post written by: Marc Chernoff

28 Ways to Uncomplicate Your Relationships


28 Ways to Uncomplicate Your Relationships

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
―Confucius

Almost two decades ago, when I asked my grandfather for some relationship advice, he said, “Honestly, the moment I stopped trying to find the right woman, and started trying to become the right man, your grandmother walked up to me and said, ‘Hello.’”

This small tip immediately changed the way I treated myself and others.  In fact, it set the foundation for all the healthy relationships I’ve nurtured over the years, including my relationship with Angel.

The bottom line is that every single one of our relationships starts within us.  When we uncomplicate ourselves, we uncomplicate our interactions with others.  When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, our relationships get a lot easier.

Which means it’s time to…

  1. Stop looking to others for the love and respect only you can give yourself. – Self-respect, self-worth, and self-love.  There’s a reason they all start with “self.”  You can’t receive them from anyone else.
  2. Start accepting and embracing your flaws. – Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.  Love yourself!  Forgive yourself!  Accept yourself!  You are YOU and that’s the beginning and the end… no apologies, no regrets.
  3. Stop comparing and competing every second. – Take one step at a time and don’t compare your progress with that of others.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance.  Remember this, and give others the space to do the same.
  4. Start letting others be exactly who they are. – Remember, a great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences.
  5. Stop being insensitive. – Always be kinder than you feel.  Yes, be waaaay kinder than necessary.  You never know what someone is going through.  If you cannot speak a kind word, say nothing at all.
  6. Start showing your love. – Don’t just say it; let your actions speak too.  Showing someone you care is wonderful, and it’s easy.  Sometimes the smallest act of love can take up the greatest space in someone’s heart.  To make someone happy, give them three things: attention, affection, and appreciation.
  7. Stop judging. – The more you judge, the less you see and love.  It’s easy to look at people and make quick judgments about them – their present and their past – but you’d be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides.  What a person shows to the world is only one tiny tip of the iceberg hidden from sight.  And more often than not, it’s lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul.  Never judge; learn to respect and acknowledge the feelings of another.  (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)
  8. Start acting like what you do makes a difference. – You are needed.  You matter.  Always go above and beyond for those who need you most.  In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who couldn’t care more.
  9. Stop letting one dark cloud obliterate the whole sky. – Don’t sweat the small stuff today.  Don’t let stupid little daily frustrations interfere with your relationships.  Just do the best you can.  Live simply.  Love generously.  Speak honestly.  Work diligently.  Then let go and let what’s meant to be, BE.
  10. Start doing what’s right for YOU too. – Remember, if you care too much about what other people think, in a way, you will always be their prisoner.  You can’t live your entire life for someone else.  Sometimes you’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if someone you care about disagrees.
  11. Stop needing to always be right. – Sometimes we must choose to be wrong, not because we really are wrong, but because we value our relationship more than our pride.
  12. Start asking yourself: “Will this hurt someone I care about in any way?” – The bottom line is that you can’t keep hurting someone over and over and expect them to love and respect you.
  13. Stop focusing on outer beauty all the time. – Focus on inner beauty.  In the end, people are not as beautiful as they look, walk, or talk.  They are only as beautiful as they love, as they care, and as they share.  Also, a little formula to keep in mind for yourself: Self + Confident + Honesty = Beautiful
  14. Start noticing the little things. – Pay extra close attention to those you care about.  It’s nice when a friend remembers every tiny detail about you.  Not because you keep reminding them, but because they pay attention and care.
  15. Stop pressuring others into things, or putting up with those who pressure you. – Be patient.  Let people decide for themselves.  Being willing to wait is a sign of true love and friendship.  Anyone can say that they care about you, but not everyone will wait for you.
  16. Start using your voice to lift others up. – Let your voice inspire people every day so much that they think to themselves, “I’m so lucky, I have such a good life.”  Let your voice be the thing that lights a fire in others, and keeps them going even when it hurts.  Let your voice to be the one they hear in their dreams that tells them, you are so loved, you are so wanted, you are a special gift, and you are worthy.
  17. Stop taking things personally. – Whatever happens in a relationship, however people behave, just don’t take things too personally.  Nothing other people do is because of you; it’s because of them.  Their actions are a direct result of their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  (Read The Four Agreements.)
  18. Start letting honest mistakes slide. – Lots of relationships fail because we spend more time pointing out each other’s mistakes and not enough time enjoying each other’s company.  So remember that EVERYONE makes mistakes… If you can’t forgive others, don’t expect others to forgive you.
  19. Stop being dramatic. – Spend less time gossiping about problems and more time helping yourself and others solve them.  Stay out of people’s needless drama and don’t create your own.
  20. Start forgiving yourself for the pain you caused in the past. – People can be more forgiving than you can imagine, but you have to forgive yourself too.  Let go of what’s bitter and move on.
  21. Stop letting your expectations get in the way of your love. – Love is simply friendship without unjust expectations.  It is a quiet understanding, a mutual confidence, and a commitment to sharing and forgiving.  It is loyalty through good and bad times.  It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
  22. Start being honest about how you feel. – Remember, being honest might not always get you a lot of friends, but it will always get you the right ones.
  23. Stop spending time with those who continuously belittle you. – Don’t let anyone make you feel that you don’t deserve the good things happening in your life.  You deserve to be happy.  You deserve to live a life you are excited about.  Don’t let anyone make you forget that.  Surround yourself with people who make you a better person – those who inspire you to be your best self.
  24. Start giving yourself all the approval you need. – Say it: “I am who I am and your approval isn’t needed.”  Just be yourself and let the right people love the real you.  Find people who respect you as much as you respect them.  Be with those who are happy and proud to have you just the way you are.
  25. Stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no.” – You can’t always be agreeable; that’s how people take advantage of you.  Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries.  (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Relationships” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
  26. Start communicating clearly. – Don’t try to read other people’s minds, and don’t make other people try to read yours.  Most problems, big and small, within a family, friendship, or business relationship, start with bad communication.  Someone isn’t being clear.
  27. Stop making it all about YOU. – The most successful people in the most successful relationships are looking for ways to help others.  The most unsuccessful people are still asking, “What’s in it for me?”
  28. Start living with 100% integrity. – Don’t cheat.  Be faithful.  Be kind.  Do the right thing!  It is a less complicated way to live.  Integrity is the essence of everything successful.  When you break the rules of integrity you invite serious complications into your life.  Keep life simple and enjoyable by doing what you know in your heart is right.

And finally, remember that good relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience, commitment, and two people who truly want to work to be together.

The floor is yours…

What has helped you uncomplicate your relationships?  Or… Which of the tips above do you need to work on?  Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights.

Photo by: Meredith Farmer

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45 Comments

  • A combination of many of these points is what I’m going through now. I recently got divorced and I’m struggling to pick up the pieces and move on. I’m still holding on to my past hurts and just can’t give love another chance yet. All the same, thank you so much for these tips; they do really inspire me a lot.

  • Listen authentically without your ego driving you…

    This is what I tell myself now, because this is what I struggle with most.

    But your blog and book have continued to guide me in the right direction. And for that I am forever grateful.

  • This is such a nice article with simple, inspiring relationship advice. Everyone should follow these rules and the world would be such a happier place… since everything and everyone is connected by energy that comes from within. Many thanks.

    I personally struggle with #27 - too often I catch myself making everything that happens about ME. I’m learning though.

  • I have made some mistakes in the past but in return I was judged harshly, openly criticized to the point of mental abuse, abandoned & made homeless when I was at the lowest point.

    Now I have learned to love myself even more, accept the mistakes made, not seek validation from anybody, increase in learning, happy always on the inside, but I have a hard time letting people get into my private life because of the past. Any suggestions anyone?

  • #5-I agree completely. No one really knows what someone else has gone through or is going through and it’s imperative that we all try and get to a place within ourselves to recognize this during our interactions with people, regardless of how brief or long those interactions may be.

    The older I’ve become and the more life I’ve lived, I’ve realized that life hits some folks harder than others and until we’ve walked in their shoes, we have no idea what this must feel like for them.
    Showing acts of kindness to those folks can make all the difference in the world. It can lift them up and change an otherwise crappy day or mood into something much more positive and energizing.

    It’s hard sometimes to be kind to those that are rude, short, or negative, but by rising above those instances, you can open a door for them to walk thru and into something much greater, even if only for a moment.

    I have discovered that when I do these things, I feel much better about myself and that it creates the power to lift my mood and energize my soul.

    I love your articles. I can be feeling bad about myself or about life in general, not knowing if I’m going to have a good day or not, but when I read your articles, I feel empowered and my mood lifted. I am quickly reminded there are people out there who have things much worse than I do. It is in this moment that I know I am blessed and I have the power to help bring change and make a difference by simply being kind.

    Thank you for your words and for reminding me to create a balanced life of peace, prosperity, and happiness.

  • #20-Start forgiving yourself for the pain you caused in the past. I went so many years in denial about the pain I caused in the past. Now that I am older and wiser, I pained when I think about the pain I have caused people in the past. A friend of mine told me that hurting people often hurt people. What I have failed to do is recognize my pain and that is why I caused pain. What I often struggle with is not only forgiving others but most importantly, forgiving myself. I am on the journey to self-forgiveness, which makes forgiving others easier.

  • Beautifully written as always. And timely to remember that relationships come in all shapes and flavours, whether life/love partners, family, friends and even work colleagues - all touch us, just as we can touch all.

  • Loved this! Great reminders that I needed to hear this morning.

  • @Vick: Read 4 Ways to Quiet the Negative Voice Inside You and then get yourself a copy of Daring Greatly. I think both may help you.

    @Bob: I love it! Thank you, and you’re welcome.

    @Linda: You got it. You must forgive yourself before you can forgive others. You must love yourself before you can love others.

    @All: Thank you, as always. I will be back to read more comments this evening.

  • Aw Karla - sorry to hear that you’re struggling at the moment. Hoping the clouds part for you soon!

    Ohhh how do I choose? It’s all such well-grounded advice.

    I tend to take things personally though, so perhaps I’ll press into #17.

  • I struggle with #23. Belittling isn’t just criticising someone or laughing at them. But it can also be just not listening to someone. I find it very demoralising when I am very excited about something in my life and the people I thought cared just ignore it or talk over me - usually about themselves.

    This makes me bitter which is not good for me. And I do wonder if it hurts so much because I’m looking for validation from others #1.

  • When I was younger, most of the things above to “stop” doing is what was going on in my life. I grew up in that kind of world and thought it was normal. It has only been in the last few years that I have begun to do some of the things above to “start” doing. I have seen a huge change in both my relationships and in how I feel about myself. It takes a lot of pressure off when I can let go of the negative, and embrace the positive. I still have a lot of work to do, but I’m making progress and it feels good. Thanks for these great blogs that help remind me of the things I need to work on, and to help me let go of what holds me back from a better way of life. The more I uncomplicate my life, the better it gets!

  • Great list. Your grandfather’s quote was right on. That’s it, that’s how it happened for me as well.

    One of my favorite quotes or passages on this topic is from As A Man Thinketh:

    “Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are.”

    Looking back now on previous relationships, it’s amazing to see how unhealthy they were. It’s also easily seen that, had I truly loved and accepted self, I would not have been in those relationships at all.

    A relevant passage from the Four Agreements:

    “In your whole life nobody has ever abused you more than you have abused yourself. And the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else. If someone abuses you a little more than you abuse yourself, you will probably walk away from that person. But if someone abuses you a little less than you abuse yourself, you will probably stay in the relationship and tolerate it endlessly.”

    Thanks for writing and all you do.

  • There’s something ironic/humorous about needing TWENTY EIGHT things to make life simple. :) How about just a top 2?

    Seriously, I do appreciate the article. Some great stuff here that I need to review over and over. I just may simplify and take it one or two items at a time.

    Thanks,

  • The last sentence in # 8 is what spoke to me as I read this.

    As always, good stuff.

  • @Tony Dye: Ha! You know, I thought the same thing as I was writing the list. But as with any list of advice, you can only ever work on one point at a time. So pick one that applies to you, and work on it for a couple weeks, then move on to the next one that applies.

    Thanks for the kudos. Have a good one!

  • This post goes right along with what I have been thinking and feeling. The worst mistakes I have made in my life were when I set aside my ideal and settled for less than I wanted and what I deserved. Never, ever again.

  • I actually just set up a reminder to myself to re-read this article again. So much good advice to absorb all at once. Thanks for the great reminders on how to be a good person. We need more of this in the world.

  • The message I get from all of these points is to love yourself enough to love others. Judgement, criticism, the need to be right, unrealistic expectations… all of these thoughts make us feel miserable.

    Pay attention to the way your thoughts make you feel. If they make you unhappy, change them (not easy, I know). And if you’re willing to change your thoughts, you’ll change the way you feel. From that place you can change your behavior and start becoming “the right man/woman” for happy, healthy relationships. Wonderful post Marc!

  • Marc:

    Your grandfather was a very wise man.

    I was glad to see #5 balanced with # 17 and # 19. Modern men sometimes appear to be insensitive when in fact they are being overly sensitive. A man that acts selfishly is often over-reacting to a perceived slight.

    What is the best solution to over-reacting? #27. Stop making it all about YOU. Strong men care for their loved ones and will work on their loved ones behalf as well as their own.

  • Thank you for this list. Could you speak to #4 and talk more about letting people be exactly who they are? For example, what would that look like in a long-term marriage where the couple is planning a trip and one person could sleep in a dirty hotel each night and the other person likes creature comforts and cleanliness? And the couple has PLENTY of money to buy the nicer hotel?

    Letting the other person be a person who spends little money is hard. (especially when there is plenty in the couple’s bank account).

    I bet you can guess which person in the relationship I am!

    Thank you!

  • Yes, I agree these statements are absolutely truthful, but I wish it wasn’t so difficult to follow them sometimes… Especially when you are experiencing some difficulties in a relationship with someone.

    Thanks a lot Marc and Angel for the inspiring thoughts!

  • I heard someone in a successful relationship say, “It’s not complicated. I want him to be happy, and he wants me to be happy.” I think if you want the other person to be happy, and will do what you can for them to achieve happiness, without feeling RESPONSIBLE for their happiness, then you are at least half way there. It also helps if you share the same values. Then, you want the same things out of life and are usually on the same page when you have to make an important decision and you don’t feel you like you have to sacrifice anything for the other person’s happiness.. You also have to actually LIKE the person you have chosen to share your life with. A friend told me the other day she could not stand to even look at her husband on some days. I have never felt that way, because my husband is always kind and genuinely wants my happiness as much as his own. I also thinks he lives his life with integrity and admire him as a person. What’s not to like?
    So, I agree, it doesn’t have to be complicated, but you have to choose carefully who to spend your life with.

  • Melissa Webster
    March 6th, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    @Bob, Wonderful comment! Thanks for that.

    #11: In the last four months, I’ve been confronted with a lot of people who want to “save” me with their misguided, ignorant view of the world. Two years ago, it would have been a serious fight, or me simply dropping them from my life. But I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut and let them rant with it just rolling right off me without a second thought. And just last night I conceded a point to a friend because I knew it would make him happy. Nothing serious or offensive, just a difference of opinion, but I let myself just enjoy the debate without attacking and it felt good to let him win. It wasn’t easy, but I made the conscious effort to not be right in any of these situations and it’s helped relationships that were previously difficult. I can’t say I’ll always do this. If it’s something big and important that affects me and/or others, and I know I’m right about it, I’ll fight for it. But I’m learning to let the little things go and not let it matter so much.

    #12: “Start asking yourself: ‘Will this hurt someone I care about in any way?’” Great advice. I’m going to start practicing this immediately, because I frequently suffer from foot-in-mouth disease. It gets me in trouble a lot.

    #15: As I bang my sore, exhausted head against this keyboard with the words “be patient” forcing its way through once again, I know you’re right, especially when I know whether I’m patient or not is irrelevant. It isn’t going to change anything either way, and impatience only makes me miserable. So I’m focusing on other things and living my life for me and just trying not to think about it, and maybe they’ll come around eventually. Or maybe not. It’s out of my control either way. I guess the challenge here is figuring out if you’re being patient or if you’re just being taken for granted, used and taken advantage of. I don’t know the difference, and the only gauge I have is how it makes me feel on an instinctual level. Somewhere in there, there has to be a balance of give and take.

    #16: This is my favorite one. I’m putting this one into practice today and writing an article to help someone out because I know it’ll give them a boost and some much needed encouragement. I don’t have anything to gain from it and I’m still really burned out and struggling for motivation, but it feels good to use my skills and platform to help people who genuinely appreciate it and need it. And I like them and their music a lot, which makes it even better.

    Great list! Thanks for this.

    Melissa

  • The pivotal point is that the health of our relationships begin within each and everyone of us. 28 may seem like a lot of tips, but we only need to work with one at a time. We only need to pick one that resonates with us and start there. Then, when we’ve got it down fairly well, move on to the another. The are already complicated. The journey to be less so will go one step at a time.

  • I read every email that comes in from Marc and Angel and am always grateful for their wisdom. I’ve posted a few times in the past, but they were typically cries for help. I had been in a very unhealthy relationship for many years.

    Back in 2012, I met a man who truly lived life to the fullest every day. I don’t recall ever meeting anyone with such positive, encouraging, unselfish thoughts & beliefs. We stayed in touch for a short time and I was very open with him. I told him about my unhealthy relationship. He told me I deserved better. Since we live 900 miles away from each other, it wasn’t all that difficult saying I couldn’t be with him. I told him I was dedicated to the person who was ultimately causing me great pain. He understood & said he’d be fine because he feels great every day, no matter what.

    I never forgot, however, how he embraced life & offered such great insight into believing that every person deserves to be treated with love & true respect. I reached out to him recently because I’d heard he’d suffered an injury. We started talking on the phone and his true beauty entered my soul once again. I had given up, for the most part, the unhealthy partner. I felt like the pain was slowly killing me. My wonderful “friend”, D, sent me a book that is putting me on the journey to realizing I DESERVE to be treated better. The book is “The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse”. He then invited me to spend a week with him to see how it feels to be treated like the truly deserving woman I am. My eyes have finally opened. Yes, I allowed abuse (though I hadn’t realized it) and I realized how much I don’t love myself. As many others have said “you can’t love anyone else until you love yourself”. It is all finally sinking in. “I” allowed myself to be abused because I abused myself for many years. “I” am the only one who can control what I feel, what I allow into my life & what I give back.

    D and I speak every day now and each day he gently pushes me to better places. I’ve come to realize I am strong and can say anything I need to in order to live my life in a healthy way. No one can keep my in dark places any longer. I wish I could describe the epiphanies this man has opened my eyes to. I know this new journey will take time, but I am taking the baby steps I need to go forward, not backward, or even worse…stay stagnant. I am so thankful for the amazing emotional gifts I’ve received. I sent D one of Marc and Angel’s emails, and I told him they always remind me of his words & wisdom. I now look forward to my positive life changes. There is still some lingering fear I will not do all I need to do to become the best me, but I am focusing on progress each day. The past is the past; look forward.

    Thank you M & A for your amazing posts and I thank this amazing man whom I’ve let into my life.

  • I need that one ‘handle’ that will make me forget an affair my spouse had 20 years ago. It still hurts. And I’m sick and tired of it. Give me that one thing I can do to move on.

  • One thing I’d like to share from my experiences in growing is this: It takes time.

    As one who’s been attracted to personal growth ideas, gone through a divorce and have been working at making self-improvements (self love, self respect, etc.), I look back now and see how far I’ve come, and acknowledge it. I credit myself for trying, and for continuing even at the times I feel I haven’t made progress. Everything worthwhile takes time, there is no magic snap of the fingers (believe me, I looked for a quick answer!).

    Grant yourself the acknowledgement you’re seeking something better (or you wouldn’t be here reading this in the first place), grant yourself the acknowledgment of daily progress (in whatever increment you’ve achieved), and grant yourself the time to continue to your journey. Best of success to us all!

  • Melissa Webster
    March 6th, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    I realize I need to clarify on what I said about patience. It came out differently than I meant it. What I meant was *you have to figure out the difference on whether it’s about them needing your patience to give them the time and space they need while they’re going through something specific, or if it’s really a situation of them just taking you for granted, using you or taking advantage of you.*

    I didn’t mean it in the “what’s in it for me” or “fair weather friend” sense.

  • Melissa Webster
    March 6th, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    And @KD, What an amazing awakening. Your story is inspiring and you seem to be in a really great place now. Thank you for sharing, and thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll check it out. I hope you and “D” find all the happiness you deserve together.

    Reading all these comments keeps me going, especially on the down days. Thank you guys.

  • Thank you - this particular posting really hit me. Made me think and I am working on re-adjusting some of my thinking.

    Thanks again. I enjoy receiving your emails.

  • Your grandfather’s advice was spot on. With all the many problems we all have, some times it does “just happen.” It just happened with me, and I am forever grateful. As soon as we saw each other it was perfect chemistry. Yes, it was many moons ago, but both our hearts skipped a beat. That is gone now, and I strive to find it again. This is a wonderful list. The best advice is #1. Thank you again.

  • Hi Marc. I always seem to read your posts at just the right time in my life.
    Years ago someone told me…

    “You are guaranteed to wake up with yourself every morning of your life. If you can’t love yourself, then you can’t give real love to anyone else you wake up with.”

    I thought it was “nice” advice.
    Till I realized how much I really didn’t like myself and how that affected the people I attracted to me.

    I knew then that I had to find ways to change. And to begin the process of loving myself.

    I’m doing a pretty good job. Still more work to do, but I love myself enough to attract the most wonderful man I have ever met.

    We are getting married in May. (Is there an emoticon for “totally thrilled and happy lol!)

    And all because of #2 on your list.

    Thanks again for all you do.

  • Another nice one I read recently: Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves more (or to put it another way…love all you can and don’t keep score).

  • Melissa Webster
    March 7th, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    I’ve been keeping up with the comments on this forum for the last couple of days and I find it interesting that so many talk about self-love, self-respect, etc…

    #2 isn’t about a lack of self-whatever being the flaw you must accept. It’s about an overall self-awareness in whatever form it takes, as opposed to denying any flaws at all.

    While I agree you have to love yourself and respect yourself before you can expect anyone else to do it, I think it’s misguided to blame yourself for abuse, emotional or physical, or bad treatment from others and say it happened because you didn’t love yourself or respect yourself (or whatever) enough.

    Yes, you are responsible for how you respond to someone else’s bad behavior, and taking responsibility for your response IS a form of self-love and self-respect. It shows good character, strength and integrity. But you are not responsible FOR their bad behavior. Their ill-treatment and abuse of others is their responsibility. It is your own self-love, self-respect, etc… that allows you to walk away and move on from them if they are unwilling to accept and admit and change their own behavior. If they are unwilling to apologize or make it right, that’s on them, not you.

    Sometimes it is your own self-love, self-respect, confidence, trust, decency, talent, skills, leadership, or whatever else that’s good about you that a predator wants to squash and control that makes you an easy target for predators and a$$holes. And the only defense you have is to recognize it when it happens, learn from it, and stand up for yourself and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Blaming yourself for their actions only undermines your own ability to recover from it. Don’t do that.

  • @Vick: Your situation is very common. Keep not seeking validation, but little by little start sharing parts of your life with THE RIGHT PEOPLE, people with your same values, supportive, and without hatred to share out. You’ll see most people are not that judgmental. Those same people will be the ones helping you heal and teaching you how to trust. Also realize that making ourselves vulnerable can always lead to hurt, but it’s a fair price since the rewards of friendship and intimacy surpass all rejection. Good luck :)

  • @Melissa Webster - I like how you think, and write. You bring thoughts and emotions in focus. Thanks for that. Enjoy your comments.

  • It’s all great advice but I have to say your grandfather’s quote stood out for me.

  • #21 for sure for me. I have all the things listed in a relationship right now: quiet understanding, a mutual confidence, and a commitment to sharing and forgiving. Loyalty through good and bad times. Settleing for less than perfection and making allowances for human weaknesses. Sometimes I think we’re even soul mates. I love him and the relationship, EXCEPT for one thing- our long-term goals are very different. Sometimes this leaves me feeling empty inside; a feeling that I don’t feel when I am not in a relationship with someone because I am comfortable with me.

    So, what happens when you want 2 different things in life in the long-run? Am I wasting my time and his in finding a true love partner? Or do I have too many expectations?

    I think I’ve forgotten the past and do enjoy the present and try to live more in the moment, but the future still looms overhead.

    At some point I think you have to risk it all for a dream no one can see but you.

  • Melissa Webster
    March 8th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    @betsy, Thanks!

  • THANK YOU! You write very well, and clearly! The points you make are universal and relevant. I need to have them in front of me , as daily reminders. Printing them will help me daily, to review and start my day. Keep up the good work!

  • @Debbie: I feel you. It really is about meeting in the middle and asking the right questions. For your particular example, would it be possible to find middle ground? Perhaps by reading reviews online you could find a newer hotel from a cheaper line of hotels. Or what about using AirBnB? For some general tips, you might want to read this article: 10 Things Happy Couples Do Differently

    @Suzanne: “It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you have to choose carefully who to spend your life with.” – I couldn’t agree more with you position here.

    @Melissa Webster: As always, thank you for interacting and adding your invavlue insight to the community here. YOU are appreciated. :)

    @KD: Thank you for sharing a piece of your story with us. With the help of your friend, it really sounds like you’ve found a great deal of inner strength. Just keep taking it one step at a time. Small victories. Best of luck to you.

    @Steve: Spot on advice! Love it!

    @Betsy: Hello again. :) Thanks for continuing to share pieces of your story with all of us. We love hearing from you.

    @Wendy Merron: As they say, knowledge is half the battle. It sounds like you’re making progress. Best of luck with your wedding. Exciting! :)

    @Helen: Loved your response. Truth.

    @Vick: Read the book Loving What Is. Also, this article may help: 7 Smart Ways to Stop Fearing Rejection

    @Maryann: No two people will see eye to eye in every situation. If you have a wonderful relationship, perhaps compromises can be made with your long-term goals. Here’s a question: Can you both have individual long-term goals AND long-term goals together. Personal goals AND together goals. I’m sure there is a way to meet in the middle.

    @All: As always, you all make our days with your heartfelt stories and insights. THANK YOU.

  • I wish there were a “don’t take things personally” button that I could push to stop doing this painful habit. I’ve been working on this one for decades and I cannot seem to let other peoples’ slim attacks roll off my back. I’m a sponge. But I’ll continue to practice. I think the first step is having compassion for others. That helps.

  • # 21 speaks so much of what i believe about love , but i do agree with steve, we have so much to learn in life. I was married for 16 years, when i had to leave my husband to save my sanity then after 3 years i lost my son….either way i go, still i have to go thru the process of accepting, healing and moving on… though now i seem to think that it’s not really moving on it’s more of just getting use to of the situation. Am still hopeful of finding the right person for me.

  • Integrity, being who you are and leaving up to your standards with no outsiders being an influence to your life

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