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5 Things We Believe That Are Damaging Our Relationships

5 Things We Believe That Are Damaging Our Relationships

Often, our perception of what is going on in a relationship and what is actually happening are two different things. We have learned many myths concerning relationships through movies and Hollywood, but what about the reality of our everyday relationships and what they should look like? We need to recognize the relationship myths we believe and understand why they are not true in order to view our relationships through the correct lens.

1. I’m with the wrong partner if I doubt the relationship.

Often when a person doubts their partner, they automatically think that this means they are with the wrong person. This simply is not true, and is one of many myths we believe indicate that a relationship is in trouble. I would argue that in a healthy relationship, one should and will experience doubt from time to time. The only way a relationship can grow is if we challenge the person we are in relationship with, and this often comes via doubt or questioning one another (with a degree of tact). Through this process we gain ever increasing knowledge about one another, which can only strengthen the bond with your partner. Also, if by chance your doubts and questions lead you to any conclusions about suspicious or destructive behaviors in your partner, then the doubts served you well. Either way, doubting can be healthy when used appropriately, and can bolster a relationship.

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2. If I don’t have ‘butterflies’ when with my partner it must not be love.

In actuality, when the butterflies wear off but there is still a strong bond with your partner, then it is love. The initial feelings one gets when in a new relationship are feelings of infatuation, and cannot always be trusted. It is only once a relationship stands the test of time, through the storms and the ‘becoming one’ phase, that it can it truly be seen as love. Love isn’t always a feeling, but an understanding and an intimacy with your partner that proves there is a solid bond of communication and trust.

3. If I don’t miss my partner when away then it’s not love.

There is an old adage that says, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” This isn’t always true and it doesn’t mean that you don’t love them if you’re away from your partner and aren’t thinking of them every moment, or feeling that you miss them. Couples who have a strong bond and deep intimacy often do not have to think about or miss one another each time they are apart. This confidence in the relationship, in which each person has a true understanding of one another’s needs, proves that there is no need to miss one another to the degree that it becomes a yearning.

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There always needs to be a balance in this area. For example, there are couples in which one or the other person is insecure to the point that it may appear that they miss their partner while away, when it is really a matter of worry or mistrust. You cannot always trust your feelings, but you can trust the bond and confidence of your relationship in knowing that your partner doesn’t need to worry or think about you every second while you’re apart.

4. I should want to spend every moment with my partner.

In a healthy relationship, time apart and having your own hobbies can be a good thing. Feeling the need to spend every moment with someone can be off balance in regards to developing yourself as an individual. You will be a much happier person, and bring much more to the relationship, if you are a well-rounded person. This will mean having your own outlets that are self-constructive.

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5. Sex should always be great and I should always want it.

It seems that our culture has been sex saturated and misinformed. Sex will be good with your partner as long as the intimacy and communication are healthy. Sex within any relationship is only as good as the bond is strong between two people. To judge sex as either good or bad should be irrelevant. Sometimes it may seem to be less intense than other times, but should not always be a gauge for whether or not the relationship is in trouble. What you should be concerned about is the relationship as a whole. Then the sex that follows will always be good, no matter how long or intense it is. When a couple’s communication and intimacy wane, sex usually fails to be as fulfilling as it once was. This is not always the case, such as with those who have a physical disability and can no longer perform sexually, but in an otherwise healthy relationship, sex is usually healthy as well.

I hope you find these myth busters about relationships and feelings towards your partner enlightening and encouraging. Remember, its not about feeling the warm fuzzies all of the time, but about the journey you have with your partner and how you weather the storms in a healthy relationship.

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Featured photo credit: true love by MGDA via mrg.bz

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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