It is only when we no longer compulsively need someone that we can have a real relationship with them Anthony Storr
Definitions of relationship
• the state of being related by kindred, affinity, or other alliance
• a state of connectedness between people (especially an emotional connection);
• a state involving mutual dealings between people or parties or countries
• state of relatedness or connection by blood or marriage or adoption
The idea of meeting an ideal mate, falling in love and living happily ever after seems to be most men and women are seeking. The evidence for this? Well you don’t have to look very far to notice the huge number of dating agencies, chat rooms, the ‘seeking’ or ‘lonely hearts’ columns in papers and magazines, the ever increasing number of television ‘dating’ programmes, and the rows and rows of relationship ‘How to’ books.,
Just what are individuals are seeking from a relationship? What is it supposed to sort out for them? What is it supposed to create? Is there not enough going on their lives without adding the complications of a relationship? Why is that once they are in a relationship they can’t be bothered to work at it or invest the time and energy into resolving issues, give up and move on to another dysfunctional relationship?
The purpose of a relationship could be as simple as to create an environment in which to raise children. Accepted. However, that doesn’t explain the people who don’t want to have children but still want to be in a relationship?
Why don’t people just live on their own or with friends and be happy with that? After all, isn’t that easier – doesn’t it save the heart being broken again and again? Being single means not having to make yourself feel vulnerable, compromise, argue over little things. Being single means freedom to do whatever you want, when you want, at the drop of a hat.
Where does it all begin, this desire to be in a relationship and live happily ever after?
• Is it a basic desire for love and security?
• Is it a genetic drive to create an environment in which to have babies and carry on the gene pool?
• Are we as human beings and social animals meant to be part of a pair and does that come back to being part of a pair in order to pro-create?
• Do we want to because we can?
• Is being in a relationship what is expected of us by our culture, our society, our family?
• Is the purpose of a relationship to make us feel ‘normal’ – whatever that normal is, so that we don’t stand out being a ‘single’?
• Is a relationships supposed to make us feel complete?
Most people enter a relationship with what they can get out of it, rather than what they can give to it. "Conversations with God (Book 1)" through Neale Donald Walsch
What do individuals think that being in a relationship is going to provide for them? From
the work that I have done with groups and in one-to-one sessions, men and women think that to be in relationship will complete the jigsaw puzzle, the missing part of their life, it
will make them happy and complete somehow. Yet the ever increasing divorce rate is testament to the unmet expectations and inability to work things out.
• Some expect a relationship to cure their deep feeling of loneliness.
• Some feel that it is their partners’ responsibility to make them happy.
• Some expect their needs to be met in a relationship (as they understand them).
• Others think it’ll make them feel loved and acceptable. The thinking usually goes something like ‘if s/he wants to be with me, then I must be alright’
• Others think ‘once I’m in a relationship everything else in my life will be sorted’. As if being in a relationship is like a magic wand that has a magical effect on all areas of their life. All my problems will be solved.
• Some go into a relationship in order to make it a very different experience from the one that they grew up in. A new, improved, better functioning model.
• Many have a picture in their head of how their partner should love them, behave, cook, keep house, raise the children, entertain and provide for them.
• Others expect the relationship to keep them financially. To have a nice, big house with all mod cons, the latest car, exotic holidays and an exciting social life.
The origins of relationship expectations
Stories, romance novels, television, friends, nursery rhymes, films, magazines, comics, cartoons, your own family, songs, ballads, fairy tales, myths, legends and so on.
Most individuals’ expectations depend on what they connect with, relationship wise, at a young age. The connection gets made at a level outside of their awareness. This unconscious connection however becomes the strongest imaginable driver for the context of relationships.
The connection may go something like this…
Due to whatever circumstances the child is in, ‘she’ may really connect with a character such as Cinderella. And as the story goes, Cinderella met her prince charming and lived happily ever after. ‘He’ may connect with Prince Charming. The prince who is so handsome, strong, the hero who rescues and makes everything alright.
The implication of this innocent connection has far reaching consequences. ‘She’ will continue, even as an adult, with that unconscious expectation of being rescued from her situation by an outsider. This puts the pressure onto the male to make everything in her life transform from ‘rags’ into ‘riches’. ‘He’ on the other hand wants to have a beautiful maiden by his side, be hailed as a hero, to be praised for all his achievements, and to be looked after domestically. Perhaps. This is a huge generalisation. Or is it.
My work with hundreds of clients has uncovered many unconscious patterns that have been running since childhood. The patterns are not always healthy and can come as quite a shock when recognised.
Patterns get established from observing the relationships that surround the child. The role modelling that unconsciously occurs sets the expectations for relationships later on. Many times, no matter how much the individual’s desire not to repeat what happened with his/her parents, history repeats itself. Sometimes, unfortunately, more than once.
Most relationships, after the initial lovey dovey, lust, infatuation, do anything to please stage, consist of blame, assumptions, resentment, and unmet expectations, and arguments, lack of trust, communication and intimacy.
Very curious considering the initial euphoria of being in love. She soon discovers that he’s not her prince charming. Being in love hasn’t sorted out all her issues with herself; he hasn’t actually rescued her from all the other problems in her life. Quite the opposite. In her mind, he’s actually added to them by not providing her with what she expected and she’s got to nag him just to get the lawn done.
He, on the other hand, also feels very let down. His fair maiden does not live up to his fantasy. She doesn’t admire or praise him all day long. She even rejects him in bed. He doesn’t receive the adulation of a hero. He’s never praised, let alone recognised for things that he does for her and around the house. All he gets is constant criticism, her voice playing in his head telling him what a let down he is, he should know what to do and when and why can’t he be a mind reader.
So many games get played in an attempt to feel in control of one’s life. These games are usually played in the name of love. However, the patterns usually running are dependency and possessiveness. By trying to control another, many feel powerful. This power or dominance over another however is usually short lived. And so it is back to square one. Find someone else to dominate and control. That person may also leave. Alone again.
Why should you put the burden of your personal development on another? Are you expecting them to be your counsellor as well as your lover?
Becoming the sort of person you want to be with.
Like attracts like. If you are very emotionally demanding, chances are you will attract a partner who has the same needs as you. So you end up with a situation in which you want your needs met and your partner can’t meet them because they have exactly the same need and they’re expecting you to meet theirs. It can become a no win situation unless there is very good communication. When you think about the sort of person you would like to spend the rest of your life with, are you like that person? If your answer is no, then you have the odds stacked against you.
Like attracts like. When you are happy with yourself, you recognise your strengths and weakness, you accept responsibility for your attitude and actions, you act from an adult perspective rather than a child perspective and you discover a purpose to your life.
Think of the qualities you are looking for and consider how you can build those up in yourself. When you are trusting and supportive, so is your partner. When you value yourself, so does your partner.
The purposes of relationships
The purpose of a relationship is not to have another who might complete you, but to share your completeness with them. "Conversations with God (Book 1)" through Neale Donald Walsch
Perhaps the purpose of a relationship is for companionship. Perhaps what we are seeking in a relationship is a sharing of the self not possible elsewhere. A deep sense of connection and love. An acceptance of who we truly are, warts and all (after we’ve accepted our warts). Perhaps we want to be truly known in the way we expected our parents to know us.
A relationship that is based on shared values and goals can be passionate, creative and stimulating. It can provide stability, love, security, laughter, joy and a safe haven. It can provide the platform for personal growth and contribution to society in a very positive way.
A relationship provides the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate the differences that make you unique. How different an attitude from trying to make your partner exactly like you to the point of washing the dishes, hoovering, driving etc.
Relationships are sacred because they provide life's fabulous opportunity to create and produce a tremendous experience of your own ideas of who you want to be.
A fulfilling relationship can provide a nurturing environment for your children. When you think about it, the impact of this will be huge. Your children, based on you being a positive role model, will then go on to duplicate this model for their children and so on.
Examples of purposes that can last a lifetime and keep your relationship fresh and exciting are: contributing to the health and well-being of everyone around you; contributing to other people's financial success; contributing to ending hunger on the planet; contributing to ending stress in people's lives; solving the problems of crime, abuse, or poverty in the world, etc.
Good, positive, healthy and meaningful relationships provide us with the richest experiences we can have. Your loving spouse who shares everything with you; that best friend who connects with you like few others do; the people at work who appreciate you and help you to become the best that you can be; this is what brings joy to life!
It doesn't matter what the other is being, doing, having, saying, wanting, demanding. It doesn't matter what the other is thinking, expecting, planning. It only matters what you are being in relationship to that. "Conversations with God (Book 1)" through Neale Donald Walsch
Balbir Chagger, trainer,professional speaker,therapist and coach on Secrets of Lasting Relationships.
Drawing from her own personal trauma, life experience, and observations as a child, teenager, woman, daughter, sister, wife, mother, single parent, partner, confidant, counsellor, motivator, inspirer, trainer, and public speaker Balbir is now a well known, compassionate, and respected Relationship Expert.
Wanting to empower, inspire, and make a positive contribution to as many individuals as possible, Balbir co-founded a centre for relationships at http://www.harleyrelationshipcentre.com
Using proven methodology the Harley Relationship Centre provides clients with both the self awareness they need and the necessary steps they have to take to find and attract a loving partner and then build a solid foundation for a happy, fulfilling, lifelong, and loving relationship.