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Do You Prefer Platinum or Gold? Some Simple Tips on How to Treat the One you Love with Love.

“Humans were capable of so many amazing things, but too often they just sit making words, not doing anything” – A Dog’s Purpose


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We’ve all heard of the golden rule: “treat others as you would like to be treated”.

But believe it or not, it’s actually not the best strategy for our closest relationships. 

 Why?  

Because it assumes that what other people think, want, need, and feel, are the same as what we think, want, need, and feel. The truth is: sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. So how do you know when they do or don’t?

Ask.

Ask what they like. Ask what they don’t like. Ask what hurts them. Then listen to what they have to say. Now, take your turn and do the same. Tell them what matters to you. What you like and don’t like. What you want, need, and what hurts you. Teach the other about you and let them teach you about them. 

This is the platinum rule: treat others as they would like to be treated, not as you would.

Then try as best you can to follow it: with one caveat.

It’s not your job to always do what the other wants you to do. There’s a difference between “doing and treating”.  You are not responsible for taking care of all the other’s needs and pain. The same goes for them. That’s care taking, which in time, will suck all that was once precious out of any relationship. Following the platinum rule means you understand that the “other” is both connected to and separate from you.  And while no one can always be 100% attuned to this unique arrhythmic relational dynamic, understanding that it’s there and holding the intention to follow it, will create a much richer connection between you and your partner. 

 Here’s an example: you like to be hugged. Your partner prefers handshakes. So instead of hugging them, why not shake their hand?

 Now, If you want a hug from them, ask them if they can do that for you. If they can- awesome!

If they can’t, then ask them why.  If what they say makes sense and works for you – great. If it doesn’t, well, then a new problem arises - and here’s where many get into trouble. They try to make the other do what they want so they can get their needs met. They think the other needs to follow their rule.

Except that rule (founded in some deeply held belief that’s actually not true) is not golden, silver, platinum or lead. It’s rust. And it’s death to the soul: yours and theirs. 

Trying to make someone hug you when they don’t want to, stay with you when they want to leave or anything else that’s not aligned with the other’s heart or soul’s purpose,  wreaks havoc on everyone closely connected to the “rule makers and breakers” in that relationship. It’s a fool’s gold where dysfunction and chaos, only creates more dysfunction and chaos. 

 Sigh…

Putting anarchy aside, it’s important to remember that there’s no such thing as perfect.  People find each other by missing each other. And sometimes they need to miss each other a lot,  before they can really find each other and start again.

 And should they choose to do that, they can then trust in the other and relax. They will know that no matter what happens to them, or what life throws their way, if they can commit to following the aforementioned rule, all we be well. 

 Not only will they be able to talk about doing so many amazing things together, they will actually do them with platinum success.

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Can Everyday be an Opening Day with Your Partner? 5 Strategies for a Winning Season of Love.

“Oh, put me in coach, I’m ready to play today.”  John Fogerty

By Maura A. Matarese, M.A. LMHC, R.Y.T.

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Opening Day began with a bang this year. Tom Brady threw out the first pitch. Rob Gronkowski playfully stole his Super Bowl LI jersey. The pair chased each other cat-and-mouse style all the way to shallow right field. And most importantly, the Red Sox won.

 

It doesn’t get much better than that, in sports and in love.  Yet many people find themselves lost in the field of disillusionment when the excitement of Opening Day with their partner wears off. Not knowing if they can end their losing streak, they agonize over whether or not their love can last.  Why can’t every day be Opening Day, they bemoan?  In every relationship, there really is only one Opening Day.  However, if a couple can come to understand some basic plays in the field of love, then it’s very possible, should they have both the will and desire, to have many winning seasons together. 


So what are some of those basic plays?

 

  1.   First, understand your attachment style: How you were loved when you were young is how you love as an adult.  Some people need to feel close all the time; others need more space and some feel anxious, ambivalent or even avoidant when there is too much or too little of either one. Most people are drawn to others whose attachment style feels in sync with their own. 

  2.   Heal your inner attachment.  Those who have a secure inner attachment and got just the right amount of closeness and space as a child tend to fare better in long-term relationships.  Those who didn’t get enough of what they needed often put the responsibility on the other to somehow make up for it. That’s when the fighting and disillusionment begins.  Remember that you are the only person who can make up for it. 

  3.  Know that it’s not possible for one person to fulfill 100 percent of what you need all the time. The other person will eventually fall off the pedestal and let you down.  When couples learn to recover from the errors in play they both make, they become better players together.  Learning to give yourself what you need and getting back up after you fall down time and time again makes winning together possible.

  4.   Honestly assess your willingness to continue playing: Sometimes people outgrow each other.  Not all relationships last through the seasons of a lifetime. Many couples stagnate as they experience their ambivalence about staying together. Some work through it and rediscover their Opening Day excitement and commitment to playing through this season and the next. Others decide it’s better to leave or even switch teams. 

  5.  Find the courage to know and do what’s right for you. The rules of dating, mating and relating are changing as serial monogamy and even polyamory (an open relationship) have become the new, albeit minor league options in town. They’re not for everyone, but do offer viable options for some.


Now that Opening Day has come and gone, let’s see if the Sox have what it takes to have a winning season.  And if your Opening Day has come and gone, then you will soon discover that too.  Regardless, play on! 

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