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April 25, 2009

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS START AT THE FIRST HELLO

When Sally first started dating Dan she was enthralled.  He was incredibly handsome, very successful and the life of the party.  She loved his sense of humor and his ability to get along with anyone. 

She also hated that he was the life of the party and his ability to get along with anyone -- especially other women.

Sally couldn’t believe Dan liked her and she was determined to do whatever she needed to do to keep him liking her.  This meant that she would not speak to him about the things that bothered her -- his drinking and flirting.  Although she didn’t like that he flirted with everyone in his vicinity, she knew he was going home with her.  She also figured that he would outgrow his partying ways, so she didn’t mention his drinking either.

Ten years and two children later, Sally now has to deal with her husband Dan’s affair and drinking problem. 

Healthy relationships start at the first hello.  When you first meet someone, you need to be clear that you deserve a healthy relationship that fuels you.  You then need to deal with non-healthy behaviors as soon as you see them.  If you don’t, these behaviors will grow until they take over your relationship. 

I remember, over twenty years ago, being jealous of my boyfriend (now my husband).  I was often worried about him finding someone else or not wanting to be with me.  Consequently, I would give him the third degree.  (Yes, I’m aware this is not very healthy behavior…but I was young and, well, insecure).  Anyway, at first, my husband was very reassuring and would answer my questions.  He thought if he heard me out and reassured me enough I would trust him. 

Instead, my questioning got worse. 

Finally, one day my husband sat me down and said that although he loved me very much, if I didn’t get the jealousy under control, our relationship wasn’t going to make it.  Talk about a wake up call!  I then remembered something my mother had said about my father:  “I should have dealt with his jealousy when I first met him.  Letting it go just made it get worse.”  My husband’s limit with me was the best thing he could’ve done for our relationship.  I was not happy at the time and… I knew he was right. 

Letting things go in the hopes of not wrecking a new relationship…can absolutely wreck a potentially long-lasting relationship.  When you know something is off in your relationship, address it.  Don’t try to ignore it, rationalize it or hope it will go away -- change it.  Address the issue when you see it and don’t wait until it’s too late. 

• If your partner doesn’t open up and share…address it.
• If your partner flirts with everyone and their mother…address it.
• If you’re partner drinks too much, puts you down, rages, is addicted to the computer, puts everyone else first, teases you constantly, lies, doesn’t tell you how he/she feels and on and on…ADDRESS IT!

Remember:  healthy relationships start at the first hello.  The moment you start a relationship you should be shaping it to be a healthy one that fuels you. 

CHALLENGE:  Start new relationships with healthy habits.  Talk about difficult issues, address your concerns, be respectful and cherishing (and accept nothing less from your partner) and have the attitude of the chooser, not the choosee.  Remind yourself that healthy relationships start with the first hello.  What is a problem now, when left untreated, will be a bigger problem later.

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I feel shy talking with opposite sex, find it difficult to get along at first. Please, what do I do?

DEAR SAMUEL: I would look at getting started in coaching with a relationship coach to work with you on your shyness or start therapy to explore where it came from. I can't help but think some of your shyness is also a product of issues with self esteem. Read Terry Real's book "The New Rules of Marriage" to help work this piece. you can also look over my posts on self-esteem to help you work it.

Take care-Lisa

I'm sure a lot of us can relate to this.

On our first date, he got so drunk he threw up all over the bedroom. 25 years later I divorced him because of his drinking problem. Hindsight is 20/20.

Building a relationship is similar to building an edifice. If the architect and the constructor don't listen to each other the construction will not be long lasting. The constructor has to understand what the architect has conceived and the architect has to listen to the constructor if there aren't technological means to realize exactly those plans. There always has to be an open dialogue, most of all in building a life together, the most difficult and beautiful human achievement. They have to have absolute faith one in each other, because if one of them says what she or he dislikes, that comes from the heart and the heart never lies. All we are more or less subjective and it's a real blessing to have someone close to you to make you notice that you are on the verge to deviate from a beautiful path and engage another one where you'll loose yourself and your beloved. With endless sympathy and admiration Paul Alexandru Cazacliu. I love all of you. Life is wonderful.

Thank you. I've made alot of mistakes in this area. Great reminder. :)

Great post, Lisa! So true.

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