Don’t let a Selfish Partner Hurt you

MAN-BED-COMPUTER

Don’t let a Selfish Partner Hurt you

It may be hard to recognize the selfish, at least at first. Oftentimes they are social butterflies. Everyone loves and adores them. And everyone wants to cater to them, including you. But as time goes on and the charm starts to wear, as you get to peek more and more below the surface sometimes you start to see that this person’s whole world revolves around them. There isn’t room for you at all. You find yourself giving more and more, but they never return your energy or affection like they should. Instead, they suck you dry like a psychic vampire.

Don’t let a selfish partner hurt you. First, realize when a person is selfish and when you haven’t communicated your needs with them fully. Perhaps they don’t know what you want or how to fulfil your needs. Be patient. Communicate in lots of ways. See if they have a need to fulfill your desires but don’t know how to go about it. Help them. If they find excuses or are too resistant chances are they are selfish. But oftentimes one person in a relationship thinks the other should automatically know what they want. No one automatically knows what anyone wants. It isn’t a sign of love or not loving. It just means you have to learn to communicate your needs effectively.

Next, consider what the speech or behavior they are exhibiting is and if it is in fact selfish. What things do you do for them? Make a list. See what things they do for you. How does the list measure up? Some people look to date those that they can manipulate to get their own needs, wants and desires fulfilled without any concern or regard for the other person. Does this sound familiar? In a normal relationship the power dynamic is equal. But if you never do what you want to do, never go to the restaurants you want, never see the movie you want, never visit your family, and always undercut your desires to that of your partner, that person is indeed selfish. Your partner is probably convinced of how great they are and how lucky you are to have them. They think you need them and should get down on your knees and thank the heavens for putting them in your life. Talk about nerve.

If you think you are constantly being manipulated by a selfish person and no matter how many times you confront them, or try to get them to change, they don’t, make plans to end the relationship. Start drifting from them physically and emotionally. Detach from them. If they start freaking out show them the behavior you have to put up with. Use their words against them. Make it really uncomfortable for them. Then approach them about splitting up. Chances are they will be happy about it by then. No one wants to be in a relationship where they aren’t having fun, where they are being used. So turn the tables on them with coldness and you will have your freedom soon enough. For more advice read, Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You by Patricia Evans.

Solving Problems without Arguing

problem solving

Solving Problems without Arguing

It’s no secret that arguments lead to breakups. And the best relationships split power equally among the two. That’s why learning how to fight right without hurting each other’s feelings, or taking one or another person’s power away are the secrets to an impenetrable relationship. But how do you solve problems without arguing? Fighting isn’t essential to couplehood.

Though disagreement is inevitable, getting angry or fighting is a choice.  Here are three steps culled from the book, Getting to Yes, that can eliminate arguing from your relationship, equalize power and make things run far more smoothly. This strategy also helps reconcile two parts in conflict inside an individual as well. So if you are suffering from inner conflicts try this strategy too. Generally speaking compromise is touted as the best way to solve issues. But if one person wants to live in Chicago and the other in Miami, settling in Nashville isn’t going to make anyone happy. It’s a lose-lose instead of a win-win. Compromise has its place but not in situations such as this. However a win-win solution leaves both parties satisfied.

The first step is to recognize the conflict. Say it’s a Friday night. One person wants to go out. The other wants to say in. The first step is to recognize that both parties are indeed in conflict. This sounds easy. But it isn’t always really. Sometimes one partner will go out only to make the other happy but harbor unseen resentment. Instead, both parties will voice that there is a conflict in preferences openly and honestly, without holding back. That doesn’t mean fighting. It merely means recognizing the issue. Next, instead of advocating for your position, trying to find both parties underlying concerns. One person feels that they aren’t spending enough time with their friends, while the other is exhausted from a particularly grinding week at work. Finally, the couple decides on something that will settle both parties underlying concerns. The couple decides to go out and visit with friends at happy hour. Then they decide to come home and relax. Or perhaps they have a nice dinner together, while one goes out and the other stays home. These two solutions are a win-win for each.

The solution has to fix each person’s concerns. That’s important. The couple also has to be patient and communicate clearly so that they can dig past what the person says they want to their actual concern. It’s important that each person find and then communicate their underlying concerns so that these can be fully addressed. For more advice read, Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury.

ADHD and Relationships

couple at therapy

ADHD and Relationships

When one person has ADHD in a relationship, and the other person doesn’t, unique problems can occur. The power dynamic can become that of a parent to child, which isn’t healthy. The non-ADHD person becomes the one with the power, guiding, reminding and helping their partner. When the ADHD partner has a chore to be done, their counterpart may remind them, indeed several times, until the ADHD partner does it. Or the non-ADHD partner may give up and do it themselves rather than keep reminding their other half. Eventually, too many chores or responsibilities are allocated to the non-ADHD partner.

The symptoms of ADHD unmanaged are permanent. Distraction, memory problems and other symptoms start to weigh on the relationship. The non-ADHD partner becomes the parent, the ADHD partner the child. The power dynamic in this relationship becomes off kilter, leaning only to one side. This leads to a lack of respect on the part of the non-ADHD partner as they begin to view their partner like a child, and a condescending attitude can ensue. The ADHD partner begins to resent their significant other.

Adaptation is generally considered a good thing. One partner sees an issue arising and both partners change to meet and overcome it. Some research has shown however that stronger couples see problems coming down the pike and counteract them before they become an issue in the relationship. For ADHD, this power dynamic increases over time. As more and more control is lent to the non-ADHD partner and the more they become the parent, the other the child, the more resentment builds. Both people in this relationship have their problems with the other. One doesn’t want to do all of the work of the other. The ADHD partner doesn’t want to be treated like a child. They get tired of constant reminders, general bossiness and nagging. And the non-ADHD partner gets tired of doing so. And this dynamic puts a strain on the relationship. The couple feels less inclined toward positive feelings of love, affection, physical intimacy and romance.

Child/parent dynamics will almost inevitably lead to relationship or marital dysfunction. ADHD should be treated with the help of a mental health professional. Both partners should be involved. But if you are married or seriously involved with someone who has ADHD or if you have ADHD make sure to talk about it in depth with your partner. Treatment should also be sought. For more advice read, The ADHD Effect On Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps by Melissa Orlov.

How Men Nonverbally Dominate

couple-sitting

How Men Nonverbally Dominate

A power dynamic is how power exists in a relationship. Does one partner have more power than the other? Does one have all the power? Or do they share power? Power dynamics shape love. They either allow a place for it to grow and develop or they choke it. The power dynamic that is the healthiest and aids relationships is when both partners share in the power equally. You can see a power dynamic at work by examining who interrupts the other, who talks over the other, who makes final decisions, who punishes, who generally wins fights and so on. Men and women utilize and respond to verbal and nonverbal cues in different ways.

Of course either sex can be domineering in a relationship. However, men are the ones who traditionally dominate heterosexual relationships. Men control women either consciously or subconsciously using certain verbal and nonverbal cues. For instance, personal space tends to be different in each sex. Men have a bubble of personal space around them. Others penetrate this to cause discomfort, get closer or create arousal. Women have smaller personal space bubbles. And men tend to invade a woman’s personal space more often in the hope of persuading or controlling her.

In terms of posture, men tend to use more open, expansive forms. Therefore they need more space. This taking up of space is deciphered as dominance. Women are more constricted because they tend to take up less space. If you notice how men and women cross their legs, it displays clearly this phenomenon. Men tend to cross their legs with one ankle on top of their knee or thigh, taking up lots of space. Women however cross their legs at the knee taking up far less space. Expansive positions communicate dominance. Constricted positions tell of submission. The latest research shows that incorporating more expansive body language increases one’s confidence and self-esteem. If you notice the mode of dress, a man’s dress portrays power, a woman’s submissiveness. Women have to cross their legs in skirts, ergo communicating submissiveness outright. Women also carry things in a handbag or purse, which also communicates submission while men carry things in their pockets.

Touch is another way men subconsciously dominate women. Research shows that men who aren’t romantically involved touch women more often as a way of dominating them. This is true of dominant personalities too. They tend to touch in order to dominate; someone that puts their hand on your arm to make sure you are paying attention to their point, for example. Men who care about taking part in a blissful, well-adjusted long term relationship should be aware of what nonverbal cues they are sending their female counterparts, and make sure not to dominate, but to allow her an equal share of the power. To learn more about dominance in relationships read, Intimacy and Power: The Dynamics of Personal Relationships in Modern Society by Derek Layder.

Don’t Put your Partner on a Pedestal, says Research

admiration

Don’t Put your Partner on a Pedestal, says Research

According to a study, thinking the world of your partner may not be the best romantic strategy. In fact, don’t put your partner on a pedestal at all, says this research out of Colgate University in New York. What happens when you do? The relationship satisfaction of your partner takes a nose dive. Psychologist and researcher Jennifer Tomlinson says that a balance in a relationship between admiration and a practical outlook on your partner is the best approach. In an interview with Live Science she said, “While it may be tempting to provide effusive praise, I think it’s also important to communicate understanding and validation of a person’s core identity.”

Those who believe that their partner is spectacular have higher rates of relationship satisfaction. But how a partner regards this also plays a role. Tomlinson and her colleagues wanted to investigate what the best level of idealization of a partner in a relationship was. Three experiments were devised to do just that. In the first experiment, 98 straight couples and one lesbian one were brought into a psychology lab. They were told to fill out a questionnaire about their relationship; one the participants believed was all the same. 50% of participants received a questionnaire with two different added questions. These participants were to list all of the “extremely valuable and positive” characteristics that their significant other possessed.

Next, the couples were to sit on a couch with a striped blanket over it. The stripes were inconspicuously used to count how far apart couples were. Those that had one partner who idealized the other too much found the couple sitting much farther apart. In the second experiment, 89 married couples whose median age was somewhere in the mid 30’s, and 153 university students in relationships participated. First, they completed surveys about their relationship including how their partner felt about them and how they felt about their partner. The best place to be, researchers found, was when the partner saw them as slightly higher than where they perceived themselves. But once the lover’s perception was far more elevated than the person’s own, the relationship suffered.

Those whose idealization was way out of proportion made their partners feel as though their sense of identity was threatened. They believe that their partner doesn’t really know them and that their expectations therefore cannot be met. Those who were overly-idealized were less accommodating in their relationships as well. Of this Tomlinson said, “People who are feeling over-idealized may feel like they have more power in the relationship, so they may be less willing to put their partner first.” This research appeared in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. For more relationship advice read, The Love Book for Couples: Building a Healthy Relationship by E. Michael Lillibridge, Ph.D.