One of the main reasons relationships fail in the short term is because they didn’t start in a way that represented the relationship as potentially long-lasting. A lot of relationships start to decline if they cannot sustain, or they deviate away from the core foundations they were built on. Starting a relationship in the best possible way is key to making it a lasting and fulfilling relationship, as well as knowing early on if it is really the right relationship for you…
A superb metaphor for relationships:
As a general rule of thumb, whatever standards you set for the relationship in the beginning will remain in place in the long term. What a lot of guys do early on is play the nice, doting boyfriend role, who will do whatever his new girlfriend wants and generally try to impress her as much as he can. Then, once he feels secure enough in the relationship, he will start to slack off and take a more dominant stance. He then wonders why this does not get the same reactions he is used to.
If at any point you suddenly change how you act in your relationship, of course your partner will react in a confused manner; you are effectiverly contradicting your core beliefs and ideals that she thought formed your identity. What you are effectively saying is, “this is how I actually want to act and the way I was acting before was just to manipulate and win you over”.
It is a tough predicament for a man in that situation though because if you act like a supplicating boyfriend in the beginning, it is difficult to smoothly change that position later on. Most men realise this, if not immediately, then a little way down the relationship timeline and therefore find themselves in a slight dilemma.
The best metaphor I have heard for this scenario is to think of the relationship like pottery. When you start out in a new relationship, you have the clay in your hands and you can shape it how you like. If you make a small error or venture slightly from your core beliefs momentarily, you can reshape the whole with minimal effort. However, once the relationship has reached a certain point, such as an exclusive relationship, the relationship is set, like the pottery being put in the kiln and hardening the creation forever. The only way you can then reshape the relationship is to seriously damage it and possible break it forever, in the same way that a piece of pottery suddenly becomes fragile once it has been glazed and finished.
So how can you stop this happening?
Set your standards right from the beginning of the relationship and take responsibility for how you want it to be, long before it reaches any kind of official status. This is not in any kind of vindictive way. You definitely do not want to become the relentless, uncompromising boyfriend or girlfriend.
It comes down to a whole mindset shift within yourself and your overall attitude towards men and women, including the roles that they play within a relationship. The main reason why men become needy in a relationship is a lack of abundance with women. They are so scared of losing the girlfriend they have because they have no idea when the next one will come along. This is largely true for women too although being more emotionally stimulated predisposed than men, their neediness generally stems from a hardwired need for emotional attachment (the flow of love) rather than a biological desire for sex and validation.
Start your relationship with an unwavering self-respect that cannot be unwittingly compromised. Make sure your partner knows what is and what is not acceptable to you early on in the relationship and promise yourself that you are willing to leave the relationship if this is consistently abused without any visible signs of redemption. Obviously this goes both ways, so equally you want to respect your partner’s beliefs with this same degree of intent.
One thing you want to avoid early on is changing your core beliefs or actions purely to please your partner. This includes being controlling or supplicating to your partner in a way that conflicts your integrity. An example of this is always going along with what your partner wants to do with regards to making decisions or planning activities. This is often out of fear that if you decide something that this potential long-term partner wouldn’t necessarily have chosen themselves, it might lead them towards resenting you. In fact it’s generally the opposite!
I’ve already made these mistakes; how do I rectify it before it’s too late?
If you realise that you have already compromised some of your integrity with your partner, slowly start introducing some assertiveness back into the relationship. This is something that you will have to slowly introduce over time, as springing a sudden big change in character on your partner will generate the feelings of confusion mentioned previously.
Start making sure that you have at least as much say in the relationship as your partner does and don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Let them know, phrased in such a way that they don’t feel blamed or victimised, when they do something that opposes your morals drastically.
In a follow up article, I will outline some practical steps you can take to start your relationship in the best possible way. 🙂