Romantic relationships complete with a great connection, love, honesty and communication top the list of wants and goals for most women — even strong, successful women who don't need a man to take care of them. The benefits for both people in a healthy relationship are tremendous, and can improve all other aspects of their lives.
While we certainly refine our couples skills during relationships, it's no secret that many breakups result from a lack of these skills. The good news is that we can sharpen our skills prior to entering our next romance — you don't need to be in a relationship to learn how to have a healthy one! Here, we talk about some important qualities to look for in romantic relationships, and expand upon the many opportunities there are to hone our skills in everyday life, with family, friends and work associates.
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Have you ever asked people you know what they think your best qualities are? When I did this (it was an exercise with one of my coaches) I was pleasantly surprised at how other people saw me. I felt more confident, and realized most people don't truly know how others see them. When I asked what I could improve upon, my eyes were opened again as people I trusted suggested things like "seeing from the other person's perspective" or "thinking things through longer before commenting when I felt something could be done better."
Practicing this exercise on my quality female friends, family and work associates was fun because I can see how differently things unfold now, thanks to my new insight, as opposed how I handled situations previously. I figured adjustments to these aspects of my own behavior could dramatically impact my future romantic relationships as well... and I was right. So with my best qualities spoken by those who care about me, and suggestions on rounding some sharp edges of my personality, I gained a tremendous amount of insight. Oddly enough, men I'd dated in the past had brought up some of the same things! I realized one or more of those relationships may have lasted longer if I'd had this insight sooner.
You can learn from my example and ask people who care about you and will be truthful. Be sure to appreciate and acknowledge their answers, even if they may sting a bit. It's up to you to choose what you do with the information you receive, but if you hear common themes, you have a pretty good place to start.
Here are some important skills to practice with people in your life to improve your next romantic partnership. Have fun with this — the benefits are many.
Boundaries come into play in all relationships, and a lack of healthy ones is the cause of most breakups. Whether healthy boundaries needed to be established and enforced regarding things like time spent together and apart, clear communication, money, sex, respect of both self and significant other, or a host of other topics, most conflicts can be avoided with the use of healthy boundaries.
Practicing healthy boundaries with friends, family and work associates will improve your self-respect, confidence and self-esteem as a whole, translating into enhanced romantic pairings. Emotionally healthy men love emotionally healthy women with confidence.
Having boundaries means knowing what you want for yourself and how you want to be treated. You can't enforce boundaries until you establish them, so take some time to really consider what's important to you. Enforcing boundaries means having a clear plan to make your limits known, and determining what you will say or do when someone steps over the line — because eventually, someone will. You can adjust them as you get used to the process.
A lack of boundaries leaves you living life by default. If you don't have a game plan, you simply become part of someone else's agenda. You know that feeling when someone visiting has outstayed their welcome? Or when a so-called friend threw you under the bus to make her feel better? Maybe a co-worker took credit for something you did and got the raise you earned. Feelings of injustice or being used can usually be solved; you don't have to let them become vehicles for hurt, anger or bitterness. That bitterness is toxic, and will play a role in all of your relationships at some point whether another's actions trigger a poor response in you, or you choose a victim's role and accept mistreatment.
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Let's say honesty is one of your top values. You are honest, and expect it from others. So what do you do with a friend isn't being truthful with you? Do you stay friends with her because then at least you'll have someone to go out with? Or do you have a talk with her to let her know lying is unacceptable to you — and that your friendship will end if you find her being dishonest again? You can say it in words that feel right to you; just be sure to make your point clearly. Keep reading...
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