A Brief Guide to Relationships


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by Jayaram V

Relationships succeed and strengthen when you practice the following

1. When you respect the boundaries of your relationships, and know your limits. It means you do not make promises you cannot fulfill, you will not expect too much from your relationships and you will not take others for granted.

2. When you keep space in a relationship. It means your mind your own business and let others mind theirs, you will not invade the privacy of others and you will recognize the rights and freedom of others to be themselves just as you recognize yours own.

3. When you share information and responsibility. It means you will not take unilateral decisions when your decisions affect other people, you will consider other people's opinions before arriving at your own, you will not expect other people to take responsibility for your life and you will not interfere with other people's right to make decisions and take care of their lives.

4. When you empower each other. It means that you recognize a relation as a two way process in which each side plays a supportive role and empower each other to realize their goals and dreams. It means you will be loyal to the people you love and trust and stand by them in difficult times, giving them moral and mental support when needed.

5. When you are able to manage conflicts effectively. It means you will allow the other party to have a say in the conflict resolution and willing to negotiate your way through conflict resolution process, rather than dominating the process and trying to enforce your will upon others.

Factors that are critical to a relationship

The following factors contribute to healthy and strong relationships

1. Honesty. It means both sides must be honest in their dealings with each other and do not hide any information from the other person that may affect their relationship.

2. Loyalty. It means both sides remain loyal to each other through difficult times and do not betray each other in the presence of others or in the face of temptation.

3. Effective communication. It means both sides keep their communication channels open and communicate regularly and effectively to avoid misunderstanding, insufficient communication and unnecessary conflicts.

4. Love and caring. It is not sufficient just to have these feelings. Both parties must actively express them frequently through various opportunities to nurture the relationship and invigorate it.

5. Respect. Genuine respect shows itself through actions and attitude rather than mere words and gestures. Many relationships crumble when respect is wanting in them.

6. Attention. Attention is to a relationship what breathing is to a person. It means you acknowledge the presence of the other person, respect his or her opinion, give consideration to the feelings and words expressed and participate in the moment with your heart and mind.

7. Empathy. There are many layers to a relationship in which feelings have an important role. With empathy you connect to the other person's emotions and feelings and establish a deeper relationship.

8. Compassion and forgiveness. No human being is perfect. Just as we make mistake, others make mistake too. When we recognize human fallibility and willingly forgive others and ourselves, we strengthen our relationships with others and give ourselves and them a chance to move forward.

9. Common interests. Relationships thrive if both sides have identical interests in areas that touch their lives. While opposites may attract, research shows that in the long run having some similarities and identical interests strengthens the bonds of a relationship.

10. Values. Both sides must share some common moral, social and religious values for the relationship to survive and strengthen.

Intimate relationships

Six Types of Love
John Lee, a psychologist, identified six types of love:
1. eros characterized by erotic love for the idealized other,
2. ludus characterized by playful love or gamelike love involving banter etc.,
3. storge, which is a slowly developing love,
4. mania characterized by obsession and jealousy,
5. agape, which is an altruistic or platonic love, and
6. pragma, which is a practical and need based love with no strings attached.

In case of love relationships the following factors are also important

1. Intimacy, which must exist both at the physical and mental level.

2. Passion, which must be expressed as well as expressed

3. Sex, which must be as per the mutual needs and expectations

4. Fidelity, which has to be genuine and unconditional

5. Commitment, which must be shown through actions and feelings

6. Financial stability, which means living within the means and planning your financial future

7. Age, which can be a problem if there a wide age disparity or if the relationship is solely based upon physical attraction.

8. Health, which is important because health issues such as stress and weight problems may create physical and emotional barriers between a couple and break their relationship.

9. Sharing of intimacy, time, resources, love, information and other factors, which is necessary to keep the relationship going

10. Support, which should be physical, mental, and emotional and which serves as the backbone of the relationship

Conflict resolution

The following are a few suggestions to resolve differences and conflicts in a relationship.

1. Focus on resolving the differences rather than having your way

2. Listen and understand the other point of view rather than speaking uninterruptedly to make your point.

3. Attack the problem not the person.

4. Focus on the specific action or behavior that caused the conflict rather than the entire character of the person.

5. Avoid dwelling upon the past and focus upon the present.

6. Respect the other person's feelings and right to express.

7. Focus upon solutions rather than the problem.

8. Give the benefit of doubt to the other person instead of making assumptions.

9.. Avoid mind-reading and making presumptive judgments about the other person based upon your past experience without adequate information or proof.

10. Accept responsibility for your faults and actions.

11. Do not expect the other person to read your mind and know your thoughts without you trying to explain.

12. Wait for the right time if the situation is too difficult to resolve.

Suggestions for Further Reading

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