Nov 20, 2006

Rules About Love

Relationships are never easy and in many ways we make them more difficult than they need to be.

In my opinion, much of the sadness we experience in our relationships stems from our desire to overlook what's obvious about people, love and romance.

So I thought I'd create of list "Rules About Love" and update as things come to mind.

Rule #1 - People Do What They Find Rewarding and There is Little You Can Do To Change That

People are driven by their emotions to seek rewards. In other words, if a person finds an activity enjoyable, he or she will try to do it again. If your girlfriend enjoys talking to her ex, she will continue to talk to him. Or if your husband enjoys spending his free time with friends, he'll try to keep doing it.

And there is little you can do to change what a person finds enjoyable. While you can ask a partner to change his or her ways, you can't change a partner's underlying desires. At the end of the day, trying to limit a partner's actions doesn't really solve the problem, it just takes away from a partner's enjoyment in life.
Rule #2 - People Rarely Understand Their Own Behavior
Strangely enough, the mind allows a person to make decisions without being aware of his or her motivations and desires. But, if you ask someone why they do the things they do, most of the time you'll get an answer. The answer, however, usually has little to do with the truth. People make thousands of decisions everyday with little awareness of what they are doing. So, if you want to get a feel for what's going on, it helps to ignore what partners might say, rather watch what they do. Consistently watching a partner's behavior tends to be more revealing than listening to the explanations which are given.
Rule #3 - Most Relationships Don't Fail - They Probably Never Had the Potential To Succeed
Most relationships are doomed from the start by people making poor choices when it comes to picking a partner. And people make poor decisions for a variety of reasons: insecurity, fear of being alone, lack of experience, getting carried away by excitement and passion, thinking that love is enough to make things work, etc.

Ultimately, relationships work the best when people find a companion - someone they enjoy spending their time with. A partnership which is based on mutual respect, equality, and a genuine sense of appreciation. Usually, it takes a lot of mistakes before people learn that the things which draw people together at the start of a relationship, are usually not enough to keep people together over the course of time.
Rule #4 - People Have Different Needs for Intimacy and Closeness
Rarely, are people exactly alike when it comes to needing attention, closeness and intimacy. Some people require constant reassurance and attention, while other people actually prefer their independence, their autonomy and they need a lot of free time (particularly, time spent away from their partners). When couples are terribly mismatched, this can cause a lot of problems. One person is constantly trying to get closer while other is constantly trying to pull away. One person feels hurt, unloved and neglected while the other person feels like they are being constrained, trapped and suffocated.

And even when two people get together, people who are more similar with respect to their relational needs, things can change over time. Our needs for intimacy and closeness can sometimes change on a daily basis. Some days we might want to feel close and connected, and at other times we can find ourselves needing some freedom and space.

So, it often helps to realize that a partner's needs can sometimes be very different from our own needs. And more often than not, these differences have nothing to do with the relationship, it's just the way things are.
Rule #5 - Effective Communication Is Important, But Not all Problems Can Be Talked Away
Communication is a problem for many couples. But, learning how to communicate more effectively won't solve every relational problem that couples face. Many of the issues that come up cannot be solved no matter how effectively people learn to talk to each other. For instance, incompatibility or a genuine dislike of a partner are not going to disappear because people acquire new ways of talking. In fact, if such problems exist, better communication skills may make people more aware that these problems can't be solved.


Anonymous said...

reading this some what scares me about the relationship i'm in now...
i know he wouldnt cheat!
but other things like diiferences and such.
But I love Him So Much

Anonymous said...

It is true indeed whatever that was written by you there...
Love is such a complexed thing that people tried to simplify and most of the time, forced simplifications hurts in the long run. Time, tolerance and patience brings us to true love..
Now, I have been with my girl for nearly a year and I just realised that we have different wavelengths and perceptions... it is hard to let go due to comfortable companionship and the time we've shared together but somehow i know that we wont make it till that long... its sad.. but its got to happen.. someday..

Go wherever the sun shines said...

I'm here reading your blog and it made me realise alot of things. I have been with my boyfriend for over a year and it's been great so far. I don't know what to expect from him because we all know, after a while relationships get stale and boring and I'm scared that'll happen to us. I dunno what to accept as normal, or as a sign that it's not going to work. Even if it doesn't work, I can't do anything about it, it's just something you can't really avoid, i guess... no matter how good u two click, the excitement will eventually fade and another person might seem more attractive than your own partner. I hope we find ways to keep the flame alive. Props to those who have made the commitment to be together for a long time cuz it's not for the faint hearted.