Relationship Facts That Get In The Way of Relating
Bill Cottringer

“Relationships are the real test to find out if you are as good as you think you are.” ~The author.

Relationships are the real test in life to see if you can be successful in applying all you have learned before getting into the relationship. The trouble is that the landscape has changed dramatically in going from being an individual to a partner and the challenges often involve things that you aren’t prepared to deal with. Just about the time you master a solution, the nature of the problem changes requiring a new unlearned solution. Understanding these seven relationship facts will help improve any relationship.

Every Relationship has a purpose.

People come into your life for one of three main reasons: (1) to teach you an important lesson (2) to be taught an important lesson by you (3) to provide a safe haven for both of you becoming your best selves and teaching each other the lessons of success and happiness in living together. The first two are more casual and neither person should linger in this type of relationship too long or it will outlive its purpose; the third is where the foundation you build early on helps you weather all the inevitable problems that come later. Knowing, understanding and focusing on this main purpose is always a good idea.

The more you expect the less you get.

You usually do get what you expect in life, but not in relationships where just the opposite happens. Having set expectations about your partner and the outcomes of your interactions, although that is much more normal than not, is a sure path to disappointment and unresolvable conflict for you both. The end goal of any relationship is improving into your best self and this always requires increasing your capacity to love unconditionally. In turn, this mainly involves not having expectations about what you give and get in the relationship. Keeping score in this regard never has a happy ending, so why bother?

Focusing on differences makes things worse.

Here again, it is pretty natural to be bothered by annoying differences and end up spending too much time dwelling on these differences and not enough building on the things you have in common. When one person is hopeful about the future and the other is not, or when one likes to do things the other doesn’t, that reality can definitely become a real sore spot to dominate your mind, that is if you let it. If the important differences are more than what you have in common, than either one person has outgrown the other, or you both made a poor selection for the relationship; either of these may alter what you think the main purpose of the relationship was.

The main challenge is dealing with differences.

Differences are inevitable. Where do you think you can find any other person who is exactly like you in every regard? And even if this were possible, you know that would be very boring and get old very quickly. It is the working on boundaries and exploring common likes that are all the intended fun. Learning, growing and improving your capacity to love unconditionally is the main goal of life and that certainly involves understanding and accepting annoying differences and uncomfortable conflicts. The key here is to not over-focus on your own annoyance and frustration about the differences and incompatibilities between you and your partner. It is always more productive to work on becoming more compatible in accepting or resolving the more important differences.

Character has to be steady.

During the evolution of relationships, the main attraction was purely physical. Then it became physical and psychological in the magnet of appealing looks and lively personalities. Now, it has become those two things plus good character—mature and moral. A sad truth is that no relationship of any kind can usually survive serious character flaws like addictions, unwillingness to grow, dishonesty, infidelity, etc. Of course there are exceptions, but are those people really thriving as we are all meant to, or just living a quiet life of desperation and not complaining? The main purpose and challenge in life is to learn, grow and improve into your best character and to be successful and happy in enjoying life and meeting the challenges and burdens that are a real part of life. Everything else is incidental.

Being happy and successful is not the goal.

Now this statement may seem a bit odd. What more could any of us hope to get out of life? A very important distinction here is that happiness and success are outcomes of what you do to get those sensations. An attitude of openness, enjoyment and respect is the way to grow into your best self in doing the right things you have to do to feel a sense of progress at becoming happier and more successful. And, it is overcoming the obstacles and roadblocks in your way with good character that clears the way to become who you think you already are. When your goal becomes doing what is required to be happy and success, learning from others on this, then the happiness and success follows very naturally.

Nothing gets done that doesn’t get done now.

There is a wise saying “Don’t let yesterday or tomorrow take too much of today .” Thinking what you or your partner should or shouldn’t do to improve a relationship or even communicating those things, are reduced to “trying” and trying is just a noisy way of not doing something that needs doing. As Yoda said, “Do or not.” It can’t get any simpler or wiser than that. Every new now moment is another opportunity waiting to be taken advantage of in you becoming who you were meant to be. The only choice is how much more time are you going to waste trying?

Don’t let these seven relationship facts get in the way of your present relationship, by smartly side-stepping them.

“Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins.” ~Carlos Santana.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice-President for Employee Relations for Puget Sound Security, Inc. in Bellevue, WA, along with his hobbies in being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains and rivers of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too” (Executive Excellence), “The Bow-Wow Secrets” (Wisdom Tree), and “Do What Matters Most” and “P” Point Management” (Atlantic Book Publishers), “Reality Repair” (Global Vision Press), and Reality Repair Rx (Authorsden). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or