I am writing a book on loving relationships because I am interested in personal development, personal effectiveness, personal relationships and interpersonal skills. I have developed successful approaches before which I wrote about in the People Skills Revolution. I was curious to know if the step-by-step approaches I had applied to interpersonal skills could be used to map and understand romantic relationships more effectively.
I was also aware that although I could genuinely connect with people using the approaches described in the People Skills Revolution that I was making a head connection with people, rather than a heart connection. By this I mean that although I could get people on my side and that they were very happy to help me to achieve my goals, I did not feel deep down in my soul that I was either fully connected to myself or to another human being in the way that I wanted to be connected.
It is funny that when you strip away all your concerns about how you relate to others you are left with the sinking feeling that you do not have a particularly good relationship with yourself. I noticed this reaction in myself and I noticed it in many of the people that I was working with within the framework of the People Skills Revolution approach. In fact I almost began to expect it. That as our people skills developed our need to connect with people at an emotional and heart level also increased. So this took me on a quite different journey to explore the part that the heart plays in our relationships with others.
I also had a very personal reason for researching relationships. I had recently got divorced and wanted to find a relationship that had meaning, depth, intimacy and a sense of real connection. But when I mentioned that I wanted to find love, many people laughed at me and told me not to bother. There appeared to be a real sense of cynicism around relationships. At first I thought this was just in people around my own age group. As I listened harder I realised that this attitude was also common amongst younger people who had experienced their parents splitting up during their childhoods or gone through emotional relationship dramas themselves.
Despite this apparent cynicism brought about by broken relationships, there was a parallel phenomenon, taking place. That was that the number of people splashing out on lavish weddings was increasing, often with the couples splitting up before the loan for the celebrations had been paid off. Something had gone seriously wrong with relationships and I wanted to find out what that might be and to consider what could be done to improve the relationships that we had and to achieve relationships that had a chance of longevity and success.
With divorce rates soaring and the implications that multiple relationships have for society as a whole I wanted to see if there was a way of looking at relationships that had meaning for today’s lifestyles. I also wanted to develop a model which could be used as a diagnostic tool to work out where you now in terms of your relationships, where you would like to be in terms of your relationships and give you the knowledge and skills to get you there.
When I talked about writing a book on relationships, it was pointed out to me that nearly all the books, literature, poems, songs and films focused on the romantic love phase and the breaking up stage but hardly any focused on the part when the relationship had led to a day to day commitment. There were lots of books on how to get women into bed or men down the aisle but very little seemed to be written on how to create a successful and authentic relationship once you were in one.
This seemed to be the root of the problem; that once the flush of romance had disappeared people did not know what to do connect at a meaningful level to the person that they had entered into a relationship with. With the opportunities presented by the internet and lack of social disapproval when couples divorced or separated it seemed easier to leave and get a new partner than learn to develop and grow with the one you had. This is particularly true, when there are not many templates available, including often your own parents relationship, to show you how to create a lasting committed relationship. In essence at the beginning of the 21st Century lots of relationships had become disposable commodities.