Saturday, March 27, 2010

Being a Good Romantic Partner

Relationships can be challenging but rewarding. Here are some tips to help you be the best romantic partner you can be:

1. Feel good about yourself. When we enter a relationship feeling insecure and inadequate it negatively affects our ability to trust. When we feel bad about ourselves we often are more depressed, angry, irritable, and suspicious. Feeling good about yourself means taking the time and space to heal past wounds whether from past romantic partners or from childhood. You don’t want the baggage of the past to stand in the way of your present happiness. Additionally you want to feel good about yourself before you pick your partner. When we are in an emotionally wounded state, we often don’t make the wisest decisions. Work on you so you can be healthy and whole. Then you will be able to connect with healthier people.

2. Communicate. Even the best of partners cannot always read your mind. Allow yourself to be open and honest about your needs and wants. Being miserable and disappointed when your partner has no idea what went wrong is frustrating for both of you. Don’t assume your partner knows what you think, feel, or want. When you start off silencing yourself, you end up spending months or years stuffing your feelings and being unsatisfied. Speak up. Be compassionate, considerate, respectful, and loving but break the silence.

3. Put things in perspective. Remember not everything is “drama-worthy”. If you complain and nag about everything, your partner will not know what things are truly important to you. In other words, pick your battles and know when compromise is the key.

4. Be affectionate. Most people enjoy affirmation. Find creative and consistent ways to demonstrate and express your love. These may be verbal, physical, the gift of quality time, or helping your partner with things they need to get done. Find out the expressions of love that speak most to your partner. When people begin to doubt that you appreciate them or want to be with them it creates space for confusion. Make it a priority to let your partner know that you care and are excited about their presence in your life.

5. Be a good listener. Emotional intimacy is about being heard, understood, and accepted. Strive to be the safe place where your partner can express their thoughts, dreams, needs, and wants. You can do this by being observant to know when they feel most comfortable sharing, asking questions, and paying attention.

6. Avoid abusive and controlling behaviors at all times. Show love and respect for your partner. This means no verbal put-downs, hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, kicking, forced sexual activity, or emotional manipulation such as threats and deception.

A loving relationship can be an incredibly beautiful addition to your life, however past pain and failures can make us hesitant to become involved. Additionally many of us have not seen healthy models of relationships and aren’t sure how to do it. Follow the above tips to build a healthier and more successful relationship. Also don’t be afraid to seek additional help through self-help books, religious leaders, therapists, or people you know who are in successful relationships. It may feel awkward to ask for help, but isn’t love worth it? I believe it is.

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