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Meaningful Personal Relationships

Author Unknown

Note from Doug: It's nice to know that others really "get it" when it comes to great relationships! I am trying to find the author of this piece. If you know, please pass it on to me. Thanks!


Qualities that are most important in dynamic and evolving personal relationships include:

Each person has an individual identity: We need togetherness, but we also need to maintain separateness. Kahil Gibran (1923) in The Prophet says: “But let there be spaces in your togetherness” and Harriet Goldhor Lerner in Dance of Anger (1985) says that long term relationships are difficult to maintain because you are constantly managing a balance between separateness and togetherness. It’s important not to become what the other expects, but to negotiate as well and be flexible in order to create togetherness.

Togetherness out of choice, not need. This implies people are together by choice and not from dependency. “I can’t live without you,” demonstrates dependency on someone to make you whole or complete. Interdependency is different than dependency.

Personal responsibility for happiness. Of course, in close relationships, happiness and unhappiness of each other is bound to affect you. That’s different than expecting another to make you happy, fulfilled or excited. Ultimately, you are responsible for defining your goals and life.

Willingness to work to keep relationship alive. If we hope to keep a relationship vital, we must reevaluate and revise all the time. It’s like cultivating a garden. It needs tending to be fruitful and beautiful.

Each person grows and changes. When you rely on others for personal fulfillment and confirmation as a person, you are in trouble. The best way to build strong relationships is to work on developing yourself. Likewise, we need to allow our partner to grow and change to become all they can be, even if it often means sacrifice on our part.

Two people are equals in a relationship. People who feel they are typically “givers” and their partner is unavailable when they need them, question the balance in their relationship. Both parties need to be willing to look at aspects of equality and demonstrate a willingness to negotiate equity. Equity, not equal all the time.

Each actively demonstrates concern for the other. Vital relationships include active expression of valuing one another. Actions and words show care and concern. Each must show a desire to offer affirmations to the other. Demonstrate a willingness to view things from the other’s eyes. Validation for opinions, feelings, and needs.

Each person finds meaning and sources of growth outside the relationship. A sign of a healthy relationship is that each avoids assuming an attitude of ownership toward the other. Sometimes people can become very possessive. Although we may experience jealousy from time to time, we cannot demand the other person deaden feelings for others. Their lives did not begin when they met each other, nor will they end if they should part.

An ability to cope with anger. Conflict and anger is inevitable. More than the absence of fighting is learning how to fight cleanly and constructively. If anger is not expressed and dealt with constructively, the relationships will sour.

Commitment to the other. Commitment is a vital part of an intimate relationship. It means the people involved have an investment in a future together and will remain together through conflict and crisis. Loving and being loved is both exciting and frightening. Commitment to another carries risk and a price, but is an essential part of an intimate relationship.






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