When Good Men Behave Badly: Change Your Behavior, Change Your Relationship

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Instant sexual attraction and lasting love do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Emotions can change and deepen over time, and friends sometimes become lovers—if you give those relationships a chance to develop. But both men and women experience the same core emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, and joy. As we age, both men and women have fewer sexual hormones, but emotion often influences passion more than hormones, and sexual passion can become stronger over time.

People only change if and when they want to change. Over time, and with enough effort, you can change the way you think, feel, and act. With the right resolution skills, conflict can also provide an opportunity for growth in a relationship.

WHEN GOOD MEN BEHAVE BADLY: Change Your Behavior, Change Your Relationship

When we start looking for a long-term partner or enter into a romantic relationship, many of us do so with a predetermined set of often unrealistic expectations—such as how the person should look and behave, how the relationship should progress, and the roles each partner should fulfill. These expectations may be based on your family history, influence of your peer group, your past experiences, or even ideals portrayed in movies and TV shows. Retaining many of these unrealistic expectations can make any potential partner seem inadequate and any new relationship feel disappointing.

Distinguish between what you want and what you need in a partner. Wants are negotiable, needs are not. Wants include things like occupation, intellect, and physical attributes such as height, weight, and hair color. For example, it may be more important to find someone who is:. Needs are different than wants in that needs are those qualities that matter to you most, such as values, ambitions, or goals in life.

These are probably not the things you can find out about a person by eyeing them on the street, reading their profile on a dating site, or sharing a quick cocktail at a bar before last call.

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When looking for lasting love, forget what looks right, forget what you think should be right, and forget what your friends, parents, or other people think is right, and ask yourself: Does the relationship feel right to me? Concentrate on activities you enjoy, your career, health, and relationships with family and friends.

When you focus on keeping yourself happy, it will keep your life balanced and make you a more interesting person when you do meet someone special. It always takes time to really get to know a person and you have to experience being with someone in a variety of situations. Be honest about your own flaws and shortcomings. Besides, what you consider a flaw may actually be something another person finds quirky and appealing. The dating game can be nerve wracking. But no matter how shy or socially awkward you feel, you can overcome your nerves and self-consciousness and forge a great connection.

Focus outward, not inward.

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Staying fully present in the moment will help take your mind off worries and insecurities. Be curious. Be genuine. No one likes to be manipulated or placated. Rather than helping you connect and make a good impression, your efforts will most likely backfire. Pay attention. Make an effort to truly listen to the other person.

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Put your smartphone away. Online dating, singles events, and matchmaking services like speed dating are enjoyable for some people, but for others they can feel more like high-pressure job interviews. And whatever dating experts might tell you, there is a big difference between finding the right career and finding lasting love. Instead of scouring dating sites or hanging out in pick-up bars, think of your time as a single person as a great opportunity to expand your social circle and participate in new events. Often, she makes efforts to alter the partner, but eventually they turn out to be futile.

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After all, every man has a unique set of qualities. Therefore, much depends on the woman, so make your expectations clear.

7 Ways Your Relationship Can Change Who You Are | Psychology Today

The first one is to forget about principles and to accept the man with all his pluses and minuses. If you are head over heels in love, then be ready to make concessions. The thing you should accept is that it is fine to be different; your interests, goals, and characters make the relationship unique. It is not your obligation to be a mentor, to mother your boyfriend, or to heal emotional trauma, you are worthy of feeling relaxed and happy.

This page contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase anything after clicking on them. I need this thing, you have this thing in abundance. Give it to me. This comes about because of fatigue, and also the receiving end can never truly be quenched. Only soothed and kept at bay. Usually the most conflict in a relationship comes about because one person has changed the way they act in this unspoken agreement: either they begin to resent their role or grow out of their role.

But you HAVE to love me in this way! You promised! It triggers the repressed rage attached to the unmet need — one that has been thus far soothed by the filling of respective voids. I want to put that into more specific terms so you can see what it looks like. This imbalance causes an increased level of lack on both sides, overtime. The broken person feels increasingly more broken.

The care-giver feels increasingly more resentful and neglected in their needs.

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The care-giver eventually self-protects by distancing themselves which triggers MORE emotion and neediness from the broken one. Another set of conflicts arise when one partner begins to grow out of their role. For example, the emotional person might begin to grow and demand to be given more respect. This threatens the care-giver and makes them feel insecure in their role, thus it evokes hostility and attempts to return the imbalance.

To the caregiver, it feels wrong — it makes them uncomfortable in who they are and what makes them worth loving. When a couple is in a power-struggle of needs, the most common tactic is to polarize to your partner: to pull even harder in opposite directions. You should change! What was soothing, now becomes a hostile battle fought on practical terms.

You never were good in bed. What did I tell you about spending too much money?! Depending on how vulnerable each partner feels and how much they blame themselves, sometimes the relationship conflict creates great distance in the place of battle. If both people are afraid to address the conflict, they will create a safety zone of distance between them. This is so both can feel protected from the most painful manifestation of their intimacy problems.

Where do the intimacy patterns come from? The particular patterns that form in each individual has everything to do with how they were parented and how they interpreted the self and intimacy, growing up. To a startling degree in fact, these dynamics are engrained into us on a cellular level. The act will come out of nowhere! Like deep-down programming that has been suddenly triggered to play.

For example, one of my previous clients suddenly decided they were enraged at their partner and wanted a divorce. We are gifted with our emotional habits in the way we are raised and reacted to — and that plays out differently when it comes to the various life triggers and milestones we reach. So some will be sleeping til a particular milestone arrives in our life. For example, if a person grows up without a stable parent, but they were given lots of resources to take care of themselves, this will become part of their emotional toolset as an individual.

It means its kept at bay and soothed with other things. Without the therapy and insight to confront the unmet needs— or even see them and put them into words, as adults we will simply merge the voids into our view of self, and seek out others to help us soothe them. But that particular quest will never be fulfilled. The void lives on. They call it the family jingle: it can be depression, alcoholism or repression. So back to how this relates to your relationship…. When you have an imbalance in the way you relate: the contract you both agreed to is tied to some primal needs.

Some are visceral and potent — and they scare us, they often feel too powerful to face. So when we feel our partner has betrayed us by not meeting our needs, by not respecting our terms — the hurt that this triggers is, too — primal. In this feeling, you are not alone. Do not lose heart. A healthy attachment is two autonomous individuals who are complete unto themselves, coming together to share their gifts — with no strings attached. You can see that you are being you, and that is not gospel.

Now imagine if BOTH partners are able to see that process happening and are able to communicate around it. This is when you can solve for ways to change how you act based on it. If you are recognizing the differing perspectives in you and your partner and the loop of unmet needs is sounding familiar, then I want to invite you to go to the next step — together, on this quest. But try to do this together. Grab a piece of paper and draw a large circle with swoopy line across the middle. Ask your partner to do the same. Now you both write on one side — you can do the right side, they can do the left.

Now write inside this space what attracted you to your partner initially.

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It can be free flowing — phrases, adjectives, individual gestures. What are the qualities that first caught your eye? What did you love about them — how did you perceive their strengths? What did they do for you that made you happy? What you will likely see when you combine both sides — is one complete person. The things you wrote on your side of the page are the things you are lacking — that you need to learn to better give yourself and receive from your partner.

The things they wrote on their half — are things they need to learn to do more of.