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7 Ways to Stop Your Casual Relationship From Ruining Your Love Life

7 Ways to Stop Your Casual Relationship From Ruining Your Love Life

Just rewind back to when you were a child and you used to play with your Barbie and Ken dolls. You put so much of your imagination into those toys. You created story lines, plots and character arcs that would put the best writers in Hollywood to shame. For many of us, Barbie and Ken were the first relationships we experienced. As children, we believed that every relationship should be like Barbie’s and Ken.

Then, we were invaded by the hookup culture, where sex became as fast and as cheap as a Quarter Pounder with cheese. Now, our sex lives are equivalent to our fast food addictions.We know that they both offer very little nutritional value, yet we can’t stop eating because we are addicted to the taste. While fast food clogs up our arteries, casual relationships and 2am booty calls block us from receiving real love and intimacy. Casual relationships may keep us trapped in our own fantasy world, where our relationships are as superficial as Ken and Barbie plastic dolls. Lucky for you, you can save your love life by learning these 7 major tips.

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Don’t engage in uncommitted sex — you might regret it later.

Hookups and uncommitted sex became more frequent in the 1920s with the invention of the automobile. People were no longer restricted to having sex in a bed, when the back seat of a car was just as convenient.  By the 1960s, a full fledged sexual revolution had begun. The rise of feminism and widespread availability of contraception such as birth control and condoms gave birth to the era of the casual relationship. Today, the media is a huge source of sex education.  We are inundated with messages about uncommitted sex being healthy and enjoyable. But quantity doesn’t necessary equate to quality.  When a survey was conducted with 270 college students, 72 percent indicated that they felt a sense of regret after a casual hookup. (Oswalt, Cameron, & Koob, 2005).

Don’t use uncommitted sex as a cop-out. You’re worthy and capable of a committed relationship.

You ever notice how everything is great in the beginning when you’re casually dating? Then, when the B word (boyfriend) or G word (girlfriend) is uttered, everything changes. Suddenly there are these unrealistic expectations. And your Barbie and Ken fantasy relationship starts to feel like demented characters in some cheesy horror film. You feel like you’ve got to put on an act by wearing clown paint and a twisted smile. Besides, you have to cover up your unhappiness, misery and disappointment. Only the clown makeup feels like war paint, reminding you of all the wars you’ve fought, lost and won in all of your dead-end relationships.Labeling your relationship as casual is like putting a Band-Aid on a severed knee. It’s not going to make things better. You’re a human being with real emotions, and no amount of uncommitted sex is ever going to change that. Instead, address the real reasons why you’re having a difficult time making a real connection with another human being.

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Don’t give yourself a free pass. Use every hook-up as an opportunity to learn about yourself.

Many people say they like to keep things light. In truth, they don’t want to make any real sacrifices or investments into having a committed relationship. Ironically, they want all the benefits of a committed relationship such as sex, love, intimacy and security. You may very well feel entitled to a free pass because you’re in a casual relationship. However, you still have to put work into yourself. Now, you have the freedom to try different sex partners like they are a pair of shoes. Take this opportunity to learn from them. Learn what you like and what you don’t like. Use this information to understand what gives you pleasure. Then, you’ll know exactly what qualities to look for when you’re ready to engage in a real relationship.

Don’t engage in a casual relationship if you’re not going to enjoy it.

For many women, an orgasm is hard to come by. According to Al Cooper, Ph.D. Sex Therapist and author of the book Understanding the Female Orgasm, 75 percent of women need clitoral stimulation in order to have an orgasm. A study published in the Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, titled Orgasmic Dysfunction, states that thirty-free to 50 percent of women experience infrequent orgasms or are dissatisfied with their partners after sex. Many people who engage in hook-ups often have a difficult time speaking up and communicating with their partner. People who are not committed in a series relationship may not be focused on pleasing their partner. In fact, they may want to hook up strictly for their own benefit.

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No strings attached, really means no strings attached.

Don’t play with fire. Many people go into a casual relationship with an alternative agenda. This happens because we are all looking for a sense of security. A lot of times, you may see people as who you want them to be, rather than who they are, so you may very well agree to a casual relationship with uncommitted sex. However, there is a part of you that secretly wants more. This is when your imagination will start to get the best of you. It will put in you in a perpetual state of denial where the only real pleasure you get from your casual relationship is from your distorted imagination. Sadly, your character plots and story lines can turn for the worse, when you refuse to be honest about who you are. It takes a strong sense of security to have uncommitted sex and be in a casual relationship. Be wary about getting involved in something that your emotions can’t handle.

Don’t think that hooking up is just about sex.

Women and men are still programmed to associate sex with security and commitment. Although the era of casual relationships is relatively new, your primal genetic programming is very old. In fact, we all inherit genes from our mitochondria mother. And her prehistoric memories are still haunting us today. Back in her day, sex was an honor that men had to fight for. They had to prove that they were powerful and could offer a sense of security through the courting process. As a result, men may associate sex with a sense of achievement, so they may devalue sex if it comes way too easily. For women, sex was always a huge risk. Our cavewoman ancestor was totally dependent on the caveman to protect her and feed her while pregnant. Also, the chances of her and the baby dying in childbirth were much higher. We can’t change eons of genetic programming overnight. Even though the risks of uncommitted sex have been minimized, we will always be subject to the cautionary voices of programming.

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Don’t think that you can live your life without real love.

People engage in uncommitted sex and casual relationships because they want to have a sense of security, yet they don’t want to feel like they’re sacrificing a great deal of freedom to be in a committed relationship. Of course, people with this mentality may also believe that they can eat 4000 calories a day and still lose weight. Be weary about engaging in a diet of fast and cheap sex. Be careful about buying into a fantasy with no real substance. Just remember as children, we played with dolls. We brought them to life with our own story lines and imaginations. Only the dolls were merely a reflection of who we were inside. We were discovering our selves through our imaginations and creating our own ideal relationships, just as we are now discovering ourselves through casual relationships and uncommitted sex. It is important to not get lost in la-la land. Instead, we need to take these experiences and focus on building a foundation that will allow us to have relationships of substance and value.

Featured photo credit: Casual Relationship via dreamstime.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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