Posts tagged relationships
Trust in Relationships 2

Dr. Larry Cohen (856) 352-5428

We fall in love. We idolize and worship our new lover, and during about the first 6 months, we are on our best behavior.

after 6 months, reality (and your partner) begin to reveal itself. You learn more about your partner’s attitudes toward the world, toward life, toward commitment, toward trust, and toward you. Now’s the time when the rubber hits the road, and you see your partner with more clarity – the fog induced by romance begins to clear.

It is now time to take stock – to really squint hard and see your partner as they truly are. Is this ‘your person’? Or not. Just where are you when it comes to commitment? To a future together? to spending your life together?

The importance of unconditional acceptance of the other: I believe that a couple cannot be fully intimate, and cannot live happily ever after, without unconditional acceptance of each other. If this is really ‘your person’, you need to ask whether you can truly accept your partner for who they are. Not just the good stuff – the sex, the love notes, and the insightful exchange of gifts – I’m talking about all of IT. And some of it you just don’t care for. Such as: you discover piles of unhung cloths scattered all over her house. you discover She’s a bit disorganized; well, no, she’s really a bit of a slob... unconditional acceptance: Can you live the next 50 years in total acceptance of this? If not, your future together may be an unhappy one, as you try to change her, to bring her around to neatness, to get her to see the value in neatness – like you do.

To be truly happy, I believe you must avoid attempts at making your partner more and more like you. They are their own person, with their own peculiar way of doing things (as are you). Unconditional acceptance of your partner. Let it be the law.

 For the past 6 months you have willingly and openly given your heart to him. This is the way of new love. soon, the question of long-term trust must be examined, as you are doomed to fail without it. “can I trust this person?” “do they have my best interest at heart?” “will they protect me like a gem, always careful not to hurt me.” Can you trust this person with your life and happiness? or, Will they lie and cheat? This question takes time to answer.

 The important issues are both “should I trust”, and “how do we build trust”. because Without trust, relationships simply die on the vine. How does one build trust? with it, the relationship will continue to grow.

Before you can build trust, you must understand what it means to you and to your partner. You must find out if you have a mutual understanding of trust - it’s bounds, it’s rules, it’s expectations. This knowledge is essential, so I suggest you Get over the fear of scaring your partner away with big relationship questions. Don’t assume your partner sees things the same way you do. Get specific so you avoid future misunderstandings and betrayals. Be certain to communicate clearly what your behavioral expectations are. Be specific regarding what you are looking for and how you ‘SEE’ relationships. What are your expectations, and what are theirs? Honest, open, clear dialogue and discussion leads the way to building trust.

Ways TO BUILD TRUST IN your RELATIONSHIP:

KEEP YOUR PROMISES, BIG AND SMALL

Trust 101 teaches us the importance of keeping the promises we make. Yet, sometimes the small things are forgotten. Don’t forget, some of the small things are really the big things. When you’re running late, call. Walk the dog as promised and pay the bills on time. Make your promises about small stuff as important as your promises about big stuff. Keep your promises, no matter how insignificant you may believe them to be. Being trustworthy has no size.

DON’T KEEP SECRETS

Keep your personal conversations at home. Do not keep secrets from each other, instead keep them for each other. It is only right to talk about something once you hear your partner bring the subject up in a conversation. Don’t forget, she might only share certain information with certain people, so keep her secret and let her decide who to share it with.

 TRUST IS EARNED

Don’t assume trust exists and always be working to earn it. When we stop taking trust for granted and make it a priority, we will be conscious of our actions and the perceptions of those actions to our partner.

FACE TO FACE: COMMUNICATE OPENLY AND IN PERSON

It is essential that most communication, especially of great importance, should happen face to face. The true meaning of a message can get lost via text, email and sometimes even on the phone. Make sure you are both heard and understood by talking face to face.

PRACTICE UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE AND A NON-JUDGMENTAL ATTITUDE

KEY: you might not understand why something is important to your partner, but the fact that it is important is all that matters. Before you can trust, you must respect each other and your differences without judgment. Just because you don’t value certain subjects or concepts doesn’t mean you should brush them off.

BE VULNERABLE

Be real with your partner and that means sharing things that you often keep hidden. The ultimate sign of trust is living your truth and by doing so your partner will be more comfortable living theirs.

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CARE

Taking good care of yourself adds to the health of the relationship. We are better people and better in our relationships when we take the time to work on ourselves. We must remember to grow both as individuals and as couples.

BE SUPPORTIVE

It is essential to be supportive of your partner. Supporting each other is most essential when trust is first forming and growing. No one is perfect, and we learn from our mistakes. Supporting your partner when they are trying something new or are acting outside of their comfort zone can be very powerful. It shows your partner that they don’t have to be just one way; that you will love and support them even when they make mistakes. Being supportive of ‘the person’ completely, whether in good times or bad, allows us to fully be who we are. Knowing our partner has our back regardless of our situation goes a long way toward building trust.

BE FORGIVING

Holding a resentment toward our partner is poisonous. Trusting doesn’t mean mistakes won’t happen - and when they do be forgiving. We need to feel confident that we can make mistakes, be imperfect, and fall flat on our face while enveloped in our partners unconditional acceptance of who we are. sometimes we hurt our partner emotionally without knowing it. And our partner needs to be forgiving and loving regardless. Why? Because there is faith and truth in your bond. The only way to move forward is to forgive, especially those we love the most.

SHOW A UNITED FRONT

Disagreeing in public or in front of friends and family never goes over well. If you disagree with your partner, find time to sit at home and communicate with each other later. Shaming your partner in front of colleagues is cruel, and as a loving, trustworthy partner, you must be vigilant in supporting your partner’s healthy sense of self-worth.

To build trust, you must be behaviorally consistent and do what you say you are going to do. Don’t mistake small promises as insignificant. A broken promise is just that, no matter how small or large. Respect and be true to your partner. Be on their side – always. Even when they’re wrong, seize the opportunity to communicate openly, without judgment. Most importantly, be willing and committed to accepting your partner fully. Love all of who they are – without condition - with arms open and hearts willing.

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'Your Relationship'

Dr. Larry Cohen (856) 352-5428

"Why are you treating me this way?"

Sometimes our partners say things and act in ways that we just don’t get. Things are supposed to be this way, not that way. Why don’t they understand how things are supposed to be in a relationship?  The answer is simple: your understanding of how things are supposed to be in your relationship – your ‘normal’ – is not their ‘normal’. You must accept that their understanding of how relationships work – how to act, what to say, and how to handle things – will inevitably differ from yours. You have your ‘Guide to Relationships’, while your partner has a different ‘Guide’. Their guide not only differs from yours, but even seems to be written in another language sometimes. Why can’t they see that your way is the right way, and that their way is wrong?

Let me introduce you to your parents.

Perhaps obvious, but often overlooked, is the example your parents set, during your childhood, of how a relationship should be. If you thought everyone learned what a relationship is by watching “Leave it to Beaver” or heaven forbid “The Sopranos”, you are very much mistaken. When it comes to relationships, we learn the rules, the ways of interacting, and the ways of behaving - what a relationship is and how it works -  from our parent’s example. Your ‘normal’ is what you know, and your partner’s normal is what they know.

If you are currently in a relationship, look at your partner’s parent’s relationship. Here you will find the underpinnings of your partners ‘Guide to Relationships’. Then look at your own parents – how they interact with each other, what they say to each other, how they behave – and recognize that much of what you believe to be a normal relationship was influenced by their example. These are the cornerstones of your ‘guide’ to normal relationships. Even if you disagreed with or even hated the nature of their relationship, it was what you grew up with and was a primary example.

What Do We Do Now?

If the state of your relationship warrants, finding and working with an experienced and knowledgeable couples coach is invaluable. Whether or not you partner with a coach, the first step is to identify your relational goals. Work together to discover and outline the steps necessary to meet those goals. Issues such as conflicting relational definitions and beliefs need to be identified and discussed. Compromises will need to be made, and you may both need to accept relational ‘deal breakers’ that present themselves. You may not agree with or even understand some of your partner’s requests. The goal is to combine your 2 different relational guides into one – a relational guide that you and your partner agree to.

Commitment to change will be expected, and a couple’s coach can help you change the behaviors you agreed to change.

Rewriting the foundation upon which you and your partner have lived by is not easy and requires commitment to both the change process and to each other. Yet I have witnessed couples make incredible changes, turning dysfunctional relationships into happy, harmonious relationships. Every partnership is challenging. When difficulties arise, I strongly encourage you to examine your core beliefs about relationships, identify where you learned these beliefs, and question their usefulness in healing and strengthening your relationship. Relationships should be joyful, strong partnerships. Work together, never apart, to create a relationship you’ve dreamed of.

 

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