Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How Good Relationships Go Bad…And What To Do About It…

You know that men and women can successfully communicate with each other.After all, communicating is how you got to be seriously involved with your man in the first place.
I’m also sure you remember how fun and exciting it was when the two of you first met… how you were absolutely crazy about each other… and how communicating with each other was natural and easy…

But… as two people get to know each other better and become closer to one another, things change...

When you first meet a man, you are less likely to be judgmental of him… and less likely to get your feelings hurt by something he says or does.As a result, he’s more likely to be honest with you… and a lot more open to communication… because he’s not as worried that you will react negatively to him.

But as you grow closer together, things change…It’s only natural for you to become more judgmental of his actions and words, and for him to become more judgmental of yours.

This can create more barriers to solid, clear communication… as I’m sure you already know.Those little “annoyances” that people naturally begin to have about people they spend a lot of time with begin to start appearing… and experiences from past communications begin to mold future interactions…

This can lead to more dishonesty with each other… which often starts out as a “white lie”… and spirals into an all-out fight!For example… let’s say there was a time when you asked your man what he did the other night when you weren’t together… and he openly told you that he went out with his friends to a bar…

Upon hearing this, it’s very common for a woman to give him a little bit of “crap” for not taking her along… or maybe feel a little jealous and hint---or even flat out accuse him---of going out to meet other girls.

Think about how these behaviors can subconsciously “train” a man to act the next time he’s in a similar situation…The next time he goes out with the boys and you ask him about it later, even if he kept his eyes on the football game the entire time, it could make MORE sense to him to tell you what he feels is a “white lie”---maybe that he “stayed home”...simply because he doesn’t want you to get worked up!

But then the next day you find the receipt from his bar tab on the counter… and all hell breaks loose...Now… I’m not saying that you have personally done this particular thing to make your man resistant to communicating with you… this is just an example.

My point is, as if his upbringing wasn’t enough… there are all kinds of other things that make a man resistant to communication…

Some of them occur naturally in a relationship… and some of them you may be bringing about yourself.Your man may also have other external barriers to communication that you aren’t aware of… such as stress in other areas of his life… insecurities he has with himself… or even “baggage” from past relationships.

Either way in order to effectively communicate with your man, it’s important that you learn what his particular barriers to open communication are and how to help him overcome them in a way that makes him excited about doing it.

When you do this correctly, your man will not only listen to what you have to say… but also open up to you… and even begin to take an active interest in your feelings… every single day.

So what are the right ways to achieve this?

Well… unless you’ve been living in a cave, I’m sure you’ve heard what some of the so-called relationship “experts” have to say about this.

But the fact of the matter is…They are dead wrong.I’d like to share with you 3 all-too-common communication “myths”… techniques that are supposed to bring you and your man closer together by getting him to open up to you… but in reality… are almost guaranteed to push him farther away…

Let’s get right into it...Myth 1): Telling A Man Exactly How You Feel Is What’s Most Important

Is it important to share your feelings in your relationship?Absolutely. Doing so is what gives your relationship intimacy and depth and makes it real.

But do most of us do a good job saying how we feel when we’re upset, hurt, or frustrated by something and we really need someone else to hear us and lend us some understanding?

Absolutely not.Instead, we end up communicating in a way that not only keeps us from getting the response or outcome we want (having the other person understand us)… but it actually ends up making things worse.

Now, I get that it’s frustrating to think or feel like you can’t just “be yourself” with a man and share all your feelings with him. I know that if you don’t have the freedom to experience and express your feelings, or if a man won’t listen to you and try to understand you at all… then your relationship is going to feel like it’s a dead-end.

That’s why lots of women end up feeling like they have to “stuff” some of their emotions down inside themselves if they want to keep their relationship going with a man.

But the reality is that it doesn’t have to be this way, and you can share your feelings with a man and not have it back-fire on you… but only if you learn the right way to do it.

One of the reasons so many women have problems when they share their feelings isn’t just because men don’t “get it”. It’s because most of the “conventional wisdom” out there tells you that when you have a feeling (especially a negative one), you’re supposed to try and be clear about your feelings and say “I feel angry...” or “I feel sad…” or “I feel hurt”.

Some call this using “I statements”. This is a communication technique where you simply state the feelings you are having to start the conversation.

Well, have you ever tried this with a man? If so, did it get you the results you wanted?Exactly. Not even close.

You probably got either that blank, withdrawn, passive-aggressive response where he did nothing to acknowledge or respect your feelings… or you got that instantly angry or irritated “rejecting” response where he tried to turn your feelings back on you and blame you or criticize you for having them in the first place. As though you were being “too emotional” and making life unnecessarily difficult.

If you start using “I statements” and you weren’t using them before… you’re actually going to get a better response from the man in your life… at first. But you’re going to quickly end up right back where you started if you don’t know why “I statements” work… and the other critical pieces to good communication that have to go along with them… or else.

Try thinking of it this way...

If you wanted to lose some weight and firm up your waist, you might start doing sit-ups. And after sticking with your sit-up workout for weeks or months, you would expect some inches to drop from your waistline.

But what if you also had the habit of having several pieces of chocolate cake every day… and after doing your sit-ups, you ate some cake? Would you still lose the weight?

Obviously not. Sit-ups are only one part of what can help you lose weight… but they won’t get the job done on their own.

In other words, if you ignore all the other important components to weight loss… then even though you’re disciplined with your sit-up workout, you aren’t going to get the results you want.

Well… it’s the same with using “I statements”. They are a great technique or tool in communicating with a man, and you may even see some immediate short-term results.

But if you are still repeating your other bad habits (chocolate cake), you won’t really solve the problem and you’ll put the pounds right back on.

That’s why… by using “I statements”, you’ve only interrupted your old pattern of communication.

And when you just change your old pattern, you haven’t actually changed what’s been going on and being shared at a deeper level. You’ve only created a new pattern that rests on the same emotional patterns, and is therefore sure to find it’s way back to the same kind of rejecting or ignoring emotional responses you were getting in the past.

Myth 2): A Man Will Fix Your Negative Communication “Patterns” When He Finally “Opens Up”

In case you haven’t realized it yet, most couples have several very distinct patterns they play out over and over in their relationship.It might be a certain argument that keeps being “re-hashed”.

It might be a recurring source of conflict.Or it might be some bad experience from the past that keeps coming up.But part of the pattern always includes some way of coming back together in the end… until the next go round.

You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about if you picture in your mind a couple you know who fights a lot… and you look at what’s actually going on besides the words that they’re saying.

Sure, the words might be what appear on the surface; but the argument and the source of pain, anger, or resentment isn’t really about the words if you stop to think about it.

The reality is that all these different arguments and all these conflicts have something in common – the same basic emotional pattern keeps going on underneath the surface.

By the way, proof that these emotional patterns can be seen when your relationship has been going great for a while... a man has been acting and responding to you differently… and then the “old” guy comes out again and acts the way he used to.

It’s at these times that you feel like for all the work that’s gone into your relationship, it hasn’t really grown one bit. And now you’re back at square one with him acting the way he used to when things were bad, when you thought things were different now.

But the truth is that there was an old negative emotional pattern between the both of you.Unfortunately, the mistake most women make is to believe this pattern only exists because of the man in their life doing something wrong, and them having to respond.

When in reality the negative emotional pattern going on in their relationship is, by definition, something that plays on the fears and frustrations of both sides.

There’s an old wise saying I always come back to:“It takes two.”A pattern exists between two people because both people play a part in perpetuating the cycle or the pattern they are experiencing.

It basically works like this - when one person acts one way to start a pattern, the other person has a common and predictable response that is exactly what pushes the pattern further along. That’s how patterns work and why they are patterns – they reinforce themselves.

That is why whatever each person in the pattern does, whether they believe they are right or wrong, they are actually adding energy to the negative and destructive nature of the pattern and reinforcing its strength and power over them.

Following me here?The point of this is… if you want to break a pattern in your relationship with a man, the only quick and fool-proof way to do so is to make sure you stop reinforcing the pattern and adding energy to it.

A common example of a negative pattern you can probably relate to is when a woman is frustrated that a man won’t open up. (being “closed” is a common male behavior that starts negative patterns in relationships)

When this happens, lots of women get frustrated and try to get the man to open up and listen and share… and without realizing it, they do it in a way that makes a man feel criticized for not being a good partner and knowing how to make her happy. (This is their emotional response or “feedback” that reinforces more of the negative emotional pattern within the man)

And so the man either gets angry or shuts down more.And then the woman has her own negative reaction to this.

And so continues the pattern… back and forth, from one to the other, triggering destructive behavior and responses on both sides.

Myth 3): “Listening” Means A Man Is Going To Be Happy With What You Have To Say

I doubt you realize it right now, but you have an amazing amount of power when it comes to affecting a man with your thoughts, words, and feelings.

An unbelievable amount of power and influence, actually. You just don’t realize it from where you are.Here’s a fascinating way to think about it.

Most men out there spend a large portion of their daily lives trying to be strong, focused, and unaffected by the problems and distractions of the world so that they can “be men” and strive for what they think of as “success”.

They engage in challenges, fights, negotiations, etc… all things that encourage men to make themselves less “vulnerable” to pain and emotional distress.

In a sense, men spend a lot of energy learning to “turn off” their sensitivity and get things done... and act as though it’s a ‘rite of passage’ and a ‘must’ for a man to be this way.

And in spite of all that, guess what?A woman can come along and instantly “undo” all that work a man has put into building up his strength and “invulnerability” with just a few words out of her mouth… and she can do so in a way that no amount of fighting, struggle, pain, etc. with anyone else but the woman he’s close to could ever bring about.

If that’s not power, I don’t know what is.Most women don’t realize and accept the power that their thoughts, feelings, and words have on the man in their life. In fact, they become fooled and blinded into thinking that they have no power at all because when they share their feelings with a man, he doesn’t respond in the way they expect or want him to.

This is kind of like thinking you can’t sing because you break all the glass in the room each time you let a note ring out.

The fact is that you are tremendously powerful when it comes to influencing a man with your thoughts, emotions, and words. You just need to learn to harness your power and use it to create the response you want.

Or to use our metaphor… if you’re singing along with a group of singers, it doesn’t matter how great you can hit the notes you want if you aren’t singing in the right key - you’re going to sound “off” and make the entire group sound awful as a result.

When you share your feelings with a man, he isn’t always supposed to accept everything you have to say, understand it all on the spot, and feel happy about it.

This isn’t how mature couples communicate.Often times, just like any human being, he will be “singing in his own key”, to use our metaphor again.

Unfortunately, women who are less mature or easily distracted or upset emotionally when they don’t get the response they want end up losing their cool and doing and saying things that are destructive to their relationship… When all the while when things didn’t look “perfect” on the surface, everything was working just fine. They just didn’t know what a real mature conversation looked like. And what it meant when a man was, in fact, being mature and “healthy” in the way he was communicating and responding.

There is a better way. A way that moves beyond the “tit-for-tat” dynamic at the heart of relationships that go from withdrawn, to argumentative, to making-up but not getting past what’s going on beneath the surface.

I will talk to you again soon.
Keep on Dating There is someone out there for
Best of luck in life and love!

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