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.

Advice that can save you from Divorce

Divorce,problems - Young couple angry at each other sitting back

Advice that can save you from Divorce

Lots of people have unrealistic expectations on what marriage is and what it takes to make one healthy and satisfying. Often when they start to realize where they and their spouse went wrong it’s too late to fix the marriage. The damage has been done and the differences remain irreconcilable. If you are thinking of tying the knot, have been there before and want to avoid the same mistakes, or are curious to see what exists in marriage that you haven’t considered, read on my friend. Here is advice that can save you from divorce.

Most couples know that the key to a successful relationship is communication. But that is far too simplistic and harder than it sounds. People communicate in different ways. Some people are direct, others subtle. But if a marriage is comprised of these two different styles, how can they communicate and get over the difficult problems that they inevitably come in to contact with? The answer is patience, listening actively, cooperating on problems instead of becoming opponents and blaming one another. Couples should talk about how they communicate. What are the different patterns that come up? What does one person do and then the other that leads to a fight? How can that be counteracted or overcome? Sometimes communicating using other means such as text, notes, a checklist, and email can help too. It gets messages across without there being any chance of an argument. Also, talk for 10 minutes a day about things other than chores, work or children.

Fights are going to happen. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. But there should be some ground rules. Don’t insult one another or call each other names. If it gets too heated allow your spouse to have a time out. You can, after they’ve cooled, schedule a time to revisit the issue. If you start a fight in front of the children, resolve it in front of them too. That way they learn how to end an argument constructively. Otherwise they’ll know how to fight but won’t know how to resolve. Realize that if you are in a rut in a marriage, it won’t resolve itself. Instead, you have to work hard to renew the spark. Don’t ignore it or else it may grow into too big a problem to address.

Understand what your attachment style is and what your spouse’s is and accommodate one another. Attachment style is how we show affection. Some people are naturally very affectionate. Others are quite reserved. But when a reserved person marries someone who is outwardly affectionate one person can feel starved for affection, the other overwhelmed by it. Discuss this and find ways to show your love that fits with the way your spouse would receive it, and have them adjust to your attachment style as well. As we grow older our priorities shift. This has to be discussed and planned for when something is coming or when it occurs. If you are moving in different directions it’ll be hard to stay together. For more advice read, How Not to Get Divorced: Powerful Principals to Help You Prevent Divorce and Have a Happier Marriage by Michael Caputo.

Falling Back in Love

oldhappy

Falling Back in Love

In a marriage or a long term relationship that has been going on for a while, way past the normal comfortable phase, sometimes things become far too common and routine. You’ve lost that spark. You start to feel numb about this person. You get confused. You still love them but you wonder if you are in love with them. One or both of you feel taken for granted. And at this juncture it is crucial to turn things around, and reinvest in one another. You can fall back in love, reignite that spark and show each other how much you care. There are ways to shake the cobwebs out of your relationship and get your hearts racing again. It doesn’t take more than some creativity, consideration, caring, time and enthusiasm. And you’ll be racing back toward one another in no time.

The first step is to find what attracted you to this person to begin with. Was it their laugh, their smile, the way they tilt their head, a great sense of humor or just the way they looked at you? Talk about these times. Be sentimental. If you used to play guitar and serenade your lover do it again. Go through old photos and recall old times. If you used to write love notes, love letters or the like do so again. Spend some time together. Go away, or just go on a date. Spice things up in the bedroom. Bring home a little gift for him or her, something romantic. Surprise them with a candle lit dinner, a secret trip or a body massage.

Next, come to terms with your partner’s shortcomings, even come to love them for it. And expect them to do the same. Tell them about it, that you love them no matter that they leave their underwear in the wrong place, or whatever the issue is. And have them accept whatever your faults are. Recognize what problems you bring to the relationship. No one is innocent completely. See if there are things you can do to mitigate these problems. Brainstorm with your partner. They will be so delighted that they will be willing to think about ways to lessen the impact their shortcomings have. Instead of focusing on the negative, make a list of things you like, love and appreciate about your partner. Are they kind and considerate? Do they cook or clean? Do they make you laugh when you’re down, listen to you and help you with your problems? Share this list with them.

Recognize that if you are stuck on some fairytale version of love, that your expectations are way too high. Realize that a relationship is going to take some work, caring and commitment. Instead of creating a vicious cycle where you criticize him or her and get negativity back, invest in a virtuous circle, where you say positive things to them, encourage them, cheer them on and do things to make their life easier. They’ll return the favor. For more advice read, I Love You, but… I’m Not IN LOVE With You: 7 Steps to Saving Your Relationship by Andrew G. Marshall.

Used to be the Seven Year Itch, now It’s Just Three

MARRIAGE-DOOMED

Used to be the Seven Year Itch, now It’s Just Three

50% of women and 60% of men admit to having an affair sometime in their lives. It’s inevitable that many people will start to question their marriage or even monogamy itself at some point. Many experts believe that this is happening earlier nowadays. It used to be the seven year itch, in other words at year seven people were wondering about their marriage, but today it’s happening at year three. Once the nuance wears off and we start to really get a sense of who the other person is, and what their faults actually are, disillusionment about the relationship, even marriage itself can set in.

Once the thrill has worn off the sex often declines and the couple feels disconnected. At this point some people question the relationship. Did they really know this person before tying the knot? Was something overlooked during the dating phase? They wonder if they settled or somehow made a mistake. First, understand that this is a normal, natural pattern that lots of couples go through. There are ways to reignite the spark. One is to practice compassion for your partner with absolute abandon. Show them your gratitude. Love them despite of their drawbacks. Practice radical acceptance and deep love.

Next, take part in novel experiences. What gets your heart racing? Find out how to answer that question the same as your partner and go and do that thing. Studies have shown that taking part in exciting activities can help reignite the spark. Work on bringing novelty into the bedroom. Plan a romantic evening together where you two open up to one another and start talking about your fantasies. Make plans to fulfill them, first one person’s then the others. Understand and mitigate the influence of society, particularly the fairytale fantasy and the idea of instant gratification. The media is constantly in movies, TV shows and so many other places showing us labor free, perfect relationships and uninhibited, instant mind-blowing sex. In the real world, things take investment, commitment, time and energy. Don’t think of it as work however but growing your relationship, deepening it and enhancing it.

Sometimes people get so busy with the bills, work, the kids and other responsibilities that they forget to save a little time to invest in one another. But it’s so important. Happy parents and happy workers lead to happy kids and a great working environment, advancement and productivity too. Find time to talk, show your appreciation for one another, do things that are fun and exciting together and you’ll never feel that itch at any year in your marriage. For more on keeping things hot and exciting read, The Spark: Igniting the Passion, Mystery, and Romance in Your Marriage by Jay Laffoon, Laura Laffoon and Ken Davis.

The Importance of Open-Mindedness in Dating

open minded

The Importance of Open-Mindedness in Dating

There are lots of frustrated, depressed and discouraged daters out there in the world today. They don’t think they will ever find the one for them. But there are only a few attitudes that can mean the difference between someone happy and satisfied in their love life and those who are not. One of the most important qualities a person can exhibit in dating is open-mindedness. Most people have a mental or even a physical checklist for what they are looking for in the perfect match. The best daters know that however realistic their list seems, they will date people who have other qualities that they like that aren’t on the list, or they may date people who have potential but don’t have one or even a few of the qualities they decided they were in search of. But the best daters don’t write someone off completely merely because they don’t possess all of the qualities they decided they needed. In fact, they may continue to date this person or these people, and be open-minded enough to the possibility that a person who does have these qualities may come along.

Those who are open-minded can see potentialities with people, ways to be flexible and make things work. They also know that they may need to throw out their checklist altogether. Lots of people gulp and feel a wave of fear with the thought of taking a checklist they worked hard on, which they were committed to and chucking it out the window. But the truth is that the human heart is far more intricate, precarious, mysterious and difficult to quantify than anything else on earth. Said differently, you could fall in love with someone, struck out of nowhere like a lightning bolt, or it may come to you slowly as the tide slowly rolls in to shore. But this person that you fall for may not have any of the qualities on your list. Lots of people hem and haw, maybe even deny the feelings that they have for a person due to their checklist. But the thing about falling in love is, you can’t predict it. There are proclivities but no sets of conclusions. And if you knew all about love and how we fall in love right from the beginning, wouldn’t that take the mystery out of it? And in taking out that mystery wouldn’t we lose something in the beauty of love? It’s that same mysteriousness that makes it interesting. Remember to stick to your core values. This should be someone you are comfortable with and have chemistry with. But don’t turn away good catches because they have one little imperfection here or there. You might go hungry. And who doesn’t have imperfections? You may even notice some in yourself. We all have them. Just find someone who has the kind you can live with. For more dating advice read, Decoding Love: Why it Takes Twelve Frogs to Find a Prince, and Other Revelations from the Science of Attraction by Andrew Trees.