Relationship Challenges


Six tips to help those in pursuit of a relationship.

1) Act How You Feel (Within Reason):
We've all been around couples that bicker in public or make nasty passive aggressive jabs all the time. When we air out our dirty laundry too readily, we make others feel uncomfortable. On the other hand, pretending your relationship is flawless can come across as fake. We've all done it at times, we act like everything is fine and it's not. We fight in the car and hold hands throughout dinner, until we get back in the car and pick up right where we left off. If this sounds like your relationship, then it's time to be real. Tell other's how you are feeling, honestly, and expect them to understand. It will be a relief to know that your relationship has flaws and that others will understand.

2) Demand Realistic Portrayals of Relationships:
When you see a couple acting unrealistic, say so. Ask why they need to act like they are madly in love after being married for ten years, we all know that is not likely. Talk about a romantic comedy that you would like to see and comment on how much the film reflects the ups and downs of relationships. Laugh about how amazing it is that people in movies orgasm easily and at the exact same time.

3) Normalize Outside Attractions:
Lots of people have come to see me feeling guilty that they fantasize about other people or feeling offended that their partner fantasizes about other people. The part of our brain that finds other people sexually attractive doesn't shut off when we are in a relationship. Fantasy is normal and can even be exciting for couples. Be honest about your celebrity crushes and even your real-life temptations. It's OK to bring them out in the open, joke about them, just remember to define the boundaries around them.

4) Talk to People About Sex:
We need to stop believing the myth that we all know how to have great sex with our long-term partner. This can be one of the most difficult topics for couples to talk about in therapy. They feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about it. This often stems from the problem of lack of information or having the wrong information. It's important to be honest when talking about sex, this will save your relationship from unnecessary bad sex.

5) Stop Convincing Yourself It Can't Happen to You:
Yes, some relationships do end. We know that half of marriages end in divorce. Going into a relationship believing this won't happen to us makes you both believe there is something special about you and your partner. In reality, you are no more immune to breaking up than anybody else. We need to start seeing ourselves as vulnerable rather than exceptional. This is not pessimistic or unromantic, when you go into a relationship believing 'we are special' you are setting yourself up for defeat. I believe all couples come to a point where they think of separating, whether they actually separate or not. If you are more realistic about it, you will be able to weather that storm.

6) Expect to Work Hard:
The fantasy that if we are with the perfect person, everything will easily fall into place is a myth. Not only is this unrealistic, this can be damaging to your relationship. This does not mean have low expectations just have realistic expectations. If we expect a flawed partner and a flawed relationship, it's a lot easier to manage the disappointment when it happens, rather than expecting "happily ever after" to be literal.

By reading this article you have already taken the first step in helping your yourself. For more information please visit www.LessonsforLove.com.

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