The four types of relationships that will affect yours
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Even if you have a wide circle of friends, you’re bound to have a few whose opinion matters more than the others. Friendships and the judgements of those who know (or think they know) us can truly make or break the harmony within a relationship, and there are many factors at play.
Friends usually want to believe the person you’re dating is good enough for you and is also a good influence on you. This is heightened if you’ve been hurt before and they’ve had to watch you recover from heartbreak, or a series of errors in judgement. The great thing about friends is that they will pick up on subtle signs, such as whether you change who you truly are to please a partner, or if you aren’t giving a partner an accurate picture your life. As annoying as it may be, acting a part is very difficult to sustain in a relationship and it’s a good friend who will point this out.
It’s true also that whilst friends want to see that you’re being respected and treated well, they too are acutely aware of how they should be received and treated, as people who have known you and been part of your life for longer. It can be tough for a new partner to find a place within a circle that has been long established. You know you’re on to a winner when all the people around you, who you care for, can get along without friction. Everyone likes to be themselves when they’re amongst their nearest and dearest, so whether you’re dating someone who’s life and soul of the party, or a killjoy, it’s of course going to affect how much your friends do or do not want to be around them.
Even if your ex partners do not have a direct influence on your new relationship, it’s very possible that the imprints of past lovers and circumstances will still affect you. Emotionally we are not linear beings and can mentally weave in and out of the times where we’ve experienced happiness, as well as hurt. We bring these memories with us.
Previous relationships can have an affect on how we behave in arguments and after them, when we’re confident or feeling insecure. As much as you will have all of these things to deal with stemming from your own history, so too will the person you’re in a relationship with. And so yes, it’s extremely necessary to heal and tie up any emotional loose ends, if you’re to move forward positively and freely with your life. The goal here is as little baggage as possible.
Much like friends, parents can for obvious reasons have a massive impact on our relationships. Parents will have a conscious or unconscious expectation of how they believe someone you’re dating should act, how they should treat you, and possibly the outcome you should both be aiming for.
For example, if your parents are desperate for grandchildren and you bring home a man or woman in their sixties who has five children and isn’t interested in any more, it may not go down so well. Likewise, if you’re of a particular culture or religion, there may be strong pressure to conform and so, choosing a partner or dating someone who doesn’t fit into this system could impact your relationship with your parents.
If you’re going through anything like this or foresee it in your future, you have to begin setting up extremely strong boundaries and an even stronger sense of self. It’s worthwhile also fully explaining your predicament to the person you’re dating, so they’re not blindsided, don’t take it personally and can support you through it.
Having children will affect most of the things you do, so it’s no surprise that they can also change the dynamics of your intimate relationships. If it’s your own children, remember that seeing you with someone different to their mother or father can be a difficult sight for them to get used to. As their way of coping, you may have to deal with emotional outbursts, sadness, and even manipulation to some degree. Of course, the ages of your children will have a massive impact and will likely dictate the type and level of response you receive. If you get to a point where you feel you have to choose between your love life and the happiness of your family, take a deep breath and step back. Don’t make any rash decisions either way.
On the flipside, if you’re dating someone with children it can be frustrating not being first place in their life, especially if this is a new experience for you. As the adults in the relationship it’s up to you both to work it out. The important thing to remember is that the children are not the ones in control and, it is equally as strange and awkward for them.