Tips for Relationships

Each relationship we have reflects a slightly different part of our selves, and adds value to our lives in a different way. When considering relationships that are currently difficult, it's helpful to understand where the disconnect, or conflict lies, before building new skills and approaches.

Consider the following in better understanding the relationship dynamic:

  • When did the relational dynamic change or become noticeably poorer?

  • What are all the feelings that come up when thinking about this relationship's struggles?

  • What are the expectations you have for relationships such as this? What have you seen from media or from others that has informed what you believe this relationship should entail?

  • What are your needs within this relationship? What are your "wants" for it?

  • What do you feel afraid of?

  • When you step back to look at the relationship, how would you describe a typical interaction and dynamic?

  • How is power divided between the people within the relationship? What do you do that maintains or challenges this distribution?

  • When you consider doing something different, what thoughts and beliefs come up?

  • What do you wish the other person knew, but have not expressed to them?

Consider the following in moving towards a relationship that works better for you:

  • Which expectations and examples feel helpful and aligned with how you want your relationship to be, and which feel like they are adding undue pressure?

  • Are there needs that are not being met? What would you need in order to pursue changing the relationship to get them?

  • How likely is it that your fears will happen as you predict? Which are most realistic, and which are not?

  • When you consider your role in the distribution of power in the relationship, what has been effective in achieving the distribution you'd like, and what has been ineffective?

  • Which emotions are you more reactive to than you'd like to be? What is a way you can interrupt your immediate reaction and give yourself time to consider?

  • If boundaries are being crossed, what is in your way of setting or re-establishing those boundaries? What do you need to know or do?

Every relationship is uniquely informed by previous experiences, needs, and values. While this is only a starting place, building insight and understanding of yourself, your role within a relationship, and your challenges within it can facilitate and empower the change you'd like to see.