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Guest Blog by Paige Parker

 

Some men are jerks. Some women are just plain crazy.

 




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Now that I’ve acknowledged the two biggest stereotypes that people think are to blame for screwed up relationships, let’s look at the real root cause of dating drama: feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem.

 

I’m not running around hugging trees and braiding daisies into my hair, but I honestly believe that we would all struggle a lot less with dating and relationships if we lived in a perfect world where each and every one of us were told from a young age that we were beautiful, special and had unique gifts to offer the world – and to the person with whom we would eventually share our life. If each of us grew into self-assured people brimming with confidence, we would naturally possess the tools we need to live out the life of our dreams and create a healthy, happy, drama-free relationship.

 

Unfortunately, we’re not living in a perfect world.

 

Most of us spend a lot of time wondering whether we’re pretty enough, smart enough, interesting enough, sexy enough, funny enough, thin enough and so forth, and these worries can cause us to feel inadequate in a relationship.

 

Since these worries feel so out of our control, and at the same time we want to be loved, we often cope by plunging ourselves head-first into a relationship believing that if we just focus all of our energy on making our partner happy, everything will work out fine.

 

We start making decisions based solely on what we think they want or what they like. We don’t want to inconvenience them with our needs or offer any strong opinions that might conflict with their own.

Looking for reassurance, we may find ourselves clinging to our partner, hoping that he will make us feel secure in the relationship – and in ourselves.

 

We voluntarily stop doing some of the things we care about. We cancel plans with our friends if we think that there’s a chance our partner will want to spend time with us. We mislead ourselves to think that if we just hang around him or her enough, we can make the relationship progress forward out of sheer will. Not to mention the fact that if we always keep an eye on our significant other, there’s no way they could possibly ever cheat!

 

This is a big, fat mistake. The security we so desperately seek in a relationship can only be found one way: by building confidence within ourselves.

 

Luckily, those feelings of clinginess, neediness and insecurity can be replaced with self-reliance, confidence and positivity. And it doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out dating or already in a long-term relationship; it is possible to start feeling secure in your relationship – and your self- today.

 

 6 Tips For Loving Someone Without Losing Yourself

 

1. Don’t believe the “you complete me” myth.

 

“You hear people refer to their significant as “my other half” or “my better half” all the time. It may seem harmless, but this is troublesome thinking. If you truly believe that you’re just half of a person until you meet the soul mate that will make you whole, you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of disappointment.

 

The only way to become a whole person is to complete your self.

 

If you find yourself stuck in this thinking then it’s time to take the focus off your significant other, or off of your quest to find the one who will “rescue” you from feeling incomplete, and start taking some proactive steps toward creating the fulfilling life you deserve for yourself.

 

The interesting thing about this is that by placing the focus on completing yourself, your relationship will most likely improve on its own.

 

Why? Because relationships have a much better chance of surviving – and thriving – when two whole people come together out of a desire to share their full, happy lives with one another. These are people who feel good about themselves, yet desire a partner to walk thorough this world with and experience life together. These are the relationships that succeed.

 

You can have that kind of relationship if you’re willing to focus on yourself.

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2. Don’t be a “yes” partner.

 

If you think that agreeing with everything your partner says, replying “whatever you think honey,” or “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” makes you easygoing and appealing, think again.

 

If you think that dropping all of your own interests and plans to make yourself totally available to your partner whenever he or she wants to see you is sexy – wrong!

 

If your partner didn’t want to date a real person with his or her own thoughts, opinions and desires, they could have bought a blow-up partner at a novelty store. So speak your mind! Have an opinion! Be yourself!

 

Your partner fell for you for a reason. Don’t let them forget who that person is.

 

3. Recognize all of the great qualities that you bring to the relationship.

 

It’s easy to make yourself feel small in a relationship when you put your partner on a pedestal and think, “he’s/ she’s so wonderful. What could my significant other possibly see in a person like me?”

 

They see a lot in you, or they wouldn’t be with you!

 

Take some time to recognize the fabulous qualities that you bring to your relationship.  Don’t worry – nobody can hear your thoughts so you won’t sound conceited. They might go something like this:

 

“I am a great listener and I have a warm, supportive nature.”

 

“My smile lights up the room.”

 

“My shoulder massages melt my partner’s bad day away!”

 

Now next time you feel like your significant other is doing you a favor by being with you, remember this reality check. They are fortunate to be with you, too!

 

4. Have your own life.

 

In the moment, it may make you feel good to spend every minute with your partner, even tagging along to guys’ or girls’ night, uninvited; but trust me, this is just a quick fix that will only undermine your chances for real security.

 

If you really want a solid relationship, you have to make yourself a priority and have your own life. Date yourself first. Take yourself to museums; check out that hot new restaurant that just got written up in The Times, tackle that rock-climbing wall at the gym that you’ve been equally terrified and fascinated by. There’s no room for desperation when you’ve got a perfectly good date for every occasion: you.

 

As you focus on your own happiness you will be amazed at the transformation that starts to occur within you. You will feel comfortable in your own skin, and you won’t approach your relationship from a place of need, but rather one of strength. Your partner will be drawn to your confidence and will do anything just to be able to spend time with you.

 

Although you may start out with the perfect relationship as your ultimate goal, in the end that will be just a happy

by-product of a healthier, more content you.

 

5. Don’t make plans out of contingency, jealousy, fear or spite.

 

Just a clarification on Tip #4 – the security that comes from having your own life only works when your motives are true.

 

If you’re making plans with your friends just as a contingency, knowing full well that you’ll bail on them last-minute if your man wants to see you – or out of jealousy, fear or spite because your partner’s on a business trip with that hot co-worker from the office, and you think, “I’ll show them! I’ll go out with my ex tonight” – your significant other will see through it and your plans will backfire. I guarantee.

 

6. Don’t obsess about perfection.

 

Nobody’s perfect, so don’t expect your relationship to be. Having realistic expectations means that you won’t be so thrown every time you have a not-so-great date or get into an argument.

 

All couples fight. Conflict can’t be avoided. In fact, disagreements, when worked through properly, can be healthy and help your relationship grow. Remember, if your partner is worth it they will stick with you through the tough times.

 

So stop putting so much pressure on yourself and enjoy!

 

By focusing on your own wellbeing and self-improvement, you are bound to become healthier, happier and more confident. This may very well cause your significant other to sit up and take notice of your newfound independence and improved self-image, which could really help strengthen your bond. But the real reason why a positive self-image is the secret to feeling secure in your relationship is this:

 

When you feel complete in yourself, the feelings of neediness about your relationship disappear.

 

That’s because you know deep down that if things don’t ultimately work out between you, you will still feel good about yourself and have all the tools you need to enjoy your own life.

 

Over 300,000 readers subscribe to Paige Parker’s weekly newsletter on www.DatingWithoutDrama.com. Her eBook, “Dating Without Drama,” has sold nearly 100,000 copies. Paige’s new rules for modern dating encourage people to play the dating game without manipulation so they can find – and keep – a healthy, loving relationship.

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