Having left my marriage in my forties, I knew that I was a nice, presentable, intelligent, kind, occasionally funny and sometimes sexy woman. I expected to quickly walk into a new and more fulfilling relationship. Seven years later after a bit of dabbling and a number of false starts, I was still alone and wondered what had happened. My first reaction was to take this very personally.
Then I began to look around me and realised that it was not just me that was experiencing problems getting into relationships and those who were in relationships were not experiencing the ‘happy ever after’ scenarios that we had been encouraged to expect when we were younger. I also realised that a break down in the relationship fabric in society was not an age specific phenomenon but also affected those who were starting out and looking to find that special person to ‘settle down’ and have a family with.
Something about love relationships with that special person was not working and I wanted to find out more about what that something was and to find out what I and other people could do to have a more fulfilling relationship.
Just to give you some background about me, I am a change agent who is interested in analysing patterns of behaviour as a means to improve communication between people. I had written the People Skills Revolution and the People Skills Revolution Handbooks based on my experience of coaching some exceptional people and knew that patterns helped me, my clients and readers of my book to understand more about themselves and their interactions with others in order to achieve some much better outcomes.
The People Skills Revolution approach is based on idea that if you treat each interaction in an ‘I positive, you positive’ manner and then build your interpersonal skills in a step by step incremental manner starting with assertiveness, you could then naturally go on to acquire the skills of influencing, negotiation, conciliation, taking a stand and finally making peace.
As a result of developing this approach, I and others, using the strategies could achieve remarkable results that they might have previously thought impossible. But in the back of my mind something was still bugging me. I could achieve my wildest dreams by using my interpersonal skills but somewhere in the depths of my being I was not happy. I did not love myself and I did not feel the love of having someone special in my life.
I was also curious to know if the approach of looking at patterns, which I had used so successfully in the People Skills Revolution could be applied to the love relationships between two people in a ‘paired’ relationship. Most people told me not to bother with my quest since we were all too different and could not be boxed into a model. However I felt that with the break down of formal male female structure of relationships and the general confusion about what relationships were about these days, I could not do any worse but to have a go at mapping people’s relationship history on to a framework which helped me and them to understand what they were experiencing and on many occasions re-experiencing, despite all attempts to do something different next time and learn from our mistakes.
This book is an attempt to help people diagnose their relationship issues and to help them to make different choices about who they chose to pair with. However this is not a book about how to find a man or woman to love, rather it is about deepening your understanding of yourself so that you can have a deeper relationship with someone else.
One of the problems I perceive in today’s society is that relationships are often selected consciously or unconsciously to meet our needs for security, physical closeness, mental stimulation and emotional attachment. When the person we have chosen to meet these needs let’s us down, instead of looking towards our own resources we tend to look for someone else who can meet those needs and who will not let us down next time. Alternatively we can become so hurt by the experience of damaging relationships that we might approach pairing with another person with caution and self protection in such a way that we do not allow other people into our life and our heart at any meaningful level.
You will notice here that I do not say romantic relationships and I use the rather unglamorous term of paired relationships. I have done this deliberately because although I will talk about romantic relationships I will do this in the context of other possible forms of paired relationships.
The basic premise behind this book is that the relationships we have are a reflection of our own personal development. I hope to demonstrate this point to you as I progress through the book but in the meantime I would like you to consider that if you are not getting the types of relationships you want that you might want to consider developing yourself. You might want to do this because it will prepare you to have more healthy and happy relationships.
So why should you trust me on your own personal development journey? I hope you will trust me because the journey I am going to take you on will make you feel better about yourself on a day-to-day basis. If you are in a relationship you will understand the dynamics more and deepen the communication between you and your partner. If you are not in a relationship it will help you to be ready to step into one when the opportunity arises and to have a good chance of making a pairing which has infinite possibilities for you both.
At this point I would like to say something about where the ideas in this book came from. Firstly they came from my own relationship history. Although I have had a limited number of relationships all together they have together represented a wide spectrum of experiences. Secondly I am an avid reader and when I have a problem that I cannot solve I ask myself lots of questions and read lots of books until I find a way of looking at things which makes sense to me. As a result I have read numerous books about relationships from lots of different perspectives. I have also chatted to hundreds of men on line and have asked them about their perspective on love and talked to many of my female friends about their experience of being in relationships.
Lastly I had the good fortune to have a friend who also wanted to find out more about relationships and was prepared to go on this journey with me. We both wanted to be capable of having a happy and fulfilling relationship and decided to meet fortnightly to research and explore what a healthy relationship might look like. At the time of writing we have been meeting regularly for nine months and what has surprised us both is how little we talk about relationships and how little we talk about men.
Most of our time is spent learning to understand ourselves, and how we communicate our thoughts and feelings to another person, in such a way that they know, hear and understand us. The result has been a huge deepening of our own self awareness and huge deepening is the relationship with each other which has brought a richness into our lives that neither of us anticipated at the outset. In essence we have been learning to have a relationship with ourselves in order to have a relationship with another person.
I hope you will find the journey as fascinating as we have.
For more information on assertiveness, influencing (including building rapport), negotiation, conciliation, taking a stand and making peace in a step-by-step manner please refer to the People Skills Revolution and the People Skills Eevolution Handbook published by Global Professional Publishing.
Please note: The information contained in this blog is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the prior permission of the author who can be contacted through her website at solutionsunlimited.co.uK.