Do you want to know how to stop failing in relationships? Read on! There are some really easy tips that anyone can achieve. Once you make a few small changes, you can be a relationship “winner.”
Change the Definition of Failure
Often when people define themselves as a “relationship failure,” they mean that they engage in relationships that don’t last. That’s not a relationship failure. That’s dating. How many people do you know who marry the first person they date and live happily ever after? Not a lot, I’d wager. If that is the yard stick by which we are measured, we are all relationship failures.
Dating is about getting to know someone and sharing your life with them. Entering into a relationship doesn’t obligate you to stay with that person. In the beginning, neither of you even know enough about each other to know if a forever relationship is a good idea. So, if staying together forever is your definition of failure, please consider looking at it in another way.
If a relationship brings you pleasure and growth opportunity, it’s a success. Note that I didn’t say that you had to accept the growth opportunity, just that the opportunity is there. For example, an abusive relationship could teach you that you are not honoring or valuing yourself. It could provide you with the opportunity to use and acknowledge your strength. You don’t have to actually do those things, but the opportunity is there. By that definition, even an abusive relationship could be a success. And if you just make this one change, you will can stop failing in relationships.
If you choose more suitable partners, you will have a greater chance at having emotionally fulfilling relationships and less challenging ones. Know yourself. What do you want out of a dating situation? Set your guidelines beforehand and choose accordingly.
For example, if you just want company for the night, just about anyone will do. If you want a life partner, you’ve got to a bit more selective in what you are looking for, don’t you? So, you might want to choose someone who is compatible. Compatibility is about having an effective balance of sameness and differences. You want someone who has something in common with you so that you have a way to relate. However, you also want someone with enough differences to inspire you and maintain your interest. Too much sameness promotes boredom. Too much differences and there is no common ground. Compatibility will see you through the tough times in life.
Look at where your prospect is now. Is that where you want to be? Does that fit into your life? It doesn’t make a lot of sense to say yes to someone whose job takes them away all the time if you like roots and a steady presence in your life. Someone who needs people and is the life of the party probably isn’t a great fit for a homebody. You will be forced to choose between going places alone or being out with someone who doesn’t want to be there. It’s a lose/lose proposition.
Look at where your prospect is heading. If your partner wants to be in a high profile career after college and you want to join the Peace Corp, you’re not heading in the same direction. When the time comes, someone is going to have to give up a dream or accept a compromise that will leave someone unfulfilled. Don’t expect love to change your partner or to solve this problem. Seeing the situation for what it is and saying no upfront will keep you on a path that leads to what you do want rather than what you don’t want. Saying “no” to what doesn’t work leaves the way open for the “yes” to enter your life. There is no judgment to it. Saying no doesn’t make the other person a bad person. It just means it’s not the best fit for you.
Does your prospect have some habits or ways of relating that don’t appeal to you? Does he drink too much, yell, curse, leave the toilet seat up, watch football, flirt, disrespect his mother, or enjoy porn? I am not making judgments about any of those things. It doesn’t matter how I feel about them. It matters what you feel about them. If something bothers you a little in the beginning, it’s quite likely that it will bother you a lot later on. Don’t overlook the little things like leaving the toilet seat up. Most relationships fail because of many little things, not because of one big thing. When you choose someone who has annoying habits, you set yourself up for chipping away love little by little.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We all have annoying habits. You have to flexible and tolerant if you want to get along with anyone. However, you know what you can live with for the rest of your life and what you can’t. Maybe I don’t like the toilet seat up, but it’s not going to ruin my day. However, maybe not liking cats is a deal breaker. Accept the things you can live with without complaint. Don’t take on the things that you know you can’t.
Change the Goal of the Relationship
If the goal of a relationship is to get married, you can get married. Lots of people do. Then they realize that they don’t actually like the person that they married or that it’s not a great fit.
If the goal of the relationship is to avoid loneliness, you can find a warm body to sit beside you. It won’t make you feel less lonely without connection.
So often we want someone in our lives to do something for us or we want someone to make us feel a certain way. That tends to lead to disappointment because we give too much control to someone else. Often they are not even aware of the expectation is and haven’t agreed to it. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Instead of making the goal about what you can get out of the relationship, why not just make the goal to relate? At the end of each encounter you can evaluate whether or not you related and if you want to do it again. Leave open the choice for the other person to do the same. If you are on the same wavelength, the relationship will naturally progress. If you are not, it can end when it ends with the full appreciation that it’s time.
You may also see that sometimes we are so desperate to be liked that we don’t even realize that the person in front of us isn’t a match. Forget about being liked. Be yourself. Relate. Relating is a mindful space. It takes you out of all the emotional insecurity that can happen when you are with someone new. It can keep you from pretending to like things that you don’t or doing things that you don’t want to do. It can keep you being with a partner who says “you’ve changed” when you drop the mask or from being with someone you don’t even like.
If that means it ends, would that be a failure? Absolutely not. Endings are always followed by beginnings. It’s the natural way of things. And not all sprouts become oak trees.