Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Does Everybody Have A Back Up Plan?

A Back up Plan/Game is better known as a Plan B girlfriend/boyfriend and is more common than people think. It’s generally someone you’re interested in dating if you weren’t otherwise taken. We've all heard women say if I’m not married by the time I’m 30 then you’re going to be my husband/ father of my child. While some women say it in jest there are others that are deadly serious. It’s been said that harmless flirting has implications of a back up plan. E.g. ‘If we were both single at the same time’ statement comes to mind.

Everybody’s fallen into the plan B category at some point they just didn’t realise it. Isn’t it human to privately think if things don’t work out with A I’d consider dating B. Or is it only seen as wrong once in a relationship? If we could read our partners thoughts we’d probably have heart failure with some of the things we’d see. Surely thinking something isn’t so bad, it’s the acting out that becomes the problem. Then again if you think about something long and hard enough you usually act it out.

If you’re single then it’s only natural to have a plan B….even a C. You’ve got to keep your options open, right? Your back up plan could be that good friend you’ve always secretly been attracted too. He/she is the first person you call when things go wrong. They’re your personal cheer leader (supports you’re every move). Maybe your plan B is your future husband / wife?

I guess the real issues arise when the back up plan is initiated whilst in a relationship. Maybe one party isn’t getting enough attention and their ego is getting stroked by plan B. A fear of being alone may drive them to keep their options open. A lack of confidence in your relationship may resort in you not being honest, leading you to entertain certain thoughts, environments and people. It could be early days and you’re not sure how things are going to pan out. Maybe your that way inclined and like to have your cake and eat it (shrug). Or maybe because your not conscious of your actions/ thoughts?

Or is it because once in a relationship we’re expected to be on a certain level emotionally? After a certain amount of time/ years there is nothing we can’t share, our partner is 100% open with us. We should be able to confess our undying love. However along with emotional attachment is some form of emotional defence. No one wants to get hurt and some people don’t like being open to vulnerability. Whilst on the outside they’re confessing yes you’re the one inside they’re screaming I’m not so sure. This fear may be acted out in a number of ways, lying, jealousy, clinginess, emotional detachment, having that potential someone, a plan B but not acting on it.

Plan B’s aren't always clean cut. Surely the morality of a back up plan depends on your relationship status?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Why Self Reflection Is Important.

Self- Awareness is necessary within all aspects of life. In order to grow it’s essential to have an understanding of your emotions and personality traits. Throughout my course the words self- awareness has become a recurring theme. It’s imperative for counsellors to have a sense of self before they try and counsel others. I also believe it’s important for everyday life.

Self-awareness is a little like goal setting. It not only focuses on your strengths but your weaknesses. How can you expect to have good relationships if you haven’t addressed your personality traits? I.e. are you an introvert, judgemental or sensitive? What are your values, integrity, punctuality, religious beliefs? All these factors will go on to have an effect your romantic interactions if they haven’t being acknowledged let alone discussed. Whilst it won't make some of your behavioural traits acceptable it will help you and your partner have a better understanding.

After visiting my Counsellor last week she pointed out that I answer questions in a brief manner and don’t show my emotions. I got a little defensive and tried to dismiss it by not being comfortable considering it was our second meeting. Upon reflection I realised that I am selective with who I open up too. Yet I’m pretty sure in past relationships I’ve demanded great communication yet haven’t reciprocated it. This is just one of my flaws and it’s important that I acknowledge them. As there’s a danger I may push people away or have a lack of trust within relationships. Some of us choose to ignore our flaws. However in order to have successful relations you need to know your imperfections.

No ones perfect, I’m sure not and to be honest I wouldn’t want to be. But I’m pretty certain it can only help your relationships if you know how you behave. I identify that I can be moody; I love my own space, can be defensive and over sensitive at the best of times. The point is that I’m becoming more self-aware. We’ve heard the saying old habits die hard. Doesn’t mean that some of them can’t die though or at least not be so evident. Being self- aware involves a level of responsibility that some of us don’t want to admit.

When you begin to realise who you are, why you do the things you do and the way you do them. I believe that you will be more at peace with yourself and go on to have better relationships. I’m still a works in progress and this is something I’m challenged to do on a weekly basis within my course.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Men React To Crying.

This post was prompted by a recent episode of The Only Way Is Essex. One of the characters Lydia was crying uncontrollably in front of her boyfriend James last week as she felt unfairly treated/ neglected. It made me wonder what goes through men’s minds when women cry. The cause of your tears (could be a form of manipulation, hormones, anger, sincere emotion or even memories) will determine the kind of response you receive

I’ve found that when I’ve broken down in front of the opposite sex some don’t know what to do. My ex partner would just look at me whilst I sobbed non stop. My immediate thought was, aren’t you going to console me? Not even a hug or a there, there which can be a slightly patronizing but would have been better than nothing. At the time I underestimated how difficult it must have been for him to see me in such a state. I couldn’t quite grasp that some men are paralysed with facing this kind of emotion. Some men simply don’t know what to do. My friend’s dad never consoles her when she’s upset. Does this mean he loves her less….not at all. It could simply be that he doesn’t know what solution to offer.

Men are instilled to protect and provide I’ve read this time and time again. There’s no doubt that he’ll want to comfort you but sometimes he’s just unsure how to do it. Men often like to provide a solution to the problem however when it comes to tears they get stuck. Some men feel pressured to have to solve the dilemma when often this isn’t the case. Note to men women don’t always want you to fix things. Sometimes they just want to be held, given a bit of sympathy, and have you be there will often go a long way.

Men feel a sense of helplessness. I sometimes feel uncomfortable when my friends cry so I can only imagine how it must feel for a guy. Their automatic response is to fix things, make her feel better, make the tears stop but some don’t know how to do this. Is it because this is an aspect men can’t control? Some men feel out of their element as there’s no on, off button for crying.

I also wonder if crying brings out fear in men especially if they’re the reasons behind the tears. A surge of paranoia must sweep over them. Some may believe that there partner is going to leave if she's constantly crying over his supposed behaviour. Men have feelings too so it must be difficult for them to see the woman they care about in so much distress. Remember men aren't heartless they just don't act/think the same way we do. Keep those expectations in check!

Or is it because women are allowed to freely express their emotions but men have to suppress there’s. Men are often conditioned to believe that they have to act tough and that crying is a sign of weakness. Men rarely cry in public and I've never seen any of my partners express such emotion, not yet anyway.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Is Social Networking Bad For Relationships?.

Whilst on Twitter last week somebody posed the question, would you follow your partner on networking sites? They were inundated with responses with the overall answer being no. This led me to question whether social networking is bad for relationships. I’d like to think that if your relationship is secure, communication is on point and there’s no trust issues that social networking shouldn’t cause any problems. Of course it all depends on the individuals and whether both or one party engages in social networking. I believe it can lead to problems because…

People sometimes pretend to be something their not. It’s easy to do and very rarely leads to repercussions. I for one don’t check the validity of pictures, status updates etc. However after watching Catfish I’m a bit sceptical. How many people have stated their single only to later find out their married, what the hail? If you’re dating/ in a relationship and your partner isn’t on FB/ Twitter then your free to poke who ever you want, engage in all types of conversations and like pictures of the opposite sex. I wouldn’t be comfortable with my other half constantly liking females profile pictures....I’m just saying!

It allows people to see what you are doing ALL the time. Not everybody is comfortable with this. I’ve found out what friends are doing before they’ve had a chance to tell me thanks too Twitter and FB. Some people don’t think twice before updating their status. Let’s not forget it can be addictive and very distracting. The amount of times I’ve said I’m going to pop on FB for a few minutes. Next thing I know those minutes have turned to hours. If your partner hasn’t jumped on the social network bandwagon they may not understand why you spend so much time glued to your computer screen.

Another problem with social networking is that updates can be vague leading to various interpretations. What you deem innocent can set off a chain of emotions and paranoia to your girl/ boy friend. It’s tricky trying to determine the meaning of a cryptic tweet or FB update. It's always going to be interpreted in some way and it's not always positive.

FB and Twitter can expose strangers to your love life depending on how much information you choose too share. Not everyone is at ease with the whole world knowing the ins and outs of their relationship. Yes there are privacy settings but every time you tweet or update your FB status everyone on your timeline can see it. Some people love to snoop and are gaining information on your love life on a daily basis. Of course this isn't a negative thing. There's nothing wrong with professing you love to the world. I’m just a private person and choose not to disclose that kind of information on the web.

Everybody monitors each others behaviour. This isn’t always down to insecurities, we’re human and natural instinct is to be curious to see what others are doing including your partner. The downside of this is that it can fuel jealousy. You may not talk about your partner enough; you may not have changed your status to in a relationship. You may still converse with your ex partner, the list is endless.

I’m not suggesting you can’t have a successful relationship whilst using social networks. Like anything you’ve both got to communicate how much information your willing to share. Know each others boundaries and have a mutual respect for one another. If you have to second guess your activities whilst social networking then maybe you shouldn't be doing it.
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