The Keys to a Successful Relationship

happy couple at the beach

The most successful relationships are based on mutual respect and affection. Many couples that have been together for 20 years will tell you that their partner is their best friend. The bond with a best friend is your most intimate relationship. You tell your best friend everything. You express yourself openly without fear of being judged. You ask for help and offer help when your friend is in need. You know what this person thinks, feels and values. You laugh together, cry together and support one another through every aspect of life. You learn new things, explore new thoughts, share your feelings and grow together.

It’s impossible to have an intimate relationship with someone who is always busy doing their own thing or doing things that don’t include you. It is equally hard to have a relationship with someone who is solely focused on work, success or individual goals. Communication is key to getting through these stumbling blocks and it is the greatest priority for a relationship to thrive and grow. In order for the two of you to become more connected, you must be willing to be authentic and honest with each other. Often, we are willing to tell our closest friends how we feel, but we won’t open up to our partner for fear of being rejected.

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Women experience emotional intimacy through verbal communication, while men express their emotions more through action and physical touch. In most breakups instigated by women, the female partner has been grieving the relationship loss prior to leaving. Men, however, go along thinking everything is fine even though there is a total lack of communication and the woman has stopped expressing her feelings and needs. The man in her life often misses this sign that shows the woman has given up and is ready to leave.

I’ve spoken to countless men who lost the woman they loved and didn’t understand what happened. The mate tried to voice her needs and the man just didn’t get it. Instead of trying to clarify what is wrong, the male partner often just ignores it and thinks it will go away. While ignoring these important communications does make it go away, the consequence is that the female partner will go away as well.

Sometimes the reverse occurs and it’s the man who wants his woman to talk and share what she is thinking and feeling. Instead, the woman avoids intimacy and connection and won’t open up to him. These kinds of women are often looking for something that is less intimate and more materially satisfying.

Consider the case of a man who has focused solely on his wealth and career for the majority of his adult life. He is now in his mid forties – single – never married – no kids. Now that he has built his wealth, he wants to find someone with whom he can share his life. The problem is that he has not developed his emotional side. He has been alone for so long that his opinion is the only one that counts. He does not know how to be giving and compassionate. This fellow has not spent any time developing his spiritual or emotional side, so he is very much stunted in those areas. He handles his relationships much like a business.

Unfortunately, relationships are not a business. Humans grow and change. Emotions fluctuate and it is not as easy to solve the problems that arise due to emotional needs. I have been advising him to spend time developing his ability to be a loving, compassionate and caring person. He needs to change his priorities and put an intimate relationship on the top of the list. He needs to get in touch with his own feelings so that he can express them in relationship to someone else. Additionally, he needs to be in touch with others and begin to understand their feelings and needs. By learning to feel, to listen, respond and act in a loving and giving manner, he can have what he wants.

Many people have had their hearts broken in the past and don’t want to be open to that hurt again. Don’t fall into this category – don’t give up and don’t shut down. If you are not in a relationship but want to find a life partner, be a loving person to your kids, pets, family and even strangers. In doing this, love will find you and you will find yourself with a healthy partner that is capable of becoming your best friend and most trusted confidante.

If you are in a relationship but the connection has died and communication has stopped, take heart. You can begin to express yourself honestly and openly. While it may take time to reconnect with each other, if both partners are willing, the connection can heal. Find things to do together that will allow for communication – and are fun. Rediscover who you are to your partner and who your partner is to you. Take turns doing the things that you each enjoy. Pick something new to do together. If your partner is not able or is unwilling to communicate, you may have to consider the possibility of leaving. It is not healthy to stay in a relationship that won’t allow you to be authentic.

Many times communication breaks down because either one or both people get lost in their goals, work and immediate concerns. While we all have to work, the volatility of the economy and world should be a reminder of what is really important and what brings true happiness. Love is a gift we freely give to another and in doing so we are blessed. Be present when you are communicating. Hear what the other is saying and empathize with this person. Connecting with someone is a powerful energy that multiplies our sense of belonging.

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