How to Grow as a Relationship Partner (for Women)
What do you want out of your personal life? Do you just want one short-term relationship after another? Are you waiting for the right guy to come along? Well even if he does you probably won't even know it.
Outlined below are the exact steps you need to make yourself into a vibrant, interesting, fun person; help attract the man of your dreams; and help him commit to you. Please be patient and receptive. Even if some ideas are "old news" to you, you will certainly learn a thing or two by the time you finish reading! Make sure you do not dismiss these ideas off hand. Each one of these steps have been done by many, many women before you successfully. Give each tip at least 1-2 months ofhonesteffort before dismissing it.
Preparing Your Life and Your Self
Consider how men operate.The first thing to keep in mind as we begin to go over the concepts below is how men operate. (There are, of course, both feminine and masculine people of both genders.
- For ease of use, we say "men and women" hereafter, but this can easily be applied to a "male or female" version of either sex, as typically, regardless of the sex, masculine energy is typically attracted to feminine. Here, we're referring to the masculine energy when we say "men".)
- On the average, men love action. They love doing. When something interests them, they'll do it. That makes them interesting and revitalizes them when they're drained - so they don't feel guilty about it. They have full lives, fun friends, great gadgets - all these things make men interesting to women. (Even when women hate their man's friends, these friends are typically a source of carefree fun for men.)
Decide on the purpose of the relationship.The second thing to keep in mind is the purpose of a relationship.
- Relationships - whether friendship or romantic - are first and foremost about someone who you enjoy being around. It's really that simple.
- When relationships deteriorate, it's because the people no longer enjoy each other.
- It is not enjoyable to be around anyone who is not respectful or who you can't trust. Even people who you may feel chemistry with are not always people who can make you happy.
Imagine this scenario.
- So to start the process - Begin by just clearing the room of distractions and sitting down to imagine this scenario.
- Really sit back. Take a deep breath. Relax. Allow yourself to stop the resistance within you and just breathe. After taking just enough time to do this step, you can go back to your life and doubts.
- Now - imagine the following without fear or doubt. Imagine - just for a moment - you had all the money in the world, no responsibilities at all, and anything you could want. The only work you have to do in this dream is work you choose to do because you enjoy it.
- Now - imagine what you would do each day, every day. You can have any position you want (from secretary to construction to lawyer to charity work), any hobbies you want (from woodcutter to runner). You can travel (France, Italy, China, Japan). You can play any music instrument you like (guitar, piano, mandolin, drums), participate in any sport (soccer, kayaking, running, strength training), read anything (from science to literature), write anything (novels, poetry, music), do anything you want out in nature (hiking, studying herbs, birdwatching), have any type of spiritual experiences or just meditation, even just something as simple as gardening if you want. Make a list of all of the things you would do with your free time if you had the chance.
Next, make a list of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences you want.Traveling somewhere, skydiving, white water rafting, anything at all. The things you want to do before you die.
Write down anything else you have a passion for, you find fascinating, you really wish you were involved in.
Look at the lists in front of you.Right now, you're probably thinking, "Yeah, but I could never do that, because... (time, money, I'm scared, my mother, etc)." And that's the exact thought process that people have who never really find themselves satisfied.
- Instead, look at those things, go back over them, and circle 10 that bring an emotional response within you, that really strongly appeal to you regardless of how unattainable they are.
- Now, instead of saying, "I can't because..." say, "I will, and here's the plan!" That exact attitude - known as the "winner's attitude" has been shown, again and again, to produce results.
- Now perhaps select one or two that are really impossible - becoming President (change it to getting involved in politics or studying politics, whatever fulfills your desire), for example, or stopping time. Accept the possibility that you might not get them. But for all the others, NEVER accept the possibility that you will not try - because that is simply you giving up on yourself.
- Those ten items you have written down - those are the keys. Those speak to you. Those things - as you begin to learn to do them, save money for them, study for them, work for them, whatever your plan may be, no matter how long you have to wait for them - those 10 things (AND the pursuit of them!) are what your passions are, what will make you interesting, vibrant, and full of youth - the very qualities you need to find a man.
Know that the uncompromising pursuitof the things that inspire you will show a man that you have interests beyond just him - that, in itself, will make you interesting.
- Pursuing those passions is what we call "having a life" - an essential when you want a man to respect you.
- Now, yes, you may not get all 10. And you certainly should not take financial risks you cannot afford to lose for them (although making some sacrifices in daily expenditure can help), but you will certainly find it very possible to commit to doing one or two as hobbies each week, even if the process of trying to learn them is embarrassing, even if your family won't support you, even if a guy asks you to schedule a date during that time. And especially, you will have one or two which you will work during your life to achieve, making a commitment to go skydiving or visit Italy no matter how many years it will take.
- You can do what you are "supposed to do" at work, if you want. But those 10 things - of those, hold on strongly to pursuing 5 of them for your whole life, or until you find you are no longer passionate about them.
- Because by making your dreams and passions a priority, you show a man that you believe your dreams matter. And because of that, he will respect you and believe your dreams matter, perhaps trying to help you achieve them.
- If you're still wrestling with the feeling that you cannot do these things, there are experts in every possible field out there that have found a way to combat that excuse. Just go out and find a book to get you started. Here are some resources to help you.
- If you think you don't have enough time (everyone's favorite excuse!) check out flylady.net.
- If you think you do not have enough money, check out the books, "The Automatic Millionaire," "Miserly Moms," or "Rich Dad, Poor Dad".
- If you feel you are two shy, realize that it is not something you have to live with forever - that many people have overcome - and make a pledge to get rid of it.
- Start by just getting into the habit breathing, of being relaxed, then waiting no longer than 3 seconds to just say "hello" to people.
- Next, make a point of going to public places each week and saying "hello" to 10 strangers a week. Gradually increase that to 20.
- Move on, when you're comfortable, to having simple conversations about things that do not involve either of you personally - usually a comment on the environment you're in. You'll learn overtime to deal with just about any personality type and learn not to care too much about what people think of you. Whatever else you find holding you back, face your fears, again and again, until you no longer fear them.
Taking the Next Step
Understand that self development iskeyto finding therightman.
- At this point, you might be saying - "Hey, I'm here to find a man!" Yup, you're right. But all of these steps are essential for combating one of the largest issues on the female side of relationships - the feeling of a void in your life that we incorrectly think is because of the lack of a man.
- Well, guess what? Men can see that, too. And that internal void scares men away like nothing else.
- Men pursue their dreams. Because of that, many men go through life fulfilled, not needing women, simply enjoying sex, until one day around age 25 or 30 they feel ready to settle down and find a wife.
- On the other hand, very often women just pursue men instead of their dreams. That leaves a big gap.
- That puts all the responsibility for satisfaction in your life on a man.
- And that leads to the desperate, dramatic, and clingy behaviors that men run away from and that women hate when they see it in themselves.
Get a good balance.
- One of the biggest issues in sustaining a healthy relationship is developing a balanced use of your own time and especially your energy. The habits necessary for a good relationship are essential to practice now, before you have a partner.
- You must, each week of your life, throughout your life:
- Take some time for work, whether it be furthering your career, bringing home the bacon, advancing your education, or taking care of the kids;
- Have positive experiences with him, whether it be a weekly date night (without the kids) or, during exceptionally busy periods, checking in before he goes to sleep, giving him a kiss when he gets home, and asking him how his day went;
- Time to regain your energy. Every single week. In order to truly be a good spouse and good mother, you owe it to your children to take the time to revitalize. Whether it means you need a babysitter once a week or whether your husband or friends take care of the kids, you need time, alone, each week relaxing. Cheap or expensive, whether it be by getting a massage (maybe from your sweetheart!), gardening, painting, going to Starbucks with a friend, whatever fills you with energy;
- Pursuing your passions. Whether it's garden club, hiking club, scrap booking - whatever it is, you must make an unwavering commitment to it. Sure, a couple times a year, you'll miss a meeting; but you need to commit to it. Committing to it will, again, give you passion for your life and help the men in your life (especially your children) to respect you. There is no need to get emotional about this commitment. Just calmly explain that you get energy from this commit to allow yourself to be a better wife and mother.
- Time with friends. This is something both you and your love need.
- Some of this time can be spent as two couples together; but the most important time you can spend is with your "girlfriends," connecting as women (in the same way as he needs to connect to men).
- Do not expect your husband to bear the brunt of your emotions. Emotions are something that women tend to understand best. While it is important to be able to connect emotionally with your partner, it is far more important to have a safe, open group of friends that you can connect to as well, if not every week, every other week.
- The excuse of time is simply not applicable here. People who properly revitalize themselves through "alone" time, relaxation, and time with friends have enough energy to accomplish all of this, each week, while still maintaining a healthy family life and job.
- For help with this, check out the book, "The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal". If you truly feel you cannot accomplish this in any given week, schedule it in so you accomplish it within every 2-week period.
Exercise.There is, however, one last step. The step you perhaps avoid.
- The step you want to do, but somehow always find it hard to.
- Exercise. Exercise, that source of agony - but also a source of energy.
- Something you'll find, once you commit to it for a month, will be something you start looking forward to.
- But don't look at exercise as a step to losing weight. Instead of a goal of, "I want to lose 5 lbs this month," set a goal of "I want to walk for 20 minutes, 2 times a week, every week this month. If I miss a day or two, that's ok, I'll just start right up again."
- You'll never need to do more than 20 minutes of cardio (if you want more challenge, try interval training) - and once you've been staying strong with your 20 minutes each week, perhaps get a personal trainer or very knowledgeable friend who can help you put together a 20-minute strength training routine.
- Add 10 minutes of stretching, and you've got all the exercise you need, 2-3 times a week. Don't allow your friend or trainer to over-burden you, however.
- Don't even think about weight loss.
- Focus only on building a habit and making it consistent. Success will be looking back on your calendar and saying, "I didn't miss one of my eight workouts this month!"
- Yes, exercise will make you look better. But it will also make you healthier, more energetic, more vibrant, more mentally cued in, and happier! Plus you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing a good thing for yourself. This step is extremely important for building a natural sense of self-discipline and confidence. If either of these is an issue for you, try getting involved in a challenge course.
Take some time to get to the point where you fully incorporate it, however.And once you do find a man, you will have to have the strength to say, "I'm sorry; I can't do it tonight. I already scheduled something else. Perhaps next week?"
Commit to pursuing your passions.Everything will take some time to develop. Even then, it is a lifelong process. You must develop the strength to do it, getting stronger and stronger over time.
- When a man comes across a woman with a fulfilled, satisfied life, who stands by what she does and shows she puts herself first so that she has enough energy to love and respect those around her, shows that she values herself and doesn't need a man to fulfill her (only having a man in her life because she loves HIM specifically, not because she NEEDS any man), a man will be very, very hesitant to do anything that would let her leave. So commit to pursuing your passions and dreams. You are worth it.
- And if you want a truly wonderful man, you owe it to him to discover how to energize and revitalize yourself, so instead of draining him, you are a constant source of energy in the relationship.
- For yourself, and for your relationship, even if you are extremely poor and must find very cheap sources of passion and excitement, make a commitment today to take the next 60 days and focus, each day, on fulfilling each of the steps above, from pursuing your passions to taking time for yourself.
Continue to make time for yourself.So - it's been a month or two. You've worked each day on building a more fulfilling life. You find satisfaction in it. You realize that, the more satisfaction you're getting out of your life, the more consistently you exercise, the more energy you have to do well at work, at home, and in relationships. You're learning to take time for yourself and not feel guilty. You're beginning to see a difference in your life - you're more confident, you see people respecting you more, and perhaps you're even building a larger social network. There was some resistance from friends or family - but you recognized that they wished they were also doing what you were and kept going. Sure, time management was hard at first - but by renewing your energy and checking out a couple books, now you feel like you have more time than ever! You're a better partner, a better worker, and feel like a new woman. Congratulations!
Think about what you wish a man in your life were doing for you - how he was appreciating you.
- What do you wish a man would do? Buy you flowers? Bring you chocolate? Perhaps cuddle up with a good movie? Enjoy chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne by candlelight? Take you out to a nice restaurant every month or so? Buy you a day at the spa? Make a nice list of how you wish you were treated and appreciated. A complete list!
Prove to yourself that you don'tneeda man for these things.Now - without saying you don't deserve it, without saying you shouldn't spoil yourself, start appreciating yourself.
- Obviously stay within your budget, but save on some weekends to splurge a little on others. Take your friends out to dinner. Buy yourself some chocolate and flowers. Light some candles and have a nice glass of wine, even if you're watching a movie at home, by yourself. Invite a friend over for fondue. Learn to truly love yourself.
- Continue the tradition of really fulfilling yourself.
- When a man sees how you treat yourself, he will see that you realize you are a treasure worthy of being treated well. He will accept no less of himself. He will hold you up as a treasure. A man who sees that an ordinary night alone for you includes candles, chocolate, and wine will never try to get away with calling watching the game with his friends a "date".
- You may, if you find that fun, decide to do that once in a while; but he will also be sure that he treats you well.
- Make sure, however, that you aren't just doing this for a man. You shouldn't burst into tears when a man appreciates you for the first time in your life. You should always be grateful and loving when he treats you well, but you should be kind to yourself even when no one will ever find out.
Remember, self-sacrifice is a high predictor for divorce.Learning to take care of your own needs helps you to take the burden off of the man and give you more energy to invest in the relationship. The next step - now that you are prepared for a man - is learning how dating works, how men work, and where to find a man.
Putting It All Together
Look at the whole picture.So far, we've: created a very fulfilling life; learned to recharge our batteries and take care of ourselves so we have energy to put into our relationships; learned how men look at dating and marriage; looked at attracting men and the importance of sticking with what you're comfortable with, instead of trying to impress him; how to manage sex by respecting our intuition; and gotten a more realistic, research-centered perspective on what works and doesn't work in marriage. Now for the final step: techniques for keeping the man of your dreams at your side for life.
As mentioned, it is extremely important to make a point of addressing issues when they arise.
- Blaming, being condescending, and other judgmental are not only useless, but highly predictive of failure.
- Instead, often simply stating feelings is enough. Practice saying the works, "I feel." "I feel sad... lonely... attacked... unhappy." Men live to make their women happy.
- That is one of the main reasons why they don't respond well to criticism - they feel inadequate. Men want to be their wife's hero.
- Allowing them to respond to your feelings, find a solution themselves (instead of having one suggested), and working to make their wives happy (rewarded by her happiness and smiling face) makes him a modern-day hero.
Don't be needy or dependent.One of the keys to pursuing your own passions and having your own friendships is that you will not be needy and dependent on him. He will know that you have a lot going on.
- He knows that if he doesn't schedule a date and calls you last minute, you're probably out with your friends - so he calls in advance to schedule dates (this doesn't mean disrespecting him by getting drunk and flirting with guys, but a night out with the ladies, dinner and a movie, is appropriate fun).
- You also don't beg him for time alone. Just as it is important for you to have time with your friends, he must have time with his. That time he has, and the freedom you give him to have it, gives him time to miss you.
- Since you are busy, too, and he's missing you on his boy's night, you'll certainly see enough of him other nights.
- While it is important for a man to contribute to the household, it is also very important for you to watch for moments when your insecurity comes out.
- Instead of setting a curfew like a mother would, at those times when you feel pangs of jealousy or insecurity, ask yourself, "Have I sacrificed my dreams lately? When was the last time I pursued my hobbies or saw my friends?" Don't make excuses for lack of time - take action.
Know that one difference between men and women is mental processing.
- Women tend to need a certain about of social time, often with other women, to help them process thoughts and feelings.
- Men, on the other hand, tend to need time alone. Depriving a man of his "alone time" takes away his ability to recharge in the way he needs to.
- Attempting to force a man to "open up" will only make the process take longer. When a man feels that he is being analyzed or judged, he is far less likely to open up.
- Men need to feel safe, and have his thoughts and feelings validated and accepted, before he feels comfortable opening up to a woman.
- However, he still needs time alone, and women need to learn to respect this in the same way that men must respect a woman's need to have social interaction with other women.
- For a marriage to last, men must feel safe being able to express thoughts and feelings, particularly sadness.
Learn how to express your feelings.
- The keys to dealing with your partner in relationship conflicts is expressing feelings and using the word "Regardless" - or withdrawing attention. "Regardless" is important, because no one can argue logic against emotion.
- However, while you may feel very emotional, take it out with exercise, talking to friends, or in other ways. Your conversation with your partner, even while expressing emotion, should be extremely calm and without visible emotion. Here are some examples:
- A man is calls you up at the last minute, asking for a late date. It will obviously lead to a late dinner, or more likely, a booty call. For whatever reason, you happen to be free that night - but of course, you were not waiting for his call as he hadn't scheduled a date. You simply had decided to stay in that night to pamper yourself. You ask him to drive over to your house. He insists you drive to his. You feel internal doubt... trust that instinct. Inside, you can tell he's trying to weasel from you what he can get at his convenience. Response? Withdraw attention. "Will you drive over here?" "No, you come to my house," he says. "It seems like tonight just won't be convenient for me. Perhaps we can get together next week." By not allowing him to disrespect you, particularly for sex, you show him you will stand up for yourself. Seeing that you won't let him get away with a more minor jerky-thing, he's less likely to be more of a jerk to you in the future, and will certainly respect you much more. A true jerk will show his true colors here - but the average guy will say, "Sorry, let's go on a real date next week." Expect your man to treat you well and he will.
- A man is not contributing around the home. Go to him and say, "I feel sad." [this is the base emotion, which will elicit compassion.] "Why?" he'll ask. "Because I feel overworked." "But I'm working hard, too," he says. "Regardless, I feel overworked. I feel a sense of unfairness." [Notice the focus is still on feelings, which can not be argued with.] "But I took out the garbage last week!" "I really appreciate that. Regardless, I feel overworked. I feel like I do more." He can no longer argue. He sighs. "What if I started doing the dishes every other night." "Oh! That would be great - but that feels overly complicated. Every other night. I would still feel burdened overall." "Ok, every night." "Oh, thank you so much! What a great idea! You're the best, sweetie!" Sparkle. Smile. Hug him. Thank him. Practice well - research has shown that if you want to be a successful parent, you'll need to reward your kid's chores (yes, the ones they're supposed to do without encouragement!) with the same enthusiasm. And you should be enthusiastic. Becoming complacent and not showing appreciation is a very negative trait. Now - sit back, and let him do it. He may do it later than you want. He may do it differently than you want. But don't touch those dishes, and expect them to be done- they will be. Then kiss him and smile - that's all he wants, to be your hero. Notice, clearly you don't suggest the solution. He comes up with it himself. Most importantly, you have to allow him to do it HIS way, even if he loads the dishes in a less that optimal way, he still did it and is your hero! This is the only part that may seem artificial to some - but it shouldn't be. First, because researchers have shown how important support is for behavior modification. But mostly because you should appreciate what your partner does for you, and that appreciation is an important part in showing the type of support and affection research has shown to be so important in a marriage.
- Note: if you are changing your strategy mid-relationship to a more mature manner of interacting, do not be surprised if you find conflict increasing before it settles down. You are changing the rules, which can be uncomfortable for him.
Never treat your partner like a child - don't talk down to him, don't give him unsolicited advice, don't cast judgement on him, don't give him curfews or try to control him.Agree, if anything, to disagree about the way he does things. But accept the man as he is, appreciate him for who he is, don't try to change him. If you can't resist the urge, let him go for another girl who will appreciate him for him, not for what you consider to be his "potential."
These important concepts are really about staying mature, respecting him, and expecting mutual respect.They have also been shown to be highly successful. By managing your own energy, time, and emotion, you will find the ability to be the stronger emotional force in the relationship leading to a lasting love and respect for the both of you.
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