October 6, 2020

KNOW THE SKILLS NEEDED FOR HEALTHY ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP

SKILLS FOR HEALTHY ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP 

Intimacy, security, respect, good communication and sense of being valued. These are some of the things that most people will agree make up for healthy relationship. I'm sure we all agree to this too.

And researches would agree too. There's a large body of literature on romantic relationships, that has identified the features of healthy relationships, and this list I just provided contains many of  them.



Researchers also agree on what makes for unhealthy relationships; things like fighting so much that you just can't work things out; not being able to go to your partner for support when you need it.

Contempt, criticism, hostility, violence. When these problem happen in relationships, they can cause significant unhappiness, they can lead to the end of the relationship or divorce, and they can literally make people physically & emotionally sick.

This is why it's so critical that people have healthy relationships. But there's a problem; how many people know, I mean, really know what to do in a day to day basis to create healthy relationship.?

My point is this; We may know what a healthy relationship looks like, but most people have no ideas how to get one and no one teaches us how to do so.

We need to teach people how to have a healthy relationship now.  But do you know when we typically do so? After it's too late; it's called "couple therapy". I do couples therapy and it can be wonderful thing, but many people came to couples therapy with so many ingrained problems and patterns that they just can't change. It's too late.

You know when else we try to teach people how to have a healthy relationship? It should be right before they get married it's called Premarital Education.

Premarital education is a good idea; teach people how to have a good relationship while they are still happy, presumably. Then relationship can work well; but to me or with my own opinion it's still too late. Why?? Because people have already selected the person they want to commit their life to.

What if they selected poorly? No amount of premarital education can make up for a bad partner choice. So the way we have tried to teach people how to have healthy relationships have been limited, because they failed to address 3 important things.

Genuinely knowing what you want and need in a partner & in a relationship, selecting the right person, and developing & using skills right from the beginning. I dont mean the beginning of a particular relationship. I mean the beginning-beginning like as soon as possible, just need to teach people especially the young people how to have healthy relationship.

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There's a skills based model of relationship functioning, that I believe can help people create the things that lead to healthy relationship and reduce the Behaviours that lead to unhealthy ones. 

Identified 3 skills;

💦Insight 

💦Mutuality 

💦Emotional Regulation.

 This skills form the basis for what we call romantic competence.  Romantic Competence is the ability to function adaptively across all areas or all aspects of the relationship process, from figuring out what you need, to finding the right person, to building healthy relationship and getting out of relationship not healthy.

This skills really represent the commonalities across the major theory and lot of research findings on healthy relationship. And I think they really can help people with all the different parts of the relationship process, and with all different people. Whether in relationship or not.

1. Insight

It's about awareness and understanding and learning. So with insight, you'll have a better idea of who you're, what you need, what you want, why you do things you do.

So let's say you are being really snappy to your partner.  With insight, you might notice or realise that it's not that your partner is doing anything but it's just actually you're really stressed out at work and what you really need is to relax a little bit, so it doesn't bleed out over into your relationship.

✨Insight will also let you know your partner better. Let say your partner show up late for a date; with insight you'll able know why. For example, maybe your partner is late for everything. It's nothing about you or the relationship.  That's just who your partner is.

✨With insight you will be able to anticipate the positive and negative consequences of your behaviour. For example; you'll know that if you send that nasty text, it's not going to go well; maybe you better make a phone call instead. 

✨With insight you'll be able to learn from your mistakes in a ways that allows to behave differently in the future. So maybe you'll recognize that you're the kind of person who tends to jump in things really quickly; you get wrapped up in the romance of things and then things don't go well. 

In other to be able to say/do well in the next time, I'm going to take things a little more slowly and not repeat same mistakes. That's insight

✨With insight you'll understand about what's really right for you in a relationship. Maybe you're the kind of person who really needs a monogamous relationship, you are not owk with your partner seeing other people or maybe you realise it's just the opposite that you're not ready to settle down and you need a partner that's owk with that.

2. Mutuality:

 This is about knowing that both people have needs an that both sets of needs matter.  With mutuality, you'll be able to convey your own needs in a clear direct fashion that increases the likelihood that you'll get them met.

Maybe you go through a fam stressful event, and you like your partner to be there with you, you might say indirectly. "You know this is going to be stressful for me, I would really love for you to be there; you'll be a really good buffer for me. Is there anyway you can clear your schedule to come with me?"

With mutuality, you'll be willing to meet your partners needs as well. Let say you know that your partner really likes to go to the fyn first thing in the morning, it makes your partner feel better throughout the rest of the day.

Mutuality will let you be willing to support your partner in this, even though you'd really rather have your partner stay home in bed with you.

✨And mutuality also let you factor both people's needs into decisions that you make about your relationship.

So let's say you get a great job offer that you'd like to take, but you know it means you will have to work more, and you know how important it is for both you and your partner to spend time together. 

With mutual approach, you might say; you know, I would really like to take this job, it really important to me, but I also, am concerned about us spending time together. If I promised to protect some time for us, will you be owk with me talking this job?

3. Emotion Regulation; 

This is about regulating your feelings in response to things that happen in your relationship. With emotion regulation you'll be able to keep your emotions calm and things that happen in your relationship in perspective;  You might think oh my goodness, this is disaster! This is the worst thing ever!! How am I going to handle this!!

But with emotion Regulation, you know what? I can handle this, this is going to be alright, there is a way to deal with this. I'm going to figure this out, everything is going to be owk.

With Emotional Regulation, you'll be able to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and not act not on them impulsively, so you'll be able to think through your decision more clearly.

So let's say you're waiting for your partner to text you back, that text isn't coming, you're getting really anxious. With Emotion Regulation (ER), you'll be able to tell yourself "calm down and be fine".

With ER, you'll be able to maintain a sense of self respect and commitment to your needs,  even when bad things happen in your relationship.

So let's say you have a break-up, you're feeling really depressed, you're really missing your partner, with ER, you'll be able to let yourself know that it's owk. That yeah, you're going to feel depressed but you're going to get over it and get through this.

If you beg and plead to get back together, you're not going to feel good about yourself and you don't even want to be in relationship that wasn't good for you.

I believe with these 3 skills with your ability to use the skills on day to day basis, will let you have healthy relationships.



How these 3 skills works

Some days back, I was talking to someone and she said that when her partner asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she told him she didn't want anything. So guess what?? She didn't get anything, and she got really angry and mad, and they had a big fight.

Why? Because she really did want a present, she just didn't want to tell him. She just wanted him to somehow know. It's called "mind reading" Its a terrible idea, it never works.

Had she be using this skills;

💦 Insight would have let her know herself well enough to realise that she really did want something and if she didn't get it, she was going to be mad. Insight also would have let her know that her partner was the kind of guy who was just going to take what she said literally.

💦 Mutuality would have let her really ask for what she wanted, directly and clearly.

💦 Emotion Regulation would have let her deal with any feelings she was having that were getting in the way of doing that. She might not want to be greedy or something. 

Listen, So if she had used the skills, she would have been able to say; You know what? I know we are saving, but I really like that necklace that we saw the other day & it wasn't that expensive. 

He would have gotten if for her, she would have felt respected & valued.  He would have been happy. They would have felt more intimate and birthday thing would have go down well instead of fight that can really damage the relationship.

Must Read For those craving for A Relationship: 

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WHY YOU NEED TO BE ROMANTICALLY COMPETENCE

  1. Adolescents who are romantically competence tend to have a good relationship, they felt comfortable being close to people, they could trust people, they weren't worried of being rejected. 
  2. They are not depressed, they had better mental health. They are also more position about their expectations about marriage in the future. More optimistic that it could go well.
  3. Tends to engage in more typical romantic activities of their age. Things that are normative like dating and flirting and affectionate behaviour like hugging and kissing.
  4. If they grow up; the more adaptive relational functioning they were showing and the better mental health they will show. 
  5. More romantically competent men and women feel more secure in relationships. They also reports making better decisions. They can see the warning signs when things aren't going well and make conscious decisions with confidence.
  6. They are also better at seeking and providing support to their partners.  So they are more willing to ask for what they need and use what the partners give them.
  7. And they are better at providing helpful support when needed.  They are more satisfied in their relationships, they were happier, you hardly see them coming down with depressive symptoms and anxiety symptoms. 
  8. Being Romantically competent at young age or before going in a relationship is a associated with greater, more adaptive relationship functioning and greater individual well being. 

And this bring back to the point that we need to be teaching people how to have a healthy relationship. We may know what healthy relationship looks like but most have no idea how to get one and no one teaches us how to do so and this is the problem.

We want partner to be romantically competent with healthy act in relationship.

We need to help people genuinely know what they want  & need in a relationship. We need to help them select the right partner, help them make good decisions and deal with the challenges that relationship brings and we need to help them build and use skills right from the beginning. 

This is what the notion of romantically competence is about; using the 3 skills to reduce the Behaviours that lead to unhealthy relationship like fight, poor support, hostility & criticisms, violence and create the things that lead to healthy one like intimacy, security, respect & good communication and sense of being valued.

In relationship be Careful, vigilant and conscious @OTR 

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