Loving with problems

People are too busy having an affair with their latest gadget – one of the modern-day attitudes that can get in the way of a good relationship. Dott. Edward Curmi lists a whole string of challenges today’s couples face, offering tips to improve each one.

People are fascinated by relationships and many are curious to know the main chal­lenges couples are facing in today’s world. The truth is there are a number of attitudes that seem to be getting in the way. Here’s a look at some of them, which could help couples improve:

Trying to use common sense in a relationship is not a good idea as people have feelings and being rational is not always what your partner wants

We are too busy having an affair with our latest gadget. We are living in a world were tablets and smart phones have completely taken over our private life. It is true that such technology can at times simplify our lives, but we cannot deny the fact that it has taken away a good chunk of our quality time with our loved ones. Try and spend a few minutes watching a couple in a restaurant... How often do they choose to look at their phone rather than talk to each other ?

Tip Together, you need to make a conscious effort to allocate some quality time. Learn how to set boundaries with your technological gadgets and treasure and protect those intimate moments.

A good number of people have a misconception about love. They believe it is all about control and power. Such behaviour, according to psychiatrist Dr William Glasser, is nothing but a result of having a mindset based on external control. Such control reflects a patronising philosophy, where “I know what is right for you” is the attitude of the day. This mentality is likely to lead to a break-up, especially due to the fact that relationships cannot be based on a controlling or punishing attitude.

Tip Learn the art of letting go. Real love is definitely based on learning to trust one another. This might sound cheesy, but there is an old saying that goes: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.”

More often than not, couples develop unrealistic expectations of one another. As human beings, we are too often brought up in a world where we are indoctrinated by fairy tales that allow us to think relationships must be perfect. Most normal relationships are not necessarily based onperfection, but often on good and bad times.

Tip Learn to be more accepting of your partner. Nobody is perfect; try and bring out the best in each other. Each and every couple needs todevelop their own unique identity.

Couples are too quick to blame or criticise one another. Adopting such a judgmental attitude towards one another may have tragic consequences on a relationship. When we choose to criticise or blame our partners, we end up making them feel insecure, angry and hopeless.

Tip We need to remind ourselves that we cannot treat relationships like our jobs. At work, we are more likely to find solutions to our problems because we base most of our judgments and decisions on common sense. Trying to use common sense in a relationship is not a good idea aspeople have feelings, and being rational is not always what your partner wants. Research clearly shows that couples prefer it when their partners are compassionate, caring and supportive rather than judgmental and critical towards each other.

Relationships lack emotional intelligence. Very often couples have little or no idea how to deal with strong emotions such as anger, frustration and sadness. They are too impulsive, want a ‘quick fix’ and do not tolerate weakness in their partner. What couples fail to realise is that successful relationships are not based on a lack of arguments but how they choose to argue.

Tip Learn how to forgive and bring out the best in one another. Basic listening skills, good anger management and negotiating techniques are all effective communicating skills that make the difference in both the short and long run.

Dott. Edward Curmi is the author of the self-help book Common Sense: A Better Understanding of Emotional Well-being, which is available from all Agenda Bookshop outlets.


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