Navigating Uncertain Waters
When dating individuals get to the place where they are looking at a committed relationship, a logical and prudent approach is to discuss each person’s needs and wants and decide what is acceptable and what is not. Any issue should be open to discussion and negotiation. Preparing for the idea that other peripheral relationships might be desirable and helpful is a good way to avoid the sudden shock of feeling inadequate by either partner. If both parties can admit that they might not be able to satisfy all of each other’s needs and that other persons could provide for those needs, the acceptance of such a strategy could be viable and attractive. Issues that would create undue stress for either party should be dealt with in a way that both parties get their needs met. A win-win goal is a good way for building trust and safety in the partnership.
There is also the issue that partners might break some of the agreements despite their best intentions. When this occurs, a process of rectifying broken agreements is in order in which both parties desire a positive outcome that won’t destroy the relationship. Forgiveness and moving on is the key in this type of situation. Are we willing and capable of negotiating any issue, might be a good rule to live by?
Making Workable Agreements
Partners need to be assertive enough to air their wants, needs, and rules so both parties are clear about what is expected of them. Often, one will not disclose their expectations and will then suffer when those expectations are not met. Ongoing dialogue about anything pertaining to the relationship should be encouraged and acted upon. Should couples run into difficulties navigating difficult issues, counseling is a good resource to consider.
Particular Behaviors that Inhibit Healthy Relationships
Lack of trust—monitoring the behaviors of their partner as they don’t believe the right behaviors or decisions will prevail.
Dishonesty—a lack of integrity, disposed to lying, cheating, being deceptive, corrupt, or treacherous.
Dependency or co-dependency—one or both persons feel they are not a fully functioning person and rely on their partner for many or all their needs in the relationship.
Emotional deprivation—lack of ability to express personal emotions and feelings as they pertain to the partnership.
Narcissism—a person who is insecure, selfish, lacks empathy, feels entitled and has a need for admiration.
Entitlement—the notion that one is deserving of special treatment or privileges.
Self-sacrificing—does things that are not to their liking to please the other often.
Unrealistic standards for the partnership—expects more than is reasonable for the average person in regards to behavior and ability.
Mental illnesses such as PTSD, significant depression or anxiety, characterological disorders, anti-social behavior, etc.
References for this article:
John Del Signore: Author
Wikipedia and Dictionary.com for relationship styles definitions
Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray and What it Means for Modern Relationships, copyright 2010, Harper Perennial, Authors Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha (this is a must read!)
Are Polyamorous Relationships the New Normal? Thrivetalk, February 5, 2019, Joshua Marcus.
Monogamy: It’s Not What You Think, September 18, 2018, Psychology Today, Joe Kort, Ph.D.
8 Signs a Monogamous Relationship Isn’t for You, New York, The Cut, Relationships, Jan 1, 2018, Candice Jalili.
Polyamorous relationships may be the future of love, Love doesn’t just come in pairs. Is it time that marriage laws come to recognize the fact? BBC Future, June 2016, Melissa Hogenboom.