A month ago one of my Twitter folks tweeted that communication, trust, and respect are the three most important pinnacles of a romantic relationship. When I analyze that statement and use my past relationship as an example, I have to agree 100%. It’s extremely difficult to have or hold together a happy and healthy relationship with just one of those three elements missing. It’s impossible if all three are missing. Many times, when one breaks down it affects the others. My own relationship illustrates this.
When I think back I’d have to say that communication was our first issue. We never quite had a handle on how to communicate effectively. Granted we talked, a lot. We lived together. We would text, blackberry message, Facebook, chat, etc all throughout the day. We had many deep meaningful conversations about a wide rage of topics. Yet there were many times where we misunderstood each other’s meaning. Where we misspoke, saying things in a way that would hurt the other’s feelings. Where we heard without listening. And other’s where we didn’t speak at all. When we argued it was worse. Looking back I realize that if we had learned how to communicate in a direct, mature, and compassionate way many conflicts would have been avoided.
Without trust a relationship is doomed to fail and a lack of it breeds other problems . It takes a lot to ask another to open up and show you a side of them that they have rarely (if ever) shown to anyone else. When you are asking to be in a committed relationship with someone you are requesting a certain level of vulnerability. A person must be able to trust in order to open themselves up wholeheartedly. Some people trust very easily but most don’t. It’s crucial to establish a solid foundation of trust. If, for whatever reason, that trust is broken a person must work extra hard to reestablish it. Otherwise the relationship won’t last very long. I’ve learned that it doesn’t take some major betrayal to destroy trust. It can be something as simple as not following through on your word, contradicting words and actions, or lying through omission. Broken trust results in insecurity and constant suspicion but it also affects communication in a big way. It’s extremely difficult to communicate openly with someone you don’t trust.
Any relationship must have some level of respect in order for it to be healthy. Not only respect for the other person as a human being but also respect for their feelings. Respect for that person’s space. Their time. Respect for the committed relationship as a whole. With respect comes appreciation. A lack of it is both a symptom of and results in conflict. It’s almost impossible to respect someone you don’t trust. Furthermore disrespect creates harsh speech, thus damaging communication. This is typically the last thing to go before a relationship ends.
Committed relationships are a lot of work but if two people are dedicated to cultivating effective communication, strong trust, and deep respect the relationship will have some level of ease. I’ve realized that these elements are stronger in friendships than romantic relationships. Something I find extremely interesting. What happens when your SO stops being your best friend? Or were they ever your best friend at all? A topic I may blog about later. In the meantime, my life’s lesson is that I will always remember communication, trust, and respect as I develop new relationships-friendships or otherwise.