In my last blog, I gave you the first four of 8 Simple Ways To Ruin Your Relationship. Like those, these last five are based on faulty beliefs that – if they remain unchanged – will certainly sink your relationship.
5. Live in the past. This is really two effective techniques in one. The first is to idealize a past lover(s) and condemn your current partner for not measuring up. If the past relationship had any value at all, there will be grieving after it ends, so you may find yourself thinking about that person long after you parted. But having him or her come into your mind when you hear a song, smell a favorite food or watch a movie are different than regularly letting that person occupy space in your head. The basic rule is this: any energy you’re expending on your ex is energy you don’t have to give your current or prospective partner. If you’ve created an idealized image of your ex, you’re the next one doesn’t stand a chance.
The second Live In The Past technique is subtler, yet more pervasive and destructive. It consists of forgetting the hard work you’ve done and that you’ve grown in myriad ways. You end up believing that you’ll screw up this relationship just like you did every other one. Do yourself a favor: Don’t label yourself as “an angry person” or “a woman who loves too much.” Your behavior is not who you are, and if you define yourself that way, you’re likely to stay there. Don’t live with an outdated version of yourself.
6. Live in the future. The other side of the “living in the past” coin is no less destructive; this rule is guaranteed to make you unhappy, even if you’re in a good relationship. These people are seldom bored, because there’s so much for one to worry about: sickness, infidelity, relapse, financial strain, sexual ennui; inlaws, anger, dishonesty… If you’re having trouble thinking of a potential problem, turn on daytime television – the list is endless. If you tend live in the future, try the words of Goethe: “Nothing is more important than this day.”
So if you’re in the past or the future, you’re not in the present, where, my friend, all the joy lies. How can you tell if you’re in the past or the future? If you’re experiencing depression or anger, you’re living in the past. If you’re experiencing worry, doubt or anxiety, you’re living in the future.
7. Drink and use drugs. Having a glass of wine with dinner to relax and enhance conviviality is one thing; consistently using chemicals to assuage unpleasant feelings is another. When you use a mind-altering chemical, your perceptions change, your feelings are altered, and human interaction is distorted; the capacity for an authentic relationship goes down the drain like so much chardonnay. So if things are a little too intimate in your relationship, drink more. Trust me: you won’t feel a thing.
8. Lie. Really. No matter how big or small the lie is, there’s just no way you can get away with it. ven if your partner never discovers the untruth, it will accumulate as bad karma and lowered self-esteem. Shakti Gawain tells us, “Any time we begin to withhold our truth on any level, no matter how small or subtle, we begin to block the life force coming through us and we begin to deaden ourselves and our relationship.” Or as Bart Simpson said, “I’m morally opposed to lying. The only reason I lied was so I could get what I wanted.”
Relationship mistakes are sometimes obvious and sometimes not. More successful relationship tips and rules for a happy marriage can be found here.