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What You Definitely Shouldn’t Expect to Gain From a Relationship

What You Definitely Shouldn’t Expect to Gain From a Relationship

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a romantic relationship and wanting to build a partnership with someone who makes your life better. However, it’s a fact of life that even the most independent and strong-minded of us can fall into the trap of looking to a relationship to fulfill all of our personal needs.

Sure, you can (and should!) get a lot from your significant other. However, while you can get a lot of value from a relationship, there are also a few things you should always look to cultivate within and for yourself. Remember this and you’ll not only have the security of being able to rely on yourself should you lose your partner, but you’ll become more attractive in the first place! No-one likes clingy, needy people with no sense of self. It’s far better to be looking to continually improve yourself and present this best possible version of you within your relationship.

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Read on to find out what you shouldn’t expect to gain from your relationship.

1. Self-respect

The clue is in the title! Hopefully, your partner will respect and love you for who you are. However, there is no substitute for authentic self-respect. This has to come from within, and can be developed by honoring your true nature and pursuing your own goals and interests.

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2. Financial stability

If you depend on someone else for your financial well-being, this takes away your personal power. Of course there may be certain points in time—if you stay at home while raising a child, for example—when your partner may be the primary breadwinner, but as a rule, you should always try to maintain your own income stream. It gives you additional power to walk away from an unsatisfying relationship and also keeps the power balance on an even keel.

3. Self-belief

You should pick a partner who believes in you, but it’s a mistake to rely on this person to stand in as a substitute for your own self-belief. Even the most loving, available partner cannot be counted on to provide you with emotional and psychological support 24/7—they have a life too!

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4. Friends

If your partner comes complete with a great group of friends, see this as a bonus! It can be wonderful to meet other people when you start dating a new significant other. However, do not neglect your own social circle. Your friends are your friends for a good reason. You have a shared history with them, and you provide one another with mutual support. Do not overlook them in favor of the excitement that comes with a new relationship.

5. Unconditional acceptance

One of the best things about being in a solid relationship is the feeling that you can be yourself around the other person, and that they accept you despite your flaws. However, this doesn’t mean that you can expect them to agree with your every opinion and never tell you when you’re out of line. In fact, it’s a bad sign if they do, because it implies they either aren’t paying enough attention or are so insecure that they don’t dare disagree and risk losing you!

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6. A substitute parent

If you had a poor relationship with one or both of your parents, make sure that you don’t unconsciously start looking for a partner to serve as substitute. Expecting your partner to provide you with unconditional love, acceptance and instructions for how to live your life is neither realistic nor healthy. You need to accept that if you didn’t receive all this from a parent whilst you were a child, the moment has passed and you cannot hope to find it in an adult partner.

So remember, while it’s fine and healthy to seek romantic companionship or even a “soulmate,” looking for one individual to fulfill your needs is not realistic. Try to maintain a balanced life in which you put time and attention not only into your relationships with others, but into your relationship with yourself.

Featured photo credit: AdinaVoicu/Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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