THE RIGHT PERSON INTO MY LIFE?
The first step to a romantic relationship is to learn the difference between fantasy and reality.
In no other area of someone's life do I see more issues than when people have a fantasy about how a relationship should work. Many relationship struggles are caused when someone supposedly doesn't live up to our fantasy about who they're supposed to be and how they're supposed to act. We project our values onto them, then we expect them to live up to our values. We have a tendency to want to fulfill our needs and values with other people.
Instead of always thinking "I need to FIND the right one", start by "being the right one".
The reason many people seek romantic relationships is because they have this fantasy that a relationship will bring unending happiness to their lives. REALITY is, while relationships can bring happiness to our lives, but if we are not happy with, or by ourselves, we will not find happiness in a relationship.
YOUR HAPPINESS SHOULD NOT BE DEPENDENT ON SOMEONE ELSE. Your happiness can only be enhanced by someone else.
If you cannot be happy with yourself, no relationship can fulfill your needs. You will get into a constant spiral of bad relationship after bad relationship filled with unending pain.
Start by letting go and beginning to trust that things will work out the way they should, you don't have to force it.
2. I'M IN AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP, WHAT DO I DO?
Since you clearly realize your situation by asking this question, the first step is to figure out why you're still in the relationship. You are in an unhealthy relationship for one of two main reasons; you have a fantasy that things will change, or you feel guilty leaving.
Lets talk about the first one; FANTASY THINGS WILL CHANGE. This feeling is built into all humans. We naturally want to see the good in people and sometimes look over the negatives. An unhealthy relationship needs to end if you are not treated with respect, or the relationship disrupts your peace of mind, violates your values, morals or dignity.
Number two; YOU FEEL GUILTY LEAVING. This too is a natural human feeling. Of course in a relationship we are supposed to care about how someone else feels, but not to the sake of our own sanity or health. If it feels like you "can never make them happy" or you feel "you have to be the source of their happiness" you have a PROBLEM.
This goes back to the fantasy that people perpetuate. They use relationships to bring happiness. If someone is not happy before a relationship, no relationship will create long-term happiness. People have to be happy with themselves before they enter the relationship.
This leads us to the deepest question I get...
3. HOW DO I REPAIR A DAMAGED RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMEONE?
Repairing a damage relationship doesn't mean the damage never existed, it means the damage no longer controls the relationship.
You cant force someone to love you no matter how much you try. The key is being honest with yourself and assessing what happened and why.
According in Dr. Randi Gunther, These are the 6 questions people need to find the answers to:
The second step is working on you. If your identity, self-worth or happiness is dependent on someone else, you need to get to work rebuilding your self worth. You need to be healthy to have a healthy relationship. Dysfunction always breeds more dysfunction; and as the old adage says "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is INSANITY!
Relationships are essential. Healthy relationships are built on communication, trust, and mutual respect. This goes for romantic and non-romantic relationships. The key to working on any of the three issues described above is to begin with yourself. Are you able to find happiness without always expecting everyone else to be responsible for your happiness?
To Our Health,
Dr. MJ Wegmann