Orbiting, Explicit Requests, Self-Growth for Great Relationships

In another great article on establishing healthy partnerships,¬†The Good Men Project offers “10 Things People Who Are Great At Relationships Do Differently.”

Here are three from this list that come up most frequently in my work with couples. Check out the article to read the author’s take and the rest of the list. Here are some of my thoughts on these three:

3. They know when they need some space. I see couples more as two orbiting bodies than two candles becoming one, or choose your ‘two becoming one’ cliche. Two becoming one too easily leads to enmeshment, in which two individuals sacrifice or lose their essential selves in service to the ‘relationship.’ This never ends well. Eventually one or both will erupt in resentment for having ‘given up’ so much (think jobs, independence, hobbies, friends, proximity to family, etc.). It’s imperative that each person preserve their selves, interests, and independent lives, so they can be their best in relationship to their partner.

4. They learn how to communicate authentically. ¬†Listen to your partner with goodwill for deeper understanding, rather than for points to argue against. Make explicit requests to get your needs & wants met, rather than waiting for them to anticipate what you need and simmering in resentment because they’ll never get there. Speak in unarguable truths naming your feelings – it’s never about the dishes, the trash, or bedtime help. It’s more likely about feeling sad, angry, or abandoned.

8. They stop projecting. Own your past, and your future emotional work. Projecting your insecurities onto your partner is a distraction and a destruction of connection. Take responsibility for your own path and request support, not rescue, so you can become the person you want to be in your relationship.

If something here or from this list gets you thinking and you’d like some support to build these qualities into your relationship, reach out here.