So, you have been waiting for this one ideal person and here she or he is. As soon as the love rush is over you start working on your lover like a sculptor trying to improve what bothers you. Stop, or you will destroy your relationship. But if this is what you really want, here is how to do it right.
By Gina Lake
- Be honest about everything you don't like about your partner.
- Get angry every time your partner doesn't live up to your expectations or do what you want. Or whine and complain a lot or withhold sex.
- Try to improve your partner and shape him or her into your ideal mate, presumably for his or her own good.
- Expect your partner to make you feel good and make you happy.
- Blame your partner whenever anything goes wrong.
- Remind your partner of his or her past mistakes.
- Carry a negative image around of your partner, and notice all the ways your partner fits that image.
- Reinforce your negative image of your partner by complaining about him or her to your friends.
- Don't notice all the good and helpful things your partner does or what you love about your partner, just what he or she doesn't do well or what you don't like.
- Expect your partner to change just because you want him or her to change.
- Express your negative feelings to your partner whenever they come up.
- Don't do things just to please him or her.
- Don't ever say "I'm sorry," "Thank you," or other nice things.
- Fantasize about being with someone else, especially while you're having sex with your partner.
- Constantly process your feelings with your partner. Try to be each other's therapist.
We all have done these things in our relationships. We do some of these things because doing them is the path of least resistance, even though the results don't bring us the love we want. In other cases, we believe it is the way to relate to others. However, relationships work much better when certain principles are followed. Here are just a few:
• Keep your judgments and negative thoughts and feelings to yourself. If there is something you don't like about your partner, the problem is not your partner, but that you don't like something. Once you realize this, it is possible to choose love over your preferences and desires. When we choose to accept our partner the way he or she is, love flows outward from within us to our partner, and that love is likely to be returned. But when we judge or try to change our partner to fit our "needs," expectations, and preferences, it is not a loving act: We stop the outflow of love from within us, and we are likely to stop the outflow of love from within the person we are judging or trying to change. Judgment stops and eventually kills love. No matter what you think or what you might prefer, your opinions, judgments, beliefs, and desires are not more important than love. If you make them more important than love, you will lose love.
• Recognize and express gratitude often for what you appreciate about your partner. Notice what you love, and ignore and don't focus on what you don't like. Noticing what you love will get the love flowing between you. Noticing what you don't like will stop the love flowing.
• Don't bring the past into the present moment. The past is gone, and only the present moment is real. Respond to the person who is in front of you, not to your images and ideas about him or her that you carry around with you. Try to see your partner freshly in this moment. And don't bring fantasies into the present moment. Be with the one you are with fully for as long as you are with that person. Don't waste your attention on memories or fantasies. Put your attention on what is real and true now. Love flows to whatever you give your attention to. If you give your attention to memories and fantasies, you won't be giving it to the real person in front of you. Love is attention.
• Take responsibility for your feelings. If you have a negative feeling, you created it by telling yourself something. What did you just tell yourself that caused you to feel that way? Your partner can't cause you to feel a certain way, and it isn't in his or her power to change how you feel. You create your experience of life by what you tell yourself about life and whatever is happening.
• Let your partner be the way he or she is. You are not in this world to change and improve your partner. That is your partner's business - and life's. Life has a way of evolving all of us. Accepting others is the greatest gift you can give them, and they will love you for that.
• Make yourself happy. It isn't your partner's responsibility to make you happy. Learn to be happy within yourself. Happiness isn't something you get from something or someone outside yourself, but an attitude that you choose. You become happy by choosing to love life just as it happens to be showing up in the moment and by choosing to love your partner just as he or she happens to be showing up in the moment.
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