|Stop, Study, Shake|
As we settle into a new relationship, some of our old relationship habits tend to come back.
Stop, study, shake are three steps you can take to make sure you do not fall back into the bad habits that have affected your previous relationships.
Hopefully you recognize your contribution to your past relationship failures and have made a good choice in your new progressing relationship. As you get comfortable in this new relationship, the old bad habits emerge.
The first signs might be ordering a messy pasta dish when going out for dinner with him. If you are spending time at each others house, the signs might include dropping your socks on the floor or leaving the toothpaste uncapped. These may be harmless and natural signs that the relationship is progressing (though it may depend on how smelly the socks are!).
It is healthy to take stock as you become more involved with someone and try to understand how you are feeling and how the relationship is progressing. You can see this as a physical checkup for your relationship. Take some time to yourself so you can think clearly. This could be for a day or a weekend or however long you need to feel able to think clearly about your relationship.
To study your relationship, it always helps to write things down. Start with the past and write down the strengths and weaknesses of past relationships. Recognise your habits and your contribution to past relationship failure.
Now look at your new relationship and write down the strengths and weaknesses of that relationship. Try to be as objective as possible. We often deny the weaknesses because we want the current relationship to work. The truth is that if we admit to the weaknesses, then we can set about dealing with them and ultimately give the relationship a better chance to work.
Now it is time to take action. What are you going to do about the weaknesses you see in this developing relationship? Start with what weaknesses you might be bringing to the relationship. Changing yourself is far easier than changing someone else. Decide what behavior you have that you are going to change and check regularly to see that you are addressing it properly.
Talk to your partner about the weaknesses as you see them. You need to do this in a constructive, positive way asking for help and ideas to address these issues. It is important to listen also to what your partner sees as the issues and what they think should be done about it.
This dialogue and action to address relationship issues together sets a great precedent for your future together. Healthy behavioral patterns set early in a relationship can carry through to married life if you take the relationship that far. They also reveal a lot about how you and your partner deal with relationship issues.
Repeating the Stop, study, shake steps at intervals in your relationships especially if done together with your partner can help strengthen your relationship skills and increase your satisfaction with the relationship.