This week I’ve been working with clients who are coming unstuck in their relationships… because of their relationship rules. Interestingly, although these clients are at different stages in their relationships, it’s still the same problem that is playing out. It’s all about their relationship rules.
What are the relationship rules that you apply if you are embarking on a relationship? And what are the relationship rules that you apply within a relationship?
Most women have a fair few criteria as regards relationship prospects. These tend to include:
- Must be able to string two words together
- Must have a GCSE at grade C, or higher, in basic social graces
- Must have attained an acceptable level of personal hygiene and presentation
- Must be fairly easy on the eye
- Must not have any/too many distasteful habits that jump out at people
- Must be employed/employable
All of these make perfect sense to me.
Then we come to rules. What is, and is not, acceptable behaviour for you? By acceptable behaviour, I mean what behaviour will you accept – – and what are your deal-breakers?
In fact, let’s dig a little deeper: what are your deal-breakers that really are deal-breakers?
Having worked with lovely, bright, successful women for a number of years now, I know that there is often a disconnect between principle and practice: many declared deal-breakers tend to get overlooked, or explained away, in the excitement of the moment.
So, in theory, a man who looks at other women with his tongue hanging out is a No-no but, in practice, you weigh up his perceived attractions and manage to overlook a little light leering.
Or, he tells you early on that he is not a lover of children, dogs, cats, or whatever else matters to you… But you assess him to be a lovely guy and therefore he’s bound to come around to your way of thinking.
Or else, he’s everything you want in a man, but he just happens to be a bit selfish – that’s selfish enough for you to pick up on it when you don’t even know the guy that well. But you assume that’s just because he hasn’t been properly house-trained… Because inside every self-indulgent, immature man there is an unselfish sweetie just begging to be released.
Or, he’s a fabulous man who just happens to be tightfisted…
You get the picture. Lots of lovely women who will do back-flips uncomplainingly to earn love live in a world where all potential deal-breakers have to be tolerated and – hopefully – changed, over time. Usually this leads to painful results.
Then there are your rules, as regards you.
What are your rules when it comes to the way you show up in relationships?
What do you have to do in order to be lovable?
How much do you value yourself?
How much do you expect your significant other(s) to value you?
How do you expect your partner to show love for you?
How do you respond when your partner breaks your rules?
You’re entitled to the very best. But do you really believe it?
If you don’t have answers – or good enough answers – to these questions, it’s time you got some. My book, “Do You Choose Your Dog More Carefully Than Your Husband?” explores them in depth.
It’s not enough to just know you deserve the very best. You have to really believe it – that means you have to feel it without a little voice kicking in and telling you otherwise.
Once you truly believe it, you’ll automatically send out that message – and people around you will hear it.
Your relationship rules are the key to your happiness.