In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal three major obstacles that ruin relationships, as well as reveal the solution to neutralizing each obstacle.
First a quick update:
“Actors who endure extreme transformations”
Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey (The Dallas Buyers Club), Sally Fields (Lincoln), Christian Bale (The Machinist), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Tom Hanks (Philadelphia) are a handful of method actors who have undergone extreme physical transformations for their movie roles. They are not the first: in 1980, Robert DeNiro bulked up by 80 pounds to play Jack LaMotta in Raging Bull. So why do we respond so emotionally to method actors and their transformations? Read my insights here,
Now, let’s talk about the three major obstacles to powerful and fulfilling relationships, as well as reveal the solution to neutralizing each obstacle.
When asking new clients what they want that they don’t yet have, most respond with “inner peace.” And inner peace is usually attained via meaningful and satisfying relationships – with self and others.
Here are three of the biggest obstacles to happiness in relationships:
1. Not asking for what you want
Expectations often result in disappointment, particularly when they are expectations within a relationship, and which the other person cannot meet. One of the primary expectations, often voiced by female clients to me, is that “If he loved me, he would know what I want.”
Men (and women) are not psychics and they do not automatically know or even fully understand what their partner needs or wants. Each person is unique and experiences or desires love to be expressed in different ways – affection, praise, compliments, meaningful gifts, time spent together, listening, laughing, bonding, independence, space and so forth.
Most of us struggle to understand ourselves and to become clear about what we want in life and what we truly need to be happy or to feel loved and significant. Imagine then how much more difficult it is for your partner to know exactly what you want and need, and in each moment.
The solution: Ask for what you want and be specific. It is okay to ask your partner for what you want and for what you need; it does not mean that your partner does not love you or care about you if you have to ask to have your needs met or if you have to articulate what it takes for you to feel loved. You will know if your partner loves and cares about you based on his/her response to your request. Remember, you might feel loved by words and gentle touch; your partner might feel loved by romantic gestures. Accept that your partner is not exactly the same as you and experiences life through his/her own filters, and that’s why he/she does not know exactly what you want until you ask and define it.
You can’t expect to get what you want if you are not clear about what you want, what you need, and if you are not willing to ask for it.
2. Expecting closeness and intimacy levels to be eternally constant
A relationship is not metallic; it is fluid. As individuals, we experience constant changes on a daily basis – sometimes we feel happy and energized, sometimes we feel tired and despondent. Sometimes we feel affectionate and other times we need space and to be alone to regroup or reenergize.
Accepting that you and your emotions are fluid helps you to accept that the other person is also fluid. In turn, you both can accept that the relationship is also fluid. In other words, it is natural that, at times, we might feel distant to our partner and that does not imply that the love has gone. Instead, it is usually a reflection of other factors such as stress, illness, specific circumstances and events or even phases that every one of us experiences at times in our life when we feel off balance, confused, lost or just overwhelmed.
The solution: Understand and accept that you, your partner and your relationship are fluid and therefore the level of closeness and intimacy can vary on a daily basis dependent on and affected by everything that is happening in your life, world and family. Seek to understand yourself as well as your partner to determine what is needed – space, patience, words of encouragement or action to solve a specific problem in either person’s life.
3. Stubbornness – refusing to stop doing what doesn’t work
Recently, I was working with a married couple – quite unhappy but also struggling to see and accept that doing the same thing over and over will not create a different result.
What is the cause of their response?
Stubbornness, ego and a fear of change.
It is easy to get stuck in routine which seemingly offers more comfort than change does. It is also easy to allow one’s ego to create a sense of arrogance or a need to be right and thus prevent one from trying a new tactic or strategy. Again, as noted in various other Success Newsletters – determine which choice and result you would prefer – to be right or to be happy?
It is critical to learn from your experience. If what you are doing is not working, then be willing to try something new for a new result. For example, one client was choosing to be stubborn and refusing to admit to her boyfriend each time she was wrong. And by refusing to admit whenever she was wrong, she would alienate him and she would erode the love and mutual respect. Once she accepted that she did not have to be perfect and that it is okay to make mistakes, she began to acknowledge and accept that she made mistakes and apologized for those mistakes. In turn, she earned more love and respect from her boyfriend.
The Solution: Look at the dynamic in your relationship. Be open and honest about the relationship – your behaviors and responses as well as those of your partner. What brings about a good response and reaction in your partner? What brings about a negative response and reaction in your partner? Let go of ego, arrogance, the need to be right and instead, become more open and flexible by focusing on the solution and result you want. In other words, keep doing what works in your relationship and stop doing what does not work.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.