Romance, Relationships and Rejection
Romantic Interest has to be Matched and Mutual
Loyalty for the Sake of It
Knowing Who is Your Type
Before we embark on something, we have to know what we want
Process or Goal?
Balance of a Relationship
Reinjecting life into a relationship
Married with Children
IntroductionIf someone doesn't like you as much as you like them, or if you don't like someone as much as they like you, then you are clearly not mean to be together, so one of you should break up the relationship and move onto the next one. There is nothing to be disappointed or sentimental about as if someone isn't your type or vice versa, it's not going to work no matter how hard you both try. Being dumped is great! It is a positive, not a negative. Try not to be afraid of being rejected/dumped. It means the person that was wasting your time has now stopped! And you can get onto the serious, genuine prospects instead. Try not to worry about it or beat yourself up about it. To build a truly great city, you have to start off with a solid foundation. Don't hesitate to pull that trigger (metaphorically speaking of course.) Be in touch with the actual reality of the situation, rather than living in a fantasy of who you think the other person should be or how you would like them to be, and don't create unrealistic expectations. This section is written in a more conversational, casual style for emphasis and to connect on a more emotional level. This is because relationships are not a clinical, passionless or logical subject. Thank you for bearing with me.
Romantic Interest has to be Matched and MutualThere is a natural psychological instinct that tells us that if we really like a person, whatever it is about them, then they should naturally like us back! And if they don't, then they are somehow out of order! Let's explore this concept a little.
First of all, I can't speak for the beliefs all other people have, but here are some that I have unconsciously formulated in the past, which have not been useful! I will use these as examples. Let's assume I'm checking out a number of different ladies, for example. One or two are quite good looking. Then I spot one who is really whacky or totally stunning looking or has a really dynamic smile. Something that I believe really marks them out from all the others. I will have formed several beliefs and expectations about this person (or persons), more than the others. I will probably have a desire to really want to get to know them, and for them to like me! I probably may make some advances.
But, if I don't get back any interest, or the level of interest I like, then I would feel very disappointed. In a sense I had built up an illusion of who they were, and wasn't really tuning in to who they actually were. I was falling for my illusion or my dream. The dream of me and her together. However, if I had not let myself build up such a ridiculous expectation and illusion, then I would just check her out, learn about her, try to get to know her in a dignified manner, if she's interested great, if she's not, then no worries. It was worth finding out! If she's not into me, then she's not right for me. Even if I think she has certain perfect qualities, she obviously has some big imperfect ones, but chose not to focus on the negative qualities for some stupid reason and am feeling bad about the whole thing. I am taking it personally. One good quality is being genuinely interested in you. A bad quality could be seen to be someone who has no interest in your personality whatsoever and is too busy being 'wonderful' or enjoying themselves, perhaps a lack of empathy or selfish behaviour. The person who is right for you is kind to you and genuinely interested in you. Don't kid yourself into interpreting every little thing as a positive signal and interest in you. Try to observe the real situation and be objective. It is better to realise the bad qualities or mismatched qualities and just strike them off as the wrong one for you.
However, if I'm not careful, then my feeling of disappointment may engulf me, and I might be bitter or feel sorry for myself. I might ask myself several questions (the wrong questions!) like why doesn't she like me. She seemed to have the right ticks in the boxes, I can't understand why she doesn't like me. These are obviously tempting questions to ask oneself. After all, we beat ourselves up all the time and ask the wrong questions. Ask the wrong question and you get the wrong answer. The skill of asking oneself really great questions is the most valuable we can have in life. We don't always get everything we ask for, but we certainly get at least some of it. But ask the wrong question and you will get all the wrong answers in large quantities. Ask for a Ferrari and you might get a Porsche! But ask for a knee in the groin and you might get a bullet in the head! So make sure you are in control of the questions you ask. If you aren't, then something (pre-conditioned garbage that we don't want)/someone else is!
So, why do we ask ourselves such dumb questions? Well, it is because we have several negative or incorrect beliefs and we aren't opening our eyes. Let's get to the crux of it. If you are dating someone, and you really like them and they think you are ok, but don't really make the effort or don't give you the attention or respect you deserve for whatever reason, then you will most likely feel stressed and argue and feel sorry for yourself and frustrated. However, this situation is excellent! Why??? Well, if you use your sensory acuity, or open your eyes in layman terms, and actually take note of the reality of the situation without attaching meaning where it doesn't exist, rather than getting caught up in a fantasy of what you think is going on or would like to happen, then you will realise the following.
You deserve a person who will treat you with total respect, who will admire you, respect you, trust you, adore you, think you are totally cool and be genuinely interested in you, that they want to hang out with you regularly, contact you regularly, tell you how they feel and ask you many questions about all kinds of things as they genuinely find you fascinating.
If the person you are dating is NOT like this, or if you are NOT like this with them, then basically you are wasting each other's time. You will cause yourself and your partner a large amount of unnecessary stress and heartache, and you will eventually break up anyway. If you don't, you are blotting out part of the relationship and either not communicating fully or one of you is a doormat and is spineless! If you are not totally matched or don't have quite the right chemistry, then just end it. Don't be disappointed that the other person doesn't like you. It's great! Why would you want them to like you if they're not your type?? That would be stupid! If you haven't experienced this already yourself, you cannot begin to imagine the amount of stress that dating someone who is totally not your type but is highly persistent and really digs you can cause. You aren't her type, she just doesn't know it yet! She probably is seeing an image of you that suits her, not the real you. The ego of course likes flattery and attention and may get you involved with partners who are totally wrong for you. Don't fall for the trap of not knowing what kind of partner you like or want, and just taking the first thing that comes along just because you are lonely and have various negative beliefs about yourself. Short term ego massage usually ends in massive pain and frustration later.
The same goes for trying to impress someone by exaggerating some of your qualities or interests over others, to fit more closely what the other person wants. This tactic is firstly not sincere, and smells of faking it to 'get into someone's pants', even if you don't want sex but just totally dig the other person and want a relationship with them, but feel you aren't 'good enough' or displaying all the things he/she would normally expect in a partner. This strategy is flawed on many levels, as you will inevitably discover that he/she is not your type anyway, and that you are not really his/her type either. You should just be yourself and not try to be someone else just to get the other person's interest. If you have to do that, then they are clearly not interested enough in you to start with and not right for you. If you believe they really would be interested in you if they got to know you, then stick to areas that you are both interested in, to get some rapport and gauge if you really have enough in common by how the other person's attitudes towards the subject matter and other areas are, and all the other usual indicators. Perhaps ask yourself what the ideal partner for the person you think you like is. Imagine what qualities would best compliment and temper their own personality traits and qualities. Then compare this with your own qualities, and see if this view of their ideal partner fits in any way with you. Look at the qualities that do not match, and imagine the consequences of not having these qualities in a potential relationship between you and that person. Are you good for them? Are they good for you? Would you drive each other nuts because of this mismatch? There is no point forcing anything. If it isn't meant to be, it isn't meant to be. Go look elsewhere. Everyone has some redeeming qualities, don't mistake this for 'love' or romantic potential. It is simply being a human being!
So the bottom line is that it's great if you get dumped! It's a good thing! It means you weren't their type, and they've ended things now. If they hadn't, then one or both of you wouldn't have been happy long term. Why does one get upset then when one gets dumped? Well of course you were very fond of that person, and had expectations of them. I'm not pretending that I'm not going to feel upset if I get dumped in the future. But it comes down to asking the right questions again; and associating a useful meaning to an event rather than a self destructive one. You choose whatever meaning you attribute to anything. The same event can mean totally different things to two different cultures or even two different people. The event thus has no meaning, apart that which you hold to it. Don't attribute the meaning that a break up means that you are an inferior or flawed person. And don't believe that you have to be in a relationship to be happy.
Part of the upset comes from the illusion we create. I'm not saying you shouldn't fall in love and enjoy it. Do what you want! Often, the illusion is highly enjoyable! That's why we create it. Nearly every mental picture of a relationship (or most things in life for that matter) will be how we interpret it to some extent rather than how it actually is, but we want to get as close to the truth as possible. So the short answer is, get to know the person quite well before you build up any expectations about your relationship! That way, at least those you do build up will be based on something solid, rather than wishful thinking! Of course, incompatible people or people who don't have perfect chemistry get together all the time and have a honeymoon phase of their relationship! That's part of the fun, the unknown, imagining something fun and cool and learning new things about the person. It's when you get to know them and get fed up with each other or bored that the relationship goes sour! If you are both shallow people, and not philosophical, then that can work too, as long as you are matched! So in the early stage you have an idealised image of the person you are in love with. Get to know the person before you get serious. How can you have serious feelings for someone you don't even know? Otherwise you might get hurt. Do as you wish, play the game, but know the risks.
Part of the upset comes from pride. That person was my ideal, therefore I should have been their ideal. Right? Wrong! This is an ASSUMPTION! A belief. If I get dumped then I'm being dissed! It's hurting my pride. They SHOULD like me! Wrong!
Some people in a flawed relationship think they can influence and change the person. There is an expression, you can't polish excrement. You can put sugar on it and imagine that it's a Turkish dessert. But bite into it, and the excrement is there in the centre!
It's true here too. If the chemistry isn't perfect, it's not going to be! A [insert optional expletive] is a [insert optional expletive]! What happens at the start of a relationship is highly likely to continue throughout it, and probably be worse or more accentuated! My sales manager in my first sales job used to tell me 'it's a number's game. The more you get through, the more likely you are to hit the 'sale'. If they aren't interested, [insert strong expletive] them off and get onto the next one!' The same applies here. Flawed - dump them. Perfect - stick with it! If you both want to work at it as you think there is great potential, then go for it, but remember these words of warning! Flush out the excrement early on before it sticks to you.
Rejection or insult from someone only hurts if we accord that person respect. If we do not take the person seriously or do not respect them on account of their bad qualities, then reject or insult are just irrelevant to us. If you are rejected by someone and you can see problems in the relationship and qualities that you find far from ideal in the other person, it will help you to not feel so sad if you bring these areas into your focus, so that you do not see them as attractive proposition that has escaped you. It helps to be try to objective and see the positive and negative in your relationship, and learn from it; learn about different personality types that you do not wish to date again. Sometimes by learning what we don't like over time, we get to know what we actually do like and do want in a relationship.
The type of person who is deeply upset by insults or rejection from other people that he does not know is highly likely to be overly trusting, assumes that everyone is nice and on their side (and if they aren't then it is 'our' fault), wanting everyone around them to be happy for him to feel happy, and according everyone with respect no matter whether they deserve it or not. Not all people will get along. Not all people have good intentions all the time. Not everyone is selfless. Some people behave selfishly and cruelly at one moment or other. A person should earn your respect and not get it automatically the instant you meet them or see them, however idiotic or reasonable their behaviour is. An insult from someone you do not know or who does not know you properly can never really be personal. And even if you do know the person well, if their judgement is clouded, or they are not that nice a person, then is their word or judgement really worth anything? Are they worth getting upset over?
Sometimes when we break up with someone, we replay a really painful moment of the relationship in our minds over and over again and make ourselves unnecessarily upset and stressed. This is not necessary and something we need to do to adjust to the break up. It is recommended to try a pattern interrupt to break our pattern of focus (described in more detail on the focus, belief and physiology page. In addition, we might want to focus as described above on something amusing about the person, something they did that was stupid and amusing, perhaps some quality that clearly was not compatible with what we want. This will reduce the significance or meaning of the pain that the action that we were replaying is causing. We need not recall our ex-girlfriends or boyfriends in an idealised image but look at the whole picture.
I am not going to be presumptuous and assume that everyone is interested in a proper and empowering relationship in this time of his or her life. You may well be interested only in casual sex. I am not passing judgement on your lifestyle. However, if this is the case, make sure that your beliefs are genuinely aligned with what you want, and vice versa, otherwise it will mess with your mind and you will become attached to people you sleep with. And make sure the other person knows what your beliefs are up front!
Loyalty for the Sake of itIt is often tempting, depending on your personality type, to be loyal to your partner or date, no matter how badly they behave, how horrible they are to you, how incompatible you both are or how little you both know yourselves. The prime culprits for such masochistic behaviour as the 'blue' personality types (I have considerable first hand experience of this!!) Such personality types may want everyone around them to be happy and especially their partner. They feel a loyalty to that partner and do not really pay any attention to the reality of the situation. In fact, they often blind themselves or kid themselves. Doing this rarely results in a happy relationship or any kind of long term feel good factor. The urge to remain mindlessly loyal is often a characteristic of the negative side of the blue personality type. It is an aspect of the perfectionistic desire to complete tasks, to maintain a routine until it is totally impractical to do so any longer, even if everyone else loses interest; to please others; and to gain approval from outside sources; the desire to belong. It is a neurotic tendency. No matter how bad things get, where the original reason for your loyalty may become distorted, meaningless or no longer relevant. It communicates desperation; and it communicates to the other person that they can do anything they like and you will still be there for them - you are in effect asking to be treated badly. As if you have a big sign over your head. It derives from a low self-esteem. Being loyal where it is not appreciated or deserved will get you no thanks. You will not 'go to heaven' or get any kudos from anyone for this. It may be better to be loyal where it is worth being loyal, where it is morally the right thing to do (as well as sensible!), where you genuinely want to be loyal. Of course, if you are in a relationship with a person and you both love each other, and you fully respect and admire the other person, and they do you, then of course, loyalty is worth something and has a reason and purpose. It is worth sticking with it if things get a little rough for various reasons (probably).
In the dysfunctional blue personality described above (as opposed to a positive blue personality or well rounded mixture of personality types in varying degrees), the person may not really know so much about themselves and who they are and what they want. Thus, they don't really know what they want out of a partner, and so in many cases, don't go out selecting the best fit. Instead, they may 'hook up' with a partner by accident, as if it is the first person that comes along that they find somewhat attractive or who finds them attractive. And the first person who takes an interest in them, which is pleasing for those with low self-esteem. The sense of loyalty may then make them feel as if they must accept the amourous advances or interest from the other person out of a desire to please or out of loyalty. One may end up dating a string of people unsuccessfully, just because they made the first move and you felt obliged to reciprocate. If this describes you, then you need to learn more about yourself, become more confident and actively choose who you want to be part of your life, and not just include any partner or friends who show an interest in you. The motivations for this interest may not always be well intended! Cue the 'mug' sign above your head etc.
Sometimes those with low self-esteem, when they get involved with someone in a relationship that seems appealing initially, may soon realise there are potential problems in the relationship early on. This could be in the form of repeated arguments. Or situations where signs of the person's character are revealed that one does not like or finds childish, or perhaps reveal that they are more interested in themselves than you. In this moment, most people would end the relationship. But for those who feel excessively loyal, for the sake of it, may feel almost frightened to make a decision about the relationship or to see it in objective terms. One may have no sense of objectivity or sense of who one's type is and what is 'healthy', and believe that it can be worked through, even though the same pattern keeps repeating itself over and over again. Here the indecisive and timid personality may wait for the other person to end the relationship, as it does not require certainty of confidence in one's decision or backbone. Instead, when the other person ends the relationship, one may be sad, but also relieved and free again. The other other has then had the decisive confidence to do what you really wanted. However, this may not happen and one may end up feeling trapped in such a relationship, losing one's sense of self. A relationship should actually be beneficial to you and allow you to be yourself more, and be free within it, rather than be something that forces you to change your character to please the other person. They are then not interested in you, but in someone who 'serves' them or massages their ego - you are not you but fulfilling their idealised image of how they'd like you to be. If you recognise yourself in this situation, then you need to end the relationship. As stated elsewhere, problems early on in a relationship should be observed and if they betray a side of someone's character that is unlikeable and significant, then you should end the relationship. Of course no one is perfect, but you should respect your partner and if you feel there are things you find annoying or unlikeable about them in the early stages that lessen this respect, then you are really wasting your time and theirs, and you should summon up the courage to nip it in the bud before it causes either of you any more heartache and grief. A relationship in the beginning should be fun! It will only go downhill from hereon if it is this problematic initially. The same aspects of a person character that are problematic now will likely persist and if anything more will appear that you don't like. Is this what you want? If you are like this in a relationship, you are likely very similar in other areas too, such as in your job, staying in a job that you don't like or with friends that you don't like until it is really totally untenable rather than changing jobs to one you like better as a positive choice earlier on. It is best of course to get out of your comfort zone and to end such a relationship, and in future it will be much easier and your judgement and grasp of when to cut your losses will be more sensible and in keeping with a healthy and balanced personality. The judgement and knowledge of what 'type' you go for increases and grows the more you are able to make such decisions. Don't wait for someone else to make the key decisions in your life. If you shy away from making difficult decisions, then you will end up with someone else's life, not your own. Is this what you want?
The need to be loyal no matter how bad things are (setting and enforcing low standards for yourself) is not something that is confined to romantic relationships, but it also often occurs in peer groups and also in employment. Employment is particularly vital as one is not working for a particular company or body for romantic reasons! One is there to grow, learn new skills and get paid, and hopefully feel satisfied and enjoy it. If you aren't doing any or all of these things, and you have the opportunity to get a job elsewhere where the conditions are better, then don't feel guity about leaving! No one will thank you for staying and you will only become bitter and resentful if you don't.
Another aspect of mindless loyalty is indecisiveness. A sense of loyalty is often a cover for indecisiveness and being unwilling to face difficult decisions about whether someone is still really right for us or not, or whether they really were in the first place. It may involve glossing over serious relationship problems or incompatibilities in methods of communication, values or expectations. One may choose to work through these and cut your partner slack after a big argument or falling out, no matter how big it is, or to what extent it highlights a big discrepency between what you both want from the relationship, or what extent it shows that the person is 'nasty' (i.e. a values discrepency). Clearly, if you know what your type is, then you tend to avoid certain types of potential prospects, as much as they are physically attractive and might make reasonable friends, to actually date them would be disasterous for both of you. If you have the confidence and self-belief to say well, actually, this is a difficult situation, and yes I like many things about you, but there are many that I don't, and as an overall 'package', we aren't compatible and would only ever make each other miserable, even though there is a spark there and a potential upside - the upside can't be separated out from the downside (would you drink a delicious tropical fruit juice that had a very small 'turd' in the bottom of the glass?); and that we need to break up sooner rather than later - rather than drag it out with numerous reconciliations and attempts to 'make it work' (i.e. trying to fit a square peg in a round hole) out of a sense of loyalty and fear of assertion of one's will. Loyalty in this sense can thus be an allergy to confidence and to assertiveness, where one tries to be reasonable and 'nice', in the face of ('unreasonable') hostility, and sets oneself up for more pain and hurt later on like some kind of punchbag or doormat. Some people interpret this behaviour as manipulative, in the sense that one is forcing or waiting for the other person to reject you, to make them out to be the bad person, when you all along deep down didn't want it, but shied away from rejecting them in a direct manner, i.e. breaking up. This loyalty act may be a form of feeling sorry for oneself and playing the martyr, living your life and expecting other people to make all the difficult decisions for you. Life however is not like this, and in order to actually live the life you want and not deep down resent not doing so, you need to make positive decisions, not just let yourself be tossed around at the mercy of the winds and land wherever they take you and settle for that, no matter how undesirable the result is. This form of loyalty is a form of being 'chicken'. It shows a lack of self-knowledge and self-confidence, and indecisiveness. It is not complimentary to the other person and may come across as being manipulative and an attempt to seem reasonable and 'politically correct', or to show the other person up for being 'cruel', and playing a big game or act. Your loyalty may not be interpreted as passionate or sincere, but going through the motions out of a sense of duty, like a disillusioned soldier who hasn't got the guts to go AWOL. Ultimately as stated above, this strategy will not result in your own happiness or the happiness of the other person. It is not worth it. The other person wants you to be yourself and to know yourself. If you don't know yourself, maybe they know more about you than you do! Or maybe there cannot be a relationship if the real you is lost in a void and doesn't exist. This form of loyalty of your behalf may result in resentment and a number of 'irrational' behaviour types from your partner, which are accentuated by your false calm and 'reasonable' manner, increasing the level of resentment further. Stop being dutiful and 'doing the right thing', and pleasing your ego and it's ridiculous mechanisms for self-acknowledgement and ways of fulfilling unhelpful self-conditioned/brainwashed values, and just be yourself. That is who the other person wants to date. And if that real you isn't compatible, the sooner you arrive at that conclusion and split up and stop wasting each other's time and causing each other unnecessary stress the better. You had no business being in that relationship. As long as you learn something about yourself and your 'type' with each successive relationship, then there is progress. If you are not learning anything, but denying what is going on to yourself, then you resign yourself to a life of being a lost soul with no sense of direct or self-knowledge.
Loyalty is often a form of fear (of leaving or breaking free) in disguise! Something bad reframed and sold to your conscious mind as something good!
Do not confuse fear of letting the person down if you left (possibly mixed with elements of symphathy) with love or a reason for staying in the relationship!
Knowing who is your 'Type'If you lack the self-knowledge and are not the best judge of character, and are not 100% sure what your 'type' is (in terms of what type, traits and personality you look for in a potential partner), then consider whether when you are in a romantic relationship with this person, are you going to feel satisfied. Or will you be looking over your shoulder for something better and are open to your 'perfect' woman coming along, who would sweep you off your feet and inspire you to drop your existing partner? Imagine that your relationship had progressed with your current partner. Would you feel completely satisfied that this one person loved you and that no one else ever would (in a romantic sense)? Or would you rather someone else loved you that was more suited to you? If you have just picked or chosen to go along with events with a less than perfect match, how would you feel in say 5 years time if you just continued to date them and eventually got married and had kids together? Would you wake up one morning and think 'oh ****!'? Would such a relationship only progress to a certain level that did not require your commitment, and that when pressed for commitment it felt very uncomfortable and 'wrong' somehow? If you are getting the wrong answers to these questions, then you most likely are with the wrong partner for you, and that you are therefore not being fair on them. When someone isn't quite right for you, by definition, you won't be right for them, and subconsciously your behaviour will reflect this, a deep down lack of enthusiasm for that person that will come out in behaviour that is less than what they deserve, even if you conscious mind tries to cover this up with 'sweet treatment' out of a sense of loyalty, guilt or longing for acceptance and love (from somebody). If you don't know yourself, or know rationally if you have the right partner for you, then you can ask your subconscious in a round about way as described above. Use your imagination and note your feelings, and do not try to deny them or explain them away. Try to stop conscious mind controlling and reinterpretation and sense how you feel in these scenarios. That should hopefully give you your answer.
We may often feel that if we find someone who we regard as stunningly beautiful, that they are automatically our 'true love' or 'perfect match'. However, this is often a delusion we create based on intoxication of certain aspects of someone's appearance, with little actual substance behind it. If we see a woman we like, who likes to 'pose' in a slightly showy manner, this does not necessarily mean she is just beautiful, but that she knows she is beautiful and she is posing for the camera, to say 'hey look at me, I'm beautiful'. If this is the kind of woman you normally go for, then great, but often we would regard someone who did this as being a bit full of themselves, or perhaps playing up to all the boys somewhat (i.e. you aren't special!); or a bit of an idiot. So why should this one person be different to that? Try to ascertain whether a person happens to be naturally beautiful and just acting normal in the photos, or if they are deliberately posing for the camera to act sexy and show off their assets or beauty; and whether they give off an aura of 'I know I'm beautiful' or not; to understand what is behind the pictures. What type do you normally go for? Are you looking at someone who is not your type but you are trying to make her fit because you are 'intoxicated'? Are you 'out of your league'? Or is this thought of being 'out of your league' just a sign of your lack of self-confidence and self-loathing, when in fact you are in your league or even below where you should be? Of course we shouldn't judge on appearance, but this is exactly my point. One should forget all the posing and intoxication with beauty and actually bother to find out who the person really is, and if they are really interesting to us and a good match for us, and us for them. Who do we think women who pose and are obsessed with a 'look' or superficial appearance like? What type of man do they want? Do you fit this bill? Are you equally vain? When we are 'analysing' a prospect, we should notice what they are doing and what they are not doing. Don't be seduced by their appearance or one particular aspect of them, and neglect to observe what is actually going on, and who the person really is. Whilst 'intoxicated' we can sometimes tick boxes that were never really ticked, deluding ourselves. We deep down know we are doing this, but our conscious mind tries to gloss over this and likes to entertain this delusion as it makes us feel important and wanted. However, if you set yourself up for an illusion, you will likely experience a let down, a realisation that the person didn't have as much personality as you thought (i.e. we more concerned with image and looks) or were too full of themselves, and not much fun. Always observe what you see and what you dont' see. And try to notice if anything changes as you go along, and if the things you felt were missing, perhaps because you didn't know each other so well as the start, start to appear as you do get to know each other better. And any suspect characteristics too. Do not just gloss over these as you are in love with the idea of a pretty woman and the illusion and your conscious mind seeks congruence and doesn't like conflicting information that might shatter the illusion or your ego, and 'helpfully' may try to filter it out!
If you have never really been in love, then you don't really know what you are 'supposed' to feel. If you have never met the right kinds of women (or men) for you, then you may perceive the first half-decent prospect that comes along to be your true love, simply because compared to all the others you've met, this one seems to be unbelievably excellent! However, in absolute terms, that person may just be average and not really 'the one'. The more you get to know other people's personality types and what you really like and don't like, the better a judge of character you will become and the more readily you will recognise your 'type' when you see it. To be a good match, you have to be interested in the other person's interests or at least some of them, to some degree. If you are not, then clearly you aren't that interested in the other person. You are therefore not right for that person, even if you think they are 'perfect' and you are in denial about not having that much in common really. You should know when the right person comes along, as you can't stop hanging out. You love each other's company and you crack each other up (in terms of laughter and humour). You respect what that person says/does and you don't have to convince yourself or gloss over any aspect of their character, personality or parts of their conversation (you find embarrassing). Being together is electric! And continues to be so. This is not to say that your appreciation of life in general may not diminish through becoming 'robotic' and not having absolute references, lack of sponteneity and adventure, and a relationship may need spicing up occasionally (see the last section below for some HOT tips!)
As examined on the Personality Types page, there are numerous ways that a couple can get along, or rather, various optimal combinations of personality that compliment each other very well. I am not referring to star signs (necessarily), but personality types. A mature person will have a more rounded personality than perhaps a younger person or child. They will retain their core personality type and secondary personality type, but will have taken on other qualities over the years so they are more adaptable in different situations, rather than being one sided and only able to react in a certain manner in a given situation. Well rounded personality types can be friends, date and marry etc. It is the less rounded that can go one way or another. In other words, if one person is a strong blue personality type and another is a yellow personality, they may either compliment each other and encourage the other to develop a set of qualities or a side of life that they have been missing out on; or they may drive each other totally nuts, often with the negative and destructive sides of their personality types, and inflexibility; usually a little of both. Some couples choose each other based on likeness. This can be seen where a couple look a little like each other, and even end up wearing the same sweaters or style of clothing! This can equally be either blissful or disasterous, or a combination of the two. For example, having the same personality type often means that one intuitively understands the other person and their needs, and you both seek the same thing, which can lead to heights of bliss. But equally, you both have similar shortcomings or faults, and you may become extremely annoyed about a fault the other person has that you also have but often deny to yourself (your Shadow). Often the things we find most annoying are those qualities we have in ourselves but don't admit or deny in ourselves. The other issue here is that such a relationship may become boring, stale or claustrophobic, as there is little scope for personal growth or being inspired by the other (except in areas you both share in your personality types), unless both parties are committed to addressing the areas they are deficient in (but even then, they have no reference point or role models and attempts to do so may be rather 'half baked'). They may also drag each other down and encourage negative or dysfunctional behaviour of their own personality types, i.e. the other person's faults being the same as yours, and their faults encouraging you to hold onto your faults or grow them. So clearly there are many ways you can gel together as a couple. It ultimately comes down to people you have dated in the past, what kind of people you enjoy the company of, and how much 'adventure', novelty or fun you want in your relationship versus stress and friction as you are very different. There is a balance clearly and you will over time no doubt develop a preference for certain permutations of personality types. It is often said that one may choose certain personality types as friends, and others in romance. One may like certain kinds of people but may not be turned on by them. However, sometimes the people who turn us on are those who drive us the most nuts also. On some level one must have similar values or goals. You need not share identical interests, and it is healthy if there is some diversity within the relationship and difference of opinion. It may be tempting to look for a 'mini-me' who ticks all the same boxes as you imagine that you fulfil, like an idealised person. If someone is the one, you probably couldn't care less what music they like. But some degree of overlap, on some level, is necessary or you will simply not be able to relate to each other. The most important thing is to be able to communicate with each other. Understanding your 'type' comes from trial and error and also from self-knowledge. Unfamiliarity with your 'type' reflects on unfamiliarity with your 'self' and who you are. If you don't know who you are, how is the other person supposed to know! They may well be able to tell you more about yourself and your shadow than you admit to yourself, over time, and after observation of your behaviour.
For some people they may take the view that their partner should be someone who shares their core interests. In the Seinfeld Episode 'The Invitations', Jerry Seinfeld meets actress Janeane Garofalo (Jennie) who has the exact same tastes as Jerry and even makes the same joking comments in the same way. After initially thinking he is in love, he realises that he is really just in love with himself and that spending time with someone exactly like him drives him crazy as it accentuates the imbalances of his own character and it makes him become sick of himself! So whilst there has to be enough commonality and shared interests to really connect and bond, there should be enough differences to compliment and inspire the other, rather than simply cause friction.
Do not confuse your desire for a connection with anyone, not necessarily sexual, with love. You can probably find common ground with most people and bond with them on some level - this does not mean you should have a romantic relationship with them! Do not confuse your love of humanity with love for the other person. They in this instance are not 'special' and you could feel that way with many other people. They may not understand this at first until they know you better and then realise that you are in fact being 'flakey' and not really knowing what you want (in any department).
If you are just getting to know someone or first dating, and your initial image or 'fantasy' of the person was that they were perfect or a really good match, whether it is based on looks or other, and you gradually find that you have little in common or that your interaction doesn't have that 'zing' or amazing chemistry, then it is often tempting to blame someone. You may regard them as a 'no go' option and that they have a 'flawed' rather than different personality type or set of values, that they are less of a person somehow. If they don't feel there is chemistry but you thought/imagined there was, then you may blame yourself, and allow it to knock your self-esteem - that you are 'less' of a person somehow as you didn't manage to keep them interested - as if this is your job, instead of just being yourself and being with someone who is actually interested in you! Or you may become aggressive or resentful and wonder why they didn't like you, as if it is their fault, and they have a 'bad attitude', as if it was some kind of personal insult. It is tempting to think that because you imagined it would be a perfect then it must be. However, this is based on a fantasy image of the other person and not how they actually are. It may help to not over-analyse a relationship you are having with a partner, to figure out why the chemistry isn't quite how you imagined it would be. Try not to have any expectations, try not to analyse the 'chemistry' or interraction, and just take it one meeting at a time, in a cool and laid back manner. If the chemistry is really there, you will know it instantly, and you won't have to convince yourself that there is some, or force yourself to overlook issues you have with the other person. This may often afflict any decision making process, if you are aware of negative points or issues surrounding an option or product, and you choose to overlook these or convince yourself they are not important, they may well come back to bite you on the bottom when you buy it or go with that option. It is often easy to look through rose tinted spectacles when something we see looks like it could be a 'perfect fit' or 'best of the bunch' option, when in fact it is not the right choice.
Try to objectively analyse the person and determine whether they are basically a total [insert 4 letter expletive beginning with 'f' here] up? Psychologically? And otherwise? Is he or she a good influence on you? Does the person have a healthy attitude towards life? Or do they have the same psychological deficits as you (resembling having things in common or being your 'type')? Or are you merely scraping the barrel through not knowing your type and what you deserve? And indeed who you are?
There are a number of somewhat harsh expressions that one should remember.
You can't polish a turd!
This means that if a friend, partner, relationship, acquaintance or peer group you spend your time with is at its root a 'turd', then no amount of glossing over it, and focussing on a few redeeming features will negate what the core is. You can't coat a turd with white chocolate and pretend it is a 'Cadbury's Snowflake' chocolate bar! It might look like one, but bite into it and you will soon realise it is not 'sweet'!
Sh*t should be flushed down the toilet
If something is bad for you or is clearly a 'turd', then don't hold on to it and get sh*t all over your hands and clothes! Cut it out of your life - 'flush it down the toilet', where it belongs. You can build your house on a solid foundation, or you can build it on sand. Worse still, you can build it on a foundation of actual excrement! And worst of all, you can start off with a foundation of excrement and actually build the house from turds - if you really want to - and you can enjoy the 'benefits' of this - all for yourself!
Before we embark on something, we have to know what we want, or we won't get the outcome we wantWe have to know what the purpose of a relationship actually is. We don't just enter it because we feel we ought to pair up or have kids or whatever. Or that we were dating before, and we are just taking things to the next step - and that we are only doing so because we were dating before - i.e. we would never have considered the other person as husband or wife material unless we had a history together and it seemed the 'logical thing to do'. Like one's life is being run on auto-pilot, a passive experience, rather than being an active and positive choice.
The purpose of the relationship, being with that person, should be enough, and anything else that comes of it, living together, marriage, love making, growing old, kids, or none of these things, is secondary. What is the purpose then? Well, it should be fun and fulfilling! However, more importantly, a relationship is about love and mutual caring. A relationship in my opinion should be 50/50, although it is traditional for men to invest little emotionally and for the woman to do all the work. This has been the way for hundreds and thousands of years of humankind in our society. However, in our modern society, where we have the advantage of psychology, touchy-feely values, eduction, greater value of human rights, individuality and equal opportunities for both sexes (all the usual post-enlightenment stuff!), we have no excuse really. The era of the cave man is over. And the era of female overcompensation is over. So a relationship must be about mutual love and caring. The person you date must be good for you, and equally you must be good for them. And you must be able to communicate your feelings openly with one another. Of course, it can be one sided, but this is ultimately self-defeating as the relationship will be disfunctional and not last.
We are attracted to many people in our lives. We get along with many people, amongst our friends and acquaintances. Let's go into a moral and spiritual vacuum for a moment. We could quite easily pair up with many of the people we know, and have sex, have a laugh, and in the right environment perhaps grow to love that person. And we could invest heavily emotionally. Does this mean that this person is right for us? Does this mean that we have chosen the right person? Well, if the other person loves you back in the same way, and invests 100% in the relationship, then perhaps so! Coming back to the moral and spiritual world again, we can see that the soul is important, personal growth is important, and being spiritually as one is very important too. So this narrows down the field somewhat!!
For some, one main purpose of a relationship is to make up for their own shortcomings, i.e. to 'feed' on the other person's personal qualities or personality type that oneself does not have. This is all well and good if one is prepared to learn and grow as a person, and become more whole, and thus more interesting for oneself and indeed the other person. But those that merely wish to rely (indefinitely) on the other person for these qualities that they themselves lack is unhealthy, and soon the other person will come to resent it. We are meant to be bringing something to the relationship rather than 'psychically feeding' off the other person and vice versa. Are you encouraging the other person and are they encouraging you? Or are you just shut away in your shells, both resisting change and lacking self-awareness and relying on each other to fill in the gaps in your own unbalanced personalities. Or are you both enriching your experience within the relationship, your personality and life itself? Romantic partners or friends who 'cling on' to one's positive energy and 'feed' off it, yet make little effort themselves to learn from it and grow emotionally could be considered a 'waste of space' and not particularly good for you as you are for them! However, that is for your to decide.
To pick the right person means we have to be a good judge of character. We have to find the person who really fits in with our qualities well, AND who is very interested in us, AND loves us and treats us well. It is too easy for people with a low self-opinion to get into a relationship to feel comfortable, but with more or less the first semi-viable looking/seeming person that comes along. If your eyes aren't looking properly, then you see what you want to see in that person, it is a fantasy version of that person, you are not seeing them for who they really are. And your standards are so low that you don't notice that they aren't good for you or making enough of an effort. So it is important to be aware of how the person is with you. Think to yourself what is it that you want in a partner. What do you want them to do for you? How do you want to be treated? To feel wanted? To feel loved? Now look at the relationship you are in? Or about to get into. Are you going to get what you want? And if you have a heart, ask yourself if you are really going to give the person what they deserve too. It is too easy to pick up a good prospect, and if they invest heavily in you and dote on you, then you think to yourself, hey this is a good deal, this person is really good for me, I think I'll marry them. An opportunity like this doesn't come along very often. In this kind of relationship, you will not be good for that person!! That person will become miserable.
So you have to see the reality of the relationship you are in. Don't live in some fantasy idea of what you think the relationship is. Don't be mesmirised by their looks or loveliness. They may seem lovely, but do they treat you in a lovely way? Lovely looking and seeming people (who are self-absorbed) are good for a one night stand if you are into that, and but after that stay well away.
Sometimes people are attracted by a vibe or by looks or someone's body. A person you want to date/have a relationship with/marry should be exceptional material. Have a great personality. One that you respect and find interesting. And who finds you interesting. Someone with depth of character that will keep you interested for years. If the person you are attracted to doesn't really have this, and you are glossing over major gaps in the mental/spiritual side as you are intoxicated by their face or similar, then you are totally wasting your time. For a person to be interesting to be friends with, then you have to be able to get along very well. For a person to become your lover, then they have to be even more attractive in terms of personality. To pursue someone who merely ticks the personality box, but has other attributes you love is a recipe for disaster. And if you don't want to be friends with them afterwards, clearly then you probably wouldn't have wanted to have been friends before getting romantically involved. And as such you should never have got involved in the first place!
Have you ever been on a date where one person talks about himself or herself for a while, and really seems to enjoy it, and then the other person has their turn to talk about himself or herself for 5-10 minutes, whilst the other person 'listens'? In such situations, if both people are actually listening and genuinely interested in the other, and the monologue was instigated by a question about it from the other person, it is still a rather pitiful situation - as good chemistry should really be where both people are exchanging banter fluidly. But where one person just wants to talk about himself or herself without the slightest prompting and doesn't much care or pay attention to whether the other person is interested or not, but just HAS to get this subject off their chest or communicated, as they feel it so 'defines' who they are, then we have a total absence of chemistry and empathy. This is a warning sign! If the date consists of two people just talking about themselves and totally oblivious to the other person, taking turns, all we have is a mutual understanding that one has to shut up for a period of time and let the other person talk about whatever they want to talk about, and then we will get out 'turn' after this, totally ignoring what the other person just said, and going on off another tangent or back to one's original subject again! Both people might seem to be having a good time, but this can be seen to be the 'feel good' factor of being able to talk at someone, even if it means a small sacrifice of having to actually shup up (but not listen) in between one's monologues! One is still on a 'high' from one's previous monologue whilst keeps one going through the other person's monologue, combined with the eager anticipation of being able to give your next monologue. This is more of an ego-satisfying arrangement between two people than anything remotely resembling a proper conversation or chemistry. It is an example of a fantasy, that you believe the other person is really interested in hearing about you, when they are not, but only interested in themselves like you. At least that is one thing you share in common!
Another pitfall of a bad date is known in some circles as 'the list'! This is where two people are actually listening to each other, but commmunicate in terms of 'my top 5 of xyz', and comment on what good taste the other has, how clever they are, and what a great combination and selection of items they have listed and put together. What are your top 5 all time movies? Oh ABCDE etc. You take turns listing things you like, and occasionally saying, Oh! I love that one! How brilliant! If the people who created these pieces of art knew that someone would be using it to massage their ego and create a 'list' with, they would probably be horrified! Oh course, one can be as pretentious as one likes and use bands, films or art to describe or identify who one is, if one really wants to.
Process or Goal?It is sometimes said that men tend to dislike commitment and women seek commitment. There may be some truth in this for some people, but it is often a gross generalisation. People who have been single for a long period of time, and have gotten into the mindset of always looking for a potential partner, but not expecting anything - perhaps because of low self esteem and not believing they are worth it, may find it difficult to get out of this mindset once they actually find a partner, or the right partner for them. They may still be in the fleeting type frame of mind of non-permanence, and looking at every remotely potential prospect in their immediate radar, even though they have that vacancy filled up. This could be viewed as being as being process fixated rather than actually focussed on the goal. The sense of any kind of goal has been lost. As well as appearing uninterested in their partner after a short period of time and may be caught looking around for the 'next' one, before they have bothered to get to know their current partner or date, they may also start to treat their current partner nonchalantly as they have no belief in it being their relationship or their being worth it. It in a sense doesn't feel real, but as if it is too good to be true. This may result in a certain amount of self-sabotage. To get out of this type of disempowering mindset, one may wish to focus on two areas. Firstly, interrupting the habitual pattern of looking around, and expecting every attractive woman or man they see to be their potential mate, regardless of the situation and whether they are single or not. Interrupting the pattern and resisting the learned habit when one feels one is doing it, rather than going along with it each time. The more one repeats the pattern, the more ingrained it becomes. Interrupting the pattern by any means necessary, discussed elsewhere in this psychology section, results in the power of the pattern over you being decreased. The second area to target is to examine one's core beliefs that are contributing to the style or variant of this type of behaviour. For example, the negative beliefs and doubts about oneself in relation to the opposite/same sex (i.e. who you are trying to attract), one's sexual confidence, one's view of if one deserves happiness and a perfect partner or not. It is not unknown for people to date 'lower' than themselves to appease a low self-esteem that feels at home where one is putting onself down or settling for less than one deserves. Of course, the above sensations or impulses may be harder to address when one actually isn't with the right person. Then they may actually be useful impulses telling you that you really shouldn't be in this relationship; working on different types of core, underlying beliefs. But otherwise, they are destructive impulses.
This should also be distinguished from promiscuity, which is slightly different. Many of us may go from one 'toy' to the next, in life in general, with one's 'toy' only giving us temporary excitement and pleasure before we want something new or different. This may partially explain promiscuity, which is on some level a pandering of the ego, and expecting fulfillment from the ego alone. But there are other elements to promiscuity, including beliefs, values, focus and perhaps (mental) age.
Balance of a RelationshipDominant people will always go for submissive people in life, they will seek them out, so they can dominate them so they can feel better about themselves. Equally, submissive people don't feel comfortable within themselves, and rather than tackle their own lack of confidence secretly/subconsciously seek out dominant people who can make them feel at home, secure etc. who can continue the pattern of abusive/bossy behaviour with them, as that is how they have allowed their minds to become programmed or have allowed their minds to continue to be. Submissive people are carrying a sign above their heads that attract dominant types like Greek flies to a freshly cooked meal and aromatic put outdoors in the summer!
People who don't invest much emotionally will always look for people who care and make an effort to do all the work for them, i.e. an imbalanced or 'one way' relationship. It is human nature. It is not fair or kind, it is the way the mind works. We have to question our own relationships and the way we treat people to stop ourselves become lazy emotionally or from starting to boss or be bossed around.
Let's look at what it is like for submissive people at school for a moment! If you try to be too nice to others at school, try to be a nice guy, then other children will try to take advantage of you. It is exactly the same in adult life! The only way to get respect is to show where the boundaries are, so people know they cannot push you past them, then once there is an understanding and respect, then you can actually have the relationship you wanted in the first place (once all the punching/standing up for yourself transitional phase is out of the way). The same principle applies to parenting. Those parents who try to be too understanding or treat their children like adults and equals tend not to show their children sufficient boundaries. Without boundaries, we are lost, and such children will tend to act up and misbehave and take until they reach a boundary. When they hit the boundary and realise the consequence of crossing it, then they back off and respect the boundary. The same principle also applies to a dysfunctional romantic relationship or divorce/separation. If one person is always a push over, and is too passive, it follows that the other person will often become more dominant to make up and restore balance in the relationship. The person who is more dominant will often continue to push, demand from or boss around the other person until they hit a boundary. They will not respect the other person and what they've taken from them until they hit that boundary, and when they hit the boundary, then everything suddenly has meaning and can be respected. Appeasement never worked for Neville Chamberlain in trying to stop Adolf Hitler. Neither will it work for bullies and blackmailers. Even a typically selfless person may become selfish and take as much as they can from another person who is too soft or accommodating if no boundaries are understood or shown or respected. And he probably will not appreciate or attach any meaning to anything he has taken until the other person stands up for himself. This may not of course happen immediately, but may develop over months or years, to some extent. When we become used to something, our objectivity may disappear and we may gradually build up patterns of behaviour that we would normally never consider from the outset. Someone who is overly submissive is in a sense 'leaving the door' open, and at some point, the other person will subconsciously want to look through the door and maybe take a few steps inside and enter that dominant space in some capacity.
Some people who have low self-esteem actually thank people for being friends with them or feel grateful that someone is actually interested in them or cares about them. This thinking betrays the negative beliefs that one believes the other person is somehow better than oneself. This is not a healthy attitude to have. I have experienced this himself in the past, being the thanker and knowing people close to me who felt grateful that someone took an interest in them, resulting in a mismatched marriage (i.e. not analysing if the person was right for them, but only marrying them because they felt grateful - this is no sound basis for a relationship). I myself many years ago would embark on a relationship merely because the other person expressed an interest - because he felt grateful that someone was interested, but also through some sense of 'loyalty' that he should proceed and please the other person somehow (i.e. the belief that pleasing others around you will make you happy - which is flawed because one can never please everyone all the time, and in any case, who cares!) It did not occur to me that I should actually only pursue this interest from the other person if I genuinely dug the other person. Going for the first thing that comes along that likes you is a key revealer of low self-esteem and a lack of self knowledge and self respect. It is not fair on the other person either - they are likely to figure out what is going on eventually - if you aren't that interested. However, if you were interested but felt they were 'better' than you, and you felt grateful, then they may sense your interest, but may never fully understand or appreciate this sense of gratitude or understand it - because they don't have that same low self-esteem themselves.
Friends do not require thanks - they are friends because they like you and because they enjoy your company or because they share common values. People are social animals and tend to form bonds with each other when there is attraction or enough similarities. If you ever find yourself thanking someone for being your friend then you need to consider why. This shouldn't be confused with thanking a friend or associate for something special they have done for you, e.g. made some special effort. It is polite to thank someone for this. But not for liking you! If you have enough self-belief, then you would believe that they like you because you are actually pretty cool and a great person! This is not an ego trip, although in excess it can become so, but is a healthy mindset.
Neither the tyrant nor the oppressed be. The old cliche of being 'under the thumb' or 'p*ssy whipped' is not something we want to embrace. This means of course that one bends who one is to fit what the other person wants and expects, so that they in a sense are not really interested in you as who you are, but what they want, and who they want you to be to fulfill their needs. This is traditionally the fate of women who end up with dominant husbands, as described above, but equally today and increasingly common is the man who is together with a dominant woman. It is usually the result of having low-self esteem and relying on the approval of others to feel good about oneself; and feeling at home in a position of subservience as that is what one is used to. Many people get into this trap, but if one is honest with oneself and analyses what one is doing, then one can determine if one is really trying to just please the other person (it feels like one is making an effort to do so), rather than being totally relaxed and acting yourself and naturally. If you are not being fully yourself, part of you will feel unexpressed and denied, and if you tune into this and listen to your subconscious, then this should be obvious. It might feel like you are biting your tongue or working hard to please someone. This is not really how it should be. If you do want to please someone or make them happy, you should also consider you own needs, and whether YOU are meeting them, and indeed whether the other person is able to meet them or is even aware of them. Those that try to change the way they are to please others should bear in mind that they will never be happy doing so, and the other person will not be satisfied, as it is not fully possible to bend to their will or needs all the time, and they will sense the false nature of your adjusted personality, and it is not what they want either. It will not please them or fulfill their needs. It may at first when they are under the impression that this is who you actually are, which is an illusory impression based on the facade you have presented. Over many years, you may even come to believe that this morphed version of you is really you. And if the other person is lacking enough in empathy or interpersonal awareness, he or she may not even notice, and certainly will never appreciate the effort you've gone to. If it gives you nothing but pleasure to surprise and love and care for someone, but also does not involve compromising your identity or personality, then this may be an acceptable relationship, as long as the other person is keen to do the same, and it comes from a place of wanting to do it as it makes YOU happy, rather than feeling that you are worthless and that pleasing the other person is the only way you will feel wanted or significant. Just think what it would be like for the dominant person to try to do what you did! It would be hilarious - they would never lower themselves to do this as their ego is too large. So why should you? Ideally a relationship should just be two people at ease and being themselves, understanding each others' needs and communicating these to each other. And being able to fulfill the other person's needs, and that they are reasonable to each other. And one is able to fulfil one's own needs. And one actually wants to be in the relationship and isn't in it for other reasons of need or addiction or for reasons one does not want to admit to oneself.
A well known cliche is that one should look for a potential partner who is 'equally yoked'. In the Biblical sense it means that if one is a believer one should only marry another believer. Spiritual compatibility is extremely important as it is really a logical extension of values and emotions. For example, if a spiritual person dates or marries a non-spiritual person, then a conflict may occur in that the spiritual person may find the non-spiritual person depressing, shallow or empty over time, and the non-spiritual person may find the spiritual person too neurotic, hung up, restricted or boring; each person trying to bring the other 'up' or 'down' to their level, which is human nature. And whilst being 'equally yoked' may indeed be sound advice, I am using it in a non-religious context here.
Here we are talking about being evenly matched ('equally yoked') in terms of intelligence and intellectual capability; and it also helps greatly if your values are similar without too many conflicting values. Now of course there is nothing wrong with being friends with people of all backgrounds, values, 'class', culture or intelligence - as long as the person is deemed to be positive enough to want to associate with! But as far as having a relationship goes, it is highly advisable to seek someone who matches you at least in terms of intellect. Values change over time, but a match here is a major bonus. You may choose someone with an inferior intellect to your own, and perhaps your values allow or even actively encourage this (for example, lack of self-esteem or self confidence). You may have a 'honeymoon' period where you both have an image of each other that doesn't reflect how you actually are. But once you get to know each other well enough, there may simply not be enough common ground, and the person with the greater intellect may lose interest or find the other person annoying. It depends on the spirit and the heart of the person too, but intellectual mismatch can make things extremely difficult to maintain a fulfilling and well balanced relationship. It applies to both 'intellectually upwardly mobile' as well as the 'intellectually downwardly mobile'. This is not meant to sound mean, but just reflects human nature and the effects of being very close to someone for long periods of time. Without being 'equally yoked' you simply cannot expect to share the number experiences together to the level you can with someone who is 'equally yoked'. Education does not necessarily have to be an obstacle, as people are allowed to study and learn about the world once they leave school! One is allowed to expand one's vocabulary after leaving school rather than watching it gradually shrink. The lack of desire to grow intellectually or to always speak how one's parents spoke is a major factor in 'class inertia'. As tempting as it is, if you date a person who you find stunningly attractive, but who is not your intellectual equal, it may not last very long! If you do not want any emotional or intellectual interaction with your spouse (a stereotypical 'sexist'), this may suit you for a while, but sooner or later conflict will emerge!
Following on with the above concept of being 'equally yoked', it is important to match the emotional qualities that one has oneself in the other person. Examples of positive and negative traits of the different personality types are examined in the Personality Types section. For example, it is often said that a man will fall for an 'exciting' woman rather than a 'plain and sweet' one, even though the latter is probably 'better' for him. What does this really mean and why is this often said?
A person with low self-esteem who is extremely 'sweet' or good natured, bordering on (or actually) naive may well be attracted to another person with similar qualities. Or a person that likes quiet and little trouble may be extremely attracted to a person with this as their dominant quality. Such matches can result in sheet bliss, as there is complete empathy in each person towards the other, and how they like things or like to be treated, as one likes the same thing oneself. Whilst there are many positive aspects to such a relationship, there are also some potentially negative aspects. For example, a person may see those qualities in himself that he does not like in the other person, and we know how easy it is to find fault in another person who has the same 'fault' or deficiency as ourselves! We find it easier to pick on them about it than address the fault in ourselves. Seeing that fault in the other person annoys us as we are already annoyed about it in ourselves, having nurtured it and not addressed it in oursevles for many years. In addition, with two people having the same very strong core personality type trait, unless they are both motivated, then there is limited or no scope for personal growth, as one does not have a 'role model' or a reference for other ways of being, other personal qualities that it would be good to try to nurture in oneself. This is why as stated above, that 'opposites' can attract, so that each person fulfills a need for a personal trait in the other and encourages the other to develop this trait. However, an 'opposite' type couple also has plenty of scope for conflict! As we can well remember from mismatched relationships.
Going back to the naive, overly sweet personality, whilst it may appeal to many who have a sweet, caring and responsible side to them, or an appreciate of the sweet and lovely, and may be enough to make many people 'totally melt', many find it overwhelming or 'boring' after a while, as such a person only has 'one trick' - a 'one trick horse'. Being 'sweet' is admirable and a great quality, but it is not enough to keep a more balanced person completely interested. Whilst this sounds harsh, this is the way the mind works. There is also the fact that those that are incredibly sweet often have a hidden (or at least they think it is hidden) layer of self-loathing or low self-esteem, which may come out as being overly sensitive or depression from time to time. This is not attractive. As stated earlier, many people are attracted to confidence. It can be seen that even average or below average looking people get a great deal of romantic interest because of their personality or attitude. Sexiness is not just about the physical form, a limp body with all the right proportioned fleshy parts, but it is about how this body is carried and presented. Attitude and presence are sexy. The look in the eye is half of what makes a person sexy. If a person is unaware of their own sexuality and natural confidence, then they can only be so sexy or so attractive. A balanced personality type (whatever that is) may rationally think he wants a sweet partner, but when it comes to raw attraction, he may find himself being attracted to entirely the wrong sort of partner, flings or relationships which do not last long as a result. Confidence, self-belief, a sense of humour and fun, a cheekiness, an adventurous streak, boldness, a sexy attitude (raw sex appeal or sexual confidence) and a sense of infinite possibility and freedom are additional qualities that a person requires to be more balanced and to appeal on all levels to a larger cross section of people, and to keep interest. It is sometimes said that unless one is independent, one has no real propensity to love.
Clearly the exact make of qualities is not a blanket state, i.e. one may have have mature qualities and immature qualities, that come out in different situations. These are things to consider when looking for one's match. If one person is very mature and the other very childish or just lacking in adult perspective, then the relationship is not likely to last very long. If both people are of a low level of maturity in many areas, it may also result in conflict - if one person or both display excessive behaviours of sulking, temper tantrums, irrationality, taking things too personally, and having to react emotionally to everything etc.
I am not judging anyone for their unique mix of personal qualities and for which qualities they have not developed. It is up to the individual as to how they want to be. However, if you recognise any imbalances or areas that you have neglected or only just become aware of, then you may wish to consider at least exploring them or understanding how they could potentially change or enrich your personal experience and excite your partner or ability to attract others.
I have to in a sense embody these qualities on some level myself, or be willing to grow some of them and be inspired/excited about them by the other person - and vice versa. Clearly going too far in one direction can be at the expense of the other qualities, and at the expense of balance, e.g. focussing too much on intellectual wisdom can render one somewhat 'hard of heart' or emotionally 'constipated'.
I am not judging anyone for their unique mix of personal qualities and for which qualities they have not developed. It is up to the individual as to how they want to be. However, if you recognise any imbalances or areas that you have neglected or only just become aware of, then you may wish to consider at least exploring them or understanding how they could potentially change or enrich your personal experience and excite your partner or ability to attract others.
As discussed above, it is important to be able to communicate properly with your partner; both in terms of what you are both feeling and how you feel about each other; but how you like to be handled (verbally, in specific situations and physically), how you like to be communicated with, how you like to be touched/hugged etc., what level of distance you prefer in various situations, and what you want in bed (and also how you want specific 'moves' to be done). It may be interesting to discuss why one has these preferences, and this can really help to understand oneself and one's partner to understand himself.
Some people feel that an ideal girlfriend or boyfriend should have enough empathy or understand you well enough to figure this out (this 'love language'). And indeed, much of this is possible by listening to your partner and noticing how they think, and how they respond to what you do. However, it is not all possible by instinct and perception alone, and at some point you have to discuss these subjects in an open and neutral manner. As mentioned, some people are not prepared to do this, sometimes because they don't want to know as they feel it may involve having to make more effort and they are 'happy with the way things are' (i.e. don't want to know what is really going on and what frustrations are building up!) - and perhaps because they feel they shouldn't have to spell it out. However, rarely is the perfect 'move' in bed accomplished without specific feedback! This is just one example of many. So it's not just feelings that need to be communicated, but needs, desires, fantasisies and just about anything else! This should ideally be a two way process and not be attached or associated with any stigma, defensiveness or be embarrassing! Rarely is it possible to really listen to your partner in all departments without any assistance! A little guidance can really transform a relationship and ability to listen 'in the right places'.
The same applies in office environments where people expect others to understand them - and look at the tension in office environments where people do not communicate properly with one another!
When it comes to giving attention, gifts and making an effort for someone, it pays to understand how they appreciate things. Western Industrialised Society appears to condition men differently to women, although this varies very much on the individual and personality type too. However, as John Gray discusses (and repeats ad nauseum) in his book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, women tend to appreciate the number of times they receive attention, rather than the amount of effort that has actually gone into each 'piece' of attention. Men often tend to be the exact opposite way around, and appreciate the amount of effort gone in and the 'size' of the attention/gift rather than the number/different occasions so much, and appreciate a big present more than several little ones. I have observed some men who have Gray's archetypal 'female' personality type and women who have the 'male' archetypal personality type, so it is by no means a hard and fast rule. Find out what your partner and family and friends are like in this respect. Ask them! It doesn't cost anything! And can save you (and them) much disappointment and mismatches of expectations. This is examined in more detail on the Personal Orientation and Personality Types pages.
In addition to being 'equally yoked', it is also important to look at personality types, characteristics and fundamental needs. For example, if one consider's Maslow's hierarchy of needs, as described on the human needs page, person A may be very much focussed on security needs, whereas person B may be much more focussed on self-actualisation needs. Such a couple is unlikely to really connect or stay close over many years. It is best to find someone who is focussed on the same area of human needs as yourself.
In addition, the amount of personal growth that a person has engaged in to date is also important; and how open they are to personal growth right now. See the personality types page for more information. A rounded personality is a far better bet than an (inflexible, non-adaptive) person who has only stuck to their core personality type and never developed any other beneficial and positive secondary characteristics of other personality building blocks. It is also of importance that both partners are open to constructive criticism and to grow emotionally and spiritually together. If there is no personal growth then the relationship will be very one dimensional and resentment may set in later on.
In addition to personality type, one should try to be aware of the level of maturity of the other person, and try to be objective about one's own level of maturity. It is probably better if both people share a similar level of maturity, from the perspective of being able to relate to each other, and to grow and mature at similar rates together. Of course, what is also important is a person's willingness to be honest with himself and identity those experiences or life stages he or she lacks, in order to become a more rounded person and grow and mature over time. Some people may be stuck at certain levels of maturity and never progress above them. And clearly maturity or 'immaturity' is a relative concept and also not a blanket state, i.e. one may have have mature qualities and immature qualities, that come out in different situations. These are things to consider when looking for one's match. If one person is very mature and the other very childish or just lacking in adult perspective, then the relationship is not likely to last very long. If both people are of a low level of maturity in many areas, it may also result in conflict - if one person or both display excessive behaviours of sulking, temper tantrums, irrationality, taking things too personally, and having to react emotionally to everything etc.
Clearly left-brain analysis needs to be balanced with feeling and natural awareness and intuition. One cannot go around scrutinising and interrogating one's prospect to find out if they tick the right boxes as it is not very romantic or social, and may come across as suspicion or scrutiny and put someone on the defensive or make them feel like a laboratory specimen. A balance needs to be struck. One has to know when to leave something and when to take it up - so as not to become overbearing or ironically turn into a tyrant when that is what one is trying to avoid by going through this process. Your goal may be noble, but your methods might become tyranical. There is also the question of trust and faith, you should be able to figure all this out yourself subtly without obvious questioning, and too much questioning suggests that you don't trust the other person or have no faith in them until their qualities are proven, which is not a sound basis for a relationship.
Attraction StrategiesEveryone uses a strategy to achieve (or fail to achieve) a (desired) result, even if you don't think you have one. You do certain things in a certain way and hopefully you achieve what you wanted to achieve. It's the same with love. You need to use the right strategy to attract the person who is actually right for you. And you need to use the strategy that will actually work with the person you are attracted to. You need to be aware of what their attraction strategy is. You can put two people who are totally right together, and they won't automatically begin a romantic relationship. If one is trying to 'keep it real' by expressing no romantic interest as it's a stupid game, then he might totally blow it! Or if she has black lipstick, unkempt hair (doesn't believe appearance is important), wears dowdy cloths, smells of BO or says the wrong things, she could blow it (depending on what the other person's values are.) Or if you aren't ruthless/assertive enough, she might leave and you may not see her again and she'd be gone forever without you getting her number! Because she thought you weren't interested in her. So you have to make it happen! That does not have to mean it is a 'game'. Look at your technique and the results you are getting, and if you aren't getting them, change the technique! Don't treat the technique or lack of it like a religious belief or something that is part of your 'nice guy' or 'genuine person' identify, and feel sorry for yourself if you are rejected. Don't fear rejection. If you aren't attracting women or getting to know them, then you seriously need to evaluate what you are actually doing and change your approach. If your approach isn't working, then simply repeating it over and over again and expecting a different outcome the next time is not going to cut it! Your intentions may not be clear to the other person or indeed yourself.
You often only get one shot at attracting the other person, and when someone who is interested in you expresses an interest, if they do not see it reciprocated, they usually withdraw their interest and efforts to engage with you in that manner - having decided that you aren't interested - and it is very seldom that they would be prepared to reconsider this position - normally it would be an uphill struggle, but not impossible. But why attempt to climb this mountain if you were presented with a invitation through the front door moments earlier?
The more at ease you are with yourself and your sexuality, the more likely you are to attract someone, and the easier attracting someone actually feels - the act of finding a girlfriend or boyfriend seems a piece of cake, and nothing to worry about. By being yourself, you will likely get into those situations where you will likely meet your ideal partner. Conversely, if you feel asexual and lacking in confidence sexually or about your sexuality, and you are not easily able to express your sexuality because of various limiting beliefs (which become your treasured values and part of your identity), and are 'locked up' inside, then you will likely believe that attracting someone is virtually impossible and certainly very difficult. You are also likely to give out the wrong signals and to make people believe you are not interested in them or anyone else - you are displaying a 'go away - do not disturb' sign over your head. This may result in a predisposition to feeling sorry for oneself as 'nobody wants me' - in fact prospective partners probably just believe that you don't want them, or that because you do not respond to their body language, they lose interest and believe you don't like them. Whether or not we like 'the game', we have to at least acknowledge the psychological mechanisms at play, which are common to all situations in varying degrees.
If you are interested in another person but are too shy or modest to express that interest in them, then this is a rather inward or introverted mode of handling the situation. A person likes to feel wanted, likes to feel special and likes others to be interested in them, especially when it comes to romantic matters. If a person is too inward looking or unable to show any signs of interest in you, then you may assume that that person is not interested in you or you may simply be turned off by this fact. Many people like a passionate affair, the beginnings of a relationship or even a one night stand to be exciting and dripping with sexual chemistry and magnetism. If the other person does not show signs of being 'into you', then even if they do some of the right things, it is not conducive to the overall goal. So if you are like this, try to put yourself in the other person's shoes, in this interaction, show some empathy. You may be showing other forms of empathy, which you may be very proud of, politically correct or moral etc., but in this department! In addition, if you are of a 'flakey' disposition, where you are too disoriented in terms of personality to really know who you are interested in, but go along with a particular romantic situation because you see some potentially pleasurable outcome, your heart will not be in it, and the other person will pick up on this, and it is unlikely to be successful unless the other person is similarly 'flakey' and unaware of your lack of signals or enthusiam for 'them' rather than the situation or outcome. If you expect someone to look past your incongruent signals and level of interest in them, to some 'higher' motivations and intentions, then you may be disappointed. Chemistry between two people has to start somewhere. Romance or sex is not a commodity. Nor is it something that is rewarded to the morally 'pure'.
In addition, lacking sexual confidence and being depressed is not attractive and is a turn off for many - this is examined in the section below on Balance of a Relationship. It is like going fishing and not putting a hook on the end of your line but a ring or a USB stick! And being surprised when you do not catch anything. We have to consider that we are not just cerebral beings. We are sexual beings too. Our psychology is swayed in more animalistic ways as well as the intellectual. We have a variety of emotional and romantic needs. These vary from person to person, and although some people do not consider the sexual in terms of presentation and way one carries oneself as important as emotional honesty and personal integrity, they do count, whether it is you who is not putting importance in these areas or the other person. Whatever you say about sexuality, you would still most likely be interested in them sexually in the right situation, after you have established the emotional or spiritual part first (or whatever you deem to be most important). Confidence in important. A lack of confidence is rarely attractive, albeit in the sense that a person can relate to your lack of confidence because they themselves lack confidence, but this doesn't mean it turns them on, makes them excited about you. It is simply a mutual bond of shared psychological problems, or perhaps even pity. That is not a good basis for a romantic relationship. If we do not deem appearances to be important, we are really kidding ourselves. That isn't to say that we should focus on this to the detriment of all other aspects and values, as a balance is required, but presenting oneself to express one's sexuality is important. It is easy to downplay this because of low self-esteem or because of one's values that one has built up around one's low self-esteem perhaps even to justify it on an unconscious level, e.g. if you don't express yourself sexually in terms of sexual confidence and your masculine or feminine sexuality (or whatever sexuality you choose) because you simply lack the practice and confidence in this area, then you may well downplay the importance of this in a relationship or when talking to prospective or interesting persons and even regard it as a negative, building up values around that which glorifies disregard of these areas.
Some people who are on the rebound or feel emotionally vulnerable/wounded in general (family background etc.) may well feel that discussing one's past, why one doesn't fit into this country, or an ex-lover, that the other person will acknowledge this opening up with one's problems or concerns and display of emotional vulnerability, and be warmed to you, perhaps even romantically - often guys do this - but it usually works the other way around and annoys the person you are talking to or turns them off to you. Why do they want to hear about your ex? This is not carefree, casual, fun flirting and banter. Are you checking with the other person that they won't be like your ex? What are they going to say back? 'Oh that's terrible, I wouldn't do that kind of thing.' And they won't introduce any new or different types of issues, right? This time it will be perfect! If we are talking about heterosexual men, then t is better to talk to another guy about girlfriend issues than with a girl. She is probably more interested in talking about men, which you don't want to hear about either probably. Another guy is more likely to give you a guy's perspective which you are seeing it from and will be more likely to be relevant to you than a woman's perspective - more than likely.
Those who do not wish to 'play the game' may feel that they like to be emotionally and spiritually honest with the other person from the get-go, to perhaps divulge things on a deep emotional level and how they relate to these things. This to me is more medium to long term relationship type material, and has no place in the beginning of a relationship. Of course, if the other person is like this, that this may be a successful attraction strategy but it may stumble along if the other aspects of one's emotional make up are not addressed, and is sexuality is not adequately addressed, for instance, as neither is quite sure if things will go beyond the emotional level - and are not sure if it has other components like sexual chemistry or not. Not following this strategy may be seen by some as 'emotionally guarded', uptight, uncool or emotionally fearful - however this is a mtter of perspective. Those who value their independence and whom like to treat themselves with self-respect may simply not feel motivated to open up and share every secret about their emotional make up to someone whom they hardly know, just because the setting is a 'date' or romantic in some sense - in the same way that they wouldn't spill out their guts to a loose acquaintance or co-worker. Seeing what is appropriate for every situation and every stage of a relationship may be a learning experience and usually we learn this the hard way if it is not naturally intuitive.
Some people when they kinda acknowledge that they've 'pulled' each other, or after they've first had sex, or just prior perhaps, may well start to discuss all their ex's, to get it all out the way, prior to engaging. This is slightly different, but does somewhat kill the mood and requires some effort to continue as before with the same spirit of fun. Not really a great relationship starting strategy IMO.
Ironically, people are often at their most sexually confident when they are in a relationship, when you already have a partner, and are often less sexually expressive and not giving off those sexual signals when they are single, and so are more likely to remain that way! Don't wait for a partner to allow you to be yourself and to feel good about yourself. Do it now! Don't waste any time. All the other things will come from that place. If you aren't in that place, they will likely never manifest. So don't worry about the goal, just be yourself and let your spontaneity and zest for life do the work for you. Let your signals do the work for you.
If you are making the effort in a relationship, and it's not working out, cut your losses. You have to be with it enough to figure this out, and where the balance is. The ability to measure the results of your actions or things happening around you is called your sensory acuity. It is your ability to tune into your environment and to adapt your approach according to what you see around you and what the results of yours and others actions are. Life is actually interesting! You dont' need to wander around in a trance on auto-pilot, you can really engage in it and have fun, and learn about yourself and others. You cannot learn about yourself and what you want without engaging socially with other people. Or unless you go through huge amounts of emotional pain and learn about yourself that way. The more flawed relationships you are in, or near perfect, or even perfect, then the more you learn about different types of people, different beliefs and attitudes, different ways of being, and also you learn more about yourself and what YOU want and what you DON'T want. You can't know what your ideal type is unless you've got to know what types are available! So gradually your sensory acuity and character judgement increases as you grow older. You can therefore totally bypass certain painful relationships or wrong employee selections by figuring them out within 10 seconds, rather than 10 weeks! Life is about growing and learning. If you don't do this, you are dead! Emotionally or perhaps physically! Or you soon will be.
If you have met someone in a professional context, the old cliche to never mix business and pleasure apply. A person when working is in a certain mindset and it is not very sexy. Nor is it most likely 'fun'. A person tends to look at work as work, and free time and play as that. To try to use a professional relationship or business or medical context as a way to a date or to start up a conversation is most likely going to end in failure as the person may be unable to switch from a business context to a romantic one and may interpret your interest as being professional rather than in them. And if nothing else, who wants to talk about work when two people are checking each other out, or when you are supposed to be having fun, like on a date. Very rarely can this work. If you are goofing around in a work situation together, then you may enjoy some intimacy, which might lead to something, but this is rarely something you actually plan.
So to sum up, don't build up expectations as someone says a couple of nice things to you. But you can if you really want to, but 'enjoy' the consequences! Try to figure out really who they are and what you relationship is, rather what you would like it to be. Steer it in the direction you want it to be, but if it's not working, then dump the person! If you get dumped, it's great! It means the imperfect partner for you has stopped wasting your time and is allowing you to be yourself again and meet the RIGHT one, who's maybe next in the line. You have to be sufficiently with it to notice if a person isn't right for you. Pay attention! Don't just daydream! Be honest with yourself. But be romantic too! Live with passion! Don't become a robot.
Internet RelationshipsAs stated above, when it comes to dating web sites and flirtatious interactions in RGP games or in chat rooms, we are often infatuated with our perceived, idealised image of the other person rather than the actual reality of that person, that may or may not coincide with this idealised image. Some people even find avatars or cartoon representations of a person attractive - this is a little like getting 'wood' if you see Minnie Mouse. We are using crude tools of communication and there is no body language, intonation, and we have to rely on 'smiley's which look the same whatever the person looks like or how they express themselves or what their real body language or vibe is like.
Whilst the internet allows us to meet people from any part of the world, and from all walks of life, it could be said that many people with emotional, psychological or health issues, or 'social misfits' tend to use internet networking sites more than others to meet people; as they spend less time in the 'real world' - and there is often a reason for this. The internet may be a fun place for occasional casual networking with people with similar interests, but when it comes to looking for potential partners or romance, one should proceed with at least a little caution. After all, there is no intonation or body language on the internet so it is harder to figure people out. It is quite possible, in fact quite common place, to be 'dating' or flirting with a certain person for a numbe of weeks, when if one met them in person, one could in most cases tell immediately (in the first few seconds) whether the person is one's type or not. The internet does not allow this mechanism and one can get emotionally involved with someone over a period of time, and by the time one starts to actually get to know their voice or characteristics, one's judgement has been clouded by one's feelings. It is the opposite round to the way it usually is or 'should be'. In effect, in many cases, one may end up wasting one's time and the other person's time in a number of gratituously painful romantic involvements with types of people who one would normally never date. So whilst the internet opens up the world of choice, it also introduces many new problems. The naive may not be aware of these problems. Of course, if one has indeed met one's 'match' or 'the one', then the potential problems are not so important, and things will probably go very smoothly. But if one has become involved in a 'mis-match', then one may be in for a 'rocky ride'.
Common sense would dictate that one does not get too excited in such an internet relationship, or that one tries to talk to them on the phone as soon as possible (a powerful way of identifying a mis-match) and if this goes well, meeting the person as soon as possible; rather than staying on the 'internet' in one's communication where one doesn't quite know who the other person actually is, despite the numerous emails and instant messaging sessions etc. How emotionally involved should one be with someone whom one has never spoken to or met? How much should one emotionally invest in a person whom one has never spoken to or met? How much is reasonable? How much commitment should one give to this person? How long is it reasonable to conduct an on-line relationship for without talking or meeting? How reasonable is it to have a long distance relationship? Have you ever spoken to someone who had a non-internet long distance relationship? Do you know how hard it can be for them? Would they choose this is they had a choice? Can long distance relationships where one has never even met the person or perhaps met them a few times actually work? In the real world, if one has only briefly dated, and one has to move apart, the relationships invariably end and in many cases result in cheating. Anyway, these are questions that one should consider and discuss. Some people argue that in romantic terms, the internet should ONLY be used to find people in one's local area, on a dating or neworking site, who sounds like he/she might have similar interests to you, to meet in person (telephone conversation prior of course) and if of interest, to date normally; and that it is ridiculous to be suggest a relationship with someone in another country, whether over the internet or not.
The whole concept of getting to know someone on the internet in a romantic sense is fundamentally flawed, as one is really missing out on the whole fun part of a relationship, the first started dating part, and becoming overfamiliar with each other in a strange way where there is so much one doesn't know about the other person. When one finally meets, although one has to start from scratch to some degree, the whole casual vibe is likely long gone and it's a kind of casual get to know each other on the understanding it is a start of a long term relationship, or similar. Way too serious and too many expectations. If you say you don't have any expectations, and start at casual dating, then it would be very strange and wierd - if it indeed was really true. In addition, because of the travel involvement and the long build up, it would be very hard to begin like you'd only just met - which in reality you have - but you haven't - and would have likely talked on the phone for a long period of time prior. Likely you or the other person have travelled a long distance or are combining a holiday with seeing the other person (yeah right!), so there is an in-built pressure there for this reason alone - to follow through with the 'deal'.
In many cases, people tend to use their most flattering pictures as avatars or even those taken by professional photographers. This may also contribute to the idealised image of the other person, in a similar way to avatars, that does not really correspond to how they look like for 95% of the time in reality. Profile information can be similarly misleading. As discussed in the Personality Types page, people when they describe themselves like to show a happening and attractive view of themselves to the world, a little like a sales person focuses on the attractive features of a product and emphasises them whilst not focussing on the drawbacks. When people view their own profiles, they want to see a positive representation of themselves so they can feel good about their attributes. People may also believe their own 'hype', and believe in the 'fake self' which hides layers beneath it of the 'negative self (the neurotic/self-loathing type behaviour or attitudes we try to hide from others most of the time) and of course the mostly positive, authentic self. The 'fake' self is our public self image, which may contain elements of our authentic self but many others that are often the direct opposite of the negative self that we are trying to hide or deny. The conscious mind's attempt to describe the self whilst hiding it's own shadow. These factors, the idealised pictures and narrative add to the tendency of people to view an idealised or fantasy image of the other person and qualities that often occurs in real life romantic involvements, let alone over the internet, where these aspects are greatly accentuated. One may be so focussed on the idealised profile pictures, that when one sees 'normal' pictures of that person, or less flattering, every day pictures, that are not poses, one may gloss over them as one has this belief in the fantasy and idealised image. This is the image one thinks of when one thinks of the other person - probably! Clearly it depends on the individual and to what extent self-delusion has taken hold.
A common mistake with internet relationships is that one is busy discussing interests and flirting, but one may forget to discuss basics regarding expectations and prefered styles of communication. For example, how much time should one spend or expect from the other person each day or each week. A single email? Or 20 emails? Is it reasonable to expect a person that has never spoken to you to spend hours each day chatting with you on the internet, and giving up their normal routine or activities? Both parties need to agree on what is expected of the other and if they are happy or prepared to put in and invest this much in the other person, at that given point in time. Usually the amount of time and expectation of the other person increases gradually as the relationship goes along. However, it may reach a point where there is a sense of obligation rather than a natural desire or pleasure in doing so. Has the relationship progressed from being a simple pleasure and simply thinking about the other person during the day is a pleasure to merely spending most of the time in cold turkey or withdrawal, moping around and missing them apart from when one is 'with' them on the internet chatting. Is the latter scenario helpful or desirable? Not likely - it is perhaps a sign that one needs to take stock of the situation and refocus; take a step back and reconsider what one is doing. If one doesn't just feel happy that that person is alive and being on the planet wherever they are, and that the world is simply more wonderful because they exist, and you do not have this feeling or have lost it, then you may have 'lost it'! This should really be enough, and should be the basis of the relationship. If not, then you should not be romantically pursuing them unless you are just interested in sex and they are too. If you are that type of person. One could argue that if you are both not purely enjoying your interaction, then it should really be downgraded from romantic to friends and the intensity reduced to a point where it is more business-like and not a big drain on each other's time and resources. One should be aware that many people on the internet are addicted to flirting, and are 'serial flirters'. This is described above in the Process section, but particularly applies to the internet as it is so easy to flirt and mingle for 'social misfits' who would not normally have the guts to approach so many girls in this manner. Serial flirting can also just be an ego trip for many guys who have little character and are tempted by access to so many women on line.
If one is chatting on yahoo, how long do you expect the chat session to go on for? Do you feel guilty about ending a chat session? Do you expect the person's attention continuously or are they 'allowed' to do other things on the computer whilst you are chatting to them? Some people type faster than others, and for some, sitting at the computer waiting for the other person to finish typing and press 'return' before one sees each message is stressful or excruciating. Equally, the calibre of conversation is usually much lower in instant chat than it is in email, but clearly it depends on the individual. Clearly when one is actually dating someone in person, the level of interest and commitment expected would be far greater than if one was only at the 'on-line' stage. However, when in the internet stage, there is considerable room for discrepency in expectation. To try to replicate a real relationship on-line results in a very potentially problematic situation. In normal relationships, one proceeds slowly, but with the internet, it is easy to get 'carried away' and to progress the relationship at a great pace, whilst still not really knowing the other person or understanding their needs and expectations. When a relationship is as emotionally charged as this, this can lead to problems and gratuitous stress. Is it reasonable to expect all the things you would expect of a person when having a relationship with them in person, of someone you have neve met or spoken to over the internet, when all you can actually do together is type? There are none of the actual real life situations and dependencies that there are in a real life relationship.
It is easy on the internet to let things pass that slightly annoy you or that you are not 100% pleased about as qualities in the other person, or the way they are handling something. Certain situations of stress on one side may arise as the other person was too enthusiastic about trying to help with something and not being so careful about exact wording (resulting in a slight negative effect). It is perhaps easy to fall into this trap as one in normal situations can read body language and gauge a person's response as one communicates and adapt what one says as one goes along - with the internet this is not possible, and one acts without the feedback, the other person only typing in protest when they are already offended, when it is too late. It is no secret that people are more offended in general by emails than they are by face to face communication when sensitive matters of being communicated. Because of lack of intonation and the fact that officious statements tend to be more frequently communicated in writing than verbally in general, the brain often jumps to the conclusion it wants to see in a sentence, i.e. one that the ego desires, i.e. to be offended, for a sense of significance, rather than the actual meaning the writer intended (which we might sense if we empathised with them and read the wording with a calm mind and did not jump to any conclusions in interpretation). Such scenarios are exaccerbated when one does not really know oneself what one's 'type' is and indeed what 'type' the person one is talking to is...i.e. when there is a fundamental gap in understanding or appreciation of who you are talking to and what they like to hear and are motivated by etc. Those who network on the internet will be more than familiar with such scenarios, particularly those in chat rooms. It is a grossly emotionally inefficient method of communication, which for a relationship that is supposedly based on emotion, is a rather unfortunate state of affairs.
Many of the situations one finds oneself in in an on-line relationship are rather abstract and new to the human experience. It is likely that much of the problems of internet relationships would not exist in a real relatoinship. To what extent is an internet romance a form of insanity and to what extent it is an actual relationship is a matter of perception, and it is likely a combination of the two to varying degrees, no matter how much of a match it is. Clearly the quicker it progresses to a 'normal' relationship the better and the less scope there is for confusion and misunderstanding.
Some people view 'on line relationships' as just a recreational activity, and that they have no meaning, and sometimes use this as an excuse to maintain one or more cyber-relationships with people whilst still staying with their existing spouse. It could be argued that a cyber-relationship is not infatuation or cheating in the regular sense. However, if neither party thought it was real, it would not give them such a kick or butterflies. Whilst a cyber-affair may just be emotional/spiritual/romantic and non-physical, it is not that different to actually having sex with someone else and having a 'proper affair'. In my view, even a 'meaningless fling' or 'affair' in the conventional sense is more about the emotions and soul than the sex. If one convinces oneself that it is just a fling and there is not emotional attachment, there is a psychological/emotional/spiritual component, which is manifested if only briefly during meetings/sex. It is not the sex act and physical aspect as such that is a point of contention in affairs, but more the fact that it is an expression of cerebral intercourse and a temporary melding of souls (on some level) that is occurring during sex or foreplay. On some level one is making a promise to that soul, even if one breaks it 5 minutes later when one has had one's 'fill' and walks out of the door. Going back to on-line relationships, the physical aspect is largely irrelevant, because the same feeling of infatuation/melding/love can occur without ever meeting the other person. So in my view it is still cheating.
Some justify a cyber-relationship as they feel their existing relationship is flawed and not going anywhere. Indeed, many people use this excuse to engage in an actual fling or affair. However, often, by focussing one's energy on a cyber-relationship, it takes the urgency or motivation to work on one's existing relationship. One's main romantic focus is elsewhere. Those who find just one cyber-relationship unsatisfying (which it inevitably is), they may engage in multiple on-line flirtatious relationships or try to progress the one main cyber-relationship to become an actual relationship. This might include escalating things up from on-line chat to occasional or regular phone calls, web cam chat (with or without clothes!) and the eventual first meeting.
Usually it is possible to get a sense of where someone is at over the telephone, by their intonation, accent, way of expressing themselves etc. However, if one hasn't 'flushed' the person out on the telephone, then the first meeting in the majority of cases is the clincher - and often begins awkwardly, as one is basically starting from scratch, and the familiarity and flirting of on-line chat is nowhere to be found! It is in effect like being on a blind date, except that one feels almost embarrassed about what one has already discussed, promised or bragged about, and the cyber-intimacy one has already shared! In this situation, whilst both parties would not have met in the flesh unless they had chatted on-line first, when it comes to the actual first time meeting, it would be simpler and less awkward if they had never chatted on line and 'over committed' themselves, but started with a clean slate. You can't have your cake and eat it however!
When cyber-cheating is occurring, as I have seen on several television programmes, it causes a large amount of pain in the person's spouse. He or she may feel neglected, left out and actually cheated on. The guilty party may well prefer to spend time on line over time with them and the family, and it becomes patently obvious that the person feels butterflies when with their on-line partner, but not with their spouse. If the guilty party is upset or depressed as they cannot talk to their on line partner, this is also particularly hurtful for that person's partner. The partner may feel neglected and unwanted, and it is very painful. The guilty party may feel that they are betweena rock and a hard place, guilty if they leave their partner or that they are cheating on them in a cyber sense, but feel bad if they 'miss out' on the potential 'promised'/imagined for this cyber-partner. The partner does not feel so great about being a 'back up' plan if the cyber relationship fails to deliver when it progressed to meeting in person. Clearly this is a messy situation and should be resolved one way or another. Television documentaries usually show the guilty parties going back to their partners and trying to repair a huge emotional injury they have caused to their partner or family. In some cases, they leave their partners and move in with their cyber-lover. At the end of the day, if one's existing relationship is that bad, one should either attempt to fix it by both parties actually being honest with each other and actively involved in the relationship and prepared to grow as people together, and maintain outside interests, and not be reliant on the other person for all their emotional and friendship needs - and not become social recluses; or leave that person. Then whatever one does after that is on a clean sheet and there is no complication or baggage. No one is being torn apart! By trying to diversify too much and maintain a half-baked real relationship and a fantasy cyber relationship, it will end in pain for at least one person, usually at least two! Sometimes all three! Trying to fill a gap with a cyber relationship whilst enjoying the other benefits of one's existing relationship is like trying to have your cake and eat it. No one likes to feel like a 'back up' or 'fall back plan'.
Whilst some people claim to be able to get to know someone properly on the internet, in my opinion, it is far too abstract and 'wierd' to be completely healthy, and if there is a real connection, then the sooner the people concerned meet and stop chatting on line, the better, to avoid the 'mess' and 'anally retentiveness' of the on line world. I mean, who would watch a romantic drama or comedy with no physical actors and filmed entirely with the camera pointing at a monitor screen looking at 'romantic' messages on a web site such as mysp*ce? It would not be very interesting would it? So why do we do it?
Do on-line relationships or long distance 'internet' relationships consist of too much expectation, misery of missing someone when they are not on line, rife with misunderstandings and arguments, but without any of the benefits of affectionate contact and 'make up sex' or real relationships?
Regard an on-line relationship as a relationship and be honest, even if it isn't a relationship in the conventional sense. Find out what is going on (and see through the fantasy image of the other person) as soon as possible. Or just stay on-line friends, the emphasis being on 'friends'. Try not to get sucked into the impersonal 'stroking' that goes on with silly emoticons, winks and stereotypical expressions that have little substance behind them and are like shooting in the dark. It is really just an ego trip much of the time. Don't forget that more mentally ill people are found on line than anywhere else, and there is often a reason why some people spend so much time on line, and it is rarely a positive reason. There are exceptions to every rule. Use your judgement, common sense and your brain! And make up your own mind.
Reinjecting some life into a relationshipMany people are all to eager to progress in a relationship. People often feel they want something to be more 'advanced' or 'solid', or they just want more of something but can't quite express what this might be. In relationship terms, people often consider that if one spends more time with another person, the relationship will improve, e.g. become more intimate. Some people also crave love and affection and by moving in together or getting married, or having children, many couples believe they will progress their relationship further. Consider some of your previous relatioships. When did you have the most fun? When was the relationship most exciting? Most people will say at the beginning, for the first month, maybe more. Often what happens is that people fall into routines, in terms of how they communicate to each other, how they express their affection for each other. And equally the values and beliefs we have about relationships are often conditioned into us by society, by others, by our parents, so we feel like we should fit into a certain pattern.
Domestic responsibilities, practicality and so on often serve to kill off the passion and excitement in a relationship. But these are society's values. Who says that we have to live with a person that one loves romantically? We live with our siblings when we are younger or with housemates, and as much as we enjoy some parts of this, other parts clearly are extremely annoying or stressful. Overfamiliarity and living on top of one another creates tension, stress and oversensitivity, almost to the point where if someone does something it is like we are doing it (as if they are a part of us as we live 'on top of them') and therefore if it conflicts with our values we may snap at them. People who live together in any capacity may take things more personally than they would with other relationships, as one is in their 'den', or home, and people are more defensive or protective about the sacred institution of the 'home', which for many is supposed to be 'safe'. Few homes are 'sexy', they are robust workhorses that cater for our day to day existence. They are platforms to live on and to get ready for work from, to rest when we are coming back from work. Most homes are in fact as dull and unimaginative and uninspiring as a dull dullard talking whilst holding his nose. Modern architecture is often without character or personality. Do people enjoy doing the washing up together? Perhaps sometimes if they goof around, but usually not! So do we wish to include such arrangements into our romantic lives? Do we wish to taint our love lives with the more mundane and practical aspects of modern living and physical needs? Of course when one has no children it is much simpler, but with children involved it becomes more like running a factory or hotel, but 'staff management' required. It is often said that couples cannot work together in an office, as one needs to be firm but fair. Very few people really like their bosses, because at the end of the day, the boss is there to manage a workplace and not to be liked by everyone. Sometimes he must talk down to people or reprimand people. This is why mixing business with love is rarely a good idea unless both parties are 'perfect' and on an equal footing and have similar goals and a similar vision for the business. This is why there is often friction in a domestic environment where children are involved or when there are many chores to be done. It is hard to get excited about someone one spends most of the time engaged in activities where one may become frustrated by them or bored by them. Combining many of the aspects of living at home with one's love life is a dubious strategy arguably. Instead of restricting one's time together to special times and dates, one spends most of one's time together being a 'team' or engaged in less than flattering or romantic activities. Clearly imagining a relationship to be exciting and like dating forever might be unrealistic for some, or a childish notion, but at the end of the day, one does not have to do anything! I once saw a TV show about a couple who lived in separate houses, and the man came over to see woman a few times a week, returning to his own bed every night (late!) This hugely improved their relationship. They were both married with children.
Even aside from 'domestic bliss', one can look at many young relationships and see that they quickly settle into a pattern or routine. Many couples feel obliged to meet up on Friday or Saturday nights or even on many week nights. It becomes an expectation. Expectation is the mother of boredom and frustration. If you know you have something on 'tap', it takes away from the sense of its worth or value. If you have to work for something or that you might not get it, it becomes more elusive and coveted. Spending more and more time together does often not make things better or improve the quality of the relationship, but merely to make it more predictable. Many couples settle into discussing arrangements for holidays, days out etc. and other practicalities and expected 'progressions'. Many relationships become about arrangements and routines rather than romance. Especially if each person has their own children or family members being involved. Life becomes a juggling act of logistics. How exciting! Many couples fall into baby talk and seem to lose their sense of identity and self-respect. Too many couples compromise who they are to fit into the relationship or please their partner (i.e. trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole) and expectation and grooming take hold. If two people are to be a 'couple', they should respect each other for who they are and that relationship should not extinguish who they are. There is a fine line between love and self-deprecation. One should ask oneself why one wants to please the other person - is it because one genuinely loves them or is trying to fill some void in oneself or distract the mind from oneself. Is the other person truly loved or are they a piece of meat, 'a woman' who fills our need for a relationship (i.e. not very flattering for the other person as they as a unique person are not really loved or wanted for who they are but because of WHAT they are)? Some people just want a companion and can be seen to jump from one relatinship to the next so quickly, almost without prejudice or care as to who they are pairing up with. They just NEED it. In most couples, Shadow projections take hold in domestic arguments, as most people are in denial of who they really are or cannot be bothered to address any of their major flaws as they like to walk around switched off like zombies. One should ideally change for oneself and not just to annoy one's partner less. Change into the person one wants to become, not the person one's partner wants us to become so we tick all their boxes. Many people cannot do anything without checking with their spouse first and the partner who 'holds the diary'. There is a fine line between being considerate and being a slave. It is often said that to truly love someone you have to be free or independent yourself. If you are not, then your love may be flawed. This does not necessarily have to apply to romantic relationships, but life in general. An adult who lives with his family will not appreciate them or be as loving to them the time they are together as someone who lives apart from his parents, and when they are together it is quality time. In addition, both parties are often better able to respect each other. Financial independence and independence of spirit is psychologically healthy and desirable and creates better relationships. Deep seated frustations and feelings of disempowerment created through living with one's parents too long does no one any favours.
When it comes to actual patterns of communication and intimacy, the human mind is famously known to settle into patterns, and not to act out the unpredictable or new, unless one makes an effort to do so, in many situations. For example, when meeting someone for the first time, there is a clean slate, but after initial interactions, one usually files the interraction with that person away into a certain part of the brain, defining how one then interracts with that person from then on. This is true for non-romantic relationships also. If you refuse that first cup of tea, you are likely never to be offered another. This is nothing personal nor is it a sign of the other person being grumpy with you, but just the way many people work. Similarly if you put someone off in some other form, they are unlikely to want to reconnect so intimately again. This is often why relationships in the workplace become static and how people can bump into each other so often around the office or workplace but never socialise together or take their relationship any further. So many things about their relationship is unspoken and set in stone. Whether one would want to, as one spends so much time toghether already, is another matter. However, in many instances, people put up barriers needlessly, just because they have set up that neurological connection at one point in time. That pattern becomes the norm from thereon after. Romantic communication works in a similar way, and in requires some considerable effort to keep the relationship free and fresh throughout its duration, and resisting the temptation to become dependent on each other in a less than optimal manner (i.e. resisiting the 'addiction' of the relationship which does not necessarily produce more quality time together or happiness). Some tips on how to achieve this and to introduce new patterns of communication, verbal or non-verbal, and sharing and experience are listed at some of the links below. A relationship requires sponteneity and chaos, excitement and a sense of the unknown or exploration to really keep it alive and vibrant. Having a personality of course helps! And a desire to grow and explore one's own mind and potential, in all respects. Sometimes it is necessary to take a step back from a relationship and 'recreate it', to break down the patterns that have become established, to discuss where one has arrived at and how it could be improved, and to come together again with fresh eyes, with no expectation, and a renewed sense of joy and passion, to communicate in different ways, and if one is going to fall into a set of patterns, at least they will be slightly different ones this time. One can repeat the exercise again any number of times. Indeed, some couple involuntarily break up, and a person subconsciously seeks to either break away from the partner or to have an affair to try to gain that sense of the unknown and excitement again. If the couple do break up and try to get back together, they will be doing so, but perhaps with a considerable amount of pain and heartache on both sides and baggage which may take some time to overcome. Trust may take time to rebuild, but then again, perhaps such reunions should not expect to go back to where they were in terms of familiarity and intimacy, as for one thing they are starting afresh and should go back to square one if possible; and in addition, it depends how much you trust a person you are 'dating for the first time'. Ideally one should not have ill feelings towards or pain associated with someone one is seeing for the 'first time'! Some reunited couples maybe only have a few dates before giving in to the overwhelming urge to settle back into a 'long term relationship' type mentality. This overwhelming urge or addiction - is this love, or is this a hopeless addiction? Can there be love without this kind of addiction. This is something you might want to think about. Often we take 'love' as a complete package, as learnt from others about how it should be, and don't question what it is or what it could be, and assume we are on some kind of involuntary one way trip to obesity, overfamiliary and boredom. Let us consider the concept of a partner. What does that really mean? Is this a romantic concept? Is this a preset role? Is this a template for stagnation? Food for thought. Be aware that our own minds are our worst enemy at times and that they require management and intervention to keep them going where we want them to go.
Below are some interesting articles on ways you can spice things up and rekindle a little passion in your relationship. Many relationship problems come down to complacency and problems around Focus. Overfamiliarity is the enemy of appreciation and sponteneity, and it need not be that way.
Tony Robbins recently (Feb 2008) made the following suggests for spicing things up with one's partner:
- go to dancing classes together, if you are good dancers, and expressive, go to a club, be it salsa, jazz, or hip hop etc.
- go to cookery classes together. This could get very erotic. Or just fun and playful.
- laugh together - you cannot be annoyed and laugh at the same time. Watch a funny comedy movie or series, or go to see a local comedy club show (avoiding the low quality comedians!! In Britain this being 98%).
- create your own home 'spa' in the bathroom, with scented candles, back rubs etc. in the bath tub. If you have the money, why not have a jacuzzi fitted, or even an electric steam or Far Infrared Sauna? Spending time in there naked can be fun and freerer. I am not necessarily suggesting having sex or making love in there, but just hanging out and relaxing or having a joke together. Sharing some downtime together.
- organise a surprise picnic - plan the location and menu.
- try various role playing games together, either in the bedroom, or normally, for fun or personal development.
- playfighting - this isn't just for children. We don't mean physical fighting, we mean play arguing here really, deliberately causing a commotion in a public place as a joke or something similar - explaining it is a joke afterwards, or if the other person picks up on the joke, take it further and have fun. You may have other variants on this for being spontaneous.
Married with ChildrenMarried with Children? 2.5 Children? Semi-detached house? Commuting to work? I am only teasing you here.
Relationships have their ups and downs. When you have only been dating a short time, it is easier to give up on a relationship than when you have been together for longer, as you have invested less emotionally in it and have become emotionally dependent on the other person. One of the reasons why couples in flawed relationships stay together is that breaking up is simply too painful, i.e. the pain in the short term of sticking with it is less than the pain of breaking up. However, the long term outlook may well be completely different, the person still trapped in that relationship has continually been feeling that pain, which has often steadily grown larger and larger; whereas the person who made a clean break feels free, after a period of adjustment, and may well be in a happy and fulfilling relationship by now.
When it comes to a flawed relationship, one must consider if the relationship can be saved, in other words, if both parties are willing to grow and develop - both together and as individuals; to work towards a healthy emotional balance in their relationship (i.e. no excessive reliance on the other person for all their social and emotional needs); to communicate properly and not shut the other person out or put up a brick wall when it comes to suggestions to change or grow; and so on. If not, and resentment, frustration and animosity grow, and differences are irreconcilable or one person flat out refuses to play ball, then it is time for a hard decision. Should I stay or should I go?
When you are single, this can be a hard decision for many to make. However, when you have children, then one must also consider their welfare into the equation. It is widely known that if your relationship is flawed, having children will not bring you closer together. Yes, you will have something to focus on together, but if your relationship is that flawed already, you are basically wasting your time with that person. Having children means sleepless nights and basically additional strain on the individuals concerned. If there is hostility and resentment already in a relationship, this is likely to be magnified as both parties are worn down by sleepless nights and their thresholds for losing their temper are lowered. Contrary to popular belief, and the way many parents are with newborns, babies are not toys, but are young human beings. We are genetically programmed to find them cute. Or we would be less likely to protect them and look after them, and therefore less likely to ensure their survival and the propagation of our genes. Yes, of course it is tempting to doll up our children in ridiculously cute clothes etc. as a kind of cute joke on our children, to make them into teddy bears or dolls. Like dressing up a barbie doll. But it helps to retain perspective if one does this and do it with a little tongue in cheek. Being a child is all about being playful, but at toddler age, they are usually unable to focus on objects properly, let alone appreciate the styling or fun like they can when they are a little older. Clothes are only used for a few months at this age before they grow out of them.
So when you have children, and one is having significant relationship problems, one has to consider the age and situation of the kids. A young infant doesn't really know what is going on, so this is not really of concern. It is much harder on young teens and teenagers. As with any situation, one has to weigh up the pros and cons of staying versus leaving. There may be no perfect or totally convenient solution as there may be when you are just dating and have few responsibilities, as things are much simpler. If you stay, and there is a bad atmosphere or strained atmosphere frequently, then this is likely to imprint itself on your childrens' psyches. Children tend to copy their parents in many respects, as they are their 'role models' from an early age. If a mother is reluctant to leave a relationship, and settle for being treated poorly, for example, then her children may well learn to settle for second best, to let life just happen to them, and not to value their self worth, from an early age. They may well repeat the cycle of their parents for themselves, but more intensely as this is all they have ever seen. If the mother is less submissive, but stands up for herself, then in spite of all the pain and friction, they may learn to value self-respect and assertiveness and independence. Married couples who argue frequently or in whom one of the pair is depressed or emotionally stagnant, may transfer these emotional states onto their children. Children may grow up feeling responsible for their parents' arguing or unhappiness. Or for their father's drinking, for example. If you are staying for the children, which many mothers claim to do, consider that you won't get any thanks for doing this. If conversely you leave, and break up the children from their mother or father (in terms of residence), then this may hurt them a great deal as they feel responsible for the divorce, and may dwell on the fact that their parents no longer live in the same house and that the family is only half of what it was; but if both partners are now on an honest and stable footing, then it is likely to be more psychologically healthy for them in the bigger picture. From the children's perspective, it really depends on what bad the relationship is. In my view, it is better to keep things harsher but more emotionally healthy, that have a plethora of supressed and hidden emotions, which children can detect even if we think they won't notice. Pretence is no way to live a life. For anyone. At the end of the day, one must weigh up the pros and cons, and not just stay out of fear or lack of self-esteem, nor should one just pack up one's bags and leave at the first sign of problems because one has an ego problem and no character. Can the problems be solved? Are both parties willing to try at least? Are you willing for settle for second best? How realistic are your expectations? If you are in a bad relationship, and you settle for second best for everyone, how much do you rely on your friends to stay sane and to what extent do you burden them regularly with your problems (that you are not prepared to do anything about)?