What are Your Non-Negotiables in Your Romantic Relationship?

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Hello Friend, 

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this topic recently because I’ve noticed that it comes up quite a bit in my sessions with clients. Both those in romantic relationships and those looking to be in one. What I’ve come to learn is that each of us have certain values that are non-negotiable. That means that no matter how much we try or wish it to be different, there are aspects of ourselves that are just a part of who we are. 

Working in the area of self-help and development, the focus is often on changing ourselves. We are usually encouraged to change our beliefs, our thoughts, our behaviours and our perspectives. This in general can be a good thing. Most of us are holding onto beliefs, thought patterns, behaviours and perspectives that no longer serve us and keep us from living our best lives. However, I have noticed that with the desire for self-improvement, some of us have come to believe that we need to change every part of ourselves, particularly if we want to find love or stay in our relationships. 

While it is true that compromise is a corner-stone to a healthy, functional relationship, this doesn’t mean that we should not hold onto the core of who we are. We all need certain things to be present in our relationships in order to feel safe and most conflict results from either partner feeling unsafe in the relationship. 

For example, take money, which tends to be a hot button issue for most couples. If you are a person who finds it very important to manage your money responsibly - such as following a budget, making sure not to spend more money then you earn, not carrying debts, etc. No matter how much self-exploration you do, this will likely always be an aspect of who you are. There are ways that you can become less rigid about money, but, no matter what, you’re probably always going to be conscious and responsible with it. As a result, I would consider this aspect of you to be a non-negotiable. I think it would be a disservice to yourself and your partner to pretend like you can change that part of who you are. Instead, it would be more beneficial to embrace that part of yourself so you can be honest with yourself and your partner/potential partner. 

I don’t mean in a “f&%$ you” sort of way, but in a compassionate, self-aware sort of way. Speaking to your partner/potential partner honestly, without shame about who you are and not needing them to be the same way. By being honest about your non-negotiables, you can set the stage for a discussion about where the true opportunity is for compromise, as opposed to pretending that you can be who you are not. 

What this might look like in the above example is if you are the money conscious person and your partner/potential partner is not, you would be honest about that and hopefully s/he can also be honest about who they are. Then, you both can decide what financial arrangement would work best for your relationship. This could mean having a joint account where joint household expenses come out and you each contribute an amount towards. While at the same time, you each have your own separate accounts that you manage as you see fit. Another possibility, could involve you primarily managing the joint finances but allowing your partner to have some freedom to spend or take risks with a portion of money. There are numerous other creative possibilities. It doesn’t matter what the arrangement is, it just has to be an arrangement that honours who you both are and takes into account the fact that each of you have parts of yourself that are fundamental to who you are – i.e. non-negotiable. 

I’ve noticed many people get into trouble in relationships because in the beginning they were more focused on finding love than on being honest about who they are and attempting to find a partner who can accept that. While I appreciate wanting to put your “best foot” forward in order to attract a partner, you are more likely to save yourself heart-ache and frustration if you can be yourself up-front. At least then you know the person is attracted to the “real” you, instead of who you’ve mislead them to believe you are.

I would love to hear from you about your non-negotiables. Please respond in the comment section below. 

My passion is to help people discover their truth, so if you’re curious about how I can help you on that journey, please reach out and send me a message to book a free 30-minute consult. 

Looking forward to connecting!

Best, 

Sandra xo

The Myth about Relationships

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Hello Friend, 

Many of the people I work with come to see me because of challenges they are having in their intimate partner relationships. 

I have discovered from my own experience and others that most of us have grown-up believing in the myth of what the purpose of intimate partner relationships is about. For many of us, we believe that intimate partner relationships, especially marriage, are about finding a soulmate to live happily ever after with. This means that you are supposed to find a relationship (and ideally marry) someone who you are perfectly in sync with - therefore, the two of you never argue (or if you do argue, you make-up shortly thereafter, followed by a session of passionate love-making); you always meet each other’s needs because you are able to read each other’s minds to know what the other partner’s needs are; and, you can easily talk with one another sharing your intimate stories and feelings for hours. To put it simply, you just get each other – like two halves of a whole. 

If this in any way resonates with you, then I hope this post adds some value. 

The above was the picture and expectation I had, which seems a bit bizarre since I am a child of divorce. Nonetheless, I was naively in search of this. Surprisingly, none of my intimate partner relationships seemed to match-up to this dream. One relationship after the other was a disappointment. None of the guys I met or dated seemed to be sweeping me off my feet or perfectly in sync with me. Most of them had no idea what I was thinking or what I really needed or wanted. And while there may have been some laughing in the beginning - by the end there was mostly yelling or silence. 

Even when I met my now husband, from the beginning it was pretty clear he wasn't “perfect” and we were usually not in sync. For instance, he seemed to have no interest in spending hours sharing stories or discussing our feelings and we definitely argued, and even yelled, which more often than not didn’t end in us making passionate love.  So, if we weren’t two halves of a whole, what the heck was the point of this relationship? 

What I have come to learn and understand is that intimate partner relationships have very little to do with living happily ever after and more to do with assisting us with growing and healing. 

While it is certainly important to do our work on our own separate from others, the truth is most of our growth happens in relationships. It is very difficult to be at peace with yourself, when you feel you are completely invisible to your partner and they have no idea who you are or what you need. This is where the purpose of intimate partner relationships comes in - this person is giving you an opportunity to reflect on who you are and what this experience is really all about for you. Your partner has now given you a chance to learn what your triggers are and all the ways you feel you have been unseen, unsupported and ignored throughout your life. An opportunity to reflect on why you think another person should and can meet your needs, and whether or not this is a need you have to meet for yourself. 

Most of our wounds and brokenness stem from our unmet needs in childhood. And the reality is we pick people, partners and circumstances that will give us the opportunity to heal those wounded parts. So, when you find yourself being triggered by the person you are in an intimate relationship with, step back and ask yourself the following: 

·      What am I feeling? 

·      Why am I feeling this? 

·      When was the first time I felt like this? 

·      Who was the first person who made me feel like this? 

·      What am I trying to get from my partner? 

·      Is there a way I can meet this need for myself? 

·      What would be the most kind and loving thing I could do for myself in this situation? 

·      What would I tell my best friend if this was happening to her/him? 

By asking yourself these questions you are deepening the experience and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what your truth is. It can help change your perspective and reaction to the situation, and even change the outcome. You may realize that it actually has nothing to do with your partner and you no longer have that need from her/him. Or, that you have chosen a person who is incapable of meeting that need and you may have to make some different choices. 

I would love to hear from you about what your myth was or still is about intimate partner relationships. Please share your wisdom in the comment section below. 

My passion is to help people discover their truth, so if you’re curious about how I can help you on that journey, please reach out and send me a message to book a free 30-minute consult. 

Looking forward to connecting!

Warmly, 

Sandra xo