Do you try too hard in relationships?

If so, there is good news.  First, you're not alone.  An awful lot of women try too hard in their relationships.  In fact, trying too hard is almost a part of the female condition – albeit a sometimes unhelpful part of the female condition.  Second, it's never too late to change things in such a way that you raise your value, work less hard, and enjoy way more love – and consideration – from a partner. There is something counter-intuitive about what happens when women try too hard in relationships.  Women are better at relationships than men, we're told.  We're into our touchy-feely, caring side in a way that not a whole lot of men are.  We are caregivers, home-makers, nurturers extraordinaire. All good things right? So, how come, we do what we do best, to the best of our ability, and try our socks off - only to have it backfire on us?  How come we end up lavishing our love on men, and they just don't appreciate us?   Before I answer that question, let's look first at what you do when all that love and nurture doesn't pay the dividends you expected.  How do you respond when Mr. Man falls down badly in the love and appreciation department? Long-term, you'll probably do the sane thing and walk.  But before you do that, you tend to try a couple of strategies:

Strategies of women who try too hard in relationships

Strategy #1 Lavish even more love and nurture on him. Selflessness has to be the way forward. Doesn't it? Strategy #2  Reproach him.  If he knows where you feel he is going wrong, he will have to change. Right? Sometimes, you employ these strategies one at a time; often you alternate between the two.  The results are, generally disappointing. If trying too hard in your relationship does not work, then trying even harder will not work either.  When you tell him what he should be doing, it only seems to trigger resentment and defensiveness. That is not fair, right? Absolutely.  But that thought doesn't make anything better. Quite the reverse. So, how about trying a different strategy: if you try too hard in relationships without getting the response you want, one of two things must be happening:
  • You're not communicating your own worth very effectively
  • You've picked the wrong guy.
While both possibilities may well be true, the chances are that you are not communicating your own worth very effectively anyway.  In fact, you probably haven't done so right from the start of the relationship. Now that would go a long way to explaining the problem that you face. You see, right from the start, you took responsibility for making the other person happy, and making the relationship work.  You provided your partner with a complete done-for-you relationship.  (You tried too hard – so that he would not have to.) What this meant was that instead of having to work at building the relationship, all he needed to do was say: “Hey, the relationship pinches here.  It's not quite right, there.  I need more room in this place.  You seem to have forgotten my requirement there.”  Do you think that when you try too hard in relationships you might just make him think that everything is all about him, and his convenience?

The way that does not lead to a man's heart

In a kind of reworking of that old adage about the way to man's heart being through his stomach, you believed that the way to a man's heart is through you being a relationship workhorse. Trying too hard in relationships is no way to have a relationship of equality, and reciprocity. When you do all the hard work, he doesn't have to do any work at all. What's more, he's not going to understand your value unless he's had to put a value on you.  That only happens if he has to work to earn your love and appreciation in the first place. He will never do that if you always try too hard in relationships. (Yes, I totally accept that love should be unconditional. That is all the more reason for you set some minimum requirements at the outset. Loving a right and appropriate person unconditionally makes perfect sense.  Loving a wrong and/or inappropriate person, and allowing them unconditional access to you, makes a lot less sense.) You see, it really is possible to try too hard in relationships.  If that is how you have been “running” your relationships, don't worry.  That tendency does not spring from a character trait set in stone.  You can always learn to step back, and give your man room to earn your love and appreciation.  Once he adjusts to the new conditions, he will thank you for it.  Besides, you will be very, very glad you finally stopped trying too hard in relationships.  


The limits of Boris Johnson's Charisma

BorisJohnsonSo, Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson has turned his country upside down, left a trail of chaos and devastation in his wake, and then done the final – characteristically dishonourable - thing available to him, and pulled out of the Conservative leadership campaign. How did that all happen? Boris Johnson, apparently, had charisma.  I never noticed it. But an awful lot of other people saw it and responded to it. He was, apparently, engaging. He played the fool in a way that was, allegedly, endearing. He managed to convey the idea that behind his clownish exterior there was a sharp, powerful brain. Boris’s “charisma” led an awful lot of people to overlook a fair few red flags that could have alerted them to the fact that he was not fit for high office, or trustworthy enough to be taken seriously. But isn’t that always the way with charisma? Charisma does a great job of disorienting otherwise decent, good people. Over the years I have encountered so many nice women who fell – hard – for a charismatic man whose only value was “Me! Me! Me!” But he was SO charming that his “mark” told herself that there had to be something solid and good behind such an appealing façade. If only. Charisma is something that inspires devotion in others.  That is all that it is. The person who deploys charisma may project the message that he (or, indeed, she) will return the devotion he receives.  He may, like Boris Johnson, protest that he will act responsibly. But charisma is simply charisma.  It guarantees nothing but itself. Nor does that guarantee necessarily have a terribly long shelf-life. Too many women find that out to their cost. They meet a charismatic man and they assume that they he will continue to lavish them with his “charisma dust” forever after.  Unfortunately, that is not how it works.

Charisma offers no promises.

Charisma is not a promise. It is just a statement. Actually, charisma is – or should be – a disquieting statement. It is a statement of the charismatic person’s need to be treated as special. The charismatic person is making a bid to be seen as more than other people: whether that more means more lovable, more trustworthy, more worthy, or all of that, and more. If we put the political content of Boris Johnson’s charisma to one side and look at his performance, it tells you an awful lot about how charismatic people operate. They are profoundly egotistical.  It really is all about them.  They may go to the trouble of making you feel good, but only for self-serving reasons. In the end, they have no sense of responsibility towards you. What happens to you doesn’t matter to them.  The only thing that interests them is pulling off their “coup” – whatever that may be.  Once that is done, it’s game over. They have achieved what they set out to do. The consequences for you are your problem. Boris Johnson has clearly illustrated the pitfalls of charisma.  That charisma has left his country in a black hole. What will be learned from it in the political arena remains to be seen. In our personal lives, most of us need to learn a healthy mistrust of charisma – it will go a long way to protecting us from heartbreak and disappointment.



The greatest quality for lasting relationship happiness

needyoutolovemeiii   The greatest quality for lasting relationship happiness is…  Pause, imagine a drum roll, let the excitement build so that you are all but holding your breath in eager anticipation, and here it is, “Consistency.” (Don’t believe me? You can read more here. I don’t believe that I have ever heard anyone say: “I love X because he/she is just so consistent.” If anything, we dismiss consistency as being boring, passionless, and supremely unsexy.  Consistency doesn’t look good, smell good, or make you look good.  However, over time, it will likely make you feel far better than good looks, good dress sense, or even good holidays and a good income. I have to say that consistency is not a word that makes my pulse race.  Although I fully understand and appreciate the value it brings to a relationship.  My lovely partner is a truly, deeply consistent human being; he is unchanging in his nature and the  high standards by which he lives his life.  That consistency brings great value and happiness to my life. So, I agree totally with the notion of consistency, but I disagree with the word.  My personal belief is that  Constancy is the most beautiful quality that guarantees lasting relationship happiness. A constant person is one that is consistent it their loyalty to you. That works for me.

Bad Boy Behaviors

Women who love a Bad Boy eventually tire of Bad Boy Behaviors. Why? Because the Bad Boy is likely to be fairly consistent in his tiresome Bad Boy Behaviors,  (including infidelity, temper tantrums, and childishness).  However, he certainly will not be constant in his relationship with you. Then there are the Mean-Moody-and-Magnificent men, and the Unpredictable women.  As partners, they are great for keeping you on your toes.  Unless you want to spend the rest of your life as an emotional ballet dancer, being on your emotional toes will one day lose its charms. Mr Troubled may sound like a romantic here (or a crusade) when you first meet him. But he probably comes with a good, long warranty:  his troubles aren’t going to vanish any time soon. However,  you only have to stick around for them to become your troubles. Don’t expect to raise him up. Do expect him to pull you down. At the other end of the spectrum, are Mr and Ms Predictable.  These partners are reliable, right enough.  You could set your clock by them – but that alone is not a good enough reason to take one as a lifelong partner.  Why not? Because there is nothing to suggest that predictable people – unlike constant people – have their heart in what they do.  Rather, their predictability may be their way of avoiding deep feelings; their own and other people’s. Short relationships may be built on sex appeal.  Enduring, happy relationships need to be built on trust.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a better foundation for trust than constancy.