It’s not easy to love when you know that there are risks involved. The equilibrium between thinking with the mind and feeling with the heart is difficult to reach. It’s a unique balance based on our attachment experiences and history in life and love. Know these common mistakes and you have a chance at warm fuzzy relationship success instead of prickly fearful romance.
FEAR DRIVEN MISTAKES
TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT HAVEN’T HAPPENED
This mistake is a big one, and one that usually occurs even in the early stages of a relationship or after a few months. People are sometimes ready to put out their list of concerns early on as a part of the process of deciding whether or not the other person is a good match. There is this initial evaluation period. After a period of time things tend to settle down and then after real intimacy has developed, some of those skeletons of fears resurface. This occurs when one or both partners feel a sense of safety in disclosing some of their concerns. This may include divulging concerns about level of commitment, long term goals (living together, meeting family). When it comes to talk about the future, limit it to a ratio of 90-10, positive, negative. Say you mention several future oriented things (a vacation, meeting his family), make sure that you focus on the positive.
Fear is contagious! I can’t tell you how many times things have gone completely fine in a relationship and then one person’s concerns ooze into the unconsciousness of another person. Example: there was an age discrepancy and the woman was worried how age may impact the relationship. The male was present focused and didn’t worry about the future in general. After a while, the boyfriend actually started to be concerned about all of the fears that the girlfriend was verbalizing.
TRYING TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIP SOLID BY "TESTING"
One of the great things about people and relationships is that they are more fluid than imaginable. Sure, that’s one of the scary things, too. Things can change very quickly. But relationships have dips and things don’t go well for a period of time, all to later reach a greater sense of balance and a stronger foundation. Every relationship is tested with disagreements and discussions that are the result of the fears of one or both partners. This brings me to notion of “testing.” Testing is when you’re do things to test the status of the relationship, either through action or passive-aggressive attempts. If you see yourself needing to test the relationship let it be a signal to you that you are not addressing your insecurities, or you have not expressed something that will eventually need to be expressed. Also, be sure to own what is yours. Know when you’re projecting your history onto your current partner and relationship. Own it by acknowledging it to yourself, and if necessary communicate it. But don’t go into too much detail.
FILLING IN THE BLANKS
Your alternative to not taking the above recommendation seriously will likely bring you to the common mistake, of filling in the blanks. You’ve probably already done it since most relationships start out with this unhelpful method. Filling in the blanks is when you make assumptions about what the other person is thinking, feeling, and what the hell they are actually doing in the relationship. I know you may consider yourself insightful and “good at reading people.” That gets you nowhere in your personal relationships. Your only chance is looking at real facts. Don’t assume you know what another person is feeling if you don’t. Go with the most logical assumption (if they hang out with you a lot, say they like you, you can at least assume that they do like you. If they hang out with you inconsistently and don’t say they like you, assume that they like you some but that’s all you know.)