Never Appreciated


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.

Dealing with a Relationship that’s complicated

a problematic couple

Dealing with a Relationship that’s complicated

Sometimes you meet someone. Things move along smashingly well. Little problems come up and you try to accommodate them. Then more problems come up and you are trying to deal with or accommodate them more and more until you are just overwhelmed. You’re dealing with a relationship that’s complicated but you don’t even realize it, since each problem seemed to creep up slowly, all on its own. Some people are in denial about the complications in their relationship due to how emotionally attached they are to a person. The truth is that dealing with so many complications can leave you exhausted. And are both people getting equal time and energy bestowed upon them?

There are all kinds of things that can complicate a relationship. There are someone’s pet peeves coming to bare one right after another. Working through infidelity can make a relationship very complicated. Sometimes insecurities can creep in. Falling out of love, squabbling, or hurt feelings on both sides can all make a relationship difficult. Manipulation or neediness can also complicate a relationship. Once things get complicated, it can be draining, and a lot of hard work. Relationships are supposed to be fun. But if yours is weighing you down, think about whether you’ll be ending it or trying a new tactic to renew your relationship.

No problems in any relationship are solved merely by dwelling on them. Each relationship is different and brings with it different problems. However, the issues you bring to the relationship are the same. Start to realize what emotional baggage you have from past relationships or from your parents and how they affect this relationship. Does this tie in or exacerbate the complications? Next, approach your partner. Pick a good time to talk about the situation. Put your electronic devices and all other distractions to the side and invest some time into talking about the issues. Get rid of blame. Jettison shame. Talk about how you feel. Ask how your partner feels about that and start a beneficial dialogue going.

If you have too many big problems perhaps tackle a little one, celebrate that success and use the momentum to try and affect a larger problem. If the problems are too difficult, if your partner is hurting you or taking advantage of you in some way, if the patient is dead with no hope of revival, or you feel that you give and give and get nothing in return, then don’t be afraid to break up with the person. Give it your best shot. But when it’s not worth it or doesn’t feel right any more learn to walk away and cut your losses. For more advice read, Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid: The Simple Truth to A Complicated Relationship by Howard J. Morris & Jenny Lee.

Attractions of Deprivation


Attractions of Deprivation

Do you have a string of romantic disasters trailing behind you? Do you often fall in love with the wrong person and your passion turns into devastation when you see your relationship inevitably fall apart? What gives? Don’t give up. You aren’t destined to die alone or in a dysfunctional relationship. You may be suffering from attractions of deprivation. The Imago model developed by Harville Hendrix states that we are attracted to those who embody the worst elements of our childhood caregivers, our parents or whoever raised us.

We have unresolved issues surrounding abuse, betrayal, neglect and manipulation from these caregivers. We desire to heal these wounds, subconsciously, and so seek out a mate with these qualities so that we may do so. Said another way, we are therefore most attracted to those who have the ability to hurt us psychologically the way we were hurt as children. Moreover, what ends up happening is instead of healing we get hurt in the exact same way, once again, this time by a lover instead of a caregiver. We want to have the same problem play out from our childhood but this time solve the problem instead of enduring the pain, and move past this incident, gaining closure and healing the old wound.

The first thing to do is to identify the negative qualities that pull you in in the first place. Look for qualities that all of your exes who matched this pattern had in common. If you are unsure ask friends, family members and confidants. Next, identify these exact same qualities in your childhood caregivers. Write them down in a list. Call it “My Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down anything that annoyed, upset or hurt you. Don’t worry if you were at fault in some instances, too. Just write them down. Put in physical characteristics that are attractive too but negative like over-confident swagger. Next, get another piece of paper. Entitle it “Profile of my Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down the exact type of person you are attracted to using these qualities. Notice that these exact qualities are both what turn you on and what end up stifling the relationship, such as arrogance. On the flip side, that person doesn’t care about you the way you do them. They aren’t considerate and don’t support you or make room in their lives for you. If you can’t think of anything, ask your friends. They’ll have a ton of things to tell you.

Underneath write “My Gifts.” Write down all of the positive qualities your exes never took the time to get to know about you. These are the very things that get stifled in these relationships. They are holding you back from personal growth. Keep this with you and the next time you are attracted to someone who is wrong for you, turn away. Find people you are attracted to instead, those that inspire you not deprive you. For more advice read, How to Avoid Falling in Love with A Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart without Losing Your Mind by John Van Epp, Ph.D.

A Happy Marriage is a Choice


A Happy Marriage is a Choice

Marriage has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’re jiving and sometimes you’re bickering. There are times when you can’t get enough of each other. And other times when you can’t wait until they leave the house. There are people in sexless marriages, people just sticking it out for the kids, and people absolutely miserable but feel as if they are cornered. The truth is that a happy marriage is a choice. Though things could have turned out bad, they didn’t start out that way or you wouldn’t have gotten married to begin with.

First, you have to realize that happiness comes from within. Sure, we all have needs and some of them we can fulfil ourselves, others we need from our partner. But no matter what happens in life, you choose your perspective. You choose how to react to it. So happiness is all a matter of outlook. You decide one minute to the next whether to focus on your spouse’s good points or their less than stellar qualities. You decide whether to own your happiness, or unhappiness, or to export these to your spouse. So decide to be happy. Don’t focus on the flaws. If they are insignificant or something you can come to terms with do so. If not, then rethink your marriage.

Find ways to negotiate. Agree to disagree on little things. Trust your partner to handle things and don’t give them the third degree to see if they did so to your specifications. Make time for each other, even if it’s just a little each day. Choose to consistently put forth the effort and invest time and care in your relationship. Choose to make you your best self and to encourage your spouse to be their best self. Be friends and lovers at the same time. Friends enjoy each other’s company, laugh together and do things together. You should too. Laughter is one of the most essential things. If you can laugh together, really laugh and have fun, you are golden. If you are merely trading sarcastic barbs across the coffee table, you’re doomed.

Remember that your spouse is not your adversary. They are your teammate. They are on your side. And if it gets to the point where it starts to feel adversarial, remind them. And remind yourself if you stray too far off too. Remember that real happiness is centered inside you. It is a long term process, not a short term elation. It takes time, practice and effort. No one can make you happy. You can only do it yourself. Choose to be happy. Choose to make your mate happy. And choose to let them make you happy too. For more advice read, 47 Little Love Boosters for a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are by Marko Petkovic, M.Sc.

How to keep your Love Interest Interested


How to keep your Love Interest Interested

In today’s electronically interconnected world where almost every single milestone, anecdote, musing or irritation is put out for the entire world to see, it can feel like no one reserves any mysteries anymore. We all serve ourselves up daily to the giant, unblinking eye of the internet. But with dating, developing an air of mystery is essential. A lot of us like being an open book. Though this can initially put someone who is interested at ease, it can quickly become boring. Some of us are givers and people pleasers. But if we continue to give all our power away, if we make ourselves too transparent or if we fail to weave the magic spell properly we soon find lovers dropping off. Our interest pulls away. For many today we don’t even get to the dating stage. We text or message back and forth but nothing tangible ever emerges. The fact is some people seek a challenge, albeit a well-crafted one. Also, giving your lover everything they want upfront without asking anything in return, without any enticement or unfinished questions takes the fun out of the subtle, provocative dance that is human courtship. The problem is you have to play hard to get, but not too hard. You have to advertise your worth without pricing them out of your market. Here’s how to keep your love interest interested without driving them off.

Think of a date as a performance. The other person should always be left wanting more. Sometimes in our anxiety we want to in a confessionary manner divulge everything about us and get it all out of the way. But it’s important to have a bit more confidence and reserve portions of ourselves, doling it all out slowly. Look at it as a story. You want yours to slowly unravel in a delicious way. Leave them with a cliffhanger here and there. When scheduling a meetup, don’t be too available or accommodating or else you are giving all your power away. Some people change their entire schedule to accommodate someone else. Others need an entourage as if they were Hollywood celebrities. But this can also be a barrier. How can you really get to know each other with so many other people in the way? Don’t purposely obstruct an unfolding romance either. Be available perhaps one or two nights out of the week. Whatever arrangements are being made, the other person should meet you halfway. There needs to be balance. If getting together with you is way too difficult then they may give up. On dates many feel the need to prove themselves. But take a deep breath, step back and realize too that they should also have to prove themselves to you.

If you have a flare for the dramatic, surprise them. Don’t be too predictable. Everyone has inner mysteries that they love to explore, interests they pursue and curiosities that fascinate them. Find out what yours are and slowly introduce these secret mysteries to your love interest. Don’t pressure them. If you ask them where things are going after the third date, or levy some sort of ultimatum you will look desperate, apply too much pressure and end up alone. But if you’ve successfully weaved your spell, you’ll have them enchanted and ready to follow you anywhere. Sometimes we focus totally on ourselves. Step back and consider their situation. Did this person just get out of a serious relationship? Beware of being the rebound. If you are made to compete with someone, drop your love interest immediately. This person does not have your best interest at heart. Instead, they are on an ego trip and playing senseless games. Where could the relationship go if they are willing to play with your heart in such a manner? If your potential date is still in a relationship with someone else, walk away. Otherwise, you can just be friends. Don’t ever sacrifice your friends, family or your children to accommodate them. This person is selfish, egotistical and self-centered. Playing hard to get means enjoying each step of the human love ritual in all its rich complexity and splendor. But make sure you are coming across as interested. If you are cold and reserved the entire time, they may not know. Subtly is the key. You want to send slow, subtle signals such as eye contact, a brush of the arm, for guys opening the door and leading her in gently by the small of the back, leaning in when the other talks and so on. Just be sure to send out signals that, although you are interested, you have a life too. For the ladies who want to know more pick up a copy of, How to Keep a Man: What Every Woman Needs to Know to Keep Him Interested and Happy for Life by Niel Schreiber.