Is Negativity Ruining your Love Life?

negative-thoughts

Is Negativity Ruining your Love Life?

Some of us see the glass as half empty, others as half full. Many of us ask, am I thirsty? Sure, overall philosophical outlook is one thing we tie our egos to. But there is something known as taking it too far. Misery may love company but company doesn’t love it back. Company excuses itself and hightails it outta there. The truth is being way too pessimistic repulses anyone except for the loathsome few who feel the same way you do. And who wants to date someone like that? Is negativity ruining your love life? Take a look and see if you’ve taken it too far and are driving potential suitors away with an overindulgence in pessimism.

Whenever you hear that something is up, do you always assume that the worst is true? Do you feel snubbed by a friend you waved to only to find out they didn’t see you? Perhaps you still don’t believe them. Always assuming the worst is a sign you are being too negative. When considering something that’s happening, do you look at it from the other person’s point of view, or do you agonize over your own point of view and what an inconvenience, a terrible decision or a slap in the face it is? Always consider the other person’s point of view. Otherwise you are way too wrapped up in yourself.

Are you always the victim? Do you meet every new catastrophe with, “That’s my luck”? Do you feel that no matter how hard you climb there’s always someone or something that knocks you off the ladder to success? Of course it’s okay to be upset, annoyed, even lick your wounds when life doesn’t go your way. But if you wallow in self-pity no one is going to think you are fun or interesting anymore. People back away from misery like backing away from a plague victim. Sure they seem nice and understanding but the whole time they are making their way to the door. Do you have high expectations of everyone, yet they often let you down? What is encapsulated in that particular philosophy is egocentrism. If all you can reflect on is how others have disappointed you, you are inadvertently putting yourself in the center of the universe.

No romantic partner wants to endlessly keep trying to fulfil your expectations. Sooner or later they’ll get frustrated and mosey on. If you can’t accept defeat then you are not focusing on one of the essential parts of being human. We all make mistakes. We all get kicked down the rungs on the ladder of life. We all feel this way sometimes. But it’s when you feel grouchy, irritable, negative and hopeless all the time that it’s a problem. If you feel like this, come to terms with it, understand it and begin to reverse it. Your love life and your life in general will improve considerably. For more advice read the New York Times bestseller, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Judith Orloff, M.D.

Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Man And Woman Breathing

Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Have you ever looked at what you thought were the perfect couple and thought, “I want to be like them.” Well it isn’t fate or happenstance. Good relationships have certain qualities in them. They don’t come prepackaged. Anyone can practice them, and indeed should. Here are relationship skills used by happy couples. The first one is empathy.

Sympathy is knowing how someone else feels and showing compassion for them. Empathy is really feeling what they feel, knowing how they feel and showing compassion. Don’t assume you know how they feel outright. Our assumptions without the benefit of reflection are usually wrong and may anger or hurt our partner.  You don’t have to have lived through the same thing. Use your imagination and walk a mile in their moccasins. Close your eyes and feel what it is like to be in their position. What are their concerns, priorities, responsibilities and actions? What did they expect and what occurred instead? Once you understand their point of view intimately, from inside their head, then discuss things with them.

The next is called emotional validation. When your sweetie is upset or angry, let them know that you understand how they’re feeling, and that they have every right to feel that way. Give them your concern and sympathy. You may think that they will be even more upset with you. The truth is they will likely calm down and be able to discuss things with you rationally and calmly. That’s because you’ve validated their emotions. Emotional validation is something we all need. When we feel upset, angry or frustrated we want our partner to understand why we feel how we do, and sympathize with us. When this happens we experience an emotional release from the tension we were feeling.

Lastly, use civility and consideration in your relationship to make it healthy and happy. Little gestures such as letting someone sleep in, flowers, a small token, a handwritten note, a compliment or a big hug can change the tone instantly. These things can decrease the intensity of an argument and give room for talking and working things out. Often couples get caught in a cycle of negativity. One gesture won’t change that. But if you develop a routine of civility and consideration you can change that cycle. It’s particularly powerful if both partners become committed in breaking a cycle of negativity and replace it with a positive one. For more advice read, Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn, Proven Communication Skills by Georgianna Donadio.

Small, Simple ways to improve your Marriage

bed

Small, Simple ways to improve your Marriage

It isn’t easy staying married, as today’s divorce rate can attest. But it isn’t always big problems that break up a married couple. Often it’s a buildup of little things that turn into a tidal wave of problems which ultimately wash away the couple’s married future. Fight back against the tide of tiny destroyers. Here are some small, simple ways to improve your marriage right now and move forward from this instant on. Follow these and the road ahead will be much smoother.

If you want to stay close, when you are wrong, apologize. Don’t insist you are right for pride’s sake. Your pride will get between you and your spouse. When you are in an argument, don’t only view it from your perspective. Try and see things from their point of view. Use your imagination. How would you feel? What would your reaction be? Putting yourself in their shoes will calm your anger, give you a little sympathy and help to organize the negotiation phase, conjuring up a plan on how to satisfy both of you without harming either. Laugh when you two are together. It is far more important to enjoy each other’s company. It will make your bond strong and resilient.

Pencil sex in if you two are so busy and don’t have time for a long, drawn out romantic encounter. A marriage without physical intimacy gets dull and fades. But being intimate together, even if it’s just a quickie a couple of times a week, will make you closer, release tension and help keep the spark alive. It’s important to make sure that you attack life as a team. That’s why a weekly meeting is important. Instead of killing the relationship with nagging and arguments, schedule a time each week to tackle important issues and solve them. Make a running list throughout the week on what is to be covered. Solve your problems at that time and spend some other alone time during the week enjoying each other’s company. Talk about the little things in life, good and bad. Talk about everything. Keep the lines of communication open and free.

Make sure you schedule some time for your own hobbies, friends, interests, and so on. Don’t yell. It doesn’t solve anything. It only makes matters worse. If you want to yell excuse yourself and go yell in another room, in a pillow or in your car while it’s parked. Then when you calm down schedule a time to revisit the issue, discussing how it makes you feel and possible solutions. Show gratitude. Thank the other person for what they do. And expect gratitude in return too. For some fun relationship advice read, Advice for a Happy Marriage: From Miss Dietz’s Third-Grade Class by Debi Dietz Crawford and Friends.

Using HEAL to Restore Trust

HEAL

Using HEAL to Restore Trust

A loving, supportive romantic relationship is one of the biggest joys in life. But it can also be a source of regret, guilt, anger, resentment and sorrow. We learn all about weddings and courtship as children and teens. But we really don’t learn much about how to make marriage work. This is reflected in the divorce rate. The latest is 41% for first marriages and 60% for second ones. Life’s stresses and having different expectations for things can railroad even the best of relationships. Something else that weighs heavily on a relationship is a phenomenon called “attachment injuries.” This is when a particularly stressful or painful event arises in our life and we need our partner to comfort us but they aren’t available either physically or emotionally. This leads to resentment and suppressed anger. Therapist Dr. Melanie Greenberg has come up with a certain type of therapy to counteract these issues and get relationships back on track. It’s called HEAL, an acronym standing for Hear, Empathize, Act, Love. It exchanges self-protecting behavior with reconnecting, loving, and compassionate behavior.

First you have to listen actively to your partner. Consciously take down your defenses and open up your heart to them. Look at their facial expressions, body language, register their tone. What else are they saying with these nonverbal cues? How are they really feeling? Are they actually expressing some sort of need that isn’t currently being met? Companionship, understanding, control, and love are all needs that perhaps are going unfulfilled. The best way to calm your significant other is to really listen, find out what need isn’t being met, and be open to changing and working hard to meet their need. Next, empathize with your partner. Realize what it’s like from their point of view. Feel what they are feeling and let it come over you. Sometimes one emotion such as anger resides at the surface, but is put there by another emotion lingering underneath, perhaps frustration, loneliness or feeling that you aren’t in control of your own life. Sometimes there is a deeper reason. But sometimes your partner just needs validation and compassion. Oftentimes these two are enough to quell the problem. The next step is act. Talk with your partner and find out what needs to be done or what you need to change in order to meet their needs. Finally, love. Feel love for the person and express it unconditionally. If your relationship has trust issues, restore it with HEAL.  For more advice read, I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum.

Pre-Marriage Toolkit

marriage

Pre-Marriage Toolkit

Almost all love advice we are taught growing up is how to meet someone, but we never learn the skills we need to keep a relationship going and make a marriage run smoothly. Well today some organizations are trying to supply a pre-marriage toolkit or workshops to teach you and your partner the skills you’ll need to enhance and sustain nuptial bliss. These classes aren’t only for before you tie the knot. They can help keep your relationship humming along smoothly. Enter smartmarriages.org a website listing classes held across the nation, in all 50 states.

If you don’t have the time or the gumption to leave home on your or your spouse’s free time and work a course into your schedules, perhaps take a course online. Marriage counselor Dr. Susan Heitler has developed an online program at poweroftwomarriages.com. There are four tools every couple needs to put into their tool kit so as to have a successful union according to Dr. Heitler. The first is self-regulation. This is in terms of one’s emotions. Controlling our emotions is one important part of growing from childhood to adulthood. But many adults still struggle with anger issues that leak in and destroy a marriage. If one or another person raises their voice more than once per month, or if one or both spouses tend to say nasty things to one another, anger management should counteract that tendency.

Lots of couples have to work on their communication skills. Too many couples let problems devolve into arguments. They don’t know how to use tact in their relationship. They don’t validate one another’s feelings. Listening actively is not on the menu. And the model they use quickly becomes one of antagonism instead of cooperation. Hurtful or negative communication styles should be stricken from a marriage in total. Don’t counteract what your spouse says with “But.” Listen intently. Understand where they are coming from. See things from their point of view and yours and find avenues of compromise. Be patient. If things get heated stop the discussion and reschedule for another time. Seek innovative solutions for problems and keep your spouse’s opinion and concerns in mind and address them with your solution. Conflict resolution is a key skill that any long-term couple should possess. Every couple is going to see certain things differently. Instead of accommodating only one person’s preferences, solutions need to address both.

Lastly, too many couples let negativity seep in and poison their relationship. The way to guard against this is to inject positivity into your relationship as an antidote. Show appreciation. Laugh and joke with your partner. Compliment them. Show physical affection. Do something nice for them for no reason. Seduce them. Buy them a little gift. Write them a love letter or a poem. These will renew your relationship and your life, and keep both of you happy, together and smiling. For more advice read, Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before -And After- You Marry by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott.