The 2 worst reasons to enter a relationship

Most people have valid reasons for entering into a relationship, from desiring a long-term commitment to wishing to take a friendship with someone special in their lives to the next level.

Then there are those who serve up terrible reasons for taking this major step in their lives. Without a doubt, two of the most dubious would have to be these:

1. They want someone to "complete" them.

Can you think of a greater burden to place on a significant than making them responsible for your happiness?

A partner is a welcome enhancement in anyone's life, but never should he or she be viewed as a be-all and end-all.

Other things and people bring us joy, from our friends and pets to our very hobbies. While we often turn to our partner for love, comfort, and security, there are situations (e.g., argument with a parent or an issue with the boss) in which someone else -- say, a sibling or coworker -- may actually be a bigger help than our partner.

Happiness comes from within. Being happy is a personal thing, not an external one. It has nothing to do with anyone or anything else.

As I've noted in prior posts, happiness is found in the present moment by making peace with the past and looking foward to the future.

And always keep this in mind: A relationship can end anytime and for any reason. You may be happy in your relationship today, but who's to say things won't change a day or two from now? People change, and it isn't always for the better.

The only person who will always be there for you is you. Appreciate your partner, but never lead yourself to believe you can't be happy without them. 

2. They enter into the relationship with the intention of "changing" the other person.

To dovetail with the point I made above, people seldom change -- at least not in a drastic way.

For example, a woman may enter into a relationship with the goal of taming a bad boy. Or, perhaps a guy feels the cute girl he met at the gym would make the perfect partner -- if only he could turn her into a sports fan.

People are not robots or dolls you can change or command at will. You can't expect them to think or act like you, whether it's taking up your favorite hobbies or supporting your religious or political views.

We're all separate individuals with our own self-identities. While there's no harm in recommending that your partner try something you may like (e.g. spicy food or yoga), they have no obligation to like it.

Moreover, if their holding a certain view or liking a certain activity means that much to you, you have three options: (1) Try to find a friend or relative whom you have this in common with (2) Meet new people via meetup or other groups with whom you can cultivate these activities outside of the relationship, or (3) Don't enter into this relationship altogether and spare yourself the ensuing head butting.

If you think about it, this second flimy reason for entering into a relationship ties closely with the first in that you're trying to change the person to more closely fit the image of an ideal partner that you have in your mind. In this way, you're depending on them to make you happier -- to make you whole.

You know you're ready for a relationship when your life is happy without a partner, but bringing them in adds an extra bit of sunshine. Your partner is icing on the cake that is your already-wonderful life.

You know you're in the right relationship when, despite your differences and in light of their supposed flaws, you still choose to be with the individual. 

The BIGGEST irony when it comes to attraction

In a perfect world, (1) men would attract women just by being sweet and romantic with them, and (2) men would want commit to a woman after she sleeps with him, whether they know each other well or not.

But, see, that's the thing: Attraction isn't logical.

If someone handed you a shiny trophy bearing your name, would it mean anything to you? Would you proudly display it in your room or office?

Probably not, because you did absolutely nothing to earn it. Thus, it has no value to you.

The same reasoning applies to relationships.

Many men find themselves utterly frustrated when they fail to land a girl after showering her with kindness, compliments, and gifts. It makes them feel as though their efforts were in vain.

Similarly, many women are left scratching their heads when men seem to cut and run after they've slept with them. "Isn't sex what men want?" they wonder. "Isn't it supposed to make them want something deeper sooner or later?"

Here's the most ironic facet of attraction:

In general, people don't want people who give them exactly what they want. 

Deep down, they want a bit of a challenge. As with a trophy, they want to work to win their heart. Put more simply, they want to earn it.

And it's for one simple reason: When things come too easily, we don't appreciate them as much. People want what they can't have -- or, at least, what they can't have right away.

Men who put women on a pedestal think they're doing themselves a favor, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Women perceive this kind of behavior as groveling. The guy comes off as trying to buy her affections, conveying that he's incomplete without her in his life.

Women aren't attracted to men who barrage them with gifts and compliments they don't deserve. Instead, they prefer someone who can be sweet and romantic -- but also funny, smart, and self-confident, and at times edgy, mysterious, and unpredictable. In other words, they want a little of everything. They want a mixed bag.

A doormat -- one who lets a woman get away with everything so as not to upset her -- comes across as desperate.

However, a guy who stands up for himself, knows what he wants out of life, and pursues his goals with a passion is going to be far more successful with women because his life doesn't revolve solely around her. No woman wants to be the center of a man's universe.

Women are, however, drawn to men who could be happy without them -- but choose to bring them along for the ride.

As for women who give it up easily to men and expect the man to commit thereafter, their approach is no better.

Even if he wants to sleep with her and succeeds, he loses respect for the woman for the simple fact that he didn't have to do much to get her in the sack. She wasn't a challenge, and he got what he wanted without hardly batting an eye.

Just as a woman may question whether a guy is overly clingy because he can't find anyone else, a woman who sleeps with a guy too soon may be communicating that she's mired in a major drought.

If a woman is just looking for a little fun and the two agree to no-strings-attached sex, there's nothing with that. But if she expects something serious to come of it, she's in for a rude awakening.

Bottom line: In the dating arena, what a person says they want and what they actually go for aren't always the same.

How to stop others from stepping over you

One of the surest ways to have people to step all over you is to always wear your heart on your sleeve and not think things through rationally.

Some people go to great lengths to avoid conflict and confrontation -- so much so that they'll acquiesce to others' every desire.

Being too much of a people pleaser, ironically, will hurt you in the end -- the exact scenario you're aiming to avoid in the first place --because someone will eventually exploit your generous nature to get as much out of you as they can.

Yes, you should try to do favors for others and lend a hand when it's needed.

But you shouldn't be afraid to say no to someone for fear of disappointing them or causing a rift in the relationship. A relationship built on fear is no relationship at all. If something so minute can lead to tensions in the relationship, it begs the question: Is this the kind of person you want to be around?

You can be nice without being a doormat. It may sound counterintuitive, but people in your sphere -- whether coworkers, friends, or your partner -- will ultimately respect you more if you do stand up for what you believe in. The key is to do it tactfully, without raising your voice and causing a scene.

Don't let your emotions govern your every decision. Try to strike a healthy balance between logic and emotionality. I'm not saying decisions have to be made on purely rational grounds, but logic should definitely factor into them.

For example, some people become so emotionally invested in relationships -- whether because of longevity or fear of being alone -- that they turn a blind eye to the ways such relationships cause them a great deal of harm.

No matter what excuses you can come up with, you should never stay in a relationship in which you're subject to:

  • Abuse, whether physical or verbal
  • Cheating 
  • Indifference 
  • Feeling taken advantage of

In other words, never let your emotions cloud your judgment. Rather than allowing your feelings to override all logical reasoning, the two should work in tandem to help you make sounder decisions.

If a person is diminishing your life rather than enhancing it, your rational side should kick into high gear, cut through the emotional fog, and propel you to end that unhealthy relationship.

1 way bad people actually benefit us

The benefits good people provide in our lives are varied and obvious. They're kind, loving, and compassionate. They teach us to be grateful for the support and generosity we receive from loved ones, especially during difficult times.

Now what about bad people -- the selfish, narcissistic, dishonest, insensitive, opportunistic individuals we come across every now and then? Do they benefit us in any way?

Absolutely.

Like the good people, they teach us a valuable lesson: Whom not to associate with.

They demonstrate the opposite qualities we should strive to develop and nurture ourselves, seek in other people, and instill in our children.

They embody precisely the kind of person we should aim to avoid because, rather than enhance our lives like the good people do, they diminish them with their pride, self-absorption, and callousness.

Granted, nobody's perfect. We all exhibit shades of selfishness here and there. We all fib on occasion. But some people take it to a whole different level. They unapologetically breathe lies and deception, and will stop at nothing to get their way -- even if it means trampling on others to do so.

You can't expect to know the kind of person you want to be until you see the kind of person you'd never wish to be.

Some of us are lucky enough to have great role models growing up -- our parents, teachers, and the like -- while others don't have as sturdy a support system at home and elsewhere.

The bottom line is that people who care only about themselves and fail to treat others with respect are not the kind of people anyone should surround themselves with.

Instead, we should gravitate toward those who find great pleasure in doing good deeds -- whether it's donating to the poor, joining their kid's community service program, or just being an all-around decent human being. Those are the folks we should not only venerate, but emulate.

Don't be afraid of being different

Don't be afraid of being different. Rather, fear being the same as everyone else.

People will try to cajole you into thinking and acting like them because it validates their own decisions.

Don't take the bait!

Just as you should never expect others to share your interests and views, you should never allow them to persuade you into abandoning yours.

Whether you don't like to drink, are passionate about golf, wish to wait until marriage to have sex, or ride a motorcycle, you might get flak for one or more of your lifestyle choices.

Rather than yield to someone's wish for you to change this about yourself, hold your ground.

Rather than apologize for what makes you unique, you ought to embrace it wholeheartedly. Why wouldn't you want to be different from your peers?

People are so worried about fitting in that they'll stop at nothing to gain others' approval -- even if it means losing their self-identity in the process.

It's really a shame that people seek others' validation to this degree. At the end of the day, it isn't even others who account for your happiness. It's you.

Happiness comes from within. You can't love others unless/until you love yourself. While people may disappoint or abandon you at any given moment, you'll always be there for yourself because you're your single biggest ally.

Celebrate all that makes you different. Show other people that you love yourself and enjoying expressing your individuality. Once they realize how comfortable in your skin you really are, they'll respect you all the more for it.

If they don't, they're welcome to walk away and try pushing some other poor soul into relinquishing their uniqueness. Don't stand for that!