Blog 21. Relationship Wisdom: You Start As You Mean To Go On.
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In the Sunday Times Saturday Review dated 13 March 2010, Leonard Bernstein’s daughter, Nina quite aptly said of her marriage, ‘When I fell in love he was nothing like my father but 10 years on, I realise my husband IS a lot like my father. Maybe not in his behaviour but in the dynamics of the relationship. How was I to know?’
Exactly, and if you are not taught relationship knowledge, how would you know?
So here’s a thing – you start a relationship as you mean to go on.
This can apply to your own expectations with regards what you will or won’t tolerate. Whether, and to use old clichés, you are prepared to pick up his socks or whether you are prepared to have her follow her career and so on. What you allow in the beginning of a relationship continues. It is very difficult say 10 years on, to suddenly declare that you are not going to pick up his socks ever again. He’ll think you’ve gone mad. So it’s important to start a relationship how you mean to go on.
But deeper still, may lie emotional issues that both people in a relationship might share and this may be the reason for their romantic attraction. However, falling deeply in love and then discovering that you are in a destructive relationship can come as a terrible shock. This can cause such dreadful anguish and unnecessary pain.
We usually attract the relationship dynamics of our parent’s relationship. As I have written many times before, ‘Birds of feather flock together. We attract what we know and what is safe. Our parent’s relationship becomes our relationship blueprint.
Even if it’s not obvious why we are attracted to someone, over time usually what lies buried in the unconscious, finds a way of revealing itself.
If you are prepared to just look, watch and listen, then know this:
Every person presents their partners with all the signals both consciously or unconsciously, showing them quite clearly what they are really emotionally made of.
You just need to learn to ask the right questions and you just need to know what to look for.
But, if you do not know yourself or what you want out of life, then it will be more difficult to ask the right questions about someone else’s life. Also, if you don’t know what you want, then how on earth are you going to ever know what kind of relationship might suit you?
There are so many quotes that remind us of the value of knowing ourselves:
“Know thyself and all will be revealed.”
“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
― Lao Tzu
“The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself to watch others.”
Isn’t it therefore wise to get to know yourself first before you make life long choices especially before one of you gets pregnant?
When you first meet a potential partner, it’s worth asking questions, so that you may glean as much about them as possible, before you fall in love. Listen very carefully to the answers – listen to how and why. Listen, to what they’re actually telling you.
Sometimes your partner may also say something, which may appear unusual. Take note. You may be picking up something through the unconscious and the projected process. Take note because this is also a way of listening to what your partner may consciously or unconsciously be telling you about themselves.
Nothing is trivial. Be careful and ask as many questions right at the beginning of your relationship – before you fall in love. This will save you time and possibly a lot of pain too.
Get to know:
– The type of family your partner comes from and whether their parents are married or divorced.
– What kind of relationship they have with their parents.
– How many relationships your partner may have had and why they may have broken up.
– Ask about their friends, their careers, their life’s goals.
– And try to meet their friends and family.
This way you will be better informed. ‘To be forearmed is to be forewarned’. And knowledge is power.
Obviously you don’t want to swamp your partner with hundreds of questions. You just need to ask subtly and go with your gut instinct and intuition. Often someone’s friends and the relationship they have with them will be a great way of getting to know your partner.
However, you also need to be clear about what you want and who you are. Because this will enable you to decide from the beginning, whether a relationship is right for you.
And listen carefully to yourself – get to know what you really want.
This technique prevents you from wasting your time and becoming disappointed and hurt later on.
Because how you start with will continue. People do not change. Why should they? That is a fantasy. I wrote about this in Blog 8. Also I repeatedly say, ‘Put someone on a pedestal and they will fall off – and you will be the one left feeling disappointed, not them’.
And many times I have said this too, ‘Life is not about change. It is about acceptance and then choice – choice that matches your life goals’.
If you are therefore clear from the outset of a relationship what it is that you want, then generally over time, you will get what you want, even if you do have to, ‘kiss a few frogs before you meet your prince or princess’.
And laying down a few fundamental rules from the start is also useful, as this will create a better understanding of what you both want to achieve.
How many times have you heard someone say, ‘My partner just expects me to pick things up after them’, and, I’ve kept quiet for all these years and now I’ve had enough’. Well you should’ve pointed these things out from the beginning of the relationship. Being in love is one thing but keeping quiet and building resentment over time will not help either one of you.
So the trick therefore is to determine whether what we attract is really helping us move forward. Once we understand what we are attracted to, then we can make better choices to suit our life goals’.
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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