Some Relationship Realities

Posted August 1st, 2014, 2017 by Carroll King Schuller

A relationship is the way in which two people are connected and behave toward each other.  This can be a personal or a professional connection and can span the spectrum of a boss/employee relationship, a best friend relationship or a spouse relationship; one can have a relationship with any number of people.  For example, you have a relationship with the Starbucks barista who crafts your favorite beverage every morning.  These are interpersonal attachments that differ in level of intimacy but contain many of the same qualities including trust, togetherness, expressiveness, staying power, security, laughter, support, and respect.  Paying attention to the other person, or even animal, is a key element of relationships, which tend to be emotional and nonsensical.  Thus, it becomes very important to live in the moment in these interactions.

When building a relationship with someone, it is important not to sacrifice one’s high expectations.  However, the early stages of a relationship can often feel effortless and very exciting.  Continuing in these relationships requires ongoing effort and a lot of compromise by both individuals.  Focus on being considerate and noticing the things your partner says and does, and try new things together in order to expand your mutual interests.  Finally, saying “I’m sorry,” can be extremely difficult in the moment, but it is an imperative element in healing a rift or disagreement in a relationship.

Today in the 21st century, Americans have the “luxury of living in splendid isolation,” and no longer live in part of a large family or community; thus, couples and other relationship partners may have the responsibility to provide more emotional needs that used to be the responsibility of the community as a whole.  It is a great risk to not know what a relationship means to someone; this means that perception checking becomes extremely important but not easy.  Do you understand what you mean to the people you are in a relationship with?

Understanding one’s partner’s strengths and finding a way to relate to them through commonalities can help to connect two people emotionally.  Relationships cannot be built and these strengths cannot be determined without contact and communication.  However, being together is not enough; one should try to be mentally and emotionally available when one is with the other person.  Also, it is important to not make snap judgments about individuals and give oneself enough chances to get to know them.  In dating, for instance, go out with an individual at least six times before deciding if the relationship will go any further.  Individuals who early commit after only dating a few times can tend to make impulsive relationship decisions.  They have a talent, however, for connecting with people and becoming loyal to them.  This is a risk because one does not know why the commitment is occurring.  It is important to give this time, too, and possibly date for a couple of years before getting married or taking the next major step.

One of the pitfalls of getting into habits in relationships is that one makes assumptions about how we relate to each other.  There are action steps to take to replace these habits; however, and, while there is no one correct formula for changing habits, there is a helpful framework that includes identifying the routine, experimenting with rewards earned after a successful behavior, isolating the cue, and having a plan.

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