We all make mistakes in relationships. The problem begins when we keep repeating them over and over again. Here are a few big ones to learn how to avoid so you can find success in love and life.
Mistake #1: The need to always be right and never look bad.
Nothing will push your mate away more than your need to look good and be right. I spoke to an elderly gentleman whom was married for 50 years. I asked him how he managed to stay happily married for so many years, and he said “I realized early on that being right never led to me being closer to my wife”.
Rather than going on the defensive when your mate is upset with you, summon all of your strength and mirror her feelings. If she’s angry, acknowledge her anger. If she’s hurt, just mirror her emotional experience. The story of the situation is always secondary to the emotional wound that needs healing.
Mistake #2: Criticizing your mate in an attempt to get him to change and meet your emotional needs is a good way to send him running for the door.
Men will do just about anything to avoid feeling shame. Instead of criticizing him for his poor behavior, take emotional stock and be clear on what you are feeling. Is it hurt? Are you ashamed, anxious or insecure? Use an “I” statement, such as “ I am feeling hurt because you didn’t return my text today”. If he gets defensive, take a stand for him to see you and feel into you. “Jim, this is not about you, this is about me. I don’t need you to take responsibility for my feelings, but I do need you to acknowledge and validate them”.
Mistake #3: Arguing your partner out of their hurt, anxiety, or anger in an attempt to make them feel better.
In many relationships, partners try to take away each other’s difficult feelings in an attempt to be each others' caretaker. While you may think you are taking care of your mate, what you are really doing is giving them the message that their feelings are unacceptable or wrong. Nobody should ever have to defend a feeling. Feelings are not logical. Instead of trying to fix the hurt, or defend yourself, just allow your mate to have their feelings. Be curious. If you don’t understand, ask him or her to explain it to you until you are able to validate and finally empathize with them. This is what will create a sense of safety, openness and trust.
The key to a healthy relationship with your partner is to first have a healthy relationship with yourself.
You cannot be in a healthy intimate relationship with your partner unless you know what you are feeling. Emotional clarity lies at the heart of healthy relationship. You cannot offer your mate a bridge to your heart unless you are fully in relationship with and accepting of yourself. Dr. Steinberg is offering his Emotional Clarity: Heal Your Relationship program for the first time as a distance learning experience. In this program Dr. Steinberg will work with you personally to clarify and heal your emotional experience to help you set the stage for the kind of relationship you deserve.