5 Simple Ways To Master Relationships Without Losing Yourself
You want a relationship that’s healthy but not at your own expense. There are so many ways to start but let’s keep it simple. In this blog, you’ll learn five ways to master healthy relationships without losing yourself in the process.
1. Make Yourself Happy First
In the beginning of a relationship everything is new and exciting. Your needs are met and you think it’ll always be this good. That's why they call it the honeymoon period it's amazing but temporary. Making relationships healthy requires shifting your expectations. No one can fulfill your every need. Here are some expectations that can cause trouble.
- Expecting one person to fulfill most (or all) of your needs.
- Expecting someone to change who they are for you.
- Expecting someone to give more than they actually do.
- Expecting someone to know what you want without telling them.
Without a strong sense of self, a new relationship can become addictive. Feeling good because you’re in a relationship is normal but feeling good only when you're in a relationship is not. Relying on someone else to make you happy gives them all the power.
Tip: Keep doing things that made you happy. Personal hobbies, interests, and friends are all important to maintain your own identity. You have to create a life before you can share it with someone else.
2. More Positivity, More Intimacy
The daily grind of balancing work and family is exhausting. Couples who don't know how to manage stress tend to take it out on each other. The Gottman Couples Institute says that healthy couples have a 5:1 ratio of positive verse negative interactions. In other words, when the majority of interactions are positive, the relationship is secure. Focusing on what’s good takes diligence. It creates a sense of integrity that's hard to replace.
Tip: Find ways to acknowledge your partner regularly. Even saying please and thank you goes a long way. When you focus on the good, there is usually more of it.
3. Communicate without Blame
Most of us are not taught how to be accountable but instead we learn how to avoid it. In relationships, blaming binds us together in a way. You tell a good story with you as the injured party. By not focusing on what you did, you get to be right.
Blaming invites a defensive response. The other person feels attacked so the arguments get worse. Making negative assumptions about the other person increases anger while nothing gets resolved. Blame destroys any chance you have of being heard. This is how most relationships start to fall apart. Blame is the fastest way to kill communication and trigger anger.
Tip: Blame is a habit that takes practice to stop. Start your communications with an "I statement" that focuses on what you need or what's bothering you. Speaking up for yourself can help you feel empowered.
"I need to talk to you, can we make some time tonight?"
"I've had a really rough day, could you please help with the dishes tonight?"
4. Manage and Share Your Stress
Did you know that talking about your stress increases intimacy? Studies show that couples who can talk openly about their stress stay more connected. Share what's happening outside of the relationship instead of focusing on what’s wrong with each other.
Ignoring stress hurts you and changes the emotional vibe of the home. Kids pick up on unspoken feelings and by not voicing them, the kids assume it's their fault.
Tip: Don't assume that hiding stress protects you or your family. Sharing your stress in a constructive way helps you decompress after a long day and feel supported.
5. Stay Connected to Your Tribe
Having your own support system is vital for a relationship to stay healthy. When someone demands all of your time or discourages you from spending time with family and friends, that can be a sign of abuse. Spending every minute together is exciting at first but that shouldn't be the norm. Preserving your alone time prevents an unhealthy dependency that hurts you in the long run.
Tip: Strive to keep a healthy balance between self-care and the needs of the relationship. If you're giving up too much, that's a bad sign.
When I compare my relationships now to what they were 15 years ago - the biggest difference is that I no longer expect others to make me feel happy. When you feel content within yourself, relationships naturally improve. There is less pressure because that person is not your only source of joy. So, now that you have some tools, start practicing them. When you do what's right for you, it promotes healthy intimacy for the relationship.
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