Why You'll Never Be A Good Partner If You're Not A Good Friend To Yourself

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how to be a good girlfriend by loving yourself

How to build a foundation for the kind of love that LASTS.

Being in a committed relationship is hard, but it can be more than worth it — unless you really like being alone and without someone to share your journey with over time.

After years of being a psychologist, a husband (twice) and a life and wellness coach, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of marriage (or committed relationships).

We all find ourselves attracted to people who fill some need, desire, or ideal. Eventually, we need to get beyond that and evolve to the point of sharing, learning, and compromising — without losing our own personal identities.

The problem is that many people do not know what their personal identity is, or who they truly are at the core.

You might have been told how you were supposed to be — or taught what you were not allowed to be. The process of becoming a mature emotional human is to learn from the ages and stages of personal development while sharing and learning from friends, lovers, and mates in the process. 

No animal on Earth has more difficulty with that than humans do. We are born with a unique purpose, I believe, and spend our lives figuring out what it might be. 

But the clues come from relationships. You really cannot go it alone.

Even a hermit needs a crowd to escape from, and you are never really alone because we are relationship-oriented beings.

As my friend and mentor, Margaret Wheatley, stated in Turning to One Another, “Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.”

So, if you are in a marriage or committed relationship, what can you learn from the challenges you face that are upsetting, or destructive, or hurtful? 

When you feel wronged, what were you expecting? How were you hurt? How did you hurt your lover/partner? What needs were not met and why not? Or why should they be met?

Or what if you are projecting your needs onto your partner and what you perceive they might be doing, is exactly what you are doing? Trust me…this happens a lot.

I believe that relationships, over time, and especially long-term relationships, are one of the best teachers we have when it comes to ourselves.

If we have unhealed wounds or unresolved hurts, they will reappear time and again with a person you live with.  

A person who has filled their reserve and is strong internally will not feel depleted nor defeated if entanglement or fighting occurs in a relationship. Such a person does not take it personally and communicates from love instead of anger. 

But I know that is easier said than done.

Needs need to be fed just like a garden.

Relationships are like gardens. They are not accidental … they are planned and nurtured. And they must be weeded, fed, and cared for. 

Just as a lawn or garden needs water, if you have an automatic sprinkler in place, you don't see that it needs water … its need has been filled automatically.

If you think of your needs like the need to be loved, appreciated, etc, ask yourself how can you set an automatic sprinkler system to meet those needs.  

Who else in your life can feed that need?

When you get that system in place, you are not as needy in your primary relationship. And while those needs may still be important, you won’t be in a drought situation where you are depleted of nourishment. 

And if you see your partner as your mutual garden caretaker, you are able to ask yourself what you can do for her or him out of love and caring and nurturing, the same way you would for a beautiful garden.

For more information about concepts such as these, see DrPatWilliams.com. Also read Dr. Pat Williams's new book, Getting Naked: On Emotional Transparency at the Right Time, the Right Place, and with the Right Person on Amazon or Balboa Press.