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Dating

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Are You Killing Your Relationships?

Think about your last relationship that ended. What would you say is the thing that killed that relationship? Communication? Sex? Mutual Relationships? None of these are the main killers of relationships; they are merely the symptoms of the real problem. The real, masked killer—rarely identified—are unmet expectations. Think about it. Every person goes into a relationship with expectations. You may be thinking, “I just won't have expectations than!” But expectations are not the problem. Healthy expectations are actually encouraged. In an earlier blog, Dating With Purpose, I wrote about non-negotiable qualities, or expectations,  in a relationship. If you have yet to read the blog and make your list of non-negotiable qualities, I suggest trying that. Now the problem with expectations in a relationship is a lack of observation. One of my favorite bloggers, Derek Harvey, introduced me to this problem and uses this simple formula to illustrate the problem.

EXPECTATION - OBSERVATION = FRUSTRATION
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To have a healthy relationship, you have to observe your expectations; you do this in two ways. First, you have to know what your expectations are before you go into a relationship. Whether or not you have identified these expectations, you will feel the frustration of any unmet expectations. When you identify these expectations, you can choose more fulfilling relationships and end bad relationships quicker, avoiding the pain of a long-term relationship breakup. Next, you have to communicate these expectations to your partner.  Author Robert Glover, in his book No More Mr. Nice Guy, calls these uncommunicated expectations “covert contracts.” These are contracts that we make in our minds, but our partners know nothing about. When they don’t fulfill their part of the contract, of which they are unaware, we get upset. It seems crazy, but this happens far too often.

So in conclusion, uncommunicated expectations will kill your relationship. I will continue to develop this idea in future blogs. Let me know what you think. 

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Dating With Purpose

Relationships are one of the most discussed areas in counseling. Whether it be someone desiring to better their relationship or someone who is single and wants to start that new adventure. To choose the right relationship that will have the highest probability of success, you need to first identify what kind of relationship you actually want to be in. As anyone who has been in a relationship that has ended knows, a person can easily find themselves in an unhealthy relationship if they are not purposeful in choosing that relationship.  

You need to make a list of qualities you want in a person before you date them and resolve to not get in a relationship with them unless they fulfill all of those qualities. I call these the Non-Negotiable Qualities of a relationship. Some examples are: they have to have a job, they have to be a Christian, or they have to be an "Apple" person rather than a "PC". If the man or woman in your life does not have these qualities, you are saying that you will not become romantically involved with them. Next, make a list of Preferable Qualities, such as having long hair, liking coffee, or being a morning person. These are qualities that would make the relationship better, but they wouldn't be a deal breaker for you.

Take some time to make a brief list before you continuing reading.

Now, the next step—and easily the toughest, now that you have your own list—is to evaluate yourself based on the qualities that you have listed. If you want to be with a person who has a job and is financially smart, are you? If you want to be with someone who is a Christian, are you? Andy Stanley writes in The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating:

“Become the person the person you’re looking for is looking for."

How powerful and motivating is that?! For the people who are single, this is something that you can do to better prepare yourself to attract the person that you want. For people who are in a relationship, this gives perspective on the qualities of your partner that may frustrate you the most and may motivate you to work on yourself.

I add to and refine my list after a relationship ends. This is when I analyze what I liked about the person I was with and what I want I want to avoid in my next relationship. Continue working on your list, and strive to become the person the person you're looking for is looking for. Let me know how this is motivating you in your personal growth.

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