How to Get the Love You Deserve

We always get the love we deserve. The real question is: Are we doing what we need to do to earn the love we WANT?


Wondering how to get the love you deserve? Sometimes we may feel we’re not getting what we need, but here’s how to bring more love to your life.


We all deserve love. Now, the love we want to have in our lives and the love we actually receive may look a little different. We may want more romantic love from our partner, more supportive love and attention from our friends, or even more expressive love from our kids, parents, or siblings.

So, if you’re wondering how to get the love you deserve, it may be time to reframe the question—are you doing what you need to do to attract and earn the love you WANT?

What Kind of Love Do You Want?

When we ask the question “how do I get the love I deserve?”, it raises a few points. First of all, the word “deserve” is something to examine. We all deserve love simply by being human beings in this world. But the word deserve can indicate feelings of entitlement or inadequacy. Either we feel like we deserve more love than our partner is giving us, or we fear we don’t deserve the love we want in our life. So instead, we want to frame our analysis of the word “deserve” as earning the love we want.

When we talk about partnerships and relationships, we should look at engagement—not the type of engagement that involves a diamond ring. Instead, we’re looking at the kind of engagement that fosters a deep connection. Are we engaging in our relationship, and is our partner engaged with us? Whether we’re talking business, social, or personal lives, we can ask if we’re fully engaged with those around us. Do we use conflict to get the most out of our relationships?

Conflict gets a bad rap. We might think of conflict as a negative state, where we’re bickering and fighting, but really, conflict is a natural component of change and growth. We can’t change or get stronger without resistance. If we’re smoothly sailing along, going through life conflict-free, we’re missing something.

We’re either fooling ourselves, lying to ourselves, or burying our heads in the sand. By the very nature of being human, we will face conflicting wants, desires, and yearnings. Getting to the heart of these yearnings helps us connect while finding ways to fulfill the needs and desires we have.

Following the Rules in Relationships

Behind every ugly fight—the cycle of blaming and defending or moving around the drama triangle—is an underlying truth. Fights indicate that there’s something not being fulfilled. It could be an unanswered yearning or a built-up resentment.


Growing and transforming in a relationship is all about fighting fair. It’s not about avoiding the fight entirely but rather engaging in a productive, respectful discussion, where we express our feelings and issues to open up the heart of the conflict.


Both parties can follow a few rules of engagement to ensure the fights are productive and fair. The rules are rooted in personal responsibility and directed at both sides of the partnership. Even if only one side follows the rules, there will be a significant improvement in communication and engagement throughout the relationship.

The Rules of Engagement for Fair Fights

  1. Minimize the Negative: This means we should avoid passive-aggressive behaviors like disengagement (stonewalling, withholding, and secretive behavior) or the “hidden middle finger (actions to intentionally provoke). But avoid tiptoeing around conflict, focusing on soft addictions, or extreme fighting with blame, shame, whining, and justifying.
  2. Accentuate the Positive: This means sincere engagement, where each party approaches the situation openly, with humor, honesty, and responsiveness. It means staying truthful about yearnings, talking, sharing affection, and being real.
  3. No One Gets or Gives More than 50% of the Blame: Think of it as a no-fault relationship. No matter who instigated the argument or began the discussion, there’s no need to break it down into who did what. Each partner is part of the system. As they say, “It takes two to tango.”
  4. You Must Take 100% Responsibility for Your Own Happiness: When we feel hurt, we are 100% responsible for our own feelings of happiness. It’s not our partners’ job to make us happy. No one can control our emotions but us. Support is one thing, but personal responsibility is the foundation of transformational conflict and engagement.
  5. Express and Agree with the Truth: This means always being truthful in engagement. ALWAYS. Often there’s a lot of truth in an argument, but neither party wants to give in by acknowledging that truth. It’s okay to say, “You’re right, but I don’t like it.” When we acknowledge the truth in an argument, it often turns the tide.
  6. Always Fight FOR, Not Against: We can ask ourselves what we yearn for. For example, rather than arguing how our partner never helps out, consider arguing FOR our partner to help out. When we reframe the conflict, we turn it into a positive, growth-focused interaction that helps meet an underlying yearning. Go into each interaction by asking what are we really fighting FOR?
  7. Assume Goodwill: This is one of the toughest rules of engagement for couples to accept. But when we think about it, we often realize that our partner isn’t out to get us in most cases. In fact, they WANT to work things out. They want to make things better. That doesn’t mean that a cruel comment won’t come out, or we always get along, but for the most part, both parties are trying. Stop looking at each other as the enemy.

The above ground rules set the stage for fair conflict. When we sincerely apply them to our relationship, we can instantly start seeing a shift. Even if our partner isn’t on-board with the rules, the tone and tenor of the argument will often change quickly. Both parties feel more connected and less defensive.

If we’re looking for the love we deserve, the rules of engagement can help us move toward the relationship connection that we’re seeking.

Applying the Rules to Get the Love You Deserve

Each situation is different, and sometimes applying the rules of engagement won’t make someone fall in love with us or give us the emotional connection we’re hungry for. However, if we’re honestly expressing what we need in a relationship, we’ll quickly realize whether or not we’re on the right path.

It’s also important to recognize that we can bring love into our lives in many different ways. It doesn’t just come from a fairytale romance (in fact, the idea of a fairytale romance is a myth—there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship or partner). Instead, we can find love in our life by focusing on the connections and engagement that meet our yearnings.


The rules of engagement apply whether we’re single, married, or applying them at work or with friends. When we follow the rules for fighting fair, we’ll find that our conflicts become more productive, and they move us towards the things we really want.


Within the conflict, we’ll realize our personal responsibility and personal power. We’ll start to approach the situation in a way that will help us meet our yearnings to foster growth and deeper engagement.

Getting the love that we need and want doesn’t mean we have to be in a relationship to enjoy the closeness and a connection. Instead, we can learn to love ourselves and enjoy the love and connection we experience with our friends and family. There is beauty and love throughout the universe, and when we start to recognize it and apply it to our yearnings, we may realize that we can be seen, heard, and valued in many different ways.

If both sides of a couple are learning and growing together, following the rules of engagement, and sharing their yearnings, they’ll both get the love they want (and the love they deserve).

For more ways to enjoy a deeper connection with others, don’t miss the resources available at Wright Now. We have many courses and materials designed to help you get the career, relationship, and life you want—a life of MORE.


About the Author

Kate Holmquest

Kate Holmquest is a coach, curriculum developer, and campus director for Wright and the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential who believes that dating is one of the best possible playgrounds for discovering and transforming yourself! Potential movie titles that describe her quest for satisfaction in single life are “40 First Dates” (a.k.a. dating with velocity), “Ten Things I Hate About You” (a.k.a. telling the truth on dates), and “The Thing About My Folks” (a.k.a. noticing and breaking the relationship rules I learned at home).


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation’s performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

How to Get What You Want in Life: Engage!

Are you wondering how to get what you want in life? Do you really know what you want?

Wondering how to get what you want in life? If you want a life filled with more satisfaction and joy, it’s time to engage and go for it.


It’s not uncommon to feel like we want more out of life but to feel uncertain about what a life of more really looks like. We might feel like something is missing, but we can’t really put our finger on it.

If this sounds all too familiar, here’s how to figure it out and get what you want in life. By making a few shifts in your mindset, you can discover a life of greater fulfillment, more satisfaction, and joy!

Not Sure What You Want in Life: Does this Sound Familiar?

In our career: We may be working hard at our job, climbing the ranks, and yet still feel beaten down. We might be the top salesperson or the head of our department but find that we’re still miserable at work (or at least dissatisfied). Maybe we’re missing that “high” we used to feel when we closed a deal. Still, we show up each day, do our job, and go through the motions. We don’t feel the joy, but it’s not enough to push us to leave.

In our relationships: Maybe we hear every word our partner says, we make eye contact, and nod in agreement. Maybe we can even repeat every word right back to them, but yet we still keep hearing, “I feel like you’re not listening to me.” Perhaps things have become routine, even a little boring. Between managing our household, daily tasks, and lives, we feel like two ships passing in the night. We’d love to get that spark back, but we aren’t sure how.

In our social lives: Maybe we have a great group of friends and acquaintances in our social lives. We enjoy going out to dinners, watching sports, hosting a game night, or meeting up with our buddy for a weekly trail run. We have conversations, and it’s nice, polite, and pleasant. But yet, we still feel disconnected. Our friendships don’t offer that same exhilaration we used to feel in college when we met new people that really challenged us and helped us grow.

In our free time: What free time? We’re all busy. Most of the time, we don’t sleep enough; perhaps we indulge a little too often with wine, food, and other soft addictions. Our pastimes feel like they’re all we have the capacity for, but they leave us feeling hollow. We go to the gym, and it’s the same routine—20 minutes on the treadmill, a few rounds on the weight machines, shower, return to work. We’re healthy, but we’re not where we used to be. Is it just part of getting older, or is it something else?

What’s missing in all of these areas of life? How can we get what we want in life?

Engagement!

What Does it Mean to Engage?

Many of us have heard about the importance of employee engagement at work. We may have taken a course on building intimacy in our relationships. We know engagement is a crucial part of friendship but is engagement just a buzzword? What does it really mean to engage in life?

At the Wright Foundation, we talk a great deal about engaging. Transformation and personal growth require engagement and action, but without understanding engagement, it can be hard to “get it back.” We all know when it’s missing from our lives, but recapturing those feelings of being turned on and tuned in can be an elusive task.


At the core, engagement is aliveness. When we’re engaged, we feel a sense of flow.


Most of us have felt flow at one point or another in our lives. We reach a flow state when we’re doing a job well, and we know we’re doing it well, or when we’re connected to our significant other and we’re simpatico. We experience flow when we love our hobbies and personal pursuits, and we find ourselves losing track of time and the outside world because we’re so engaged. We might feel the engagement when our conversations with friends are stimulating and enlightening. We feel aliveness when taking care of our physical body, finding ways to keep ourselves healthy, nourished, and strong. Flow happens when everything seems to be working. We feel on top of our game and on top of the world.

The hum, the buzz, the flow that we feel is engagement. We’re fully present in the moment, and we’re emotionally and physically encompassed in what we’re doing. When we’re engaged, we’re growing and learning; we’re striving and thriving. So even if we aren’t at our destination, we are on the way!

But then we peak. We reach that point where we close the big sale. We land our dream position. We have a beautiful wedding and say, “I do.” We run the 10K and cross the finish line. Once we’ve hit a goal, we might shrug and say, “Well, I guess that’s it.” Even though we accomplished something, we quickly go back to where we were before. We might wonder why or what’s wrong. Does life become less fulfilling as with experience? Is that all there is?

We need the new!

Our brains are hardwired to crave change and challenges. Even though we may think that the easy route sounds ideal or that we prefer to keep everything at status quo, our brains say otherwise. We’re designed to derive pleasure from engagement with discoveries and connections. We need new experiences to facilitate our brain’s plasticity and growth.

Neuroscience shows that it is only by engaging—being aware, paying attention, and intentionally doing new things—that we learn, grow and ultimately transform into someone doing something that would have been unimaginable without full engagement.  –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

In other words, if we aren’t growing, we can’t engage. If we aren’t engaging, we’re definitely not going to get what we want in life. We’re not reaching our full potential and accomplishing the great things we could be doing with our lives. Instead, we’re going through the motions.

Seeking New Challenges to Get What You Want in Life

Each of us must seek out new challenges and new experiences to keep our minds engaged and alive. While routine can feel comforting (and can help us feel organized), we disengage when we fall into the same pattern of gym, work, dinner, and Netflix each day. We’re not getting what we want in life.


We all have desires and yearnings. Our yearnings are deep longings of the heart. If we think of what we truly want the most—acknowledgment, being respected, being loved, being seen and heard—those are the things that drive us toward our goals.


Our yearnings keep us striving toward the next peak. Many of us climb to the first summit, thinking we’ve met our goal, and we still feel unfulfilled. It’s only by climbing to the next peak and the next beyond that we can continue to find fulfillment.

To meet our goals, we need to be fully engaged. That means being present, focused, and tuned into our yearnings and emotions. When we understand our yearnings, they become our guiding star, leading us towards discoveries about ourselves and others. When we follow our yearnings and engage, we will start to feel the satisfaction of getting what we want out of life.

How Do I Know If I’m Engaging?

We might think that this all sounds well and good, but how do we really know if we’re engaging in life? Engagement isn’t simply about taking action. It’s not about listening or even about attention. We might pay attention to a movie, but often that doesn’t mean we’re fully engaged (we may even be using a film to escape from engaging in the real world).

Most of us are extremely busy, but multitasking and checking the next thing on the to-do list doesn’t mean we’re engaged either. Taking on more tasks doesn’t necessarily mean we’re engaged at work. Likewise, enjoying time with our friends or spouse—going out and being social—doesn’t mean we’re engaging in our relationships.

Instead of engaging, we might actually be suppressing our underlying wants and desires. We might be using activity to mask connections or as distractions. Engagement is emotional and visceral. It means challenging and pushing ourselves. It can mean conflict and passion. Engagement is more than filling up your calendar with activities.

Engaging with life also doesn’t mean overhauling everything or making sweeping changes. Divorcing a spouse, quitting a job, enrolling in a Ph.D. program, or going out and adopting a St. Bernard, doesn’t necessarily make us more engaged. We might still be the same person we were before. We might still feel unfulfilled and dissatisfied, but now with more debt and a dog to take care of.


Motivation for engagement shouldn’t come from a place of avoidance. Engaging means getting into things, not getting away from them. It doesn’t mean we swap out one relationship for another or seek a different career path.


Instead, engagement means we learn how to grow and transform, getting fully involved where we are. It means rather than avoiding, we roll up our sleeves and start to work on the things in front of us, rather than jumping from one ship to the next.

Engagement also isn’t limited to working hard or throwing ourselves into a single-minded task. It’s about having the grit and wherewithal to stick to something. It’s about perseverance and learning, and growing in each experience as part of a well-rounded life.

When we make mistakes, we can learn from them and build on what we’ve learned. Celebrate mistakes as a chance to grow and a sign that you’re taking risks and getting involved. Seek out new experiences and people who challenge and push you to be your best. Each experience is a chance to learn more about who we are and to uncover deeper aspects of ourselves.

Engagement is about doing things we aren’t successful at, over and over, until we get better at them. When the horse bucks us off, we dust off and get back on. We don’t just pack up our spurs and go home. Don’t rest at the summit and forget that there’s another peak to reach (and another beyond that).

To discover more ways to get what you want out of life, don’t miss our courses and resources available at Wright Now. You’ll find new ways to bring out your best in your career, your relationships, and your personal growth. So live the life you’ve always wanted—a life of more.


About the Author

Bob-300x250

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Make a Boring Relationship Fun Again

Relationship boredom. It happens, even to seemingly happy, strong relationships.

Why do some relationships lose their spark? How do you make a boring relationship fun again? Here’s how to overcome relationship “blahs” and reconnect with your partner.


One day, you look at your partner and wonder how you became so distant. Sometimes we get busy, life moves along, we’re going about our day-to-day activities, but we just don’t feel the same spark we once did.

What can we do about it? How do you make a boring relationship fun again? How can you get back the spark?

Is the Thrill Really Gone?

Studies show that boredom is a true relationship issue. Couples don’t break up because of bad stuff…they break up because there’s a lack of good stuff holding them together. When we feel dissatisfied in our relationships, we may start to seek attention elsewhere. We’re looking for novelty.

Think back to the days at the beginning of your relationship. Chances are you were feeling high on your partner. You were stimulated by all this new information. You couldn’t wait to know more about this fascinating, attractive, engrossing person you were dating.

As the years go by, that newness fades. It’s not because our partner has changed or become less fascinating, attractive, or engrossing. It’s because they’re less new. There’s less to discover about them. The fun and exciting exploration wanes.

I was working with Sharon, who told me of her 25-year marriage, “My mother always said, ‘settle for boring and stable over exciting.’ So, I guess I’m expecting too much from Dale. Maybe I should just be happy that he’s a nice guy who’s a decent breadwinner and leave it at that.”

As we explored this a bit more, I said, “Well, what first drew you to him? Did you always find him, ‘boring and stable’?”

“Oh no! When we were younger Dale was always so intelligent and interesting to talk to. We used to stay up having these fascinating talks about science and space. It was like he knew something about almost everything. He was this shaggy-haired, professor who drove around on his moped, played guitar, and read Carl Sagan.”

As we talked further, she realized it wasn’t that she had settled for her husband. It was that she had settled for that status quo in the relationship and in her life overall. She admitted that she wasn’t satisfied in other areas of her life as well—her job, her relationship with her friends. We talked about ways to raise her expectations all around, both of her relationship and herself.


We get used to our relationship routine. It becomes familiar and comfortable. While comfort in a relationship isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s not always conducive to growth.


We can think of our relationships as both a womb and a crucible: a place where we are nourished and nurtured, and also a place where we’re forged and become stronger. In both cases, it’s important to remember that growth isn’t always a comfortable or static state. Sometimes it’s painful.

The spark found at the beginning of a relationship doesn’t go away with time, but you’re used to the thrill of it. This isn’t just relegated to the bedroom “spark” either. The attraction and passion you feel at the beginning comes from intimacy, yes, but intimacy is also born from engagement and connection. Making a boring relationship fun again means finding that connection again.

There’s a great importance of novelty. Trying new things, learning, and discovering are vital to our happiness and sense of purpose. Novelty wakes our brain up; it helps us feel more alive, engaged, and stimulated. When we do something new, life becomes an adventure!

This attraction to the new and exciting goes back to what’s called the self-expansion theory. Our relationships expand and influence our interests. When we try new activities, we start to see life differently. The way we feel changes. Each interaction shapes and expands who we are at our core.

So, the truth of the matter is, perhaps it’s not your relationship that’s lost the spark and needs work. What are you bringing to the relationship and how are you fueling the fire? It’s really the spark inside YOU that needs to be rekindled!

How to Get the Spark Back

If the passion and zest for our relationship starts with us, how do we get that feeling back? How do we reengage and rediscover our partner and ourselves?

Couples grow stronger through affirming, celebrating, and empowering each other. Sharing power, making decisions together, and working as a team.

Carol, another woman I worked with, was a married, working mom of two. One of her children had developmental issues and required a lot of her attention. She was feeling frazzled, unappreciated, and stuck in the monotony of every day life.

She realized part of her frustration was coming from the lack of support she felt from her husband, Dave. It wasn’t that he didn’t help, but he wasn’t as expressive as she would have preferred. “He never says, ‘I love you,’ spontaneously. I feel like he never tells me, ‘you’re doing a great job.’” We talked about the ways Dave did express his affection—through doing things for her and assisting her.

So, how could she shift the pattern they were stuck in? How could she get the affirmation she was craving?

Carol began a new habit whenever Dave did something nice for her. She would say out loud, “Oh you did this for me?! That means you love and appreciate me!”

He would, of course, respond by saying, “Yes, exactly!”

The more he was affirming her, the better she felt. She appreciated his help and naturally, he started doing even more to assist her with the children and around the house. She felt loved and he felt better about himself and more empowered in the relationship.


Sometimes stopping a tedious cycle means engaging in real, truthful communication.


It means that you and your partner need to stop talking about just the logistics and minutia of the day and discuss the big stuff.

Those topics that might even feel scary or “off-limits” are exactly what we should get out in the open. It’s time to “go there” instead of avoiding it.

Now, all couples talk about what’s for dinner, what’s on the agenda this weekend, or who’s going to run the next errand. But sometimes these little topics take over our conversations. We stop discussing feelings, hopes, fears, and our vision for the future. We lose sight of the bigger picture and deeper meaning in our union.

Get back to getting to know each other. Find time to talk about the bigger topics, rather than the logistics of the day. What’s weighing on your heart and your mind? What challenges have you faced recently? What support are you looking for from your partner? What do you appreciate about them and how do you want to support their dreams?

Don’t be afraid to talk about the difficult topics either. Be honest about what upsets you and what resentments you might be feeling. Tell your partner what you don’t like and what’s frustrating you. Agree to speak and listen in turn, without interruption. Express what you’re feeling honestly and truthfully and hold space for your partner to do the same. Conflict and yes, fighting, can bring us closer together. Difficult, honest, and even angry fights are more helpful than bottling up our feelings or sweeping them under the rug. Get it out and battle your way toward bliss.

Making a Boring Relationship Fun Again Starts with YOU

Remember—boredom isn’t just about your relationship. It starts by looking within yourself. Feelings of boredom and disconnection in your relationship are often mirrored in other areas of your life. Are you disengaged with your partner or are you disengaged all around? It’s easy to say, “my relationship isn’t making me happy anymore,” but our happiness is our responsibility.

In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the Rules of Engagement. These are 7 important rules to fighting fair and productively in your relationship. One of the most important of these rules is that YOU are 100% responsible for your own happiness. Similarly, no one in a relationship can take more than 50% of the blame. Remember, it takes two to tango. It’s not your partner’s responsibility to make you happy, nor is it fair to blame more than 50% of your relationship frustrations on your partner.

What can you do to add more excitement and adventure in your life? How can you become engaged, fulfilled and satisfied? Look at what areas of your life may need some attention.

Get Naked for Greater Intimacy

Excitement in a relationship comes from building a stronger connection and discovering new aspects of our partner. While we may think of the bedroom as the place for intimacy, we can have true intimacy anywhere and everywhere. Sex may be a great way to express intimacy, but it’s not the only way and usually not the best way to express our connection. Our connection comes through being emotionally open…naked and honest with our partner.

When we bring this level of intimacy into every day, each moment of our life together becomes foreplay. We experience greater closeness and joy. Now, this doesn’t come by simply being affectionate with our partner. This comes from digging in and forging ahead together. It comes from teamwork and working together toward a goal. It can be fun, but intimacy also comes from work.

We can liberate ourselves from our patterns and break out of our routine by mixing things up. This means making the choice to fight FOR our relationship rather than fighting against our partner. Fight to bring back the thrill. Refocus your efforts from being annoyed or indifferent toward your partner, to finding new ways to connect. How can you introduce novelty and variety into the every day?


Too many couples settle into boring routines, which is deadly to relationships (Tsapelas, Aron, and Orbuch, 2009). Couples who keep learning, growing, and changing have exciting, satisfying, close relationships. Make your dates count. Exciting dates are better than pleasant ones (Aron et al. 2000, Lyuobomirsky 2013). Go deep. Have a “challenge date” at least once a month. Challenge each other— discuss issues outside the relationship and make observations about how each of you is generating problems for yourself at work, with friends, or in other areas outside the couple relationship. Support each other to keep learning and growing to be your best. Have “show- and- tell” and “inspiration” dates regularly where each of you brings new ideas, demonstrates a new skill, and shares what you are learning and what inspires you.
The Heart of the Fight

So, if you’re ready to make a boring relationship fun again, roll up your sleeves and get to work! Find ways to introduce novelty and excitement into your everyday life. Examine your needs and yearnings and express them to your partner.

Embark on a project with your partner, take a class, try a new hobby, or go on an adventure. Engage in honest, open discussions and focus on bringing the intimacy and connection back to your relationship.

For more ways to strengthen your relationships please visit The Wright Foundation. We have a number of exciting networking events on the calendar, giving you a great chance to connect with others on their journey. Start your self-discovery today and unleash your fullest potential.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Unpacking Emotional Baggage in Your Relationship

“My boyfriend pisses me off. I swear he purposely tries to get under my skin!” Courtney exclaimed as she started the process of unpacking emotional baggage in my office.

A couple cuddle as they take in the view. Unpacking emotional baggage in your relationship brings us closer to the ones we love.


“It’s like he does all he can to annoy me with little things. Even the way he slurps his cereal bugs me sometimes. He’s always paying attention to his phone over me…I swear it’s like we’re strangers. I’m starting to wonder if we’re even right together. Maybe I’m missing out on ‘the one.’”

It’s a common complaint. Your relationship feels like it’s going along fine, but there are little actions your partner takes that irritate the heck out of you. You start to wonder if there’s not a fairytale out there waiting for you to find. You wonder why your significant other doesn’t make you feel as happy as they once did.

These feelings are totally normal and common to most relationships. The truth is, we all come into relationships carrying emotional baggage—or unfinished business—with us.

Emotional Baggage: Why We Carry in Unfinished Business

Whether you’re in a new relationship or you’ve been with the same partner for the last twenty years, there is still emotional baggage you each bring into the relationship. Each and every person has unfinished business stemming from as far back as your childhood. Even if you think you’re not consciously carrying it into your relationship, it’s there. (Don’t believe me? Just ask your partner!)

If you want to build a deeper connection with your partner, roll up your sleeves and unpack your emotional baggage. But first, it helps to understand why we all carry this unfinished business with us.

Our unfinished business is made up of limiting beliefs about ourselves, the attachments we formed with our parents and others growing up (our attachment schemas), our implicit memories set in our early childhood, projections, transferences, and more. Sounds like a lot to unpack, doesn’t it?

Deep within your neural pathways is embedded a foundational web of beliefs, ideas, and experiences. We refer to this as your “matrix” and it’s made up of those limiting attitudes, personal biases, and mistaken beliefs. Your matrix comes from your early relationship programming—typically your relationship with your mother, father, and siblings. This is often set early, even before you’ve established and understand the language or pinpoint specific memories.


As you learn about yourself and examine who you are, you may start to discover things about yourself you hadn’t realized before.


You may also notice things about your partner and relationship. You may notice common themes in your fights. You may notice patterns in the little actions that annoy you. These themes give you a strong clue where your unfinished business lies. As you acknowledge, understand, and accept yourself, you will start to complete your unfinished business.

Now, this isn’t easy. Most of us have hidden much of our unfinished business away. We carefully curate the image we want to show to others—the pieces we want others to validate. These are the parts of ourselves we were taught were “okay” or acceptable.

When we start in a romantic relationship, we often put our best foot forward. Think of setting up an online dating profile. You don’t mention all the details that are less appealing to a partner. You choose the most flattering pictures and paint yourself in the best light.

As you start to connect with someone romantically, you may experience a honeymoon period. You’re very excited about your new lover and hanging on their every word. Their every move seems charming, sweet, and attractive. Even the way they slurp cereal might seem cute when you’re in the haze of a crush.

But after a while, the satisfaction and excitement wanes. Reality sets in and your unconscious mind takes over. Suddenly all that subconscious programming, unfinished business, and emotional baggage comes back to the surface. Those irritations and annoyances get under your skin. Strong emotions surface and arguments erupt.

So, does this mean your relationship is doomed? No! Not at all. In fact, choosing a partner that pricks all your unfinished business is actually a good sign. It means your unconscious mind is selecting someone who compliments you and your matrix.


You’re predisposed to choose someone who is most likely to trigger your mistaken beliefs about yourself and the world, poke at old emotional wounds, or even rub metaphorical salt in them. They will bring to the surface any aspects of yourself that you haven’t integrated or haven’t discovered. No, this isn’t some bad cosmic joke— instead of being destined to fall in love with a fairytale prince or princess, you’re destined to spend your life with a great sparring partner. If you want a full, engaged life, then you need that partner. The unconscious purpose of relationships is to complete or continue our development and provoke us to learn, grow, and even transform ourselves.

Remember, attraction isn’t just about chemistry. You wouldn’t have been attracted to someone or “fallen in love” unless she or he fit your unconscious template of what love “feels” like— the good and the bad. We all have a conscious stated reason for getting into relationships: we fell in love; we want to share our life with a special someone; we can’t imagine living without him or her. But there is also an unconscious purpose of relationships: to complete our unfinished developmental business and become the person we can become. Fights often occur because unfinished business is rising to the surface. This serves a purpose: it helps you become conscious of what needs to be faced, understood, and shared for you to learn, grow, and complete yourself.

The Heart of the Fight


Who’s Responsible for Your Happiness? YOU!

A common comment I hear from couples is, “he/she doesn’t make me happy anymore.” Many of us have this idea that our partner is somehow responsible for our happiness. When we feel dissatisfied or unfulfilled with ourselves, we resent that our partner is slighting us or not resolving all of our emotional baggage for us. The idea of what true relationship happiness looks like is as mystical as any Disney fairytale.


The truth is—YOU are responsible for your own happiness. Relationships are meant to serve as both a womb and a crucible: A place where we grow and a place where we become stronger. But growth isn’t comfortable.


In fact, growing pains are common but necessary. A crucible is a situation or place where elements are forged together under pressure and hot temperatures to create something new.  Both are places of creation and both exist in discomfort.

It’s only natural that discomfort and conflict extends into your relationship. Many people worry there’s something wrong with their relationship if they argue with their partner, if they don’t always get along, or if they find themselves attracted to other people. The narrative no longer lives up to the fairytale they’d imagined.

In reality, arguments, conflict, and challenges are a normal part of life and growth. They’re necessary for the development of a successful relationship.


The Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods illustrates this point perfectly. The first act of the musical creatively intertwines fairytales: Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk. In the first act, the fairytales play out according to our expectations— Jack finds great wealth after climbing the beanstalk, Cinderella marries her prince, Rapunzel is rescued from her tower, Red Riding Hood is saved from the wolf, and their wishes are all fulfilled. The stage is set for them all to live happily ever after.

The second act opens with the audience in a dreamy state, lulled by the happily- ever- after outcomes in the first act. Surprisingly, we find each character discontent and wishing for something else. Cinderella feels empty and seeks meaning by planning a festival. Her Prince Charming is disillusioned and bored with her and her desires, wishing he had quested after Sleeping Beauty instead. Henpecked, Rapunzel’s prince is likewise distancing himself from the emotional, distraught Rapunzel, a new mother with a little baby evoking memory of the cruelties experienced at the hands of her evil witch mother. Little Red Riding Hood despairs over the death of her grandmother, and they all wander aimlessly into the woods where terrifying primal forces lurk. Chaos reigns, and the narrator is killed, meaning that they are no longer in the prewritten fairytale and they have to write their own story. This is the critical turning point in the play as they are left in the unknown, dependent on their own and each other’s resources.

More to the point, this is the critical moment for couples. This is when they leave the myths of relationships behind and are free to go into the dark woods of their feelings, their beliefs, and their unconscious minds. It is at this point that they can find themselves and each other. Free of the myths, they don’t have to pretend that everything is great and can engage in growth-producing conflict. Unburdened by the need to maintain a perfect relationship, they can express their true feelings and argue for their beliefs. This is the point where they begin to write their own love story, letting go of idyllic relationship misconceptions and creating meaning, purpose, and genuine connected intimacy in their relationship.

The Heart of the Fight


Letting go of the belief that our partner is responsible for our happiness puts the responsibility and the ABILITY back on us. When we realize we’re 100% responsible for our own happiness, we stop looking at our relationship as a panacea to cure us of our woes. While being with someone else may make us feel happy for a while, true happiness comes from discovering our own strength and working on our personal fulfillment.

Develop Yourself for a Stronger Relationship

Those who study the brain have discovered it’s equipped with amazing neuroplasticity. The brain is constantly building and rebuilding new pathways and circuits. As we acquire new beliefs and engage in new experiences, our brains adapt and grow.

We’re drawn to novelty and excitement. New situations help us feel upbeat and happy. When we’re in a relationship for a while, that excitement wanes and we return to the status quo. That doesn’t mean the relationship is failing.

We get the same feelings of excitement and novelty as we stretch our skills and work on ourselves. When we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, dig in, and examine our beliefs we feel fulfilled and satisfied (like we do in the honeymoon of a new relationship). We’re essentially our own hero, our own “prince charming,” and our own adventure. As we get-to-know and build a relationship with ourselves we become enlivened and energized.


While we may wish our relationship was the answer to our fulfillment, the answer is really within us. We may long for a partnership that’s smooth sailing all the time, but it’s those bumps in the road that bring us closer together and helps us learn about ourselves.


So, the next time your partner annoys you, ask yourself why. Unpack your emotional baggage—where are your beliefs coming from? What do your feelings say about you? What do they remind you of? Can you draw other parallels in your life?

Consider involving your partner on your road to personal growth. What would you both gain by exploring together? Working on growth together will deepen your intimacy and draw you closer to each other as you learn more about yourself.

For more ways to connect with your partner and grow please visit us at the Wright Foundation. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you can meet and connect with other individuals on their journey. Learn more about yourself and others as you go forth to ignite your world.


About the Author

Judith Wright receives the Visionary Leader Award from Chicago NAWBO.

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach.
She is a co-founder of The Wright Foundation and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Dating After Divorce :
What Are the Rules?

Do you ever get tired of reading the same old dating and relationship advice? Most advice seems geared to  people who’ve never been in a marriage or long-term relationship.



What about the rest of us, with, well, “history”?

What about those of us who might be reentering the dating field after a divorce or long-term relationship ends? Doesn’t after-divorce dating come with a whole new set of rules? How long before it’s “safe” to start dating again? How much should I share about myself? Should I be honest about my past?

Maybe you’re not ready for a full-fledged relationship or even dating yet, but it can help to reflect on the knowledge and awareness you gained from your previous relationships, then find a way to reignite your social life. It may seem scary, but YOU CAN get out there, have some fun and feel alive again!

Getting Over the Guilt and Resentment

After a marriage ends, there’s often a great deal of self-reflection, guilt, sadness and introspection going on. You might feel like you aren’t sure how to connect with a new person on an emotional level. You might feel “out of the game.” Even if your last relationship wasn’t great (or was, in fact, pretty terrible), you may still be asking yourself a lot of emotionally-charged questions, like, “Why didn’t I get out sooner?” or “Did I do the right thing?” or “Will I ever find love again?”

You can take comfort in the knowledge that most relationships that end do so for a reason. Even if you have your reservations about the way it ended, let’s face it: no relationship ever ends because it’s just too wonderful to go on.

When a marriage ends, things can become tense and heated. It can be hard not to let negative comments and destructive words stick. Sometimes, that negativity can change the way we perceive ourselves and contribute to false or limiting beliefs. It’s important to keep in mind that even if things didn’t work out with one partner, you can still move on, move forward, and find your own bliss.

Even though you may be feeling raw and perhaps even vulnerable, the good news is…there are no rules. You don’t have to wait until you “feel comfortable.” You don’t have to wait until the dust has settled. And you don’t have to wait to start down a new path. You can start small, go big, or anything in between—your doors to self-discovery have just opened up.

Shifting Focus: There’s a Whole World Waiting for YOU

Think of it this way: The world is completely open to you. Freed of the negative constraints of your previous relationship, you can now step out into the world with fresh eyes. You can meet different people and learn new things about yourself by being more aware of the way you interact with them. You can even use the dating field as your own playground for personal growth and discovery.

What other time have you had the chance to really unlock and discover how you interact with different people in different situations? You probably already know what you don’t want in your next relationship. Use dating as a way to have a good time and learn more about yourself and what you DO really want.

By now you probably know there’s really no such thing as “the one.” Let go of the expectation of an outcome or a hope that you’ll find that “one” special someone. Instead, acknowledge that there are many different people out there who can challenge us and start us thinking in new directions.

You’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet them! You can go out, engage and get reenergized!

Two Vital Skills for Relationship Bliss (Even If You’re Single)

These relationship bliss skills can help you in all your relationships. Learning and working on these relationship skills can help you break free from the notion of “dating rules,” boost your social life, and bring out your best.

Skill #1: Yearning

Yearning is deeper than simply wanting something. Yearning can come from a need to be seen, to be touched, to be recognized and to be acknowledged. The funny thing about yearnings is we often don’t realize what they’re really all about until we take a giant step back.


“We start by reawakening our moment-by-moment yearning to see and be seen, to touch and be touched, to love and be loved, to matter, to contribute, and to make a difference. Our fights are unconscious attempts to get our unrecognized yearnings met or a protest against them not being met. Great relationships require stepping out of routine and habit, and this skill begins by learning to have our yearning guide us in our interactions.” –The Heart of the Fight


For example, on the surface, maybe you’re bothered when someone talks over you or when your date orders for you at a restaurant. Your true underlying yearning is your desire to be acknowledged and heard. If you’ve been dismissed frequently in the past, you may have developed a pattern of pushing down your yearnings, instead feeling quietly resentful.

Think of how much more freeing it would be to express your yearnings and to say, “You know, I’d like to order for myself,” or “I want my living room to look this way.” Identify your yearnings, embrace them and don’t hold back!

Skill #2: Engaging

Engagement is putting things out on the table. It’s being present, being honest and truly expressing yourself.


“Engaging is a deeper and wider concept than just listening or concentrating, though these are important elements of engaging…Understand that to be truly engaged, your yearning and your emotions must be involved. You may be completely focused on your new boss at work, a new date, or shopping at an exclusive new store, but even if you are totally turned on by your favorite designer’s hot new collection, these activities don’t satisfy a deeper yearning, and therefore your engagement takes place on a superficial level. Worrying about the new boss, being curious about the new date or, sorry to say, even finding the hottest new designer shoes doesn’t qualify as fulfilling a yearning, nor does being kind of high and buzzed constitute real emotion. Similarly, if your mind is into something but your heart is not, you’re lacking the emotional involvement that distinguishes true engagement. Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind, and soul.” –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


Disengagement comes from hiding your yearnings. It can come from a desire to win an argument, not for the good of the relationship, but simply because you want, above all, to be right. Does engagement mean polite interaction or acquiescing to the whims of another? No, of course not.

Many of us shy away from engagement because we think it means conflict, and we think conflict is bad. Well, guess what? Conflict isn’t bad! In fact, conflict can be a great way to stimulate and accelerate your personal growth. You can read more about these relationship bliss skills in our book The Heart of the Fight.

Remember, your journey is only beginning and it’s an exciting and energizing time to embrace the new world ahead!

Want to learn more about how to live your most fantastic life and become your best self? Read on at Wright Living or join us for our upcoming More Life Training.


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Why Doesn’t My Relationship Make Me Happy?

When asked the question of what truly makes us happy, many of us are left in a perpetual state of reflection. “What do I need to make me happy?”


What makes you happy? Is it your friends? Your spouse? Your work?

Many people look to their relationship as the answer to happiness. Over and over I hear, “She just doesn’t make me happy anymore,” or “I just can’t seem to make him happy.” Certainly we derive pleasure and partnership from our relationships, but do they MAKE us happy?

How about work? We often hear, “I love my career. I’m doing well. I’m at the top of my game.” But when there’s no happiness or satisfaction derived from our career, we end up going through the motions every day. Even if we’re doing great, we still might not feel that real happiness we’re seeking.

For some of us, without the intimacy and connection of a partner, work can feel empty and unfulfilling.


Looking for more strategies for creating your own happiness?

Get a FREE 15-minute Life Coaching Consultation!


The Roots & Memories of Our Happiness

Think back to when you were a kid. Remember when you rode your bike successfully for the first time? Or maybe you kicked a goal in soccer and won the game for your team? How about when your mom or dad came in and hugged you goodnight or turned on the nightlight when you were afraid of the dark? Maybe it was the time your teacher had you read your essay to the whole class.

Think about those early moments when you felt true happiness.

Many of us cling to this vague, dreamy idea of what happiness is or what it can be. It’s a memory. It’s something we felt in our childhood that we can’t quite put our finger on now. It’s love. It’s romance and travel and excitement. We see this fairytale in our mind of being saved by a handsome prince or a beautiful princess and falling in this amazing state of love and bliss. We think of ourselves living “happily ever after” and riding off into the sunset.

Yet…we know it’s not realistic. It might be our standard for happiness, but we all know too well it’s not what we’re experiencing in our daily relationships.

My Partner or Spouse Doesn’t Make Me Happy

Couples often come to us feeling like their marriage is crumbling. They fight all the time, often over small things. They have arguments over money, arguments over their relationships with their parents, and arguments over their children. Even worse, maybe the fights have stopped and now they simply feel numb.

There’s this common mindset of: we’ve fallen out of love and the thrill is gone, so we’ve ruined our “happily ever after.”

Well, “happily ever after” is an illusion! It’s a fairytale we were sold on as children. In reality, we’re probably yearning to be seen and acknowledged by our spouse, just like we felt when our teacher had us read our essay to the class. We’re yearning to be safe, to be protected and to feel loved like our parents made us feel when we were children (or the way we wish we had felt). We might be yearning to feel successful like we did when we mastered the skill of riding our bike or when we kicked the winning goal. We want that acceptance from our peers when they cheered us on.

Unfortunately, we’re often looking to our spouse and saying, “Make me happy!” We want our partners to hand us the answer, when we don’t truly know what we’re seeking. We resent them for not “fixing it” or bringing us happiness and we assume something’s wrong with them and with our relationship. Maybe we’ve found ourselves attracted to someone else because we hope they might meet these yearnings since our spouse hasn’t handed us the “happiness” we expected them to.


When couples come to us and tell us they’re experiencing these challenges,

they are shocked when we tell them they are right on track, that their disillusionment and conflict are necessary for real, successful relationships to develop. They are at the doorway of great possibility. They must, however, go into the wilderness of the unknown and face uncertainty in order to undo the fairy tale, to help the relationship grow….

This is when they leave the myths of relationship behind and are free to go into the dark woods of their feelings, their beliefs, and their unconscious minds. It is at this point that they can find themselves and each other. Free of the myths, they don’t have to pretend that everything is great and can engage in growth-producing conflict. Unburdened by the need to maintain a perfect relationship, they can express their true feelings and argue for their beliefs. This is the point where they begin to write their own love story, letting go of idyllic relationship misconceptions and creating meaning, purpose, and genuine connected intimacy in their relationship. – The Heart of the Fight


…So Where Does Happiness Come From? What Will Make Me Happy?

In reality, many of us aren’t actually seeking happiness. We think we are, but we’re actually asking the wrong question when we ask, “What will MAKE me happy?”

We’re expecting happiness to fall in our lap. When we’re stuck in this mindset, we’re seeking to avoid the discomfort and pain of growing. We’re hiding from a life of engagement and interaction with others. We’re zoned out and we’re accepting the status quo. We’re vaguely (or maybe not-so-vaguely) dissatisfied in our relationships. We’re disappointed.

But true transformation and personal growth is uncertain and challenging. It’s hard. It’s not an easy trip sailing into the sunset.


Looking for more strategies for creating your own happiness?

Get a FREE 15-minute Life Coaching Consultation!


Everyone is Responsible for their Own Happiness: Here’s How

Guess what? You (yes YOU!) are responsible for your own happiness, outside of your relationship and in your relationship. One of our rules of engagement and productive conflict is that each party must realize they are 100% responsible for their own satisfaction and happiness. Not your partner, not your friends, not your mother or your father. Who, you ask, will “make me happy”? You.

Now, of course you should support your partner and help them work toward the things they want. Similarly, it’s up to you to share your yearnings with your partner and make them aware of what you want.

This doesn’t entail blame, shame, guilt or nagging. It’s not about passive-aggressive actions or withholding. It’s about having the conversations about the truth: What is it you both want out of your relationship? How do you want things to be and what can YOU do to work toward that goal?

Similarly, another rule of engagement is: No one gets more than 50% of the blame. So if you’re feeling stressed and unhappy in your relationship, it’s not all your fault—but it’s not all your partner’s fault either. It takes two to tango and two people to work through conflicts toward mutually agreed upon resolutions.

Many of our conflicts and frustrations are based on this idea that our partner is somehow supposed to MAKE us happy—so of course, with that mindset, we resent them when they don’t! The sooner we can let go of this relationship myth and take responsibility for our own happiness, the sooner we can start to fully engage and work toward it.

Happiness doesn’t mean we’re in a constant state of blissed-out joy. It means we’re engaged and growing as people. It means we’re satisfying our yearnings and working toward the things we want. It means we’re fighting FOR our relationships, not against. We’re not putting up walls, even though it’s painful to stand there without protection. We’re assuming goodwill on the part of our partner and we’re realizing they want the relationship to be the best it can be, too.

Now THAT can “make” you happy.

Once we get over the myth of the “fairytale relationship,” we can embrace true happiness and move forward together. For more on strengthening your relationships, please join us for our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your relationships are going! Tune in to our Lifestyle Podcasts every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.


If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can pick up our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, available now.


About the Author

Judith

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Dating A Coworker:
Bad Idea, or Good Idea?

It was the mid-1970s and it was the first time I saw first-hand why so many of us tend to say, “Dating a coworker? BAD IDEA.” I was in an internship, leading a weekly Group Dynamics course.



One week we’re rockin’ and rollin’—everyone was having a great time, learning and growing, sharing and challenging each other. It was a great working environment!

The next week I go in and immediately realize there’s something wrong. Really wrong. People stopped engaging with each other. They stopped interacting. There was an undercurrent of outright hostility within the group.

I had an idea: I separated the women and the men and had the two groups face each other. They immediately started going for each other’s throats! When we finally broke it all down and everything came out, turns out two of them had started dating and the relationship didn’t work out.

The women blamed the man while the other men thought the woman was overreacting. It was a mess that took weeks to unravel.

Think about it: that entire productive, fun and empowering group dynamic was torn apart—in just one week!

So our big question this week:

Should I act on my impulses and ask out my coworker—and would dating/our relationship complicate things at the office?

The short answer is: Are you kidding me?!? Of course dating a coworker will complicate things at the office! Any time you’re part of a small group of people, adding sex, attraction, loyalty and drama to the mix will complicate things—greatly.

The longer answer is, while it IS complicated, there are ways to make dating a coworker work. When we’re talking about two mature adults acting on a well-thought-out mutual attraction based on friendship, that’s when dating a coworker might work. Is it recommended? Generally speaking, no.

When Dating a Coworker Might Be OK…and When It’s Not

If you both work for a big company with hundreds of employees, or if you work in different branches or different locations, then in most cases dating a coworker is fine. When you’re in a large situation, it’s simple. You aren’t interacting with each other and other coworkers on a daily basis. You aren’t rocking the boat and there will be minimal fallout (if any) when and if it doesn’t work out.

On the other hand, if you’re a member of a small tight-knit office under 50 people, then it’s almost impossible for the ripple effect of your relationship to go unnoticed by those around you. Since the 1970s, I’ve worked with many groups where the tension was palpable after two members had a failed dating attempt. In small groups, any time two people start to form bonds and loyalties outside of work, it can make the other team members uncomfortable and even angry. Add sex into the mix and it ramps up the office drama even more, detracting from the productivity and professionalism of the office.

In today’s hook-up culture, there’s this idea you can have casual, no strings-attached sex with a coworker. In my experience, this is rarely the case. Usually, there are still expectations and feelings, even though the sex is “casual”—and they’re even stronger when you see each other every day and you’re interacting in the boardroom. Even if those feelings are only felt or expressed by one party, it’s hard to get around it.

Not only is it complicated for those involved but the inevitable impact on the group is hard to avoid. People can tell when there’s something going on between two coworkers. Even without confirmation, there’s speculation, which can in some ways be worse for productivity because it’s distracting.

After all, everyone is (or should be) at the office to do their job and earn a living, not to boost their social circle and add a notch to their bedpost.

When To Tell Your Boss You’re Dating a Coworker

If you’ve thought out all the potential complications of dating a coworker and you’re both very low-drama individuals who can maturely and discretely handle testing the waters, the professional thing to do is to plan to go to your boss.

Check the company policy about dating a coworker and inter-office relationships.  This is particularly important if one of you is in a higher position or a position of authority. Many companies have strong policies against what they see as a conflict of interest and a possible abuse of power.

Don’t take the situation lightly. Dating in the office can destroy careers in more ways than one. For example, if one party is underperforming, it can create a major conflict for both parties, ending up in the loss of two jobs. After all, would you really want to work for somewhere that fired your significant other?

If you’re still not deterred and the relationship that’s built up between you is based on mutual respect, friendship and attraction, then it might be time for a candid conversation with your boss. Be upfront and honest. You need to be prepared to follow through with the outcome, however. Remember, if you ask permission and get an answer you don’t want to hear, then you may be facing an even tougher dilemma.

Many people think they can be discrete when dating a coworker, thinking they can pull off a “trial run” without anyone detecting what’s happening. I’m here to tell you: most people can’t do it. They’ll eventually tell someone or they’ll sneak around at work and get caught. Trying to hide it rarely if ever works and eventually when it all comes to light, you may have an even greater mess to clean up.

Getting Over the Idea of Scarcity

Part of being socially and emotionally mature is knowing you can find ways to interact with many different people. We all know there’s no such thing as “the one” and many of us can have dynamic, mutually satisfying and healthy relationships with many different people.

We have to get past the mentality of “this is my only chance.” There are plenty of fish in the sea, and you don’t have to stick to the tiny pond you’re working in.

If you think you can’t get over the attraction or if you feel uncontrollably drawn to the other person, then it might be time to do some work on your expectations in relationships. After all, if you or your coworkers were in a relationship or married (or simply not interested in you), you’d be able to work together despite whatever attraction you felt. Attraction, while important, isn’t the only criteria for a relationship. You can move past it.

Remind yourself of all these factors and weigh out the pros and cons before jumping in and dating a coworker, potentially making a mistake based on fleeting attraction. Try to keep your private and personal life separate from your life at the office. If you do decide it’s worth the risk, handle it in a mature way to minimize the impact on the group and be sure your professional life stays professional.

To learn more about heathly relationships, check out our book The Heart Of The Fight, now available on Amazon!

 

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

To learn more about boosting your social and emotional intelligence for career and relationship satisfaction, join us for our upcoming More Life Training. You’ll learn skills to become more alive, more connected, and fully engaged in your life and your career.

Want to boost your career? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:

Want to improve your sales? The Wright Sales Program is a hands-on, experiential program that provides sales professionals with an opportunity to boost their sales performance through the application of social and emotional intelligence to their selling techniques. [Learn more!]


About the Author

Bob-300x250-1

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Wanderlust: Too Soon
to Travel Together?

Who doesn’t love vacation?! Whether exploring a new city or town, or hiking through an eco-adventure, it’s so exciting to add to our life experience, connect with different people and cultures, and open our eyes to new encounters.

Read this post if you find yourself wondering…

  • Is it too soon to travel together with my partner or significant other?
  • Am I ready to travel with my new boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • We’ve been together a while, should we “test” our relationship by seeing if we travel well together?

If you’re dating someone new or even if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you may be wondering, “Is it too soon to travel together?” Either way, the question of travel is pretty inevitable. From a friend’s destination wedding to discount cruise tickets you just can’t pass up, the chance to travel will arise at some point—and sometimes sooner rather than later.

While you may love traveling alone or with friends, traveling with a significant other can be a whole different experience. You may be wondering, “Is there a certain point we should reach in our relationship before we’re ‘ready’ to travel together?” Or even, “Is there a timeframe when we should plan to travel, just to see if we travel well together?”

In reality, just like there’s no such thing as “the one” or “rules” in dating, there’s no hard and fast rule about when you should travel together. Some dates lead to travel plans that very first weekend. Other couples might not have the desire or opportunity for vacation until months or even years into their relationship. It’s about knowing what you’re comfortable with and understanding a few things about the vacation mindset.

Sharing an Escape from Reality

Vacations are new experiences, where our regular habits and routine don’t apply. While this is an awesome time for learning, growth, and exploration together, it can also give us a false sense of how our relationship is “back in the real world.” Let’s just say it can sometimes be hard to see clearly through vacation euphoria or vacation stress.

When vacation euphoria takes hold, everything seems almost magical. We’re suddenly without the stress of everyday life with all its complicated conflicts and emotions, and we’re no longer confined by our routine and restrictions. Instead, we’re experiencing each moment anew.

This vacation high is very exciting and different, but it can also be a challenge to explore your true feelings about each other when you’re in this adventurous state. On vacation, we might connect in ways that don’t completely apply “back in the real world” where we have bills to pay, work to deal with, and a myriad of other things on our plates.

Into the Unknown Together: When It Gets Real

On the flip side, think back to your last long car trip or extended layover at an airport. Chances are, it wasn’t your favorite memory. Traveling together can be stressful—you’re navigating in a new place, deprived of sleep and jet-lagged, and charting unfamiliar territory. After three or four hours in a car, everything can seem amplified, and even your favorite person in the world can grate on your nerves. Stress may cause us to revert back to considering if it is, in fact, too soon to travel together, while you’re already well on your way!

It’s hard not to be upset when someone forgets the map or tickets, or you find out your flight’s been delayed and you’re going to miss a connection. No one reacts well in these situations, so don’t view these as make-or-break “red flag” moments. Give your relationship a little space from this stress before passing any major sweeping judgments.

Vacation provides an extended period of time together where you can pick up on interactions you might not get to see during “normal” dates. Certain personality traits and interactions can be amplified. It’s also a great time to explore your own reactions and feelings to different things that occur in the vacation environment. For example, you may be surprised at the thoughtfulness or kindness you notice in your date when he or she interacts with new people (or you may be dismayed when the opposite happens).

At the same time, in this “artificial reality,” you might notice certain interactions and traits in your partner and wonder why you’ve never seen them act that way in your day-to-day life together. It’s good to make note of those things as well. You might find the person you’re with becomes very different when they’re away from home.

Exploring, Dreaming & Doing—Together!

Vacation can also create time for that dreamy space where you can imagine your future together. Vacation can help you understand how compatible the two of you are in terms of embracing new experiences. Instead of wondering if it’s too soon to travel together, talk to your partner and ask how they imagine their ideal vacation.

If one of you likes a laidback country trip with lots of nature and outdoor time, while the other prefers a busy city trip with food, culture, and museums, it might not be a deal-breaker, but it can mean you’ll have to find other people and different ways to fulfill those travel preferences. Maybe you’ll plan an occasional “culture weekend” with a friend instead of your significant other, or go surfing with your buddies instead of your girlfriend. Maybe you need to take a trip home, but sometimes it might be best to go alone and spend time individually with your family.

Even on vacation, it’s ok to plan some alone time for yourself, if you or your date prefer an occasional break. It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that everyone needs a little downtime, even if you’re head-over-heels for each other. You may have to establish some boundaries and be sensitive to each other’s yearnings and needs, as vacation often means a concentrated amount of interaction with each other. Listen to the cues your partner is putting out and don’t hold back to establish your own needs and boundaries.

No matter what happens, vacation is a really great time to engage, embrace conflict and really get to know each other. You might not get along perfectly, but it can be a great time to explore and understand your boundaries and how you interact in a different environment. Use this as another opportunity to unlock who you are and what you want out of your interactions and life experiences.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Relationship Real Talk:
Playing the Waiting Game

Are you playing the waiting game in your dating life? In your relationship? Do you ever just wonder what are you really waiting for?


Read this post if you’re:

  • Waiting for her to call
  • Waiting for him to text you back
  • Waiting to make the next move
  • Waiting to commit or settle down

 

Maybe you went out on a few dates with someone and then suddenly *poof!* they disappear…and you’re left waiting and wondering if they’re ever going to call you again. It’s true that some relationships just end without much discussion or fanfare and we don’t get the closure we want or need. It can leave us feeling unsettled. We don’t have the opportunity to express our feelings or grievances and that can leave us with some unresolved issues.

What about in your relationship? Maybe you’re feeling some distance in your relationship, but you’re not sure why. How much of this is natural and how much is a form of “ghosting” within the relationship? Are you emotionally withdrawing because you can’t gain control in the relationship? Or are you feeling pushed away? Deep down, is it really fear of commitment?

Many times we go into relationships and dating with preconceived notions. We tell ourselves, “I’m afraid of commitment,” or “I’m not good at expressing what I want in relationships.” We call these limiting beliefs.

When we go into relationships with these limiting beliefs, we end up acting out a self-fulfilling prophecy. Things go exactly as we expect them to…because that’s exactly what we set ourselves up to expect. We believe we “are” a certain way and that belief gives us permission to behave accordingly. Holding onto these limiting beliefs can feel safe and comfortable (even if it’s not getting us what we really want).

When We Don’t Get the Gift of Closure

When a relationship ends without the gift of closure, it’s our job to work through and resolve our own feelings and conflicts about it. We can gather lessons and takeaways about our behavior and our contributions to the relationship—but remember: we only have to take responsibility for and own up to the stuff that’s ours. Relationships are a two-way street. Chances are, if someone walked away without saying why or just stopped calling, well, there’s some baggage of their own they need to work on, too.

Here’s where our seven rules of engagement can really help us learn more about our relationships. (You can learn more about the secrets to a happy relationship that no one ever taught you in our book, “The Heart of the Fight.”)

Two of these rules really come into play in this situation:

  1. We are each 100% responsible for our own emotions, feelings and satisfaction in any relationship; and
  2. We can each only take on 50% of the blame in any disagreement because, hey, it takes two to tango.

As we work through what happened, we have to own both what we brought into the relationship and the times when we held back. Were we really engaged with the other person? Did we express the things we truly wanted and fully jump in? Were we true to ourselves?


Sick of playing the waiting game?
Now is your chance to build lasting, healthy relationships.

Reach out to our experienced relationship coaches
to discover how to bring out your best in every relationship.


Dating is a great opportunity to measure and examine our interactions in a variety of situations. We can learn, “Hey, this is what I hope to get out of relationship, this is what scares me, and this is where I tend to shut down,” and then we can work on how we can accept our reactions and work on expressing our needs better in the future.

We can also see the times when we had different expectations or desires than the other person. If one of you wants a picket fence, a house and three kids, and the other one wants to travel the globe…well, there’s a fundamental difference that may just mean the two of you want different things out of life. It’s totally fine to move toward what you want and strive for your own goals while seeking a relationship that can help you achieve and accomplish those things rather than stand as a barrier.

Playing the Waiting Game when Commitment is the Question

Sometimes we reach the point in our relationship when things start to get serious. Many of us may experience a tendency to pull back a little or balk at the thought of being “reined in.” Once we’re in a relationship, we might feel we’re losing freedom or even a part of ourselves. We might feel like there’s the expectation that we have to change or be something we’re not.

The best relationships allow us to be our true selves. The best relationships are great because they bring out the best traits and strengths in both parties. If you find you’re scared of committing to a relationship, you might need to explore what’s not being met within that union.

Is there a reason you’re holding back? Are you listening to your limiting beliefs, such as, “I’m not the relationship type,” or “I don’t do well when I’m committed to one person”? Is there more to your apprehension?

Explore why you aren’t ready to jump in. If you find some genuine incongruences, then they need to be addressed. If you’ve had the hard conversations and expressed the things you want out of life and you’re still holding back, maybe you need to examine if you’re clinging to preconceived notions of what a relationship is (restrictive, holding you down) and let go of those beliefs if you find them to be untrue.

Whatever you learn from dating, it can be a great opportunity to explore some of these larger questions about ourselves and how we work with and interact with other people. There’s a great chance to find out new things about who you are and what you want from a relationship. Do the work and you’ll enjoy the benefits.

 

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured image “Worried Girl” courtesy of Ryan McGuire licensed under CC by 1.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker?
Avoiding the Awkward
First Date

At some point in our dating lives, all of us have run into “the great fixup.” Whether your aunt works with a cute single guy or there’s an awesome girl who happens to live in a friend’s building, if you’re on the dating scene you’ve certainly heard, “So, I know this person who I think would be perfect for you…” at least once or twice.


Awkward first date alert! Right? Well, maybe…

If the thought of being set up makes you cringe, that’s totally understandable. Dating setups can feel awkward and uncomfortable. If your friend sets you up, there may be some unintended feelings of obligation. You may feel that if it doesn’t work out, things might get even more uncomfortable further down the road. Now that you’ve taken a dip in your own social pool, you may even imagine awkward post-date encounters at a friend’s dinner party or get together—so cringe-worthy!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

It’s time to get past all that awkwardness. It’s time to rethink the fixup.

Fixed Up By a Friend: Is It Really So Bad?

Let’s reframe. If you use an online dating service like Tinder or OkCupid, you’re essentially trusting an online matchmaker. But think about it: Would you really put more stock in an online personality test than in a trusted friend’s matchmaking abilities? I know, I know, it does depend upon the friend in question. Maybe your matchmaker friend isn’t the “Fiddler on the Roof” variety, but if you’re open, honest and authentic with your friends in your everyday life, they’ve probably seen you at your best and at your worst—so they just might be able to successfully set you up. It’s worth a shot.

Yes, you might feel vulnerable or just plain weird when you give your friend the OK to make an introduction. Just remember: good friends will typically suggest someone aligned with your values, who wants the same things out of life you do. Hey, your matchmaker friend doesn’t want to make things uncomfortable either! Yes, there might be hits and misses, but chances are, the Venn diagram of shared social circles isn’t a bad place to look for possible connections.

Birds of a feather flock together, so you and that “friend of a friend” will probably have some similar interests and compatible personalities. Not only that, but your friends might already be past the initial “tall dark and handsome” first impression, so they can help you see into the deeper, more meaningful stuff of great relationships.

How To Turn Any Awkward First Date into Fun Experience

First of all, shake off the mindset that a dating fixup looks pathetic or desperate. Most of us pride ourselves on our ability to engage with others and we enjoy the idea of meeting new people. But whether you enjoy meeting new people or not, anyone can have a hard time asking for a fixup or accepting a dating setup from a friend.

But dating doesn’t have to be awkward! Try this…

Instead of looking at your fixup like an inevitably awkward first date, think of your upcoming encounter more like a business networking opportunity. At a business networking event, you often express your values, engage in conversation, and try to find commonalities to make a connection. Many of us go into business networking conversations with the hope we’ll find someone who shares our positive intentions and is looking to elevate themselves and grow in a business sense. We want to meet new customers, clients and peers who are going to build our business network.

In dating, your approach doesn’t have to be any different. In fact, the importance of approaching your date with curiosity and openness can often be even more vital in a dating setting, because it’s about more than just “making a sale.”

You can even look at dating as a whole in this way! Have you ever been approached by a business contact with an invite for coffee or a request for an introduction? Of course. But have you ever thought that person to be super-lame for asking? Of course not! Because when we’re approached to make a connection in the business world, it often comes naturally.

Think of your dating life in the same light.

Treat dating like an awesome playground! It’s a chance to really meet new people, engage with others on a new level, and grow as a person as you experience your reactions and interactions with a myriad of different people in a bunch of different settings.

So if there’s someone who seems interesting to you and you’d like to know more, by all means GO FOR IT! The worst that can happen is you’ll meet someone who’s not exactly a love connection—but now you can add another person to your connections and network.

When YOU’RE the Matchmaker

What if the tables are turned and YOU have the chance to play matchmaker or give advice to a friend? Interestingly enough, when we receive unsolicited advice, even when it’s well-intentioned, most of us rarely listen.

When we train coaches and undergo leadership training, we learn that most of the time “giving advice” should generally be avoided, even if it’s wonderful advice. Most people need to be steered toward finding the answer on their own. So keep that in mind when you’re advising your dating friends: you can’t argue them into the direction you want them to take or push them into dating a person you think they’d be perfect for.

Instead, put the idea on the table and help your friend seek out their own direction and answers. Similarly, if you’re trying to figure something out, look for those who have similar goals and who are working toward the things you want. Ask them how they got there and follow your own epiphanies.

What works for one person may not work for another. There’s no set red flags when dating and there’s no rules—a deal breaker for you might be just fine for another person. Instead of applying a set of “rules” or limiting your interactions because you’re trying to follow a specific path, allow yourself to work within the here and now. Keep a growth mindset and approach each situation as a learning opportunity.

 

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell-2

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured blog post image “Stops for a while” courtesy of Flickr user Seika licensed under CC by 2.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.