Love Living, Quit Hating, Everyone Relating

The Habits of Love

In Uncategorized on August 19, 2010 at 11:00 am

The Habits of Love: Setting proper precedence in your relationship.

Relationships are like six foot, tall memory foam mattresses. The longer you lay in them, doing the same things, the deeper the impression you make. Some impressions are really hard to climb out of, so it’s up to you to create the right relationship habits from jump. Below are some do’s and don’ts that will help you form optimal relationship habits.

DON’T expect your partner to know what you think. Communicate!

Early on, this habit takes the form of an ‘expectation-disappointment’ cycle. When you begin to expect things out of your partner and they don’t deliver, there is always that sting of disappointment. Some of us will chalk it up to high expectations and never believe our partner will step up to the plate (so to speak). Some of us will feel resentful, but since it is early in the relationship, we won’t fret too much. They better not keep this up though. Some of us are smart and we communicate our expectations and our disappointments.

Before my girlfriend and I were a couple, we used to hang out on the regular. One weekend, we were supposed to hang out but I bailed because I was tired and didn’t feel like commuting. She didn’t say anything at the time, but later on she let me know how upset she was that I didn’t come and she commented on the inconsiderate manner in which I let her know I wasn’t coming. She used to commute upwards of an hour to hang out with me and while I was never obliged to return the favor, there was something in her words that cut deep. Her message was simple and without any indignation or dramatic overtone, she said: “I’m disappointed in you.”

It didn’t make me feel like a kid being scolded. It made me feel like a man who was acting like a boy. She called me out. I realized my actions were my responsibility and I should be more considerate of their effects on other people. Namely, her. Being able to tell someone how you feel is extremely important in a relationship and establishing the habit early on, when there aren’t that many emotions invested, pays dividends. Dividends you will cash in when the ISH really hits the fan.

DO express your gratitude and appreciation.

If your partner does something that makes you feel good, let them know. People are highly likely to be dissatisfied with their relationships if they feel under appreciated. Long term relationships are difficult because we get used to being treated a certain way. It becomes fairly easy to take our significant others for granted. If you appreciate your partners appearance, say so. Not only does this allow them to discern your taste and it’s an esteem booster. Confident people are usually happy and happy people are more likely to enjoy their relationships. If you appreciate your partner doing something nice for you, let them know. It will definitely increase the likelihood that they will do it again.

DO more for them than you expect or require for yourself.

This is the key to true happiness. Giving more than you receive. Luckily, when you actually apply this principle, you always get more than you expected. In relationships, giving is a great way to engender favor. It keeps you from being too selfish, it makes you more considerate and it makes you more emphatic. When we enter relationships, many of us expect to be happy. We expect to be given all that we desire emotionally, physically, and sometimes financially. When you enter a relationship with an altruistic heart instead of an expecting one, you remove love’s limit. Which leads me to my last point.

DON’T give in order to receive, when you partner is already expecting you to give no matter what.

People can be coerced, bribed and manipulated to do just about anything. Everything except grow up. There isn’t much anyone can do to force someone to mature. You can influence someone but they must choose to change on their own. You can’t buy someone’s love. Nor can you get love for sex. When you give for the sake of receiving, you open yourself up to disappointment. This actually goes hand in hand with the first don’t. It’s likely that you will give and give and give without actually communicating how much you are putting yourself out there. You may expect them to just know, which is a recipe for disaster. Once you feel overextended, let your partner know. Before that ever happens though, make sure your actions aren’t tainted by an unconscious return policy. Don’t give in order to get a return.

If you are in a relationship, of course you should be getting something out of it, but you should be getting something because your partner thinks you deserve it, not because you think you deserve it. Not to say you don’t but if your partner doesn’t believe it then your opinion matters very little. I know this is a bit of circular logic but I want to make the point that the bad habit starts when you aren’t getting something in return for you actions but you continue to give with the belief that something will change. The bad habit has already been created. The precedence has been set. No matter what the other person does (or doesn’t) do, they know you will continue to do what you are doing. You need to understand that your actions may be reinforcing their behavior and expecting some turnaround after the fact won’t get you anywhere.

Make sure the habits of your relationships are healthy and start them early because climbing out of old habits is difficult. Once people are used to a specific pattern, they may resist any change. The habits of love aren’t some secret but they require diligence and awareness in order to form. Create good habits and may your love grow without limit.

Swag

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