Healthy relationships are based on balance. When one partner “owns” all the power and exerts control over the relationship, the other partner usually feels intimidated, insecure and often fearful. If you’re in a relationship in which you feel powerless or uncomfortable in expressing your needs and desires, this is the perfect time to do some inner probing, reassess your relationship’s balance and question whether you’re with the right partner.
Here are some valuable tips for making a relationship work … along with some warning signs that you may be settling for less than you deserve in a meaningful, lasting relationship.
1. Successful relationships are built on mutual respect. Therefore, the more you focus on negative aspects of your partner, the more you will deny yourself the positive, attractive aspects you noticed when you first started dating. Find ways to keep respect between you thriving.
2. Don’t lose yourself in your relationship. Maintain your individual interests, including friends, activities and professional goals. You must be able to orchestrate your life and not feel smothered or discounted.
3. Be alert to any uncomfortable behaviors in your partner that would be a sign of impending abuse. Too quick attachment, intense jealousy, mood swings, anger issues, verbal threats or distorted accusations are the “red flags” that spell caution.
4. Trust your intuition, which is that part of you with knowledge vital to your well-being. This internal antenna continually sends you messages and if anything or anyone makes you feel uneasy, don’t ignore it.
5. Never sacrifice yourself for the sake of your partner. While it’s always important to be flexible in your relationship, be sure you don’t sacrifice the values, integrity and standards that are important to you. Compromise is a wonderful quality; selling your soul is too high a price to pay for being in a relationship!
A great way to express your new-found personal power is through your communication skills. Talk about your feelings and frustrations. Ask your partner about their own. Then make some New Year agreements about healthy and respectful new ways to approach your relationship balance. A loving partner will be receptive to making changes that accommodate your needs. Be willing to do the same. If your partner doesn’t want to relinquish control of the relationship, perhaps 2012 is the year for you to open the door to finding a better relationship fit.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, is a Relationship Coach and co-author of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! Visit www.womendatingafter40.com to receive a complimentary Dating Tip Sheet along with a Tip of the Week which spans every facet of dating success — from preparing for your first date to determining whether your partner is a “keeper.”