We place demands and our partners place demands on relationship that maybe, you know, 50 years ago weren’t getting placed on relationships to the same extent, like mutual respect, mutual, genuine love.
I believe we can really fall in love with someone with the full intensity of the emotional component and also fall in love with them intellectually and reasonably and rationally.
For this miniseries on romantic relationships, I interviewed 7 experts, psychologists, psychotherapists, researchers and coaches. This episode is a compilation of the resulting 8 episodes. We heard some very personal stories about interethnic relationships, marriage and breakups.
It’s evident that we’ve made progress as a society in that interethnic relationships are no longer illegal in the US, and about 15% of marriage is there are now in interethnic.
In addition, we are at a time in relationships where we ask more of our romantic partners than ever before.
Everyone Needs Relationships
To kick off this compilation. Dr. Gaines talks about the fact that everyone needs relationships.
There are lots of things I can do with my time that kind of divert me from even seriously considering relationships. And it may be that a lot of people are in that situation, maybe not for bad reasons, but the effect is that it’s distancing. It’s not acknowledging the need within us that all of us have, basically.
The Importance of Being Whole in Relationships
Next, we have Dr. Jane Mims who talks about bringing a full cup to each relationship. I really love that idea. I think a lot of my exhaustion in relationships, not just dating, is about always giving of my cup and not getting enough back. Relationships are not transactional, but they can deplete you or energize you. And in general, if there is no reciprocity, then they just tend to deplete you.
If your romantic relationship is depleting you, I don’t think that’s healthy. Jane puts it succinctly and eloquently when she says:
Two halves don’t make a whole. So if you are looking for someone to complete things in you that you want, you desire, then you’ll always be wanting because you’re frankly putting too much pressure on this person, whoever this person is. So you have to make sure that you have found things that you create, that you cultivate from within yourself that fill your own cup so that you have a full cup to bring to the relationship.
Relationship Satisfaction and Commitment
The next guest was Dr. Chuck Hill. In the interview, he shared four factors that predict relationship satisfaction and commitment, and he highlighted the areas of improvement in having a healthy relationship. Many of these ideas are discussed in other episodes in the mini series.
We need to do a better job of forming a relationship, finding a suitable partner, and a better job of learning how to make it work, how to deal with conflict, how to create the conversations that we can address the problems, those kinds of things.
Conflict Resolution in Relationships
One of these ideas is about conflict resolution. Haruna Miyamoto-Borg talked about conflict resolution and about creating a romantic relationship that you cherish. She and her husband are both psychotherapist and have done group therapy for 14 years now. She shared three practical tools for conflict resolution, which I recommend you listen to the episode to learn.
One thing that I took away is the importance of repair, and Haruna reminds us that every relationship is different and it belongs to the people in it.
I would like listener to really maybe own your relationship and doesn’t have to be always perfect, doesn’t have to be always Instagram pretty. It’s your relationship, a living, breathing entity that you co-created with your partner. And I wonder, you can cherish that and really own it.
Now, this next episode had a bit of pushback from listeners.
The Four Archetypes in Relationships
In it, Ana talked about the four archetypes in relationships. For me, the main takeaway is knowing when you are ready for a healthy, committed relationship. I asked Ana, how can someone know when they’re ready? And this is what she said.
The moment when you don’t need somebody. So I’m happy. I am happy. I can be with you, or I cannot be with you. It doesn’t affect my happiness. We can be happy together, or we can be happy separate. That moment, you are not looking for codependent situation. You are not subconsciously looking for love because you don’t have it and because you need it, you need somebody to love you. That moment, everything switches. I love you, but I’m going to be fine without you.
Breakup Recovery and Dating Fun
If you are recovering from a breakup and want to know how to make dating fun and how to avoid dating burnout, listen to my episode with Tracy Pinnock.
I always like to start with the question of how do I want to feel. How do I want to feel at this time in my life and how do I want to feel six months from now? How do I want it to feel a year from now? Because by identifying how you want to feel, you can work backwards from there as to how to get there.
I like how Tracie’s ideas contextualize relationships within your life, the life you want to have. She also talks about relationally dating, which came up again with Dr. Anderson Abrell in her empowered dating framework.
I’m very big about when you’re first dating, dating is dating. Dating is not a committed relationship. Those are two different stages.
If you are anything like me, you also get into negative self-talk cycles. It happens with relationships in the form of I’ll never meet anyone that I want to commit to. Dr. Anderson Abrell shares two strategies that I find useful and hope you can benefit from. Listen to the episode to learn about these strategies.
Satisfaction and Commitment
Dr. Chuck and Dr. Gaines are both researchers on commitment and satisfaction in relationships. It’s interesting what they found, that commitment and satisfaction may or may not be correlated in relationships. People tend to be less committed to a relationship if they see more options outside of the relationship, even if that option is to be alone.
Eight Tips for People in Relationships
For those in Commited Relationships
From reviewing all the episodes. I’ve come up with eight tips for people in relationships. And if you’re dating, don’t feel left out because there are also eight tips for you.
So here are the tips for greater success in your relationship.
- Sometimes you have to look to the future. If you’re going through a rough patch, it’s important to consider if it’s just for a while, that is, will it resolve once you get over the current challenge, or will you never get that need met, the need that is missing in your current relationship? If it’s the latter, then you have a choice to make.
- Pause before you respond, when you are hurt in a relationship. Think about whether your response will harm or improve the relationship.
- Make space for your partner to talk to you and find ways to reduce tense situations.
- Be giving to your partner and stand up not just for yourself, but also for your relationship.
- Give your partner the benefit of the doubt when they are behaving unfairly. This doesn’t mean letting them walk all over you, but rather providing them space to explain, apologize and repair the relationship.
- Learn the love language of your partner and learn how to love them in their love language, and help them know how to love you in a way that you accept love.
- Take care of your individual needs as well as those of the relationship. You are an individual as well as part of a dyad.
- Have a regular date night where you and your partner can have fun together, just the two of you.
Eight Tips for Dating
Now for the tips for dating.
- Know what you are offering. If the other person offers that, is it enough? Do you need to do some work on yourself?
- Know who are you and what do you want. This may be an opportunity for you to do some values work.
- Take time to get to know each other when dating. Dr. Gaines refers to this as peeling back the layers. This happens as you get more comfortable with each other and start to reveal more of yourself. It can help to spend time in different situations and environments so that you can get to see what the person’s different dimensions.
- Don’t rush intimacy. Let it unfold over time.
- There isn’t one right person out there., And maybe the goal should be to find Mr. Good enough or Ms. Good enough. Not Mr. Right, or Miss Right.
- Be full in and of yourself. This lets you bring a full cup into the relationship, showing up as your best self and attracting someone else with a full cup. Watch out for people who just want to take everything from you, though, because you will also attract them. So you need to spend enough time filtering and getting to know the person, as I shared in tip three.
- If you are dating online, meet in person as soon as you can, because non-verbal cues are important.
- Make a list that differentiates between your non-negotiables and your wants. Keep your list in mind, but don’t let it block you from being in the moment and having fun on dates. Discover what it means to savor.
And bonus number nine, which I’m going to repeat is, have fun on your dates. If the energy that you’re bringing is that dating is a waste of time, and you hate it, it’s going to be a little bit hard for you to attract a partner in that mindset.
It may well be that there are any number of people who would be great relationship partners that we might be overlooking because we’ve got these, you hear things like, oh, but I’ve got my standards.
I don’t want to intrude on anybody’s standards, but it’s just, well, we want to be aware of the kind of relationship that we might be entering into, but if we’re judging people, for example, solely on external characteristics and maybe not taking the time to get to know the other person, it may be that we actually know various people in our lives relatively well, but we’re somehow holding out for what we think is like the best catch. It may be that people spend their lives doing that. This is like the total worst case scenario, right. I’m holding out, holding out and never developing a close bond with anyone, at least to that person’s liking, because, oh, well so-and-so was never good enough.
My Perspective on the Advice in this miniseries
If you haven’t listened to the episodes that I brought up in this compilation, I invite you to listen to them.
There are some great challenges from figuring out your values and where you get your energy to showing up compassionately for your partner, avoiding dating burnout, and having fun in relationships.
I mentioned earlier about a bit of pushback from listeners, and this was from two episodes, the episode with Dr. Ana and also the episode with Dr. Anderson Abrell.
You know, I don’t agree with everything my guests say, but I approach each interview from a perspective of what can I learn here? What’s the grain of truth that I can take away for my life in alignment with my values.
Compromises in Dating
I strongly believe in starting how you want to finish. That means that if I’m going to go on a date, I’m not going to put on a lot of makeup because I don’t wear a lot of makeup on a day-to-day basis. But I have to admit that I did once by a wig because I thought that I had to present myself in a particular way on dates. I could not pull it off. I never actually wore the wig outside the house because it wasn’t me. I had never won a wig before, and I didn’t want to wear a wig, and I was just going to do it because I felt that it would make me more attractive.
If you’re making compromises like that for dating, I think that that’s a problem. If you don’t feel comfortable in yourself, if you don’t even remember who you are, I think that’s setting up your relationship for failure in the long term, because you’re going to be presenting yourself in a way that is attractive to somebody else but is not something that you’re going to maintain.
What Depletes Us in Relationships
For myself, I have been in too many relationships with people showing up with cups that are half full and that has been depleting. And this is not just in romantic relationships, but also in friendships and in other relationships. Sometimes, I am exhausted not just of dating, but also just of friendships and work relationships. And I think this is where dating burnout can also show up.
How things are in other areas of your life affects how resilient you are in your romantic relationships and in the dating process. So if there is something in your life that is just depleting you, that is taking all of your energy, it’s going to be really hard to focus on having fun in dating.
If you listen to the episode with Ana, maybe I’m never going to attract a fireman because I’m not going to be clueless, and I’m not going to pretend that I can’t carry a heavy bottle of water. I’m never going to be a Bambi.
Use Critical Thinking and Filtering
So like with everything else, listening to these episodes, it’s about critical thinking. It’s about deciding what works for you. What will you take away? What will you try? What will you do? That’s always the invitation, for you to figure out what is it that you’re going to do, what is it that’s right for you.
Regardless of how you felt about that episode on the four archetypes, whether or not you believe in archetypes or whether or not you will put on different energies to attract different type of men, I think this is a gem and this is a worthy takeaway.
This is the person you need to look for, somebody balanced that knows how to joke, knows how to play, knows how to be serious, knows how to make a plan, has a vision, has a place for you in their life.
Commitment and Dating Multiple People
Similarly, with Dr. Anderson Abrell’s interview, it reminded me of the phrase “he won’t buy the cow if you give him the milk for free”. Some of you may have heard that before, or you may have even had that said to you. What I think it comes down to is that you have to make your own decision.
If the concept of dating multiple people is icky to you, there might be a little difference in how you conduct yourself while dating versus when you are in a relationship.
For myself, what I’ve noticed is that I have a very full life and I don’t want someone messaging me all the time or showing up all the time if we’re dating. I agree that dating is not a relationship and that the stages should be different as Dr. Anderson Abrell said.
If you can’t see or tell the line between dating and being in a relationship because you act the same in both cases, that’s a red flag for me. Dr. Anderson Abrell says we remain empowered by remaining very committed to our full lives. And that’s what I wish for everybody who listens. I wish you to have a full life, that is empowered, that is fun, that fills you up with positive energy and excitement.
To end this episode, I’m going to iterate the invitation from the last episode in this series, which is to start with values.
When we better understand which values are core for us and then what we mean by that, what kind of behaviors do we need to see to know that we are honoring our own values and that the person we’re getting to know also honors their values. And that takes, again, some reflection and some intentional effort because it’s easy lip service.
Values came up in several of the interviews in the mini series. And I think our behaviors and our thoughts are driven by our values, the values we actually hold, not the values that we want to hold, or the ones that we think we hold.
So I invite you to list your values and then figure out how they show up in your relationships, romantic or otherwise. Give one example of how you have demonstrated each of the values that you say you have. Would your closest friend or family member agree that you have the value based on the example you came up with? Can you come up with a counter example where you did not display this value?
The point here is not to judge yourself, but rather to get to know yourself better, love yourself truly. We all want to be understood in relationships. And so I invite you to be the first one to provide this understanding for yourself.
My wish for you, whatever your status is of your relationship, is that you feel cherished and that you’re able to savor something about your relationship. Have a beautiful week.
If you want to know more about the individual episodes, visit the links to the posts below.