Love

Making Any Relationship Work

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Recently, I was asked what the key is to making a relationship work. Those of you who read my articles know that I am a huge fan of communication. I love to engage in meaningful conversation, with friends, family and, of course, my lover. Conversation brings meaning to everything, without it, we have no method of relating or conveying thoughts, ideas or feelings.

I even enjoy conversation about things I don’t like. My friends and I discuss political views and I listen and engage. I have dialog with others regarding differences of religious views and beliefs. I will open a talk about food, working out, music, movies, social programs, gas prices anything, as long as it is meaningful and everyone gets something from the interaction. I don’t like all these subjects, but I love the conversation. I find it mentally stimulating and valuable information in order to truly know others.

It has been said that we should never talk about politics or religion. I would suggest, that a person not able to remove themselves from the emotions attached should not have those conversations. Some of the best interactions I have are with people of differing view points. Why would we only want to engage with like minded people? If everyone is thinking the same thing, 50% of the people are not thinking. So talking with those who don’t agree with our opinion is just that, talking. Listen, engage and have fun.

But, what is really the key to a good relationship? If conversation was all there was, we would be in perfect relational status. With 24 hours news, cable TV and the internet, we talk or get talked to, all the time. So, conversation is only a means of developing and maintaining our relationships, not necessarily the key to success. Not only did I want to provide an answer to my reader, I wanted the answer for myself. What is the key?

Reaching Out Through Technology

In today’s world of distance and technology, it’s been stated that relationships have changed. I would argue, that we have changed as people and how we interact with one another. We have a litany of medias barraging us from the moment we wake up to the minute we go back to sleep. Television, radio, email, internet, social media, cell phones, texting, we have a constant flow of information blasting our senses every waking moment. I myself will have the TV on while I check my emails. I can do both and I like it. But it has changed us not as people, but in the way we interact.

With information flowing into us from everywhere at all times, it is natural for us to filter what we hear and how we hear it. It used to be called selective hearing by married couples. We have the ability to hear what we want when we want to. And with the amount of “stuff” being thrown at us, it stands to reason that we will miss things or just refuse to hear them. It’s not our fault, it is the way of our current world.

Children have adapted faster than many adults, as they don’t see most technology as new. It was here when they arrived on the planet and they simply just use it. Us, more mature folks, have had to adapt and that may mean that we miss things from time to time. We have changed the way we interact, we have more stimuli than ever before and we have technology creating a physical gap between us.

It’s not wrong, it’s just how it is.

We live in a world where it is increasingly difficult to have solid successful relationships. So, What is the key?

Where is Your Hat?

Yeah, where is your hat? That’s right? Here is the key…

When it comes to making a relationship work, I would ask this simple question. For me the answer is easy. Take a look at you and your relationship, if you want the best out of it then get committed to it. Put your hat in the ring. If your hat is on a hook somewhere else then you are not focused here. If your hat is in another ring, then your are committed to something else. The key to making any relationship work is throwing your hat in the ring and committing to it. Communication gets all of the moving parts put in the proper places, but if you’re distracted by all the background noise we suffer with daily, are you really listening? Is your hat in the ring or tilted slightly on your head? Relationships work well and they work best when we commit to them. And although it takes a little work, the benefits are enormous!

And this works for any and all relationships. Take a child for instance, when we tune out all the noise and listen just to them, it becomes their entire world. And in return the child will listen back. They become engaged and want to interact. It is beautiful to watch.

I enjoy the exchanges I have with my friends and family. I treasure dialogue with my lover. If I were to become distracted, what benefit is there for any of us? The key to making any relationship work is taking the time to disengage from all of the garbage infecting our senses and just listen to the one we want to hear from. Put your hat in that ring!

We have an easy excuse given the massive informational input we have each day. It becomes common to say, “I forgot”, “I didn’t hear you say that”, or “What?” but if you want the relationship to really work, commit and throw your hat into the ring. Take the time to listen and hear what’s there for each of you. Not all conversation is fun and not all is worth having, but you only get to decide when you open yourself to the possibility of good dialogue.

So there is the key as I see it. Don’t miss the chance for your child to explain they are unhappy, it may prevent additional issues. Don’t miss the chance to help a friend with a problem, you may have the same one later. Don’t miss the chance to hear about a religious belief, you may discover God. And never miss the opportunity for some to tell you that they love you.

Every time it comes to your relationships, my advice is to throw you hat into the ring.

 

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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How To Fix My Relationship In One Simple Step

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Fix Your RelationshipHere’s a story for you…

Jeff was dating Michelle.  Jeff cheated on Michelle with her best friend and she found out.

She was devastated.

This happens two more times with guys she has dated.

Now Michelle is dating Henry.  The problem is that every woman Henry talks to or even glances at, Michelle gets jealous and becomes very angry.  Is Henry doing anything wrong.  Not in this case, but Michelle is carrying with her the past relationships with Jeff and all the others.  Because she’s had so many men cheat on her, she believes all men are cheaters.  Maybe not outright but those thoughts creep in from time to time.  They’re there.

That ultimately impacts Michelle’s relationship with Henry and if nothing changes, their relationship will more than likely end up like all the others… broken.

She has a choice.

She could choose to let go of the past and totally be with Henry for who he is RIGHT NOW.  Not who she thinks he is, who he could be or any other stuff she makes up.  If she chooses to be with him for who he is now she may find their partnership grows in ways that she never dreamed possible.

All because she gave up the past.

Have you ever considered that your past relationships could be haunting YOU?  Those relationships could be the reasons you do and say the things you do and say.

You’re probably looking at this post right now going, no… not me.

But the truth is, we ALL carry around our past relationships and then compare them to our current relationship.  We’re constantly looking to see if they measure up.

Do you ever find yourself dreaming or thinking of anyone in your past?  Maybe you had a dream about him.  Do you think that could be influencing how you are now.

Absolutely it is.

It’s even worse if you’ve had a few difficult relationships.  You’ll carry those around with you and bounce every new partner you have with those old ones.

If you don’t do something, it could be impending doom.

Either way you look at it, whatever is necessary for you to let those past relationships go NOW is what MUST be done.  If you don’t, no relationship you have going forward will stand up on it’s own merit.

It will always be a comparison to something.

Time to move on.

I get it, those past relationships made an impression.  You don’t have to forget them.  You don’t have to forget the things you like and don’t like in a relationship. But it’s imperative that you move on and complete them.

Focus on what you have right now and live it up.  Don’t focus on the past.  Stop comparing.

The person you’re with right now is a blank slate.  You get to start over new and see your partner for exactly who they are for you.  You control what you think and do and it doesn’t have to be an effect of past problems.

Be who you truly want to be with the partner you’re with right now.  Be loving, kind and free.  If you break up, ok.  If they cheat, ok.  That actually has nothing to do with your value, your confidence, or in fact anything to do with you.

They did what they did.  There’s not much you can do about.  But we’ll tend to re-live those moments over and over again.

I don’t know about you but once is enough.

Give it up and move on.  Find someone else.  Here’s a great excerpt from a popular psychology magazine that illustrates this concept…

By becoming psychologically differentiated from damaging experiences and identities from our past, we can develop a stronger sense of who we really are. We can begin to live our lives rather than relive our pasts. People who are differentiated in this manner have succeeded, to a large extent, in emancipating themselves from negative childhood influences. As a result, they have developed their own value system and set their own course in life. When people have a sense of their identity and are possessed of self, they can have a genuine respect for the boundaries, wants, and priorities of another individual, be it their partner, spouse, friend, or child.

Genuine love requires valuing another person’s goals in life separate from one’s own personal needs and interests. In a truly loving couple, each partner recognizes that the motives, desires, and aspirations of the other are as important as his or her own. Because they feel congenial toward each other’s aspirations, partners try not to interfere, intrude, or manipulate in order to dominate or control the relationship.

Source:  PsychologyToday.com

You’ll never be able to tell the future. But the way our brains work we try to tell in advance if someone is the right person for us, if they are a good person and if they will do right by us.

The fact is, you can speculate all day long.  But you’ll never know for sure.

The bottom line is, let those past relationships go.  Live with aliveness and vitality in your current relationship. Be who you truly want to be and allow your partner to be with you as you are, not with the baggage.

Do you have a long list of relationships that didn’t work?  Tell me about them.  Post them below.  I’d love to engage in conversation with you.

Till next time…

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How to Change Your Man

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How to change your man

Who is Your Man, Right Now?

If your intent is to change your man, I suggest that you first examine what is different. Is he not the same man you first met or did he change?

In speaking with many different women, I find that the men they are attempting to change are, in fact, the same men they first met and fell in love with.

When asked what changed or what is different, it becomes apparent that behavior is relatively identical but the romance may have drifted off, lessening the loving feelings the woman finds within the relationship.

 Okay, I get that. And it is real!

When a man falls in love, he is excited to be close and perfectly happy to pick up the phone and call just to chat and say hello. He feels good about the relationship and himself. Being in love with the right woman makes us men feel invincible, almost like a super hero. We feel like nothing can get us down or be too big a problem. We have the love and support of our woman! Possibly the best feeling in the world! Everyone is happy and nothing could be wrong with the world. Men begin to relax into the relationship, we enjoy the comfort of our closeness. We take great pleasure in coming home and just being with our woman. Naturally, women don’t understand the different tone in the relationship. What went wrong? Does he still love me? Why doesn’t he show me that he loves me? Who can I talk to about this?

I need to change him…

What went wrong? Answer: nothing!

Does he still love me? Answer: YES!

Why doesn’t he show me that he loves me? Answer: He does, just look at it through his eyes.

Who can I talk to about this? Answer: HIM…

 

Here’s Where it can get Weird

 

A few things happen when the relationship gets comfortable, the man relaxes and enjoys the natural feel of being together. Think about it, men like old jeans, an old hats, a 10 year old recliner left over from college, their old hunting gun, grand dad’s fishing rod. We like things we are familiar with. We find comfort in the things we know and trust.

A woman takes great pride in improving the things she has in her life. Remodeling a perfectly good home, finding better books for the children to read, new recipes, new shoes, improve the relationship… Women value themselves by the relationship they have and they want and need it to be as good as it can be. This is who we are and there is nothing wrong, it is just a way of being.

So, when he is relaxed, she is worried. When he is comfortable and wants no change, she is concerned and thinks improvement is needed. When he is feeling like a Super Hero, she makes her move and asks for him to be somebody else. Neither he nor she is wrong, but neither have tried to see it from the others perspective. Can a man change? Yes! Can a woman change a man? Yes, but it must be done in a way that can keep you both happy and committed.

If a man has the woman of his dreams, he feels like a Super Hero. Consider what happens to his ego when the woman of his dreams asks him to change. He feels like he is no longer the man of her dreams. He feels wrong, hurt, lesser and becomes defensive. Now the desired affect of positive change back fires and instead of growing closer, he pulls away. When a man pulls away, many women react by pointing it out and again asking for him to change. In some cases, this sparks the argument of; “Are you seeing another woman?”, “Don’t you love me any more?”, “Have you lost interest in me?” All of these are hollow to the man because he doesn’t feel this way and there is no reasonable argument for him to engage in with his woman. He feels even further reduced and pulls farther away. Again, a backfire!

Worse yet, neither the man nor the woman know what to do. At this point they are both acting on instinct. Righting this ship can be an enormous task.

 

How to Get the Change You Desire

 

This may sound like strange advice, but follow me. You have to accept him for who he is. Reading all the emotions into a man is like looking at a blank sheet of paper and guessing what a full 60 page news paper will have printed. If he is comfortable, he is happy. It has nothing to do with how his woman feels about the relationship. Many of us like the comfort and easy feel of where we are in life. So, once you can accept that and see him for who he is, you can encourage him to change without bruising his ego. Men are little boys that had the misfortune of growing up. Many things about how we act and behave are nothing more than manifestations of our childhood. That explains quite a lot when it comes to our connection to old things, cars, music and the old college recliner.

Now, after you have accepted him for him, get his buy in and get him on your side. Tell him something that he does you are happy with and then ask rather than tell him what you want. Do this at a time when he can be engaged in the conversation, over dinner, just before bed, what ever your time for conversation may be. If you approach him when he is not ready, he will resist. If you tear him down, he will resist. If you remind him of his mother, he will resist.

As the woman, you have all the power to influence him and at the same time destroy him. Men want to please their women, we want to be the Super Hero at all times, for all things and for all reasons. Support our super powers and we are yours. Tug on our imaginary capes and we’ll fly off into our own little Super Hero worlds without you.

Remember, we love you, we want to be with you and we want to make you happy. We will try anything for the women we love. Be our Lois Lane or our Kryptonite, the choice is yours.

 

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Relationship Boundaries

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Full Throttle or a Limiting Governor?

In previous posts I have encouraged my readers to get involved with their partners and discuss needs, wants and desires. Getting involved doesn’t always mean getting your way. In fact, there is no right or wrong in conversation, just that there is my side and your side, his side and her side, their side and our side. No right about it, just a point of view and, with luck, the reasons or feelings associated.

Having open conversation about sex and relationship boundaries will open up a world of exploration if done correctly. So how do we accomplish this? I’ll make a few suggestions.

First, share this article with your partner.

Second, ask how your partner feels about having a conversation of this type.

Don’t have the boundaries conversation at this time.

Third, schedule a time convenient for both of you.

Make it a date, something relaxing like drinks and dinner.

Fourth, remove all barriers to the discussion.

Have complete openness and acceptance.

Most important, don’t judge.

This is conversation not a boxing match.

It doesn’t hurt to talk. What hurts is the meaning we place on the words.

Fifth, have the conversation and see what opens up.

Get involved early in this discussion because finding out that you’re not compatible sexually is best done before the marriage, house, two cars and kids. However, if you are already at that place in life, use this discussion to gain control of each others expectations. Find out what works well and what’s lacking. You may be very surprised to find out what the other wishes to explore or has been keeping close to the vest.

If you haven’t read my previous articles regarding how to discuss and how to listen, this may be a good time to include them as well. These will also give you tools and guidance for an open dialogue. See the associated links.

Source:  The Language of Love

Source:  Listening Like A Lover

 Should Relationships Have Limits?

Absolutely and with out doubt! Emphatically, yes, and whether we acknowledge them or not our relationships have them either covertly or overtly. Talking about them just makes us aware and able to respect each others boundaries. Furthermore, by discussing them we may discover that limits we placed, for the respect of our partners, aren’t their restrictions at all.

Take for example, sexual positions. In my research and conversations with my partner, it is obvious that there are more positions and “styles” to sex than any one book could capture. In addition, I suggest that discussing ex’s is also okay when it comes to what we found pleasurable and what we did not. I get that it can be a jealousy issue, but we have to set that aside to get to the good stuff. If it felt good then and you’re in love with each other now, why not share, discuss and experiment?

Sexual positions are only one of the many topics couples can dive into. This one is easy, we don’t put too much into the emotional portion and the benefits can be wonderful. Talk it through; explore the good and the bad. If a subject is unearthed whereby one partner is less than interested, don’t shut down, talk it through. Why? Because, talking it through and completely understanding will lead to new subjects developing or opening up. Shutting down at the mention of something (oral, anal, toys…) will only stop the dialogue, not promote it. There is nothing wrong with being a little uncomfortable with the conversation. And it’s better than being uncomfortable when actually confronted in the bedroom.

Find out why a partner has discomfort about a topic. Is it a past experience, something he or she read, a story from a friend? What ever it is, talk it through and respect the conversation and the emotions in therein. Properly conveyed, the limitations will never be questioned or exceeded.

Until you have a complete grasp of the subject as well as each others likes, dislikes, desires and fears, the subject remains open and unanswered. Without completing that discussion, one or both partners will have questions remaining. Talk until you’re board, not until you’re uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable is part of the process. Keep it up and before long you’ll be experts.

 Expectations Verses Reality

Managing our expectation is the basis of relationship boundaries. When one partner has an expectation and the other partner is unaware, reality and expectation do not align. This is when feelings get hurt, we get disappointed and possibly become cynical with our partners. All of this can be avoided with conversation prior to getting upset.

Considering men are very simple creatures and we enjoy the benefits of pleasing our women, why do you think we would hold back when it comes to your desires. We simply don’t know. Share with us and we will share with you, but let’s not shut each other down when the conversation gets going.

Our minds are programmed to run all the time. And if we don’t have good data for them to work with, the mind fills in the blanks in order to have, what it thinks, is the completed thought process. Providing the limits and boundaries gives our minds clear understanding of what is expected and leaves no gaps to fill in for a false reality. We love to please and if we could, we would read your minds. The sad thing is, we can’t. Jay Simcic posted a good article on this subject a while back. You may want to add this to your reading assignments as well. See the link below.

Source: Men and Women Read Minds Poorly

So get in to the conversation and if you have any trouble, let me know. If you have success, let me know also. And if anyone is interested and wants a list of subjects recommended for the Relationship Boundaries Conversation, email me and I’ll see that we get that out to you and your significant dialogue partner. Intercourse doesn’t always have to be sexual, but it’s a great place to start!

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

Bobby

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Listening Like a Lover

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Listen First

             Up to this point I have written several posts about talking. Now don’t get me wrong, I want all my readers to engage in conversation. However I thought it a good time to reverse the tables just a bit and discuss the art of listening.

             Talking is the beginning of sharing our thoughts and ideas. But without a willing partner talking alone is akin to oral masturbation. If you’re doing it by yourself, the results can sometimes be less than spectacular. So when talking to each other, make certain that you have an active partner. If they are not interested or distracted, hold the conversation for a short while until things clear up and each of you can take an active role in the dialogue.

             With that said, it is equally important that you be a good listener and not just hear the spoken words. Listening can be a great way to pick up on subtle things that are conveyed through voice inflection and body language. In a relationship discussion what is not said can be more important than what is said. For example, if a partner uses the word “fine” to end an emotionally charged conversation while turning away and folding their arms, does it really mean “fine”. NO! It means exactly the opposite. Although this is an extreme example that could be picked up by the dumbest of all men, you get my point.

 

Why Is This Important?

 

            Regardless of the situation, by listening first, and I mean really listening, you put yourself in a very powerful position. As the listener you will get all of the information being offered. It gives you the ability to think about the message and create a reasonable, informed answer. This will help in advancing the conversation, learning more about your partner and if it is an argument, the listener has the power to shut it down with complete understanding of the other’s position.

           It’s better to understand than to push a point for the purpose of being “right”. In relationship dialog there is no reason for right and wrong. Being in a relationship is just that, relating to each other. There is no need to dominate, no need to prove the point, no need to be right. Just listen first and try to completely understand your partner. You may be surprised by what it actually conveyed.

          Several months ago I called my daughter and asked if she had spoken to her mother recently. In, what I thought to be, an angry tone, she replied, “Yes, she called me”. Very short and to the point, however I thought she was angry. All she really said was, “Yes, she called me”. Rather than ask why she was angry, I chose a position of power and asked her to share her thoughts about the conversation with her mother. We then had a wonderful, twenty minute, phone call. Had I chose to argue about her tone, the conversation could have been markedly different.

 What is the Benefit?

             In relationships we are emotionally invested. Our feelings are exposed for anyone to nurture or damage. And this leaves us feeling vulnerable to the next attack. In reality it is each of us who has the opportunity to choose to listen and engage in the conversation. There is nothing to fear when we are listening, because all of the information is coming to us. We are not hurting each other, merely listening to what is being imparted. If we choose to add meaning upon what is said it becomes our own fault.

             Listening can be sexy as well. If partners are discussing sex, desires or wants be open to what is being said. Engage by asking probing questions; 

  • Does that interest you?
  • How do you feel about that?
  • Is there more there that we should discuss?
  • Tell me more…
  • What can I do in that regard?

 Any additional question or comment to keep the dialog moving can only help. Try not to use the word “No” until you’ve listened to everything your partner has to say. He or she may be nervous and not get the words right at first. Give them room to expand and listen while they relax and get comfortable with the exchange.

             I suggest never getting angry during times of conversation. This adds to those body language messages we discussed earlier. By remaining calm we have a better chance of getting our thoughts out clearly. And as the listener, anger dulls the senses and makes really understanding much more difficult.

             With anything, this takes practice and it takes two people. If one is angry, neither is ready for a conversation. If one is distracted neither can communicate. And if one is incapable, neither have a chance to properly share.

             So, give listening a try and let me know what comes of it. You may get a surprise, you may find something you didn’t know or you may just connect better than ever before. In any case, let me know how it goes. Your story may be what helps the next reader have a better relationship.

 As always,

Love with no shame and ask with no fear

 Bobby

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