relationships are challenging right? Your friend may post beautiful pictures on social media about the love of thier life, but you've actually met them. You know what kind of a creep he or she is. You don't want to end up like them right? Here are some things to pay attention to in order to start off on the right foot in your relationships.
Get to know the friends of the person you like
One of the things I have found in working with drug and alcohol addicts is that if they don’t change their friends they generally won’t be changing their behavior.
John was a young man addicted to heroin. After many relapses and taking advantage of his family he finally agreed to go to outpatient in another state. After 4 months of being clean and sober he was doing great. He was in contact with his family again and had a bright outlook on life. He wanted to get back into life and be successful again. He formulated a plan and moved back to his hometown with his parents.
At first he was diligent in attending meetings and keeping great boundaries. Yet, slowly he began to break promises he had made to himself. His family warned him, but he told them he was fine. He ended up connecting up with old friends and relapsing back into heroin use. When you date you should check out the friends of the person you are interested in. If they tend to be sketchy then you should think twice about the person you think is “the one”.
If you don’t pay attention to the friends you run the risk of falling in with a person and settling for bad behavior. You will notice it at first and not like it, but the more you are around it the more you will get used to it and tolerate it. Before you know it you are accepting things that are completely out of your character.
Apples do not fall far from the tree
Recently there was a news story about a woman who went missing and her husband was the suspect. He gave a story, but it didn’t seem very plausible, yet there was no evidence to prove he did it. 2 year later he killed himself and his sons. Now while that is interesting, something even more interesting is that this guy’s father was arrested on child porn charges and perved on his daughter-in-law prior to her going missing.
As I have worked with families I often see that mothers and fathers negative traits are often passed on to their children. It most often happens in the character department. If a parent has sketchy morals then their child has sketchy morals. I'm not going to go into all that entails. Most people have a good idea of what this looks like.
One is not destined to travel the path that their parents have put them on. As a child matures they are presented with opportunities to do things differently. If they do something different then they actually won’t be like their parents. Yet, when you are dating someone, you don’t know a person fully, so it’s important to understand a person in their context. Family is their context. If you meet the family and are horrified, then it’s a good idea to slow down on the relationship and figure out if your significant other has some of the same traits that his family does.
What do your parents think
You have parents for a reason. They are the one who hopefully raised you and know you best. Now if you have a horrible relationship with your parents this doesn’t apply to you. (You should probably figure out why you have that horrible relationship)
Listening to parents, while difficult, could be one of the most important things you can do when you are in a relationship. They usually have your best interest in mind and are thinking with their brains not with their hearts or hormones. If your mom gets the heebee jeebees from your boyfriend you should figure out why. Don’t simply assume that it’s your mom’s problem, believe it or not there could actually be a reason.
Don’t let your emotions lead you where your brain never would
People in “love” do the craziest things. They start wars, stop wars, murder, steal, tolerate abuse and the list goes on. If you name it, it has probably been done in the name of love. There is this belief that love, an emotion, can right all wrongs, can solve all problems. Yet, if one would actually use their brain they would recognize that emotions don’t solve problems, they usually make them more complicated. I know, I know I’m being a buzz kill. If more people recognized that love, while important, is an emotion and not something to base life decisions on more relationships would be saved.
Don’t ever stop connecting
Over and over people make little choices in their lives that end up leading to big changes long-term.
I met with a couple trying to stop their divorce from happening. When we explored how they ended up here the conclusion was that they slowly stopped interacting with one another. When looked at a bit deeper it was little things. She wanted to go on a hike, he didn't want to. He wanted to go to a movie, she didn't like the movie. He wanted to visit his parents, she doesn't like the in-laws. She wants to try a new place to eat, he likes the routine of a local restaurant. It's these small seemingly inconsequential choices that end up turning into the phrase "We don't have anything in common anymore."
This is common and people either live in this disconnected state and wonder how they got here, get divorced or seek help in order to get reconnected.
In order to stay connected go outside your comfort zone. We will never like everything our partner does. Yet, it shouldn't simply be about what you like or don't like. Thie bigger picture is finding ways to connect with your significant other EVEN IF it's through a means that you don't find particularly appealing. Yes, this means you have to show love by doing something you don't like to do.
...Stay tuned for 6 more tips...