For most people, there’s nothing more important in our lives than our relationships.
They influence how we think, how we act, and how we feel about ourselves and the world around us.
Relationships can be one of the most uplifting things in our lives and they can be one of the most destructive, so it’s important to make sure our relationships are healthy if we want to live healthy lives.
Yet there’s a trap that will always stop us from having great relationships if we’re not careful…
Desperation can lead us to make unhealthy relationship decisions.
When I first got into the dating scene, desperation led me to learn manipulation tactics, games, and other destructive dating practices.
These types of techniques are designed to give you power over someone else through fear, chaos, and addiction—and they never lead to a healthy relationship.
Manipulation takes us down the path of a power struggle, two people fighting each other for power in a relationship.
While this may seem appealing when coming from a place where we’ve been hurt or abused in the past, it will eventually lead to a hurtful and destructive breakup. And, as someone who spent most of my twenties in manipulation-based relationships, I’ve had a lot of really bad breakups in my life.
I’ve been lied to, cheated on, and physically and emotionally abused by my past romantic partners.
Yet none of these situations were as bad as the breakup I had one Valentine’s Day.
I was in a relationship with a woman I had been seeing for several months. We were supposed to meet at a restaurant for drinks and then go to another one for dinner.
But she showed up with another man, ignored me and sat at the bar and drank with him.
I felt like my soul was crushed and it was the last straw for me. While it took me a very long time to get over that day, I’m actually grateful that it happened.
That event was part of a catalyst that helped inspire me to go on a long spiritual journey and learn about how to connect to myself and others authentically.
It led me to explore and get into an authentic relationship, which has easily been the best relationship of my life.
Authentic relationships are the only place where we can experience real love. They are a place where we accept each other unconditionally.
Manipulation-based relationships lead to constant fighting and horrible breakups. The person isn’t really attracted to or in love with you, they’re addicted to the manipulation and the games you play, and when the game wears off, they can’t figure out why they liked us in the first place.
On the other hand, being in an authentic relationship leads to having a best friend and partner who loves you and sees you for who you are.
Even in an authentic relationship that doesn’t work out, the two people who breakup tend to still care about each other and treat each other with compassion and respect.
So, how do we get into an authentic relationship?
1. Refuse to use manipulation or be with someone who does.
This is really about valuing ourselves and our lives enough so that we have healthy boundaries and don’t allow others to treat us badly.
It can be tempting to use manipulation because it creates the illusion that we’re much more attractive than we really are. Just remember that the other person isn’t attracted to you when you play games, they’re attracted to the game.
2. Be willing to share vulnerabilities from your life.
Getting too emotional about past trauma too soon can be a big turnoff for most people.
Instead, we want to gradually open up by sharing something a little embarrassing or goofy about ourselves first.
Then, over time, open up more and more. Without getting vulnerable, the other person will never have a chance to get to know and be attracted to us for who we are.
This can be scary, but what’s scarier is living the rest of our lives without allowing anyone to really get close enough to love us authentically.
3. Have real opinions, likes and dislikes.
In a lot of meditation communities that I’ve been a part of, there has been a tendency for us to praise the idea of having no desire.
While this may be a good way to let go of attachments, it makes for a somewhat boring conversation in a relationship.
Having opinions is normal and can be attractive as long as we’re not shoving them down other people’s throats.
Opinions can help your personality shine through and show someone that you have depth and character.
Authentic relationships are definitely the best relationships to be in. If you want to have a healthy, happy life, settle for nothing less than connecting with someone in a real way.
Author: Matthew Coast
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Jeremy Cai/Unsplash