Creating Successful Relationships part 3 of 11

The role we play in the relationship can have a marked effect on the success of the relationship itself. Ideally we should have a relationship that is equal in every way but this is very rare. There is usually one person in the relationship that is more dominant than the other. One person will be the social convener, the more outgoing of the two. The other person will be the quiet one, more reserved, more relaxed or easygoing. That’s why as they say opposites attract.

It is actually an interesting to think about. What would a relationship of two extremely social people look like? Would they ever slow down or would they both plan activities that alternate with each other. It could be a continual program consisting of activities, exercise, shopping, socializing and errands. On the extreme opposite would be a couple who rarely went out except to work, were very quiet and reserved. I am not saying that these scenarios are not fine just that usually we tend to choose a mate who complements us. I think it is a good idea to recognize what role we play in the relationship. Are you a captain, a nursemaid, a rebel, or a prisoner?

Picture this scenario. The captain holds the control of the ship. He is the person that makes sure there are enough supplies that the shipmates are not squabbling, that the injured are taken care of and the ship is always traveling safely to or from port. This would be the individual that takes care of things and if the ships mate has a problem the captain will take control and deal with it. He will call the insurance company and deal with the claim, plan the outings for the kids, set the rules and will ultimately feel responsible for the behaviour of his shipmates.

The nursemaid will constantly try to please everyone. She believes that in order to have people love you she must please them. She may complicate her life by not setting rules, boundaries and expectations. She may even encourage undesirable behaviour by seemingly ignoring it. If a situation arises that she does not like or will make her life seem less than perfect she will cover it up, look past it or pretend it does not exist. An example of this would be allowing children to stay up late because it is easier than wrestling them to bed or rewarding goods behaviour with gifts, ie buying their cooperation and love. It would also mean going out of your way to please your partner or even to please others. An example of this would be to apologize to the person who has left their trailer in your yard for the last year because it has become rusty, even though it has been an inconvenience to have it there. This could cause resentment in the relationship.

The rebel will do what they please when they please. They will basically ignore their partner’s needs and over protect their own. They go through life like a snowplough just pushing the snow out of the way. If they want to move they will do whatever is in their power to get it done. They can be oblivious to everyone around them and may not have very close relationships because they interfere with the whole concept of doing your own thing.

The prisoner mentality is complicated. On one hand the prisoner can be passive aggressive getting their way through the expense of others, On the other hand they can be the victim. They are always hard done by. Everyone else had it easier, they have bad luck, people are rude to them and they are always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Any problem others think they may have is imagined. If they drink to much then others drink to little, if they can’t get a job then it is because no one is hiring, if they lose their job it’s because their boss is a jerk and if their spouse is unhappy it’s because they are unreasonable or have unreasonable expectations.

Whatever your style or personality type you play a role in your relationship. Unless you analyze what it is you do to contribute to the unhealthy patterns in your life that bother you will find them always popping up again and again. Have you ever asked someone who has a broken relationship what they would do differently? If you did most of the time you would notice then saying that they would yell less, be more present, appreciate more and not take their partner for granted. What if we did exactly that, we loved more, did not take a moment for granted, called instead of waiting to be called, took responsibility for our role in the relationship, nurtured it and cherished our partner for all the good things they brought into our lives.

If the relationship broke up after all that what would you regret, if anything? Drifa Ulfarsdottir CPC Relationship Coach This article is part of an 11 part series. To read the rest of the series or to receive the FREE 20 page Life Plan E-book sign up to become a member at A Date For Success. Copyright © Drifa Ulfarsdottir 2010