Silence is a Relationship Killer


Silence is a Relationship Killer

Sometimes when something is wrong in a relationship one or both people will practice bouts of prolonged silence. This isn’t a moment of reflection or a collecting of thoughts. This is a wall put up. It speaks to an absence of emotional and verbal intimacy. The truth is, prolonged silences propagated by a strong emotion is a relationship killer. It speaks to an intense feeling just below the surface. Bottling feelings up inside does not relieve them. They tend to build like steam building inside a furnace. Sooner or later it’s going to explode. And the results will be ugly.

It’s better to communicate directly. Take some time to sort out your thoughts. Ask your partner for a particular time when you are calmer to discuss the issue. Talking about the issue with your partner will actually make you feel better, not cause you to act out. Another problem with silence is that it is a form of control or coercion. We usually think about loud, yelling people as controlling and coercive. But silence does the job just as thoroughly. It can even be seen as a form of bullying. Even though they aren’t being physically hurt you are controlling them through your silence. Instead of talking to them, explaining to them and persuading them of your point of view, in a respectful manner, you are asking for obedience and apologies merely by clamming up.

Sometimes silence is used for a particular offense. The aggrieved party then plays a film out in their head with them as the lead role and their lover doing and saying everything they want to make it right. They wait for their beloved to say and do these very things. And when the lover has no idea what they want, they get very agitated. This isn’t fair. No one is a mind reader. And if you respect the person you are going out with, you need to open up and talk about what is troubling you. At other times silence can be a punishment. But the problem is that instead of making the relationship stronger it actually starts to tear it down. There is no avenue of communication. Anger, sadness and depression can set in in one or both parties.

The relationship can’t move forward until the silence is broken, either by one party opening up or the other apologizing, or kowtowing and promising to make it up. The first situation is desirable as it will get the problem solved, though it may have hurt the relationship, showing one person that the other is very high maintenance and doesn’t have good communication skills. In the second one, one party is dominating the other. Sooner or later the dominated party will feel that they are being abused and seek greener pastures. Neither speaks well to the relationship. So speak up. Communicate. And if you are with someone that uses silence against you, evaluate if you want to stay with them at all. For more advice read, Why Can’t You Read My Mind?-Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get In the Way of a Loving Relationship by Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. and Susan Magee.

Common Relationship Blunders


Common Relationship Blunders

No matter what stage you’re in, whether you are in a new relationship and want to do it right or just walked away from a bad one, anyone can benefit from learning what common relationship blunders take a couple who have potential and drive them apart. If you can catch these early on, or you and your partner have the gumption to renew your bond, you can change your fate and fall into a close, loving, and supportive relationship.

One of the most common is that as time wears on couples tend to slip into a very comfortable phase. The niceties slip and sooner or later they are taking each other for granted. It’s important to show your appreciation for one another. Reflect on what your life would be like without them. Then think about what they bring into your life. Leave them love notes. Tell them they look nice in what they’re wearing. Whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears. Make it special and make it count. If you take each other for granted, each of you will feel undesirable and unfulfilled, and may stray outside the relationship in order to fulfill those needs.

Another problem is when it goes the other way. One partner appreciates the other too much. That is to say they become dependent, or needy. If you feel insecure, look to the signs of your relationship to see if these feelings are justified. Do they call when they say they will? What do they say to you? Do they compliment you? Do nice things for you? If all signs point to a healthy, stable, well-adjusted relationship then relax. If you or your partner are feeling these signs of insecurity perhaps discuss them, or even seek the help of a mental health professional.

Do you complain about your partner to everyone except them? First, you two have to learn how to deal with your problems directly. You shouldn’t be complaining about them to everyone. Deal with them directly, or vent to a confidant. But if you are constantly focusing on the negative you will not see the positive in your partner and the relationship will thus sour. Come to terms with your sweetie’s shortcomings and expect them to come to terms with yours. Otherwise if you can’t, this isn’t the person for you. The same thing goes for passive-aggressiveness. Instead of slinging barbs learn to communicate in a positive and productive manner. For more on this topic read, Relationship Advice: How to Rekindle and Cultivate Healthy, Passionate, and Long-Lasting Relationships by Henry Lee.

How Men View Love and why Women should adopt it


How Men View Love and why Women should adopt it

Both sexes view love slightly differently. While men may be selfish and ignorant of their insensitivity at times, there are many positive attributes to their outlook on love that the overanalyzing, ardent female may learn from.

Here are some ways men view love and why women should adopt them into their own view. First, men seem more resilient in the realms of dating and love, particularly when a relationship is over. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t hurt. He gets down in the dumps about it just as much as she does. But men seem more willing to brush themselves off, pick themselves up and get back out there. They bounce back more quickly, and enter the dating scene with a more positive attitude. A woman however sees an ended relationship as a failure. She is more apt to give in to despair, swear off all men and live life as a celibate spinster, or at least this is what a lot of women claim. Perhaps if they could find a way to bounce back, or have a more positive attitude about getting back out there, they wouldn’t find themselves wallowing in despair and swearing off all other men. Men are also excited about the prospect of meeting someone new, where oftentimes women dread it.

Men are more straightforward with communications with their partner in a relationship. Women sometimes have a hard time communicating what they are feeling. Instead of sorting it out and approaching their man with it, they clam up. They tell him nothing is wrong when something clearly is. They push him away and he ends up confused. This behavior drives a wedge between the partners. And soon, if better forms of communication aren’t brought to the fore, the relationship won’t last. Instead women should try to communicate openly and directly. What is the point of the relationship if you can’t communicate with your partner about important things?

Women also sometimes wrack their brains trying to figure out their man, or find out if something is wrong. Just ask him. If you want to find out something, ask. If a woman doesn’t make a man happy, or a relationship doesn’t fulfill him he punches out. Women however stay in relationships that don’t make them happy thinking they can change the man. They usually end up frustrated and swearing off the entire gender, or nagging him to death and driving him away. Instead, know when a relationship has reached a dead end ladies, and take your leave of him. Lastly, don’t defend your man at all costs when your friends are trying to tell you something about him. Women can be very defensive about their men. When a man’s friends give him a gentle warning, if he’s mature he heeds it. Women should do the same. Your friends are only looking out for your best interest. Heed their warnings well and avoid dating a jerk. For more advice read, To Date a Man, You Must Understand a Man: The Keys to Catch a Great Guy by Gregg Michaelsen.

Liberate yourself from “Good Girl Syndrome”

Sad girl sits at table

Liberate yourself from “Good Girl Syndrome”

Many women at all different ages had it inculcated into them as children and teens to be “good girls.” This generally means being polite, having nice manners which are good but also being a perfectionist, bending over backwards to help others and suppressing aspects of one’s own unique personality for a façade deemed socially acceptable. Lots of women in the baby boomer generation tried to mold themselves into good girls and ended up divorced.

Today, many young women, supposedly liberated via the feminist movements of every historical age, most notably in the 1970’s, still try to fit a cookie-cutter mold of the perfect woman. Polls have shown that women today are actually less satisfied than they were in the 70’s. The reason? It’s harder for women to juggle family and career responsibilities. They also, like everyone else nowadays but perhaps more so, have little to any time to themselves. Many older women particularly of the baby boomer generation have regrets of trying to fit the “good girl” mold. Trying to please everyone makes you end up not pleasing anyone. Lots of women in this age group feel it took them years, even decades to pull free from this stereotype.

Lots of women for instance seek parental approval. But what they have in their hearts may be very different from what it is that their parents want. Changing out of a people-pleaser is hard, but living a lie even harder. It’s true that age plays a factor as well. All a teen wants is to be socially accepted. In our twenties we seek to find our adult identity. This may last into the thirties when we are trying to find our adult selves and build our adult life. But as we grow older we start to care far less about what others think about us or how we are perceived. Women especially shed the insecurities they had as younger versions of themselves. They start to form opinions about what things are really like and who they really want to be. This of course can shove up against the “good girl” persona.

In their love lives they may pursue someone whom their friends or family approves of but who they themselves don’t feel a strong connection with. This is a big mistake a lot of women make, and it ends up in a loveless marriage or a courtroom. When you reach a certain age it can feel very liberating that you aren’t obligated to please anyone but yourself. It’s important to love yourself and stick up for yourself, though in an appropriate manner. Be secure, firm but polite. Be direct but allow whoever it is to say their piece. It’s important to be true to yourself. If you ignore it, it will not go away. But if you listen and speak with that little voice inside you, you will never know such freedom and joy. For more advice read, Overcoming the Good Little Girl Syndrome: How to Stop Being a People-Pleaser by Linda Ellis Eastman.

Let Someone Down Easy


Let Someone Down Easy

It isn’t easy to reject someone. It doesn’t just hurt them, it hurts you, too. But the longer you wait the worse it gets, and the higher their expectations. Best to nip it in the bud, as difficult as that may seem.  It you are in a bad relationship and you need the motivation to step up and end it, this is for you, too. Here are some ways to let someone down easy, so you both can feel a little bit better and can get on with your lives. First, make sure that you are direct. Don’t try to soften the blow and leave the door open, thus giving the person false hope. Then you are just going to hurt them again in the future.

Let them know why. Try to word it in the most direct yet gentle way possible. But you do owe them an explanation. This is a moment for them of clarity, and perhaps personal growth and change. Whether you are looking for a long term commitment or you are just in two different places in your lives and going in different directions, tell the truth and they will respect it. Don’t give the person a huge list of things that were wrong with them. If you have a list of grievances, best to keep them to yourself. Perhaps narrow it down to one or two cogent things that the person can work on in terms of personal growth. Otherwise you are just going to be playing the blame game.

Make sure to stay calm, no matter what happens, what outrageous thing they do or if they break down, be a straight shooter and don’t get emotionally involved. You can comfort but from a distance. Remind them of something nice you once did together, or a memory you both share and how you will treasure it always. Don’t attack them but don’t let them attack you either. Try to act in a dignified way and if they start pulling low blows keep yours above the belt. Let them know how it makes you feel when they talk in such a way. Chances are they will stop. Don’t communicate with them. Don’t let them suck you back in. Lots of people start to miss their ex right away. But then they end up right back in the same position they were in to begin with.

It’s important not to waste your time in love or else you will spend a lot of time unhappy and unfulfilled. Life is too short for that nonsense. Don’t back out and don’t settle for less. But be sure to do it face-to-face. The only time it’s acceptable to break up via a phone call or text is if the other person was controlling, manipulative, or abusive either physically or mentally. Don’t follow them on social media. Don’t contact your ex when it’s too soon or hang out with them, even if it’s in a group. No matter what, someone is going to feel uncomfortable and that can bring everyone else down. Leave them alone for a while and let it be a clean break. Do give them all their stuff back undamaged and expect yours to be in the same condition. Do understand that this is just a speed bump on the road to a better tomorrow. For more breakup advice read, Breaking Up: How to Leave When You Finally Know It’s Broken by John Alanis.