By Dr. Tara Fields
1. DON’T fall in love with someone’s potential. Too many men and women choose a mate or stay in relationships with the hope that the other person will change.
DO be honest and with yourself and ask: “Can I love this person exactly the way they are now without the expectation of change?” If not, find someone else.
2. DON’T confuse lust with love. In a rush to feel close, people have sex prematurely creating a false intimacy, which can lead to disappointment.
DO take the time to create a genuine emotional connection and allow a passionate sexual relationship to grow.
3. DON’T overlook the red flags out of desperation to have a relationship. For Example: If he makes a statement like ‘I don’t do commitment well,’ Believe him!!
DO ask yourself, “Is this person really available emotionally and situationally?’ (People tend to spend more time researching a VCR purchase then their potential mate).
4. DON’T assume your mate “psychically” knows what you want or need.
DO take responsibility for expressing your feelings and needs with one another. This will pre-empt conflict and deepen the emotional connection between you.
5. DON’T take your partner for granted. When couples get past the honeymoon stage they often become complacent with each other.
DO continue romancing one another throughout the relationship, not just in the beginning stages. For example: Make a standing “date night” once a week. If you’re stuck in a power struggle or conflict:
6. DO be empathetic to your partner. Put aside for the moment your need to be right and put yourself in your partner’s shoes to understand their point of view. Being understanding and validating your partner’s feelings does not mean you have to agree with them. Nor does it mean you have to give up on getting your own needs met. Often feeling understood will mean more to your partner than being right or winning the battle.
7. DO focus on what you would like from your partner and what they have done right — instead of what they have done wrong. Be specific. For example: “I felt cared for when you cleaned the kitchen and watched the kids so I could take a bath and relax last Thursday night.” Here are some final points on what a healthy relationship looks like:
8. Your love is returned. The person loves you back. You’re not involved with somebody you’re trying to get to love you.
9. You don’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells. If you have a tight feeling in your stomach, that’s not love, that’s you trying to get approval.
10. A healthy relationship increases your self-esteem. “To be in an intimate relationship, couples need to expose their authentic self. That entails being vulnerable and showing some emotional courage. People are often afraid of revealing who they really are for fear that they will not be accepted. A healthy relationship occurs when two people feel safe revealing their true selves to one another.”
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