Inspired by Wong Fu Production’s YouTube video, The Last, this emotionally-charged book tells the story of how bipolarity and obsessive-compulsive disorder ravaged five major relationships in a young adult’s life – who, what, when, where, why. This book describes in detail, each relationship that has influenced the young adult’s life and how mental illnesses permeated themselves into such passion-driven affairs. This book tells the history of the hopeless romantic, manic-depressive individual, The History of the Hopeless Romanciac.
Marriage is a complicated endeavor. Take from the populus, two people, and convince them to be around each other forever. Even the most social person in existence could tire of a single person’s company. Many different factors go into the development of a marriage, whether successful or unsuccessful. Many different marriages exist because many different personalities exist. What works for one marriage will not necessarily work for the next. Thus, trying to pin-down a all-encompassing answer to what makes a marriage successful is very difficult.
Through research and case studies, scientists and sociologists have been able to identify certain key characteristics of an individual which will make them more suited for marriage, and which will assist in improving the overall quality of the relationship. I shall touch on these subjects and identify the positive and negative behaviors for optimally spending an eternity with someone you love.
To preempt this, allow me to state that this is not the formula for a fairy tale. There is no perfect marriage. Every couple will have disagreements, and if they become content, the love will fade. Our biology directs us to pursue the propagation of our species by spreading our genetic material across many suitors. However, we are not animals and our society does not function that way. Thus we pursue a higher calling; a stronger purpose: love.
Every relationship is like an organism. They require nurturing, growth, and development. They require sustinance. From all the conversations I’ve had with long-married couples and marriage counselors, and in independent research into this subject matter, I have identified the key aspects of a successful relationship: communication, compromise, honesty, rationality, commitment, and adaptation. These are the building blocks; the characteristics which accommodate a successful marriage.
There are two opposing views which hold precedence in the perceived realm of relationships. Those are Similarity and Complementarity. To use the common adages: “birds of a feather flock together” and “opposites attract”. Basically these opposing perspectives are generalized perceptions of the personality types which are well suited to romantic relationships. I’m here to tell you that these perspectives are wrong. Studies show that relationships based on complementarity are high in marital stress or end in divorce. I would equate this to trying to put a lion and a gazelle together, and hoping that they will get along.
On the other hand, many people find that shared characteristics between couples eventually manifest in shared weaknesses and shortcomings, producing a relationship which fares very well in some aspects, but fails completely in other areas. The solution then, is obvious. A balanced relationship where the individuals share common ground where it matters, but supplement one another’s weaknesses in other aspects.
There have been identified, cognitive styles which can greatly influence the success of interpersonal relationships. This cognitive paradigm is Adaptation vs Innovation. Adaptors are sound, compliant, cautious, dependable, self-doubtful, and prefer structure and rules. Innovators are creative and self-confident, yet controlling, insensitive, and impractical.
In a study of 85 couples 32/45 of successful marriages were identified as “adaptor-adaptor” type. 36/40 couples ending in divorce had an individual (or both) identified as “innovator” type. For Adaptor-Adaptor type, there is a 70% success rate. For any other combination involving an Innovator type, there is a 73% failure rate.
Being an “Adaptor” in a relationship means being able to produce mutually beneficial solutions to problems in their marriage. Being unwilling to bend on any subject creating an issue, contributes to further marital problems.
An adaptor association will begin as strong as it continues. Adaptors will identify their spouse’s expectations right from the start, and will aim to fulfill those expectations. Additionally, they will be interested in identifying their partner’s goals and assisting them in pursuing and achieving those goals.
Adaptors will make communication a priority. No topic should be off limits and any issues should be identified honestly and openly and addressed by the partner with a positive attitude and an open mind. A spouse should be the single definite source for confidence in discussion. There should be no doubt of the security and non-disclosure between the partners.
In a study of 32 couples over 12 years, personality similarity was widely found to NOT be related to marital satisfaction. Very little correlation was found in early marriage when couples are putting greater weight on commonalities. Greater levels of personality similarity at the initial phase in fact predicted lower levels of marital satisfaction over the following 12 years.
Great factors which contribute to this are generally universal and are based on generalized characteristics with many facets of variability. Successful traits are found with couples who are highly agreeable, and show low neurotic tendencies. Agreeableness scored high across the board in marital satisfaction in being more emotionally responsive, trusting, selfless, and with a greater need to please. Women’s marital satisfaction is directly correlated to husband’s higher Extraversion and lower Conscientiousness. Meaning, males who are more social, but more laid back, less goal-oriented, and less driven give greater satisfaction in marriages. Workaholics, perfectionists, and obsessive-compulsive tendencies are less likely to find relationship satisfaction in both males and females.
Some of the identified areas of greatest disagreement in order of precedence are: Sexual Relations (inter and extra-marital), Drinking, Handling Family Finances, Relationships with Extended Families, Recreation, Employment, Sharing of Household Tasks, Child Rearing, Friends, and Religion.
Sexual incompatibility is a greatly underestimated issue in marriages. Because couples do not communicate about their sexual preferences, shortcomings, and desires, they eventually find their sex life unfulfilling, leading to extra-marital affairs. Furthermore, individuals who improperly identify the sexual issues will attempt to mend their sex life through exploratory and inter-marital enterprises, which may appeal to one partner, but may revolt or belittle the other. Thus, an open-minded open-communication is essential to determining your partner’s, as well as your own, sexual desires which will lead to a more intimate relationship. Having proper intent helps too. Each person should be focused on fulfilling their partner, and seldom about their own satisfaction.
Drinking was identified as the second leading factor in marital stress. Not only does drinking alter a person’s behavior and rational thinking, but also can cause sexual dysfunction resulting in contribution to the aforementioned leading cause of marital problems: sexual incompatibility.
Financial Matters were identified as the third leading cause. Not surprisingly, this factor also contributed to the other factors. A partner who puts significant money into drinking habits puts undue stress on the relationship. Additionally, when a couple is overwhelmed with work in order to support individuals living beyond their means, this stress can lead to reduced sexual activity, or sexual activity used primarily as a means of endorphin reward, instead of as an intimacy-encouraging behavior.
There have been many times in my life that I have operated from the belief that no matter what it was I wanted to do or put out into the world, it had to be perfect before I could ever share it. I wasn’t going to launch my website, write any articles or hold a teleseminar until I was already well established in my field. I would sit and fantasize about the “someday” when I could do what I loved, and what things would look like when… But then I had that big “ah-ha” moment. My perfectionism was paralyzing me from living my calling and my dream and I had to ask myself that pressing question, “If not now, when?”
I knew that if I waited for whatever it was I was working on to be perfect then I would never actually complete it. I had to get out of my own way and just do it. You see, perfection is a word that goes against the action of implementation and allows us to procrastinate instead of allowing ourselves to be in motion and be part of the momentum of life living itself. And perfectionism has a payoff. It means I never have to put myself out there for fear of judgment from others or even from fear of success.
To be honest, perfection isn’t even a word that should be in our vocabulary. It implies the unachievable. There is a certain kind of tension between the opposites when it comes to this word because nothing will ever be perfect and yet everything is perfect just the way it is. The ideal way is accepting and appreciating things exactly as they are.
The beauty in taking imperfect action is it allows us to be on the journey of becoming instead of seeing a destination point that is far from our reach today. To apply imperfect action immediately brings us one step closer to that destination by just being and doing.
Here’s a great quote that compliments this idea using human relationships as the example:
“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” ~Sam Keen
And so it is with everything in life.
If you find yourself challenged with overcoming perfection, let me share a few suggestions to get you moving forward:
Imperfect Action is Better than No Action
Taking imperfect action propels us into the next step of our life, it allows for things to move forward, to gain momentum and it allows us to be present and active in the creative process. So don’t wait for the perfect idea, the perfect time, the perfect person or the perfect scenario, just do it, get it out there knowing that anything you do can be improved on or tweaked at a later time if necessary. If you don’t put something out there first, then nothing will happen.
“Done is Better than Perfect” ~Scott Allen
Remember that life is happening all the time, it does not stop, it is constantly evolving and changing. Share the passion of who you are and what you do and people will feel that and appreciate your efforts and your courage. See what happens by putting it out there, try something out and let it be an ongoing part of the process and not the end of it.
Confidence is Built by Taking a Step at a Time, Even an Imperfect One
Like anything else, confidence is built one step at a time. By taking action in any form, we are taking steps towards our fullest life, our dreams and our future. You will be surprised at how much stronger and more confident you will feel in yourself just by taking action steps, even imperfect ones.
Celebrate Your Successes
In an effort to make things perfect, we forget to celebrate the little things that we accomplish. Instead of focusing on what things didn’t work, bring your focus to the things that did work and feel good about those things. Celebrate every single success with enthusiasm!
How does a male reach a point of emotional intimacy in a relationship? Is it of much importance to a man? Or are most men simply just interested in sex?
These are all issues I want to briefly address in this article on how to build an emotional connection with a man.
Do Men Crave Emotional Intimacy?
Believe it or not, the biggest misconception about men and relationships, is that they are not interested in having emotional intimacy in a relationship.
Most woman and relationship experts for that matter, just assume men accept that intimacy and emotional bonding are byproducts of a relationship, providing the sole purpose of keeping a women happy.
I believe that men do actually want intimacy and to build an emotional connection in their relationships with women. I would go as far to say that men actually crave these things more than woman!
I am not alone in this thought, many of the leading relationship experts now believe this to be true. Once you see behind the macho persona, the truth of this fact is staring right at you.
The great thing about this is, once a woman sees this herself, she will understand how the male mind works in a relationship. This is hugely beneficial when building the type of relationship she desires.
How Does A Man Achieve Emotional Intimacy In A Relationship?
This is where we meet a clash of the genders. How a man builds an emotional connection in a relationship, is the complete opposite to how a woman does it.
A man reaches a point of emotional intimacy through sex.
A woman needs that connection and intimacy before she wants to have sex with a man.
Do you see how this creates a few problems?
How often do women just assume men are only interested in sex? Particularly in the early stages of a relationship?
On the other side of the coin, how often do men assume women are not interested in them, or are sexually “frigid”.
Where is the middle ground on this? How does a woman move forward with a man she likes, or emotionally strengthen the relationship she is currently in.
It is wrong to assume women should just sleep with a man, despite not being ready to.
Building The Connection With A Man?
The answer to this lies in striking a balance.
Men who actually want a relationship with a woman, are not going to pressure them for sex straight away.
It also sends the wrong message to a man to just sleep with him straight away to hook him into a relationship. For a man who is genuinely interested in you, this will be quite the turn off.
The trick is to provide a connection with a man by showing him the real you, and allowing him get to know you. If he likes you, that intimacy will build, then it becomes time to bring sex into the relationship.
Believe it or not, when a man desires a relationship with a woman, often she is ready to have sex before he is!
Other Problems You May Encounter:
These opposite paths to an emotional connection can create quite a headache in a relationship, particularly in the early stages, causing women to behave in the wrong way. For example:
In order to spark the interests of a man, a woman will often lead too much with sex itself, as opposed to being sexy and desirable and showing a man who they truly are.
When communicating with a man via txt, email, conversation etc. If the man is being sexual, a woman will often feel the need to be sexual back or else risk him losing interest in them.
When there is no emotional connection developing, or an existing emotional connection feels lost, a woman will often feel a man is pulling away. This creates fear in the woman, and causes her to go into “control” mode, and tend to nag and push the man even further away.
In a committed relationship or marriage, a mans sex drive can often decrease, while a womans will increase. This is often a result of him having achieved a desired level of emotional intimacy.
Unfortunately these problems are too complex to cover in the scope of this article, and will have to be addressed separately.
But if you are to take away anything from this article it is this. When you are trying to build an emotional connection with a man. Follow this pattern.
Let him see you for who you truly are.
Allow a heart connection to develop.
Then bring sex into the relationship.
If you proceed in that order, then once you reach step three, the emotional connection will flourish rapidly, to form the basis of a very healthy and loving relationship.