Tag Archive for relationship advice for men

Relationship Breakthrough Challenge-Part 1

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Relationship BreakthroughOver the next several weeks I’m going to challenge you to have a breakthrough in your relationship. I’m committed that you uncover different aspects of your relationship that allows you to take the bond you have with your partner to a new level.  This is going to require you to pay attention and practice a few steps.  And when you do, you’ll SEE the results.

Over the coming weeks I’m going to talk about different aspects of how to overcome limiting beliefs, how to overcome stress, and take responsibility for certain aspects of your life. I’m also going to have you  look at the story of your life, how to uncover the truth that you really never lose, and how your decisions ultimately guide your life as you know.

During the next 4 to 5 weeks all I ask is that you keep an open mind to the ideas that I provide you. I’m certain that if you follow along do the practice sessions and continue to practice on a daily basis you will have breakthroughs in all the relationships in your life.

Let’s start with our emotions.

One of the things that we tend to do is we look at our relationships and all the problems we have.  However, what we fail to do is look at the problems objectively.

What I mean by that is… take someone who has tons of money, has everything that they could ever want, but hates life. Then look at someone who is a paraplegic who has every reason to hate life but lives a fully satisfied, happy, and joyful life.

If you begin to look at your problems objectively you may see that they really aren’t that big.  Besides, every problem you ever encounter can be handled.  And we’ll talk about how you can deal with them in later posts.

One area that allows you to feel like you’re doing well in your relationships is making progress toward some goal you WANT or NEED.

When you’re making progress toward a goal, you feel alive. You thrive with positive emotion because you can see you’re moving in the “right direction”.

And if you don’t feel like you’re making progress toward that goal, you SEE it as a problem to overcome.

Consider that the circumstances of our lives don’t control our emotions or how we feel.

You may look at an event that seems to be negative and say that it was the event that caused you to feel a that way. This is completely not true. YOU control how the event occurs to you.

To turn your problems into something workable you first have to shift how that experience occurs to you. In order to do that you must change your “should’s” about the experience.

For instance…

My wife barked an order at me.  She shouldn’t have done that.  She should have ASKED me to do what she wanted.  Instead she pissed me off and I yelled at her.

Consider that my reaction was based on how it “should be”.  And the “should be” is something I totally made up.

Now consider you do the same things.  You have a list of “should’s” in everything you do in life, PRIMARILY your relationships.

“He should open the door for me.”

“He should cook my dinner.”

“He should let me orgasm first.”

Our lives are built from a world of “should’s” that we didn’t know we had.

We REACT, not to the event, but how we think it should go.

Consider for a moment that your “should’s” were created from the experience of your life.  That’s how you came to believe them.  Now they seem true to you even if they aren’t.  These turn into expectations that may go unfulfilled because you’re partner doesn’t know.

The Devil Inside

If having these expectations of how things “should” go wasn’t enough add to it one of the deadliest relationship killers of all.

Our default emotion.

Yes, you have a default emotion.  It’s something that you default too when things don’t go the way they should…  It’s natural for you, it’s your default.  We all have it and sometimes are different depending on the “should”.

For instance angry people will get angry when an expectation is unfulfilled. Depressed people will get depressed when their expectation is not met. Ambivalent people get ambivalent.

These are default patterns that will drive us in our relationships.  They will be what you resort to in those “circumstances”.

Now consider you don’t even know that you do it. You react to life as if life is making you do things. You react to events in your relationship as if the other person is making you angry, depressed, or sad.

They aren’t DOING it.  Consider for a moment that it is YOU who gets to choose how you react.

The only way that you can gain control of your emotions and make a difference in your relationship is to become aware of it and modify it.

So here are a few steps you can take to identify what your typical patterns are and change them so you can take your relationship to the next level.

Identify your dominant emotion.

What you want to do is look at how you act.  Be honest with yourself and identify the dominant emotion that you turn to in times of need or crisis. Take a sheet of paper out and write down all of the emotions that you use during a given day.  They can be both empowering emotions as well as disempowering emotions.

You may notice that you turn to the same emotions over and over again. These are your dominant emotions. These are the emotions that you turn to when your relationship doesn’t go the way you think it should.

What’s the fix.

Now I want you to look at the emotions that you just wrote down.  Think about what emotions you would rather have or that would make a difference in your relationship when the crap hits the fan.  What emotion would you have that if you had it, would make all the difference in the world.

For instance, if your dominant emotion is anger what emotion would you like to have in place of anger that would transform your relationship with your partner?

If you’re depressed, what emotion would you like to have in place of it that would give you a breakthrough in your relationship.

Again, be honest with yourself and write this down on that piece of paper.

Practice awareness and shift the emotion.

The next step in having a breakthrough in your relationship is to practice being aware.  You must “SEE” when you’re turning into your dominant emotion.  Said another way, if you’re dominant emotion is angry, then notice when you get angry.  If your dominant emotion is sadness, notice when you get said.

I’m not saying look back into the past.  I’m saying notice it when it happens.  Once you notice it you have the control to shift it.  This is your opportunity to shift that dominant emotion into the one you said would cause a breakthrough in your relationship.

If you’re angry, notice it and shift it to joyful (or whatever you chose).  Shift depressed into happy.

What ever it is you do, shift it into what it is you WANT.

Just by doing this exercise you will gain so much power over your emotions you may surprise yourself.  And when you do this it may even impact others around you.

Anchoring the emotion.

The next step is to make that shift happen so you don’t have to think about it. The only way that can happen is if you continue to practice day after day, recognize your dominant emotion and when you’re having it, shift it into the fix emotion. As you become aware and practice these emotional shifts you are gaining control over your results.

Let me explain what I mean by that last sentence. Imagine that your partner comes home from work and demands that you make dinner. Your normal condition would be to get angry. What would it be like if instead of angry you got joyful. You don’t have to have a reason, you just get joyful. It would shift the situation considerably. In fact your joyfulness may impact your partner’s emotions. How awesome would it be if he ended up being joyful because of you.

As you can see we have dominant emotions that were dealing with time and time again. It’s natural and we all do it. But sometimes those dominant emotions may not be healthy in our relationships. So it’s up to us to take control, identify those dominant emotions, shift them into emotions that will progress the relationship forward and enable it to be a spectacular partnership. Once you do that you can continue to condition your dominant emotion into something that you enjoy.

Once you do this for you relationships, you may notice that it rolls over into the other areas of your life.

If you have questions please go ahead and ask them below. Most importantly I’d like you to read this more than once and then go practice.

I would love it if you would let me know your results. Also next week we’re going to talk about how to overcome stress and what taking responsibility really means. This could be the secret sauce that allows you to transform your relationship to a whole another level.

Love… To infinity and beyond.

Jay

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Need To Get Out Of A Bad Relationship?

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Resolve Your ConflictsDo you think you’re in a bad relationship?

Maybe you do, maybe you don’t.  I think many people stay in bad relationships thinking, hoping and feeling things will get better.  Many people, both men and women, stay in difficult relationships hoping things will change.  They even hope they can change the other person.

Before I address any of those concerns let’s take a look at some clues that your relationship may not be in the best condition.

One of the biggest offenders that could cause any relationship to go downhill quick is…

Jealousy

Jealousy in some cases can be very flattering, but there is a thin line between controlling and jealousy.

If your partner is reading your mail, calling you uncontrollably when you’re out with friends, or checking your phone messages there should be a big flashing light going off for you.  If your partner is preventing you from going out with friends, causes you to second guess everything you do, and causes YOU to modify your behavior so they don’t get pissed – then you should be taking a closer look at your relationship.

One-Way Behavior Modification

Do you find yourself trying to change things about YOU to make your partner happy? If you’re making changes so that your partner doesn’t get pissed or to appease them, maybe you should take a closer look at the relationship.  In my opinion that’s NOT unconditional love going both ways.  That’s one way love, YOU loving them enough to change but not the other way around.

Think about it, even the smallest changes you make for your partner could impact your life, your friends, and even your work.  That’s because your relationship isn’t in a silo.  It’s part of your life and influences everything you do and how you come across to others.

Name Calling

Being called names can be extremely hurtful, and when your partner is constantly putting you down verbally in front of your friends and family members or even when you’re alone can cause a great relationship to sour quickly.

Do you really want to be called names by someone you love?  Of course not.  But in some relationship name calling is common because they know what your insecurities are and can push your buttons this way.

In my opinion, this type of behavior is uncalled for and not necessary in ANY relationship.  If your relationship is so bad one of you has to get vicious and start using verbal abuse, maybe both of you should take a closer look.  The only reason for this type of behavior is to HURT.  And if you’re partner is purposefully hurting you, why do you want to stay?

These are all major signs of a relationship in turmoil.

Now, let me be clear, bad relationships will have good times too. And those good times may cloud all of the nasty that’s being done.  But it’s a cycle.  Some days it’s good.  Some day’s it’s difficult.  Should relationships be that difficult to deal with?

Will you have fights and disagreements?  Sure.  Will there be times of silence?  Possibly.  But if the above actions are a regular occurrence, then maybe you should give your relationship extra thought.  You should look deep inside and start analyzing the facts of the situation and if you are willing to deal with them for LIFE.

So that comes to the question – Should you work the problems out or simply walk away?

First let’s look at…

How Our Minds WorkHow Our Brains Work

Consider that we always want to be right.  That’s why when we buy something we’ll do everything we can to prove to our friends, family an anyone who will listen why making that purchase was the right thing to do.  We justify it.

The same thing happens in relationships.  We don’t want to believe that we were wrong in making such an important decision.  We may think… “I love this person.  How could they be this way?  Maybe they will change.”  You may even find yourself giving yourself reasons why your partner does what he does.  You also may find that your partner wants to be right in the relationship.  They don’t think they’re doing anything wrong.  Everything is YOU.

I have to ask…

What would you do if a coworker, a stranger, or a friend treated you the way you’re partner is treating you?  Would you put up with it.  I would bet that you’ve put up with less from friends and coworkers before.  So why does your partner get a “freebie” to treat you like this?

Consider that it’s because you don’t want to be wrong about them or you’re using them as a crutch or reason for your own short comings.

You’re probably shooting me the bird, cursing me up one side and down the other, but consider that you’re holding on so that you can blame them for when things go wrong or don’t get done in your life.

Gosh, how could anyone expect you to do what you say when you’re dealing with relationship issues.

Most people have sympathy for these situations.  They give you lots of rope because they don’t want to upset you.

Now it’s time to talk about the big subject…

Changing Your Partner Or Yourself

Do you want to change your partner?  Do you really want to change?

I don’t think “changing” per say is the best plan.  Changing someone is like putting icing on a cow patty.  No matter what you do, it’s still a cow patty.

Your partner may change and modify their behavior but will still be harboring the feelings and resent you for making them change.

But consider that you can’t make anyone do anything.  Their actions and everything they do – the name calling, the jealousy, the getting you to change – all comes from inside of them.  It’s their emotions and the story they’re making up that causes them to do the things they do.  It ultimately has nothing to do with you.

Let me give you an example.  Jon was cheated on by three previous women he dated and fell in love with.  Each event piled onto each other and now Jon is very jealous of everyone he dates.  He’s become so controlling he prevents his partner from going out with friends, attending events without him, or even participating in activities she enjoys.  He’s fearful that his partner will cheat on him.

You see, everything there has to do with Jon and nothing to do with his partner.  But when we’re in a sour relationship we look at what we can do to make it better, change ourselves, and modify our behavior.  Doing that might make matters worse.  How can it make it worse?  Because you don’t get to who you truly are.  You’re living a lie.

So how do you save your relationship?

It starts with understanding that, if you’re partner is treating you badly, there is nothing for you to change.  It’s time to ask your partner to have an open and authentic conversation.  Ask your partner to be willing to do deep soul searching.  What you want to do is find out what caused your partner to do what he does.  It’s those past events that are more than likely causing them to act the way they do toward you.

Once you’re able to get at the core of what was causing that behavior, it’s time to acknowledge it and let it be.  Once your partner is aware of what he’s doing, he should be able to recognize it, catch himself and stop it.

Now, if things begin to change in your relationship, great.

But if they don’t and things keep going the way they’ve always done then maybe it’s time to call it quits.

You have to determine for yourself whether you want to put up with this behavior or find a relationship that works for who you are.  No matter what the situation, to me, verbal abuse and this type of behavior is on par with physical abuse.  It can be just as damaging.

If your partner is unwilling to do some deep soul searching and uncover what it is that’s triggering these responses, then it may not be worth staying in the relationship.  Then again, maybe it is worth staying.

Let’s face it, some relationships are NOT worth saving.  Some ARE worth saving.  YOU have to make that choice.

Ultimately the ball is in your court.  You get to say who you want to be with.  You get to say whether you stay in the relationship.  You get to say how your life goes.

Also, I want you to look at everything I’ve just said… You might be pissed and hate me for it.  But you know what, it’s just my opinion.  You can choose to accept it or ignore it but if you are pissed and upset about it, consider there was something that triggered it and it’s not me who caused it.

So, what’s going on in your relationship?  Post your questions and let’s get some conversation going.  We can write about specific scenarios and give our thoughts on the craziest situations.  And as always, it’s just our opinion.  You make them count.

Love… to infinity and beyond,

Jay

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Common Relationship Problems With A Hair Trigger

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She was standing at the end of the driveway sobbing.

How is this going to go.  What if the police show up.  What if I actually do it.  Screw him, he deserves it.

As she approached the house, she pulled the handgun out of her purse.

This is it, show time.

She twisted the knob gently and casually walked in.

“Hey Johnny, where are you?”

“I’m in the kitchen”, he answered.

She raised the gun and aimed at his head as she stepped into the kitchen.

“What the hell’s going on?  What are you doing?  Why do you have a gun?”

“I know you’ve been cheating on me, Johnny!”, she yelled.

“What are you talking about?  I haven’t cheated on you.”

“Then why did I see the charge on our Visa from Victoria’s Secret?  You’ve never brought me anything from there and it’s been weeks since I saw it on the card.  My birthday is over six months away.  You dirty bastard. I can’t believe you would do something like this. ”

Her face turned red and her hands started to shake as she thought about the possibilities.

“Who is she, Johnny!  Tell me.”

Johnny looked at her as a tear began to form in his eye.

“It’s YOU.  It’s you, sweetheart.  I thought I would surprise you when you get the promotion you’ve been talking about.  I thought about it weeks ago and didn’t know when your promotion would go through.  I figured I would get you something nice and give it to you when it happened.”

Johnny started to shiver out of fear.

“Now put the gun down. We seriously need to talk. What made you go to this extreme?”

She dropped the gun and started to cry…

***

Now that’s a bad situation.  And it could happen to anyone.  Yes, it’s a little dramatic but when you consider emotions, the chemicals in your brain, and your reactions based on what’s going on in your life, this event is possible on varying levels.  And the roles can be reversed.  Man or woman, husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, we ARE invested in our relationships.

Where does all this come from?

You’re probably saying to yourself right now… “That wouldn’t happen to me.”

Sure, maybe not to this extreme but how many times have you jumped to conclusions about other things that weren’t true at all.  It happens to all of us.  And it’s ok.  It’s not right or wrong, good or bad.  It happens and it’s our job to become aware of it so we can do something with it.

First, let me tell you about this great bit of information I found on Psychology Today that explains some of the chemical wirings that might be causing some of this to happen.

Love triggers oxytocin
Oxytocin is the neurochemical that causes trust. It’s released during orgasm, and in smaller amounts when you hold hands and when animals lick their babies. Oxytocin is the good feeling of a common cause, from a political rally to a football huddle to honor among thieves.
Reptiles release oxytocin during sex, but mammals produce it all the time. That’s why reptiles stay away from other reptiles except when mating, while mammals form attachments to relatives and herds. The more oxytocin you release with a person, the more attached you feel. More touch, more oxytocin, more trust. But trust gets complicated in the human brain. You trust a person to live up to your expectations, and don’t realize how complex your expectations are. Eventually, your loved one fails to meet your expectations, and you fail to meet theirs.

To your mammal brain, any loss of trust is a life-threatening emergency. When a sheep is separated from its flock, its oxytocin dips and its cortisol surges. Cortisol is the feeling we experience as fear, panic, or anxiety. It works for sheep, motivating them to re-connect with the flock before they’re eaten alive. In humans, cortisol turns disappointed expectations into emergencies.

Source:  Psychology Today

What does all that mean?  It means that when you encounter an incident that has you lose trust in your partner your brain surges with cortisol which causes fear, panic, or anxiety.  It means in the situation above the lady felt like her life was threatened.  It was fear of the unknown and her brain filled in the blanks.

Think about it.  If you’re a jealous person I bet you experience these types of situations more often.  The unknown causes you to fill in the blanks and if you’re jealous you’re probably filling in the blanks with lots of stuff like cheating, messing around, lack of love, my partner loves other things more than me, etc.  That in turn creates this cortisol pump the psychology folks talked about.

Can you see how, if you don’t put a stop to it and become aware of how YOU are being, these things will continue?

Of course you can.

Once you’re able to become aware of how you act and react to things you’ll start to get a handle on it.  Add to it a healthy dose of honest communications with your partner and you’ll be on your way to a superstar relationship.

Is it easy?  I don’t know if it’s easy or hard.

It’s just what IS in many relationships.

You see, we often times don’t want to admit much of this to ourselves because it can be confronting.  It’s almost like you’re admitting you have a flaw.

The thing is, it’s NOT a flaw.  It’s a past experience, an expression of who you’ve been, and a survival mechanism you use to get through your relationships.

Let me give you another example…

My wife walks into my office.  I’m at my computer concentrating on work.  She comes behind me and gives me a big hug.

Quickly I pull away, throw my glasses on the desk… THWAP!

I turn back around and hug her back.

Depending on the perspective, past experiences with throwing things down, past experiences with pulling away quickly and everything else dealing with a similar  situation…she might interpret anger and that she is being a nuisance.  While on my side I just wanted to get all into the hug and enjoy it with out crushing my glasses.

Here’s the rub. In the moment, nothing was said.  It was all action.  It left our minds to fill in the blanks and thoughts associated to feelings and sounds.  There was NO meaning from the actions themselves.  They were just actions.  It’s our brains that want to immediately fill in the blanks because of our learned survival mechanisms.

Had we not had a conversation afterward, that entire incident could have been interpreted as something it wasn’t and held on to for the rest of the day.

Boy that would make for a fun night, wouldn’t it.  We could have been at each other’s throats.

Can you see the importance of conversation in your relationships?

In my experience, this sort of stuff really begins to ruffle feathers.  You may disagree with my writings.  You may agree with my writings.  I don’t know but no matter what it can’t expand and open up to something new unless we have a conversation.

As Bobby wrote in the previous article, Making Any Relationship Work, conversations allow you to open your mind, see different view points and either keep or disregard your current view.  If you’re holding it in, having the conversations with yourself, you might as well stop now.  You’ll always agree with yourself.

So, if you disagree with me or anyone on the RLA team let’s hear it.  Give me your thoughts and opinions.  Lets start a dialogue.  You never know how we’ll end up on the other end.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.  -Buddah

I would add to that holding on to anything at all yields the same result.

Enjoy,

Jay

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