Jealousy and Relationships

Some people I’ve known seem to think that jealousy is a healthy and normal part of a relationship.  I disagree.  I think jealousy is poison to any relationship.   The dictionary says jealousy is mental uneasiness that arises from suspicion and fear.   Suspicion and fear have no place in a good relationship.  Still, most of us have seen relationships that tolerate and sometimes even seem to promote jealousy in partners.  I have personally been in relationships with persons who were cross with me because I did not feel jealous of their attention.  And, of course, I ended the relationship with anyone who was successful in triggering my jealousy.

Jealousy, the green eyed monster raises its ugly head.

Jealousy, the green eyed monster raises its ugly head.

Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and personal power guru extraordinaire, says that jealousy is  the signal that we have identified something we want AND believe we cannot have.  The problem, clearly, lies in the idea that we CANNOT HAVE what we desire. The solution just as clearly lies in changing that limited belief system.  We are limited by our beliefs, friends, not by reality.

One of my favorite authors, Steven Covey (Seven Habits of Highly Effective People & The Eighth Habit to name two of his best known books) explains the value and virtue of the Win-Win approach.  This approach is really the only successful and profitable approach to business as well as personal relationships.  In a love relationship is is absolutely critical.  If you love your partner YOU will personally suffer if s/he loses and s/he will suffer if you lose.  A Win-Win approach requires that both partners feel safe, loved, and trusted.  Fear and its resulting jealousy cannot exist in a safe, loving, trustworthy environment.

So how can you deal with your own jealousy in a relationship?

I’m starting with you personally because it is the easier problem to solve.  You can stop feeling jealous in relationships by accepting the FACT that you deserve and can have the relationship you truly desire.  You are good enough, attractive enough, and moreover any little problems you may have can be changed.  I’m going to share two simple ways to prove to yourself that you can have whatever your little heart desires.

The first is described in “The Law of Attraction” and “The Secret” and it is just the way your inner mind works.  Your unconscious mind does a great many things for you.  One of the things it does is create your heart’s desires into reality.  Its doing this all the time without your conscious awareness but it gets confused when you dwell on what you DON’T want.  See, this part of your mind works a bit like a computer.  You program it by focusing on what you most desire.  Your unconscious mind responds automatically by finding a way to make it happen for you.  If you take the time to write down what you want, repeat it to yourself, or better yet create a mental vision of the day when you have exactly what you want.  Think of how it will feel, how it will look, how it will sound, etc.  Then revisit that daydream as often as possible.  Your inner mind will find it so irresistible that it will figure out a way to get you there.  Even without your conscious understanding you will be moving down the path to success.

This is the same process I use in hypnotherapy most of the time.  I get my clients to define for themselves what success will look, feel, sound, and smell like.  Then I walk them through a fun process of dreaming that success into reality.  Their unconscious does the rest.

Only keep in mind that every time you focus on your fear or ‘worst case scenario’ you send your inner mind working to make that reality come to fruition.  You don’t have to guard every thought.  You simply have to recognize a cycle of worst case thoughts and cut it off by thinking instead of the outcome you WOULD enjoy.  I use Google images and Pinterest boards to create my visuals since I’m more of an auditory person.  Then I can look at my dream on my phone app whenever my slippery mind spirals into that worst-case fear fixation.

The second technique is even simpler.  First you make a list of your goals.  Then you chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo a few minutes every day while reading your list and thinking about your goals.  As you go along you will think of new goals and more specific definitions of your goals.  Write them down and keep chanting no matter what.  This process is based on the reality of how your heart, mind, and soul are set up.

Using either technique you will find that the technique changes you.  Changing you changes everyone around you and even your environment.  You can read more about how it works in the books I’ve mentioned and at the website sgi-usa.com.  Neither of these methods are easy to fully understand but both are very easy to use.  And the results will speak for themselves.

Dreams become reality

Dream something good!

So how can you deal with your partners jealousy?

The short answer is that the above techniques will work to change your partner as well.  They will change you in the process and your changes will change your lover.  So the process is a bit longer and less direct and you may need some things you can do while you wait.  Here are a few.

The person you love is afraid.  S/he most likely has had experiences in the past that have triggered this fear.  Take the time to listen to your friend and partner as they explain why they are afraid and when they had such fears realized.  Deal with the fear in real TEAM fashion.  Be caring, compassionate and constructive.  Advice never helps in the face of fear, so don’t go there.  Accept that this person you love and chose is intelligent and reasonable and that his/her fear is valid given past experiences.

Find ways to reassure and build trust.  This kind of trust is built over time and based on honest communication.  You may have to be judicious in your honest communication.  If your partner is operating from a fear/jealousy state it may not be the best time to share honestly that you found some other person physically attractive that day, for example.   That is not helpful at such a time.  But let me make this easier for you.

Sexual attraction to your life partner will thrive, not suffer, from your attraction to others.  (Finally, the sex! I hear you mutter.)  This is how it works.  We all get turned on when we look at (but don’t touch!) other attractive people (and even things like flowers and sunsets.)  Then when we are good, honest, true, and trustworthy, we bring that liveliness home and make mad passionate love to our partner.  The same happens when others find us attractive.  We feel our own sexiness stir and we bring it on home to our partner.  In fact we all NEED to feel sexy to initiate sex or even to respond well to our partner’s overtures.

Once you and your love are on board with how this works FOR your relationship, you can begin to share a bit more.  The best way is to sight see attractive people TOGETHER.  You sit at the mall or corner cafe and say, “Oh look at the attractive set of legs on that person!  Honey, do you find his/her legs sexy?”  and “Oh, looky, that man has YOUR back! See how sexy that is?”  Really, start small and safe, say expressing interest in sexy flowers and sunsets.  Then when that goes well, expand to pretty dresses or handsome suits or cute puppies and children.  When you are both ready for full grown people start by drawing your lover’s attention to someone of YOUR SAME gender.  Resist the urge to EVER question whether the person in your sight is more or less sexy than yourself.  That is going back to the fear.

Sexy Sunset

Sexy Sunset

But when you can do this well together and then run home to make out, you will be on the path to happily-ever-after.  The bottom line here is jea-lousy is lousy!  Find its source, soothe it out, turn it around, and bring it on home!  You can do it!  And the rewards (*ahem*) are worth the efforts.

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Relationships and Money

Statistics show that one of the biggest sources of argument as well as actual causes of BREAK-UPs is money.  Those are sad and difficult stats especially when they impact the relationship that is the source of the greatest love, stability and happiness in our lives.  Happily, it doesn’t have to be that way.  But it DOES require flexibility, communication, and that one most challenging task facing each of us: self-examination and change.

Money Fights are avoidable!

Money Fights are avoidable!

The good news in this blog is that I have accumulated some tools to make all that easier.  As a hypnotherapist, my JOB is to find the simplest easiest path to success for my clients.  The years of research I have put into understanding relationships has given me a lot of overview and understanding.  And the years I have put into my own business and money education following my divorce has equip me with tools for speaking simply about that complex and taboo topic.

First the plain truth: Money is NOT REAL.  I know, I know, tell that to your bills and creditors, right?  It feels foolish to believe that money is the dream and emotions are the reality but this is one of the simple truths that will set you free.  All the books I’ve read by self-made millionaires say the same basic thing.  The more you think of money as a solid tangible reality, the more money OWNS YOU and the less your chances of ever owning it.  Money is a philosophy. Our challenge is to create the financial philosophy that works FOR us, so we can stop working ourselves into a frenzy FOR IT – and YES! even stop WORKING for money!

Love & Money ARE compatable

Love & Money ARE compatible

So the big problem in love relationships is that two well-meaning people with two equally weird, equally convoluted but often dramatically different money philosophies get bound together in a household.  Sometimes they get bound together in a legal, social, and essentially financial agreement called marriage.  Most often these two dear people get shackled together with no decent vocabulary for describing their financial beliefs let alone the ability to recognize their personal beliefs as completely made up.  Then we add to the basic problem with taboos about discussing money, additional financial burdens called “our beloved children”, and herds of crazy mischief makers called “family” “friends” and “business partners”.  Now, just TRY to untangle that knot!

So my best advice to anyone interested is a love relationship is this: talk honestly about money EARLY and OFTEN.  If your beloved can’t take the heat, it really is best that they cut themselves loose before it goes to a whole new level of crazy.  My best advice to those of us already in relationships is this: figure out your own philosophy and sort out your own crazy but do it TOGETHER with your partner.  This advice is primarily to break down our fears about money as a team. It also has an important function in reassuring your partner that YOU are at least as crazy and self-sabotaging with your money as they are.  Believe me, convincing your partner you are better and smarter about money than they are will NOT pay off.  Winning this game is about forming a good team, friends, not a good ego.

To begin to understand the true UN-reality of money consider the humble hot dog.  You may feel highly practical when you wait for the packet of hot dogs in your grocery store to drop to $3.50/8 before buying.  Then you go to a drive through or mini-mart and buy a ready made hot dog for $1.50 and still think you got a bargain (that’s $12/pack of 8).  Then you kick back at a sporting event or movie and willingly shell out $5.00 for that same tasty dog (totaling $40/pack).  Who’s the genius now?

Maybe you strictly indulge in that supermarket dog at $0.44 each.  Maybe you like your coffee? You can scrimp on the $7.00 can of pre-ground for three weeks of morning Joe in your drip coffeemaker.  You can indulge in a $14 lb bag of quality beans in that same drip machine. You can get the $200 single shot machine and the $5/box of 12 cup cartridges. You can beam with frugal pride as you serve yourself a morning cup at $1.85 at your corner quickie mart. Or you can say you prefer quality and get a barista crafted cup for $2-$5 per day.  My point is not to make you live life as a painful austerity but to bring to your conscious awareness that we live in a world that rationalizes a cup-o-joe ranging from about $0.15 a cup to $5 an cup and everything in between and we still think its “just coffee”.

What, I ask you is the TRUE VALUE of a coffee? A grilled sausage on a bun? No one knows.  The value is assigned by each individual at each moment.  Such is the logic of money.  If you want to better understand money as fantasy, I suggest you take a trip through a few countries.  Take your $1 bill to the UK and you only have 50cents at best.  Take it to Kenya and you suddenly have $80! I visited the war torn country of Uganda in the 90’s and the money was so devalued that coins were mere paperweights, bills filled briefcases at simple business lunches, and bankers brought out actual bales of cash to start the day.  While I was in Italy the lira had 2 tens places shaved off the end overnight.  I’m still not sure if I paid $1.50 for my New Years Eve meal or $150!!

So when you sit down as a team and discuss your money philosophy you are actually talking about your values.  Money is value that we arbitrarily place on our time, our self-worth, our needs and our pain.  It is not tangible.  It is not power.  It does not solve problems.  Our relationship problems are solved by communication, compassion, love, logic, courage and forgiveness.  Our money problems are solved  by the same means.

There is no "I" in team

There is no “I” in team

When you work with your partner to build a team money philosophy, please keep in mind that you can and will make your philosophy a “reality” in your life.  Since you do have the choice, please choose to believe in a philosophy that empowers and liberates you both.  The following are a few topics you can discuss together.  Most of these discussions will serve to unearth the stones of crazy-money-think you inherited from your families of origin and social class(es).  Then, together, find agreement on a team view that brings you both peace and happiness and supports your lives together.

1. What do you value most in life? What do you put most of your money into? (These will probably be different. Relax. Now you can change your reality.)

2. When and how do you reward yourself? (Some people reward themselves after a hard day with a sweet indulgence. If your boss only uses a stick, you are right to give yourself a carrot at times. We all do it. Face up to it and you can begin to master it. Imelda Marcos liked shoes, neither you nor your partner is that bad, ok?)

3. What is more valuable than your health? Your children? Your relationship? (Put your real values in their proper order and you can begin to give your money REAL value.  Don’t scrimp on your children’s health or safety and pretend that you are being practical or “realistic”, please.  Don’t think for a moment that you can’t afford a weekly date night if you cannot afford a divorce.)

4. Your home is not an investment. Your car, stereo, clothes, jewelry are not investments.  Where are you invested?  Make it so.

5. Suppose for a lark that society as we know it collapses in the next 5-10 years and money loses ALL its apparent value.  What skills and abilities do you and your partner have that can be traded for food, health, and housing should this happen?  What about your kids?  (And, no, gold will only have value as dental fillings. Invest in real life skills and you will always be wealthy.)

Lastly, let me point out some hard truths that will make a lot of people mad.  Team will never equal one person makes the money and one spends it.  Receiving the paycheck in your name does NOT mean you own the partner who does the work that doesn’t net a paycheck.  Joint bank accounts do not build team, more often they build resentment.  Do the budgeting together and keep the accounts separate.  Ladies who don’t earn a paycheck, realize whether you like it or not that “escorts” have netted around $500/hour for their TIME (not “sex” as such).  YOU have a value just by making a house a home and being pleasant company.  DO NOT devalue yourself or let anyone do for to you.  I fondly await your angry rebuttals.

P.S. Teach your kids smart money skills – they will learn faster than you and re-teach you when you need it!!

Kids are worth it!

Kids are a GREAT investment! Teach them.

I highly recommend the following books and resources to break your ties to the crazy money philosophies we were raised on:

Rich Dad Poor Dad -by Robert Kiyosaki

The Millionaire Mind – by Thomas J Stanley

The Eight Habit – by Stephen Covey

How to Win Friends and Influence People -by Dale Carnagie

Think and Grow Rich -by  Napoleon Hill

The Instant Millionaire – by Mark Fisher

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office – by Lois P. Frankel, PhD

The Courage to Be Rich – by Suze Ormand

Anything at all by Daisaku Ikeda

Sharebuilder.com (an online resource for educating yourself and buying FOR YOURSELF stock investments)

Don’t Go to Bed Angry

Never go to bed angry...stay up and fight!

Never go to bed angry…stay up and fight!

We’ve all heard the admonition that one of the keys to a lasting and happy relationship is that you and your love never “go to bed angry”. And, of course, many of us have inferred the meaning of that advice the way Philis Diller did, “Stay up and FIGHT!” Obviously, there are problems with both pieces of advice. What may not at first be obvious is that a good relationship DOES indeed require some healthy arguing skills.  So, while both statements are wrong, they are also both right.

In my first marriage, which lasted seven long years, we never fought. I took the demise of my marriage very seriously and set out to learn what I had done wrong.  I could see very clearly what my Ex was doing wrong, naturally.  But a relationship is ALWAYS a two way street.  I knew that 50% of what killed the union was mine.  So, I set out to discover what I could do better and to train myself so that I would never have to endure such a disastrous relationship again.

As fate would have it, one of the first things I learned was that a good relationship needs two people who are good at arguing.  Firstly, no two people of any age or relationship structure can live together long without disagreements and misunderstandings. Do you occasionally disagree with and misunderstand your kids? Your parents and siblings? Your room mates? Your best friends?  I would guess that you even want to argue with your teachers, co-workers, boss, customers, even strangers on the street.  Am I wrong? No, I am not and if you are thinking otherwise you need to read this carefully.  Maybe you need to practice.  Learn how to argue more.

Even the angels argue

Even the angels argue

Secondly, and this is key, arguing is nothing more than honest communication fueled by emotions.  You can take that definition up by degrees. Debating, arguing, fighting, its all communication fueled by increasingly intense emotions. The only way to avoid intense fighting that leads to intense, sometimes irreparable rifts, is to argue more often.  That’s right! And it needs repeating:  the ONLY way to avoid big nasty fights is to engage in lots of small pleasant fights.  I call this Low Grade Bickering.

My man and I engage in this low grade bickering daily, usually over breakfast.  By dinner time I’m usually too tired to hold up my end of an argument.  Which, by the by, is a big part of what went wrong in my marriage.  We were both too polite, too “nice” and eventually too lacking in passion to hold up the ends of a decent argument.  (That stuff is deadly, my friend!) But this man of mine? All he has to do is make a statement authoritatively, ask a question in a certain tone of voice, or just phrase a request as a command and I am off and running.

Nothing this guy says goes unchallenged.  Nothing I say goes without a counter argument.  Eventually, we get down to explanations and understanding.  Understanding is the goal.  No one can truly forgive or fully love without understanding.  This is my contention.  You can test it out for yourself, please do.  You will soon find that the people and actions you have decided to “forgive” without fully understanding are people and actions you simply abandon, resent and avoid.  True forgiveness requires understanding.  To say nothing of true love.

Friendly debate

Friendly debate

True love requires the ability to fall head over heels again and again.  Because that heady, exciting stuff wears off or we would never get work done, right?  I met a new friend at the condiments bar of my local Starbucks yesterday.  She passed a few words to her husband then turned to me and muttered, “You know its bad when you’ve been together so long that you don’t even need to finish the sentence.”  I countered, “Oh, no, that’s good!”  She replied with a knowledgeable roll of her eyes.  She’s right too.  Its bad.

Stony silence

Stony silence

When you reach the point in a relationship where there’s nothing to debate or even discuss, you need to take action.  You need to create new avenues for discussion.  This is done by entering new challenges together.  Its as easy as taking a class together, seeing an interesting movie or play together, or as difficult as going into business together, building a house together or having a baby together.  I do hope you noticed the key word here is TOGETHER.  You can learn new things on your own but it will only help your relationship if you learn TOGETHER. That way you will have plenty of topics for discussion, debate, and bickering over breakfast. Go for it!

So now can we finally go to bed?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  This is what we like to call “make-up sex”.  But that, my friend, is a misnomer because it means conflicting things to conflicted people.  Men feel and genuinely believe that sex IS the making up.  Women feel and believe that sex is sealing the deal AFTER the making up is complete.  Thus the continuing and frequently escalating conflict. The difference lies in the emotional bonding that always accompanies sex.  Men get hit (and hard) with the emotional bond after sex.  While women must make the emotional bond before the physical bonding or its “just sex”.  (That is why I suppose it was a man who coined the term “making love” to mean sexual engagement.  To me, its all the same by different names. A rose is still a rose. But I digress…)

Make up

Make up

Can you see now why putting words around the thing is so vitally important?  If the words are a double edged sword, the lack of words is a clean sharp laser that severs the thing completely.  Men are not wrong.  Women are not wrong.  A life spent assuming that silence is contentment, agreement, or understanding, is wrong.  There are loving periods of silence, for sure.  But there is plenty of silence in a tomb as well.  I’ll tell you, I can’t even be alone with myself without a certain inner dialogue, even debate.  I’m constantly mulling things over, sorting things out, hypothesizing, and discussing ideas and observations with my self.  I truly LOVE MYSELF, that’s why.  Why would I expect my relationships with others to survive without similar dialogue?

Go on and disagree with me if you must but don’t you dare avoid me.  Write me and let’s fight!

Don't you agree??

Don’t you agree??