‘You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.’– Andrew Murphy
We all have our own perceptions of what a meaningful relationship is.
Naturally, these perceptions are based on what we believe is most important in a relationship – the things we most value.
In that sense, I define a meaningful relationship as one where there is an alignment of both partners’ highest values and priorities.
Our highest values – as unique to each of us as fingerprints – are the things that are most important to us. They reflect who we truly are and what we are dedicated to.
These values can be absolutely anything, from spending quality time with your family, to being fashionable, to growing your financial wealth.
When I say ‘alignment of both partners’ highest values’, I mean that:
- both partners know what their own values are as well as that of the other and
- both partners are able to live in a way that honours their own values as well as the other’s.
For example, Anna’s highest value is her career as a freelance writer, while Bill’s highest value is travel. If Bill wanted to whisk Anna away for a romantic rendezvous abroad, he would have to do so in a way that honours Anna’s highest value.
Bill would have to show Anna how an overseas trip would benefit her career. After finding a way to do that, he could say something like: ‘Honey, I would love for you to join me on this trip. I think it would be great for you too: Lifesurf Magazine is looking for travel pieces and they’re paying a killing! Haven’t you always wanted to be published by them?’
If Bill projected his value of travel onto Anna, expecting her to put her career on the backburner, Anna would most likely pull away from Bill.
One of the biggest barriers to a meaningful relationship is, therefore, not being able or willing to communicate your highest values in terms of your partner’s, the way that Bill did with Anna.
So, what are the other barriers that block the entrance to a meaningful relationship?
Carrying the pain from previous relationships
When people hold on to the perception that a previous relationship was very painful, they experience reluctance or hesitancy at the prospect of entering into a new relationship. The fear that they may experience a similar kind of pain prevents them from opening themselves up to a new relationship.
Believing that there is ‘no one out there’
Financially successful, career-driven women tend to look for partners that match or exceed their level of success. These women often self-sabotage their chances of having a meaningful relationship by believing that there isn’t anybody out there for them. However, a financially and vocationally successful woman can have a fulfilling relationship with a partner who isn’t as successful as her, provided such partner can offer her something she values.
For example, Ben, who is a work-from-home salesman not as successful as his partner, Susan, is able and willing to take care of Susan’s young kids while she is at work. By doing so, Ben provides Susan with something that is very important to her.
Limiting beliefs around children and new relationships
Limiting beliefs such as, ‘Nobody will be interested in me because I have kids’ and ‘I can’t expose my kids to somebody new’ hold people back from entering into meaningful relationships.
A new relationship between a parent and their ideal partner will only affect the children if it results in the parent being emotionally unavailable and/or physically absent; otherwise, the presence of a new partner will not traumatize children.
After reading this, have you noticed any barriers blocking you from having a meaningful relationship?
What action steps are you willing to take to break down these barriers?
From my heart to yours.