A few years ago I met a friend from work who was dating a guy two years older than her. From the moment they met he gave her all the approval and control. She was a doormat and continually sacrificed her own needs and choices in order to please him.
When I first met her, there was an awkward tension between us. I enjoyed her company but I wasn’t really sure I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. As time went on, I realized how unpleasant it was having to give in to someone so early in the relationship. After they graduated she invited me to move in with her, and I agreed to be with her until she decided to get married. At the time, I thought she was crazy. I had no intention of spending the rest of my life with someone that was so controlling.
I eventually had to put my concerns to one side and decided that I could be happy, and use relationship skills to get the relationship I wanted. It took some effort, but I used those skills and my personal strength to be the ideal girlfriend. Today, my mate, who used to baffle me with her extreme feminine charms, is a dream husband and our family has been happy for a long time.
I teach relationship skills and relationship coaching to both men and women and I am also the author of “Dating Tips For Women: Finding and Keeping Mr Right”
Tell me about your recent relationship and what initially drove you apart?
Many people refer to the early part of a relationship as the “honeymoon stage” because our instincts are shaped by our early experiences. Those experiences can be exciting, fun and sometimes frustrating – but the important thing is to remember that all early relationships are based on honesty and trust. In some ways, the excitement of the honeymoon period is over – but the memories remain.
I have occasionally wondered whether we could come to have a “notion” about our romantic relationships, particularly the early part. A good example is the way that many men treat women in the initial stages of falling in love. At this stage, men are still exploring how they perceive and relate to women.
This is whyEarly in the relationship, a woman continually tends to feel crummy. She feels insecure about who she is, questions where she sees the relationship going and is a bit unsure herself about what her true values are. Her instincts are telling her to run away.
On the other hand, a man has strength of character. He projects an attitude of confidence, not needy or desperate. He doesn’t do what she thinks he ought to do, he just is his own person. He’s independent, self-reliant and more focused on pursuing his own desires than on involving the woman in his life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Both men and women need to be honest in order to have a healthy relationship. I’m not suggesting that you be dishonest in your relationship, but integrity seems to be a value that will dictate whether a relationship will last or not. Again, creating a false impression of yourself to get a desired result is a form of manipulation that does more harm than good.
Furthermore, I believe that both men and women copying each other’s behavior is setting a foundation for a relationship to stumble upon a relationship that has no chance of long-term success. I have seen too many instances where people came into a relationship ” pretending” to be someone they’re not. They end up getting pregnant, attracted to the other person and eventually divorced. This is what happens when you are not authentic – you are leading a lie.
So, the next time a professed interest comes up, try to be honest with your partner and set the relationship up with honest, substantial boundaries. A relationship that is built on honesty and substantial boundaries will hopefully last a lifetime.