Archive for August, 2011

27
Aug

Happy Endings – Are they a Myth or Reality?

I’m sure there is no one who doesn’t want a “Happy Ending” for his/her relation. And why shouldn’t we? Between the legitimate longings of our hearts, and the way the Disney Empire has fed our romantic fantasies for fairy tales, we all are captivated by storybook romance and believe in “happily ever after”.

But lately, the divorce and breakup rates are so high that “happily ever after” seems like a mirage. Why is it so hard to maintain the hopes and dreams that surround a relationship with all its promises of love and fidelity, sacrifice and service?

According to me, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the relations start with unrealistic expectations and misconceptions about how the relation should be. Some common ones that even you might have experienced are:

  • Both partners expect exactly the same things from the relation
  • Things can only get better from good when you have found the love of your life
  • Everything bad is just temporary and will disappear eventually
  • Your partner will make you feel complete

If we liberate ourselves from these myths, we can actually settle into the reality of our relationship and enjoy all the joys and sorrows, passion and pain.

Myth: Now that we are one, our expectations should also be same.

Most of the relationship problems are due to harmful expectations and beliefs that come in front of the face of the reality.

The biggest hindrance in a successful relationship is expecting exactly the same things from a relationship. We two people are in love, it is natural to assume that the other person has the same values and expectations as we have. But no two people are same, every individual has its own culture and beliefs. Still, we all make this mistake of expecting that our lives will continue the same way even after committing in a relation.

Someone wisely said, “Expectations are the mother of resentments”. When your partner doesn’t live up to your expectations, we feel frustrated and irritated. Sometimes we don’t even realize why we’re upset, but something keeps bothering us at the back of our mind. In the process without even realizing we push our partner away.

Most of the expectations are unspoken and we assume them by default. Thus, it is very important to talk about these expectations openly and clearly. The more couples discuss their expectations, the more likely it is that they create a common vision of their relationship that both agree upon.

Myth: Wow, I have found my love, now everything will just get better and better.

Meeting the love of your life, puts a blindfold on your eyes and makes you believe that love will last forever. We drift deeper and deeper into the whimsical world of fake hopes that everything good will just keep getting better and better. Reality – “everything does not get better”. I’m not saying that there are no better outcomes, but some things do get better and some things get worst. A relationship has its share of gains and losses both.

We all have heard of the story of Cinderella where a poor, tortured stepchild is magically turned into a princess and rescued by her prince Charming for a “happily ever after” ending. When we read the story, we also long for a Prince Charming or a beautiful princess to make us happy and wipe away all our tears.

But the reality is opposite of the Cinderella story. We look for our Eden where everything bad will go away and only happiness will pertain. There are no magical glass slippers in reality and the sooner we realize, the better it is for a healthy relation.

Ups and downs, happiness and sorrows are all part of any relationship. The question is whether your relation is like the capital letter A wherein both partners lean so much on each other that if one moves, the whole structure falls apart or it is like letter H wherein both the partners stand alone, or it is like the letter M, wherein they stand on their own but still choose to stay connected.

“Happily ever after” maybe for the fairy tales, but it does not mean that no marriage or relation can be happy and fulfilling. If you stay in the real world, have reasonable expectations, understand each other, and realize that there would be shortcomings, you would take your relationship to mountains of eternity. Just remember, always walk on the roads of truth and reality and not on the pavement of fantasy and illusion.

22
Aug

Are You Too Dependent on Your Partner?

Relationships is all about sharing and developing an eternal closeness. Sharing your intimate things, opening your heart and being completely transparent with your partner is in my view, the most profound type of sharing. This kind of deep sharing can be a boosting support for the future of a relationship.

But do we tend to get too dependent on our partners while sharing too much?

A healthy relation is like a balancing act on a rope. You bend too much towards one direction and you would topple. The right balance in a relationship involves both autonomy and connection. While it is very important for oneself to maintain their identity, values and goals, it is also important for you and your partner to share everything and become a “we”. If you lean too much towards self-rule, you will end up losing intimacy. On the other hand, if you continually sacrifice things that are most important for you, you will lose your identity.

Can high intimacy lead to too much of dependency?

Intimacy is an emotional and physical closeness that you share with your partner. Intimacy is not something that you can measure. Its depth keeps varying depending upon situations. One moment you many feel very intimate with your partner and other times you might feel very independent. But if your relation is perfect, intimacy and independence go hand in hand. Intimacy should never subsume your individuality, in fact it should work towards enhancing it.

But when you become unable to take even the simplest decisions without your partner, the intimacy takes shape of an unhealthy dependency which can even lead to frustrations and anger down the road. In such situations, without the partner, one can end up feeling helpless and incompetent.

Depending on someone for love, care and support is normal. But when this dependence comes onto your own identity, then it’s time to stop and think. “I” and “We” need to exist together in harmony for a relation to succeed. When you learn the fact that you can depend on your partner in times of need, but it is important to use your own self, then the level of intimacy is deepened, and the bonding in a relation is also strengthened.

There can be times when intimacy takes form of dependency, especially when you are trying to cope up with difficult times. You rely on your partner as a life jacket and expect him/her to protect you from sinking. For e.g., if there is a sudden death in your family and you are unable to cope up with the shock, you depend on your partner to pull you through tough times and stay by your side all the time. You even depend on your partner to remind you to eat and sleep, as you might not be able to think about basic tasks in such an emotional mental state. Depending upon your partners in times of stress is a measure of deep trust and not an unhealthy dependency.

But sometimes it gets tough to know if you are too dependent or not. Just stop for a moment, and think

  • Whether you have given up your individual choices in order to please your partner?
  • Do you find yourself unable to make any decisions without your partner?
  • Do you feel the need to know everything about your partner in order to feel secure?
  • Do you feel left out when you partner does something alone?

If you answered to all or most of the questions, then you can know for yourself what it means…

06
Aug

Are Arguments in a Relationship Healthy?

Consider the following scenario between two partners:

He gets angry.

She gets mad.

He gets angrier.

She keeps talking on and on about past and future and his mistakes.

He shouts at her, asks her to ‘Shut Up’ and then walks out of the room, not to mention the banging that follows.

She sits there crying and sobbing.

He comes back thinking things must have calmed down, she is upset and does not talk to him.

This goes on for some time, eventually both get over it, until the next argument seeps into their relation and the same scene continues.

While I do not say that all types of arguments are bad, but ones that do not have a closure, definitely are a dent in a relation.

Men and Women handle arguments differently. Men usually get angry too quickly and prefer to close the talks, while women get too emotional and prefer to talk and talk and talk. Thus,

to get an end result in an argument often becomes very difficult.

But why do two people argue?

A conflict in a relation comes when the thoughts of one person are in direct conflict with the thoughts of the other person. In common words, you argue when you don’t get things your way.

While a good and a fair argument can bring you closer to your lover, many arguments are hurtful and destructive for a relation.

Not all arguments lead to a fight. But when an argument takes shape of anger and both partners stop listening and start getting defensive, a fight erupts out of the small argument. Eventually, in order to defend their own opinion, both start attacking and blaming each other which further creates frustrations and eventually widens the gap between the two.

What can be done to prevent bad arguments?

The best way is to cool off the anger and laugh it out. While this may help you in the short run, it is very important to resolve the conflict and come to a mutual conclusion. Try to shift the gears, from being angry at each other, start listening to each other. Remember, a relationship is not a battleground where you fight to win or lose. A fight in a relationship will never make you win, it will always make you lose in love.

Arguments will always make you cold towards your partner. Never, go to bed with a lingering anger and frustration in the air. Always patch up before you go to bed.

Anger and arguments are very common. But the key to not let them come in your way is to sit together, listen, stop blaming and have a meaningful discussion.

Remember, lips are for smooching your partner, not for screaming at them! Once both the partners learn how to keep arguments from turning into fights, they are likely to have a strong relation with healthy discussions and not fights.

So, what do you think? Are the arguments in your relation making your relation strong or weak?