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When Good Dates Go Bad: 6 Interventions To Rescue Your Relationship

When Good Dates Go Bad: 6 Interventions To Rescue Your Relationship
    From Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/papazimouris/

    Relationship Hell. We’ve all been there; you’re doing the same things with the same person that once made you so happy but now cloud 9 has inexplicably morphed into planet misery. Why does it happen? How can you avoid it and how the heck do you get out of it once you’re in it?

    The number one cause of a good date gone bad, is our dangerous tendency to become focused or even obsessed with the imaginary ideal of a relationship that we create in our minds. We can devote so much energy towards this fantasy that it takes on a life of its own.

    If we get really carried away, longing for the relationship we would like to be having mutates into resentment about the one we are actually in. We start to project blame on the other person, righteously indignant that they are somehow depriving us of the relationship we “ought” to be having. We fall into the trap of constantly measuring our experience against the standards of this imaginary relationship and making ourselves miserable when it falls short.

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    We start noticing how much (fill in the blank) we are getting, weighing it up against how things are in the imaginary relationship. Then we start to question whether the person deserves what we’ve been giving- and begin to hold back. The other person reacts to the withdrawal and so the vicious cycle begins- “you’re not meeting my needs, so I’m not going to meet yours”.

    Dead-lock. So what can you do?

    First of all, when you’re in the thick of things, try to resist the urge to react impulsively, no matter how many buttons are being pushed. Start agreeing to use time outs with each other or at a minimum, slow things down with a couple of deep breaths. Acknowledging – even to yourself- the deeper feelings below the anger – which is usually some kind of fear, can really help to de-escalate.

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    Next, here is a list of 6 interventions to try in the case of a relationship emergency.

    #1 Let go of your expectations

    That relationship you think you ought to be having isn’t real. Resist the urge to compare and despair. Ask yourself if you didn’t have an idea that things should be different, how would it change how you feel right now?

    #2 Be present

    How much of the “problem” is to do with either things that happened in the past or your fears about what might happen in the future? See that living, breathing person in front of you? The one that is actually here, right now? Give them some attention. Not just some in fact, give them one hundred percent of your undivided attention. Really look at them – with eye contact!

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    #3 Be honest

    With yourself and with your beloved. Radical Honesty is the key. Give up the denial and stop trying to manipulate the situation. The truth will set you free – but please remember to tell it kindly.

    #4 Listen

    Tell them that you want to really listen and then shut up and do it. Bite your tongue if necessary. No interrupting. Give them the gift of being willing to hear whatever they want to say without repercussions. No responding, defending or justifying allowed.

    #5 Give what you’d like to receive

    All the time. Especially when you are mad. That’s the time to make the extra effort. It’s easy to be loving when it’s easy. The tough get loving when the loving gets tough. Buy flowers when you are furious. Get out the lingerie when you least feel like wearing it. Offer a foot rub when you want to run away. You’ll be amazed at the results.

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    #6 Be vulnerable

    Instead trying desperately to avoid the pain you think is coming, decide to face it and stay open in spite of it. Stop defending yourself, stop trying to get your point across and most importantly, stop trying to be right.

    Each of these interventions can be very powerful by themself. Start to combine them and you have quite an impressive tool-kit to bring to the table. Maybe even more importantly, is that regardless of the outcome, practicing these techniques will help you feel better and feel better about yourself during the process.

    Share this list with your beloved. Since what you are doing isn’t working anyway, why not suggest something different? Above all, always remember that the only person actually under your control is you.

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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

    Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

    1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

    Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

    There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

    Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

    2. Pace Yourself

    Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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    Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

    Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

    3. You Can’t Please Everyone

    “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

    You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

    Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

    4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

    Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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    We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

    Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

    5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

    “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

    No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

    We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

    6. It’s Not All About You

    You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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    It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

    7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

    No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

    We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

    Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

    8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

    That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

    Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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    Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

    9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

    Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

    The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

    10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

    We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

    When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

    Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

    This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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    Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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