Monday, May 29, 2006

Working on Relationships

There was some discussion over at The Blue Republic over the weekend about what makes a healthy relationship. There's a great discussion forum over there, so if this interests you, go over and sign up. It's free!

A group of us also had some discussion here last week about why some relationships work, why some relationships don't.

The biggest problem with relationships is that most of us have never had a role model for one.

We usually don't get taught in school or at home the common behaviors and thoughts that keep us from being happy or successful. Most of us try to figure it out on our own.

Keeping love alive requires work. I don't mean to imply that it is drudgery, but that it requires effort, time and energy. No matter how emotionally close two people seem to be, their relationship must be renewed-daily.

Relationships are dynamic, always in a state of flux. In fact, the only constant in a relationship is that it is dynamic. It changes moment-by-moment, interaction-by-interaction.

There are also some things we do that hurt our relationships. Some of these destructive factors include:

* Giving up the things you love to do, your interests for your partner. (Do you resent it that you never go skiing anymore?)

* Nagging at your partner. (Even if you just want to make him/her a better person.)

* Doing something to get even with your partner. (Ah, well, there was the incident of the plastic snake under the pillow that night.)

* Talking about your partner behind his/her back. (That bitch/bastard!)

* Blaming your partner for your feelings of unhappiness. (if only s/he would X, then I could Y.)

* Expecting your partner to change. (I know if I just love him/her enough, s/he will quit having affairs and lying about them.)

* Thinking "if my partner really loved me--he/she would know what I need without me having to tell him/her." (What, you're NOT a mind-reader?)

* Avoiding intimate time together. (Just another half-hour, dear, I'm almost to level 19.)

* Flirting with persons other than your partner. (If s/he doesn't know about it, how can it hurt?)

* Considering having an affair (seeking love outside of your relationship).

There are probably more, feel free to add your own list.
What are the positive thing we can do to enhance to make our relationships flower. Ah, more on that tomorrow!


At 1:34 PM, Blogger No said...

Avoiding intimate time together. (Just another half-hour, dear, I'm almost to level 19.)

Level 19---is this some kind of video game thing? I'm thinking maybe it is...

Don't forget about the addictive blogger....another no, no...

Sadly, I haven't overcome this affliction...

At 2:32 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Yeah, I was referencing video games or computer games, blogging could be another way to avoid intimacy.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger betmo said...

i can only speak for myself- my husband and i love each other very much and have been together for 16 years- married almost 9years. i think that what we value most about our relationship is the respect that we feel for each other as people first. i know that we look at the world very differently and i rely on him to keep me from being too narrow minded in my approach to things. i think that if you have respect for your spouse(or significant other) as a person- it is easier to keep the reasons you fell in love in the first place alive and going. it also helps to prioritize that person as the most important person in your life- and the rest of the list will fall into place.

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous earl bockenfeld said...

I really like to wear old clothes, and especially old shoes. They're so comfortable and you don't have to take any special pains against spills or rips, etc. I'm very comfortable with sloppy. Over time it's easy to let your relationship get comfortable and then it gets taken for granted. You stop doing the little, and then the big things, that show you still care.

I try to do something every once in a while, that she would only expect me to do, if we had just met. A certain amount of fun is trying to find just the right thing, that would fill that bill. And it seldom means buying something or very much.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger glenda said...

betmo, that's true...respect is the beginning place.

earl, the little things add up to a lot over time.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flirting with persons other than your partner.

Glenda, excellent suggestions for things to avoid, but the one above gives me some pause. Depends, I think on what you mean by flirting. The Frogette and I have a saying (and yes it really is mutual): "It doesn't matter where you get your appitite, as long as you eat at home."

Now does that really go to the flirting thing, maybe, maybe not. Though I will say it does allow the Frogette to lust after Brad Pitt and me to lust after Juliette Binoche without guilt.

At 3:30 AM, Blogger glenda said...

Good point. I agree, Kvatch. There is some gray area. What I am referring to is more like having an ongoing emotional affair with another person. Of course, his can lead to more bahaviors that can break up a marriage. Think there is harmless fliting and harmful flrting, it's a matter of degree and with whom.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Callooh said...

Well this is a funny one to read today.

My husband and I are getting separated, just had our 15th (non) anniversary, been together 20yrs - we still have to live together because of my immigration status in this country - so, well its... hmmm interesting. Went through your list with the got it, got it, don't got it, way you go through baseball cards. The biggest being

Expecting your partner to change. ahhh yes, well THAT didn't work - it lead right to Avoiding intimate time together. (a game I would call dodge the husband, I think I was at level 200). Not even touching the flirting point.

We have 3 kids, and it has torn me apart - it's WAY too late for me (about 8 years too late) but hopefully the list will hit someone else between the eyes, its a good one.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger deb50 said...

The only thing I would add to this list, which is excellent, btw, neglecting yourself in a relationship. You must continue to grow as an individual independent of the relationship. Never rely on someone else to be responsible for your own happiness. That is my motto.

Very interesting post.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger thepoetryman said...

Not allowing the perfection or imperfection to come naturally, allowing the laughter to bubble up through the hard times, allowing one another to be who they are naturally becoming and, most importantly, understanding that you are a part of the reason for this metamorphasis.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Mr Pop and I treat each other the way best friends do. I think we are too important to one another to do anything that might hurt each other. We have fun together, we can make one another laugh and most of all we respect our differences. That's so important.

At 1:39 PM, Blogger celticfire said...

Well, at first I wasn't keen on the whole concept on marriage. I thought it was a bourgeois insutution to trap women. Now that I am married and strictly monogomous, I don't think that way. We have to work everyday at build a relationship based on equality, respect and compassion. I think we had our worst fights in the beginning, when we both tried to explain to eachother (in a twisted way) that we weren't going to allow ourselves to be hurt.

Now that we got that out of the way, most fights seems to revolve around my laundry handicap - I can't seem to make it in the basket. Oh well :)

At 1:49 PM, Blogger glenda said...

Wow. I am so impressed by all of you and your candor.
Callooh, I am so sorry for what you are going through.
eb50, neglecting your self in a relationship is one of the worst things one can do to oneself. Think it might fit under the first item,
* Giving up the things you love to do, your interests for your partner.

It's a dance!!!
Will post part two tonight. Work is just too demanding to do anything else right now.

At 1:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 11:18 AM, Blogger Stella said...

I read the suggestions, Glenda: then, I sent them to my husband. We had a wonderful dialog as a result. I cannot thank you enough for this post. Although I am happily married, the comment "the only constant in a relationship is that it is dynamic," caused me to realized that part of flux is that relationships progress and regress daily. Sometimes, we do better than others. What wonderful, thought-provoking comments each of you made.

Celticfire, I fully believe every couple has their worst fights in the beginning. I so admire your courage to keep working. (BTW, I'm not good with laundry baskets, either...) I also loved betmo's profound comment about looking at the world from different perspectives. That comment reminded me to remember to respect and cherish each others' different perspectives critical to me. Sometimes, it's hard issue to navigate those differences.

My husband is my first priority, except, well... When I read the "Level 19" comment, I immediately resonated your statement with the "addictive blogger," even though Glenda meant video games. So, I make a resolution to limit my blogging addiction when my husband's home, or at least keep an eye on the time!

Many thanks to you all for opening my eyes to a different perspective.

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