Awhile ago, a man wrote to us and asked us to give some tips about how to successfully start a new relationship.
As we thought about his question, we remembered how we began our relationship and how dramatically different it was from others we had been in.
We also realized that the things that allowed us to start our relationship in a healthy way are also the things that continue to keep our relationship healthy, strong, vital and alive today.
What we’ve discovered is that a great relationship isn’t created by one, singular event but is instead made up of a series of choices.
Whether you’re trying to decide to go on a date with someone, to get married, to leave a relationship, or to talk to your partner about how to make things better…
Two great questions to ask yourself are:
“Will this choice bring me closer to what I want?” and
“Is this in alignment with who I really am?”
One of our coaching clients was starting a new relationship with a man whom she’s known as a casual friend for a couple of years.
In the past few years, she’s has chosen partners who weren’t right for her in one way or another.
In this relationship that’s recently evolved from friendship into a “dating” relationship, she’s making conscious, healthy choices about what she wants and doesn’t want.
In previous intimate relationships, she didn’t do that.
She tended to try to be the pleaser in her past relationships.
She would create stories in her mind about how she thought her partner at the time wanted her to be and she would try to be that person. She would try to be someone she wasn’t so that she could make a “good” impression on the other person.
In this relationship, she asked herself in every moment if she’s acting and speaking from who she truly is and what she wants or is she repeating the same behavior of holding back and lying to herself that helped create unhealthy relationships in the past.
Make different choices in a new relationship or a new start in an old relationship…
When we began our relationship, we decided that we wanted to do things differently than we had in the past. We wanted a close, connected relationship that will filled with passion that lasts.
We believed it was possible and started learning ways to do that that resonated with us.
One decision we made very early in our relationship that made a significant difference in our lives was the agreement to tell the truth to each other as soon as we realized what our “truth” was.
And we continue to make this choice every day.
This means that whenever we feel a disconnection between us or we feel angry about something, we take some time to first look inside to see what stories we’re telling ourselves about the situation.
And then if we need to talk about it, we do it from a place of trying to understand where we each are coming from and what’s important to each of us.
Even if it’s hard sometimes, we’ve agreed to listen from a neutral place without interrupting, allowing each other to say what is in his or her heart.
That way we stay true to what’s inside which is so important in building trust between two people.
And with practice, we’ve certainly gotten better at staying out of defensiveness and stories that are just made up and are so damaging to our relationship.
So how about you?
How can you be more authentically you in your relationships and allow the people in your life to be who they are?
How could this free up energy that could be weighing you down right now?
If you begin making choices to be more “real,” it could be a difference-maker in your life and relationships.