It's 2015, and fantastic relationships between men and women are sadly in the minority. I think that the problem comes from common misunderstandings between the sexes.
Men and women make a lot of assumptions about each-other; assumptions about the ways that we're different and about the ways we're the same. Often, we're incorrect, and these assumptions pull us further apart from each-other, when what we need is to come together.
The best thing to do is let go of these assumptions and see each person with fresh eyes, allowing them to show us who they really are, so that we can respond to their actual needs and feelings.
We need to talk to each-other more about what really matters to us; about the things we can't tolerate and the things we can't live without.
The more open we are, the more likely it is that we'll get what we want and avoid the things we don't want, in our relationships.
It's not always easy to communicate, but if we don't, we'll stay stuck in frustration, misunderstandings and disconnection forever.
Men need to tell women what will make them happy and what will make them unhappy in a relationship; women need to do the same with men, and we all have to be really honest about it (but always considerate and kind), or the other person will never be able to give us what we want.
Joseph (an acquaintance of mine, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy) is a 40-something divorced man whose marriage ended because neither he nor his wife were able to be honest with each other about their feelings and needs.
They'd had a lot of conflicts, and neither of them were getting what they wanted. In fact, both had been putting up with some things that really didn't work for them.
Maybe their relationship would have ended anyway, if they'd opened up and told each-other the truth, but at least they'd have given it a try and maybe, if they'd been real, they could have made it work.
If you want to be happy in your relationship with the opposite sex, you need to stop making assumptions about who the other person is and what they want, and you need to ask.
You also need to stop thinking that they should be able to read your mind and know what you want. They have to be able to ask you how they can make you happy, too.
We're all are entitled to respect, consideration, kindness and affection, but we should give as much as we get, and never settle for less than what really works for us.
We shouldn't tolerate the "deal-breakers" in a relationship, and we shouldn't try to live without the things we absolutely need.
Being authentic is the very best way to be in a relationship, because when we're real, and kind, we're loved for who we really are; when we try too hard to please the other person, and we're "nice," they'll only see our persona and we'll never be loved for our true self.
We do best when we can embrace the similarities and differences between men and women. It's reassuring when we're on the same page, but we can't always expect this.
Sometimes it's confusing to see the other person respond differently than we would to a situation, but that's where open communication helps us understand where they're coming from, and see the validity of their point of view.
Fantastic relationships come when we can be equal yet different. When we accept each-other with all our own unique strengths and foibles, gifts and challenges, we can come together and complement one-another.
A confident, successful woman never wants to take anything away from a man; she never wants to control him or change him.
A reasonable, well-adjusted, loving woman just wants to share everything in life with her man; she wants them both to learn and grow from each-other and create the best life possible.
It's important that we choose a partner who's emotionally stable enough to be in a positive relationship with us. The other person shouldn't come with so much emotional baggage that they're unwilling or unable to negotiate in good faith.
If we recognize too many signs of instability, (too quick to anger; always finding fault; overly-controlling; impossible to please) it may be time to walk away, as the relationship is unlikely to make us happy.
Men and women can have fantastic relationships. If you'd like to learn more, check out my new book for men: Women Decoded: The Secret Strategy for Relationship Success, available now on Amazon.com
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