Tuesday, January 29, 2013

7 Simple Ways To Fuck Up Your Relationships

Good afternoon, Gentle Readers...

I often write and teach about things we can do to have an experience of more fulfillment and greater peace in our relationships.   Well, last night I asked myself "what about fucking them up?" Seeing as I, myself, have taken all of the actions at one point or another and learned from them, I figure this might be helpful for you or someone you know.

Here they are - 7 mistakes I've made that you probably have made as well, which will fuck things up....  

1. Be Controlling : Control in this context has to do with (not)taking actions in an effort to steer the ship and the behaviors of those on it because it helps you feel more secure.  I know some of you reading this are Tops/Doms/Masters and that as a part of your relationship structures you are in the lead.  This may be the case, and it's one thing to create a context for someone - it's a whole other ball of bullshit to force anyone into anything.  How this might show up is when your person (friend, partner, lover, whatever) is doing something (housework, bookkeeping, going out on a date with a new person), and you impose yourself in his/her space in an attempt to divert their attention or change their behavior because you're feeling insecure or jealous or out of control.  

2. Take on Projects rather than People : Have you ever heard someone say "s/he would be perfect if only s/he would do/change _____________"?  Um yeah. So you bring people into your life with the pre-supposition that there's something wrong with them?  How's that working for you?  In a heteronormative (boy-girl) context, this is classic girl behavior.  We meet a guy and want him to change how he dresses, or how he keeps his house, or the job he has, or the way he communicates, because when that happens, everything will be perfect.  Yes it's true that people change over time.  It's also been my experience that accepting people as they are right now is a far more empowered way to be in relationship with them.  Another way to think of this is "If you can't be with a person as they are, maybe you could go be somewhere else".    Even in D/s relationships, I would suggest it's favorable to hold people able and whole.

3. Expect Telepathy : We all do this one at times.  Expecting telepathy means expecting someone to know what you need just because they know you.  It can also mean making assumptions about someone's role in your relationship without talking about it.  For example, many folks assume someone is going to be the dishes person and someone is going to be the garbage person, but if you don't talk about it, and give your person an opportunity to agree - it's possible that there may be a breakdown somewhere. You might also be under the impression that 'just because s/he's with me, s/he will want to do X, or know that Y is important to me'. Rather than expect your partners to be mind-readers, perhaps you could try on using your words. Expecting telepathy isn't the same as anticipatory service, which can show up in D/s relationships.  THAT  has to do with learning a person's preferences and taking actions in support of those.  However, expecting someone to grok all of your desires and wishes without giving data can be a way to set someone up to fail.  

4. Make Your Problems about Them :  It's their fault the relationship is having problems, right?  They don't love you enough, or take you out on the right kind of dates.  They are selfish and uncaring.   Um, yeah.  See here's the thing; everywhere you see a problem in your relationships - YOU ARE THERE. And I mean everywhere.  You're the one seeing a problem, my friend.  You need to start taking responsibility for the ways that you're creating your life and experience.  When you do that, something magical happens.  Nothing changes, and yet everything is transformed, because you are in your power and you aren't making others responsible for your feelings.  I've blogged about this here. Certainly people make choices which have consequences.  One such choice might be having an affair.  That's a shitty thing to do, and you may find yourself in a situation where you are renegotiating and reconsidering your relationship.  Doesn't mean that you get to haul off and yell and scream and be shitty back to your person.  I mean, you could do that.  You could also be in a space of compassion and inquiry.  You still may choose to leave the relationship.  That would be your choice. 

5. Settle For Crumbs When What You Desire Is the Whole Cake :  Lookit.  Not every relationship is going to manifest in ways that you are fully satiated in the areas of what you want and need.   That said, if you are spending a great deal of energy and time with/on someone, and you have the experience of settling for crumbs - why are you staying?  Here's how this might play out.  You long for and need to have a certain kind of time spent with someone.  Maybe that's sex. Perhaps it's play.  Could also be them being present with you - so that when you're in a room together, they are paying attention to you rather than playing Xbox (as an example).  You express that as a need, and your person reflects back to you an understanding of that need and says that they will change behaviors to help you feel that your need is fulfilled.  Then nothing changes.  They are still playing Xbox (or working on their business, or spending time with other partners), and you are wanting and needing that certain kind of time.  If you stay in that context, despite not having your basic needs met, you are settling.  Now, I want to be very clear about something here.  The person whose behavior isn't changing is not wrong.  They are simply behaving in a certain way.  Where your power lies is in the choices you make around how to be with that.  You could leave the relationship.  You could pick up a hobby.  You could reframe your need, and if you are having the experience of accepting crumbs when what you want is the whole cake, then you are settling.  Have a little more self-respect and self-love.  Don't have it?  Do some work to cultivate it.

6. Act Out of Jealousy : Jealousy is an emotional state that arises when you want something from someone and have the fear that they are giving it to someone else.  In poly contexts, this might arise when one of your partners starts exploring with someone new, and you see the NRE (new relationship energy), or feel threatened by the areas in which they connect.  It can also show up in platonic contexts, such as when your co-worker gets the promotion rather than you.  They don't call it a green-eyed monster for nothing.  When you are jealous you are not in an emotionally mature space, and you might start saying and doing things that are, well, unkind.  For example.  You may gossip about your co-worker.  Perhaps you sabotage things around the new person so they are forced out.  What Jealousy is, really, is a gift to you.  It's a gift because it signals that you have an appetite which isn't being fulfilled, and/or you have expectations which haven't been stated and are not being met.  If you can get your head out of your ass long enough to take some responsibility for how you're feeling, and do some work around what's creating the jealousy in you, you will likely find yourself with some good information.  Here's an example from my life.  I had a partner (who remains Family to me) who is a rope god.  He can do so much amazing stuff with rope.  There came a time, that whenever a new person would come around to do rope with him, I'd feel jealous.  When I became aware of a pattern, I took a step back and did some inquiring as to the origin of that feeling, and what I ended up finding is that I was hungry for rope.  I think it had been about 6 months since I had rope with this guy.  Rather than make him wrong for doing rope with other people (this was well within our negotiated boundaries), I said "I'm noticing that I feel jealous when you do rope with other people, and I think it's because I'm hungry for your rope.  Can we find some time to do some bondage and suspension together and make it somewhat regular?"  He said yes, and we did.  Problem solved.  How do you think it would have turned out if I said 'you're spending all your time with that person doing bondage and you never do bondage with me?'....

7. Hold Grudges and Withhold Forgiveness :  I see grudges and forgiveness as so closely interrelated, I'm grouping them as a single item here.  In my POV, holding a grudge has to do with cultivating negative and hostile feelings towards someone for something they did or something you think they did.  Holding Grudges is a very tempting thing to do, because you get to have righteous indignation about someone.  You get to make them wrong, and, therefore, you get to be right.  You get to say things about how horrible that person is for what they did, so that you can look and feel better about yourself, and the way many people operate, you will attract supporters for your grudge.  All that does is create separation and make it so you are living in negativity and hostility, and you know what?  Your negative and hostile thoughts and feelings towards someone isn't about them.  It's about your own thoughts and feelings.  I posted a picture on Fetlife that stirred some interesting dialogue about this, if you'd like to read more. Now, Forgiveness has to do with releasing those negative and hostile feelings towards someone regardless of what they did or what you think they did.  Please understand that I'm talking about something very VERY powerful.  Here's the deal. Have you ever contemplated how holding onto hostility and negativity helps you?  I'll tell you a secret.  Holding onto hostility and negativity does not help you - it hurts you.  Whatever happened happened.  You don't have to change your mind that what the person did was right in order to forgive, and we become that which we habitually do.  If you practice holding grudges and being negative and hostile, that's what you're going to be - a grudge-holding angry and negative person.  Contrarily, if you practice forgiveness and releasing the hostility and negativity you hold towards people, know what you become?  You become free.  Here's some information from Harvard about the power of forgiveness. 

There you have it folks - 7 things you can do to fuck up your relationships.  7 mistakes I, myself have made.  7 things on which I work to correct.  7 

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  1. Thank you so much! Now I'll be able to really fuck up all my relationships!

  2. Don't know why I am just seeing this. Guess I need this in more ways than one. Perhaps all 7.....

  3. I have anger explosion issues an don't know how to get better