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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

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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