Never Appreciated

unappreciated

Never Appreciated

Do you feel that you have control over your life, but you are always getting stepped on? You go out of your way to show love, devotion, and perform grand gestures in hopes that they will be reciprocated. Instead, they turn out to be expectations. It stings the most when it’s a lover. But often those who are taken advantage of by romantic partners suffer at the hands of bosses, professors, friends and family too. If you’re never appreciated, or taken for granted more often than not, read on and you’ll know how to change it all around, and put some new direction in your life.

First, evaluate what you do for your lover and what they do for you. Writing two lists might make sense. Compare. Are you actually being taken advantage of? If your column takes up two pages with footnotes and addendums whilst theirs is barely two lines long, your lover has some explaining to do. Don’t get heated though. Instead, start to take a look at the patterns you take part in, in life. Do you get taken advantage of often, and by whom?

A lot of people are people-pleasers, so don’t feel bad. These people gain self-esteem from the gratitude of others. When they bestow their gratitude you get a bump. The problem is this person doesn’t often voice their own needs, wants and desires. No where do they feel more awkward at voicing their needs than with their partner. They secretly believe their own needs aren’t as worthy as others. But they are. So sit down with your partner and discuss how you feel with them. Tell them how hard you work on your grand gestures and how disappointed you are when they don’t reciprocate. Understand that they will be defensive. Don’t point the finger at them, or make them feel guilty. Just tell them how you feel and ask how they feel about that.

Approach it as a problem and invite them in. Have solutions outlined already. If your lover is resistant perhaps they aren’t in it for you, just for what you do for them. Assert yourself with your friends and at work too. Ask for what you want. Don’t overcompensate for past behavior. Be reasonable and ask in the right manner. But don’t back down. They may try to scare you off, but stand your ground. When you stick up for yourself others recognize it and you get respect. For more advice read the New York Times bestseller, The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome by Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D.

Is She a Verbal Cheater?

man-and-woman-talking

Is She a Verbal Cheater?

So you’re dating this amazing girl. She has a lot of platonic males in her life from her office colleague to her brother to her father. But something may be going on with these men that isn’t happening with you, even though you share a romantic relationship with her. She may be telling personal things to these other guys in her life that she hasn’t quite told you. Maybe she’s afraid one of these things will hurt your ego. She could be shy. Or perhaps your relationship hasn’t gotten to the point where she feels comfortable in divulging certain information. So is she a verbal cheater? How can you tell? Here’s what she may be sharing with other guys in your life. See if you can handle it. With her dad she may be sharing concerns about your career. Her dad will always be her first superhero. And he will want to know if you can provide for his little girl properly. He’s probably going to ask her all about what you do and if she doesn’t know, or if she thinks your salary is insufficient it’s bound to come out. The truth of the matter is that if she is with you what you do or your salary probably isn’t a big deal. There’s no reason to bring it up. If she keeps hinting that you aren’t spending enough or that your salary is insufficient, dump her. She isn’t really into you and she won’t back you up if times get rough. You want an equal partner not a child to be taken care of.

To her brother she might be saying that she’s attracted to other men. It might be the latest Hollywood heartthrob, and old flame that reached out through Facebook, or some hottie she met eyes with on girl’s night out. Whatever it is, she knows she can confide in her brother. He won’t tell anyone outside the family. He’ll always be on her side. Don’t ask her about it, unless you want a fight on your hands. Chances are you are attracted to other women too. Being attracted and acting on that attraction are two totally different things. So know how things are, and if they are healthy be good with them. If you are overly jealous you’ll only drive her away. But if you think she’s cheating on you confront her honestly about it and watch her face and tone. The truth will come out. She may be sharing with her bestie’s boyfriend all the complaints she has about you. If she sees him doing something she wished you did she will criticize you for it. Women express their anger at someone else more easily than the target of their frustration. He won’t get defensive. When you know this is going on ask her what is the matter. She’ll probably say nothing. Ask her again and she’ll let out her torrent. Just let her be that way. Don’t be defensive or shut her down. When she’s done, she’ll notice. Next time she’ll say things to you and keep you more in the loop. Finally, to her work husband she’s talking about her thoughts on the future. Ask her about her plans, or just about her day and you will know all about what she’s been talking about with her colleague. To learn more about how to handle women in relationships read, For Men Only: A Straightforward Guide to the Inner Lives of Women by Shaunti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn.

Telling Adult Children You Are Dating Again

ADULT-CHILDREN-OF-DIVORCE

Telling Adult Children You Are Dating Again

If you are divorced or widowed and are dating again, it’s important to approach your adult children and tell them about it in the right way. Even though they are all grown up they may express misgivings, jealousy, hurt and resentment of your newfound love. Of course they may also feel happy for you. It depends on the situation and the personalities of the children. It’s important to broach the subject in the right way. First, you may want to hold off on telling them until you are officially a couple. How interested are you in this person? It’s important to involve the children only when things get serious. You don’t want them getting attached and then things falling apart. If you want to diffuse the situation, tell them that this new person in your life makes you happy. Who could argue with that?

Adult children may need assurances that you won’t be emotionally or financially taken advantage of. They want to make sure the person treats you well, is honest and sincere. Recognize their concerns and put them at ease. Give your new partner all the information you can about your children. Discuss who they are, what they do, if they are married or have families and so on. The more your newfound partner knows about them the better the meeting will be and the more you will put them at ease. Don’t share any stories that are overtly embarrassing to your children. But answer your partner’s questions. When it comes time for both parties to meet, show that you are in fact a couple. You can cook a meal together, or do something together showing how you can work together, and how natural a couple you make. Remember to talk openly and honestly to your children. Let them know that this person isn’t replacing their other parent. Don’t dismiss their concerns, address them. Having a newfound love in your life can be great for you, and in time, great for the family as well. For more advice on how to communicate effectively with your family members, read I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You’re All Adults by Deborah Tannen.

Marriage Meetings

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Marriage Meetings

Even the most loving marriages need a little reconnoitering now and then. But if you ignore the problems that pop up or don’t deal with them directly you risk letting them grow and take over your marriage. That’s why holding regular marriage meetings is important. Even if you are like best friends who almost never fight and your communication seems perfect, sometimes there are things you want to discuss with them, but you don’t want to bother your spouse with it. You think it’s nothing. But it is that very nothing that can rise up and cause damage to the marriage. Some couples come to the point where they ignore issues, problems, faux pas and other things. These things, while small issues in and of themselves, can pile up. Then as the pressure builds more and more, perhaps we even expect our spouse to notice what is happening and they don’t and this compounds the issue, sooner or later that volcano is going to erupt. Then what seemed like the perfect marriage is now filled with all kinds of problems and both members feel overwhelmed. What can a couple do then? How do you pick up the pieces, and move on?

The answer is having a regular marriage meeting. This is the time to bring up those problems, little missteps, issues, things that have been lingering, items that have been driving you crazy and more. Hold it once per week. It should be a place or location that both parties feel comfortable in. No distractions like the game, work emails, texts from friends and more should get in the way. Children should be shut out of this meeting. Though a family meeting may be needed to address other issues. Make sure never to skip a week. It should become part of your weekly ritual. Make sure both partners get a chance to speak uninterrupted. When one talks the other one listens actively, not sitting there trying to come up with a defense or brilliant retort. If there isn’t anything negative to be said, find something positive to share with your partner. You can’t not respond. Everyone has to share something every week. Always end on a positive note. Make sure to follow up on problems and give open and honest feedback. Communication without any obstacles is the number one objective to the weekly marriage meeting. Achieve that and your relationship will be so much stronger. For more on this topic, read Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted by Marcia Naomi Berger.

Stop Falling in Love with the Wrong Person

unrequited-love

When you first fall in love everything about that person seems perfect. This isn’t really love but infatuation. Scientists have actually found that the parts of your brain where reason resides are turned off when you fall in love. So as the old saying goes, “Love is blind.” You can’t see the faults in that person until the nuance subsides. That said, there are those instances when you realize that the person you are infatuated with is wrong for you. Perhaps they have bad habits, serious personality issues, it’s a coworker and will complicate life too much, or some other reason. So how do you stop falling in love with the wrong person? First, it’s important to recognize that it isn’t going to work. This sounds easy but it’s actually harder than it sounds. Make sure to seriously weigh the negative and positive aspects. Why not write them down on a list? Talk it over with a close friend. Can you have a healthy, happy, well-adjusted relationship with this person or are there too many problems in the way? Determine what the best way forward is, not necessarily where your heartstrings are pulling you.

Once you have truly accepted that you cannot be with this person, distance yourself from them. Unfriend them from your social media sites. Stop calling them.  If you run in the same social circles, perhaps lay low for a while until you are over it. Throw yourself into your work, your hobby, your friends and family and your passion. Find reasons why you can’t be with this person and stand by them. When you are in a situation where you have to see them, be cold and distant. If they approach you and ask why, have a heart-to-heart with them and let them know why it won’t work. Is there a way to mitigate your concerns? Will they make concrete steps to change? If the problems can’t be changed, stand by your guns. Don’t let them suck you in without alleviating the problems. You will be worse off and it will be harder to get rid of them. Do not kiss, touch or in any way become physical with them. Why not find someone else you are attracted to, to flirt with and so on? Remember that infatuation doesn’t last forever. Soon you’ll be head over heels for someone you are really ready for. For more guidance on how to fall for the right person, read the advice of Barbara De Angelis in her book, Are You The One For Me?: Knowing Who’s Right & Avoiding Who’s Wrong.