Relationship Competence


Confidence gets you the date; Competence takes you the distance.


Do you have a strategy for dating and relationship success?


Do you know the critical elements that will maximize your chances of happiness in a committed long-term relationship?


A majority of us walk through life carried by the momentum of the journey. It’s easy to react to a guy liking you – you like him back – or to think that an initial physical attraction will take you far.


I can’t emphasize this point enough: it easy to meet someone and have good chemistry, initially. It really is not hard to meet new people, especially in a place like New York City where millions of eligible men and women share public spaces all day long.


If you find someone with whom you click, and you say, ‘hey, let’s see where this can go,’ then you’re in a good starting place. When the infatuation period ends, and it does end between 18 to 24 months if you’re lucky, you’ll start to see patterns that annoy you that did not initially. You’ll see your mate from a different angle. This is a good thing. You want a 360-degree view of him and he should have the same of you, not just a rose-colored glasses view filled with optimism and wishful thinking. You want to see his worst days. You can learn a lot about a person during the tough times.


Outside of the core requirements for a lasting and fulfilling relationship, such as friendship, love, respect and commitment, you need strong competence or skills to take your love all the way to lasting and fulfilling magic.


As I noted previously, over 60 percent of your differences with you partner will never get resolved.


Therefore, when you choose your mate, inevitably you’re choosing an unresolvable set of circumstances. While there is no way around this, you do want to make sure the differences are manageable and not deal breakers.


Primarily, there are three areas of common differences:


1)    Lifestyle: You are a saver; he is a spender. You want to live in the country with lots of animals by nature; he is a die-hard city boy.  You want to continue working once you have children  (if you want children); he expects you to cut your hours or stay at home. You want to send your children to boarding school; he would never dream of it. Get the drift? Logistics matter in life. Be practical without sacrificing your core needs. Be willing to compromise but know what you are willing to compromise and what you cannot live with or without. Know thyself is the key to everything in life.


2)    Values: This is one area where you cannot compromise. Either you embody and live by certain values or principles or you don’t. It is not fair to ask your partner to shift his values for you or for anyone. It is a core part of who he is. You may not agree but then not everyone will agree with your approach and views. This aspect of a relationship – core values – has to align. There are no ifs or buts about it. Do you know where your values lie? Are you a person of integrity? Do you think it is okay to tell white lies? Do you do the right thing or are you the exception to every rule? Be honest. There’s no point in lying to yourself about this because when you “catch” a man without authentically expressing who you are, you will be found out, eventually.  These lapses will become a problem.If you don’t know where your values lie, just look at how you spend your energy, time and resources. They will point you to your values.


3)   Emotional Fitness:  The most important of the three elements for managing difference is coming together either as “we are in this together” or “we are living independent of one another while sharing the same bed.” Do you have effective conflict management skills? Do you always think you’re right? Do you have to do things your way? It comes down to this: are you open to accepting your partner’s influence? Studies indicate that the number of arguments you have or that you have arguments at all are not the strongest predictor of divorce in six years. Rather, it is HOW you come together to resolve an issue that dictates a relationship’s success. As long as you‘re fighting fair and with respect, it’s okay that you fight. After all, how can two separate beings with completely different childhoods and adult experiences come together flawlessly without any bumps? It’s not realistic. When you do argue, don’t run away and shut down. If you always approach your relationship with a “we” mentality, then you know you can come out stronger on the other side as long as you have each other.  This sounds corny but it is true.


How does one become emotionally fit?


Work on healing the parts of you that need healing. Whatever you don’t resolve bleeds into other areas of your life. We all have emotional baggage; – that’s normal. How you process that baggage is up to you. You’re not entirely responsible for how you were raised and your circumstances but you are responsible for your life today, as an adult. What will you choose?

Work on accepting influence from your partner. You’re not always right. It’s not about who is right but it is about doing what works. How do you know when it’s working? You know when your partner feels heard, seen and understood. If you can communicate in a loving and kind way, expressing your needs instead of criticizing, then you’re golden.


Yes, it’s magical when you meet someone with whom you feel instant attraction. You laugh often as well as have fun doing anything and nothing. Nevertheless, there will be a day when you have your first fight.


As they say, prevention is better than cure.


Just as you work out to build strength and muscles, you have to exercise your emotional health regularly and practice loving your partner in a way that strengthens your connection, especially during tough times.



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