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We can become very focused on the ‘hallmarks’ – these are what we consider to be the ‘markings’ of a relationship such as sleeping together over an extended period of time, having things in common, great sex, a ‘connection’, ‘chemistry’, future talk, being introduced to people, etc as well as big ticket commitment items like moving in, babies, marriage.
These are nice, great even, to have, but without the landmarks, your relationship is all shirt, no trousers.
In some instances, it can seem like it’s passenger:passenger – ie you’re both really messed up together but you will find that under those layers, someone is actually the driver.
Most drivers and passengers are trying to be drivers – they have ‘ideas’ about how they want the relationship to be and try to steer it that way.
They forget that in a healthy relationship, each party is sharing the risk of being vulnerable to healthily emotionally engage and be authentic in the best interests of their own sense of self and the relationship.
I’ve written before about why relationships don’t always work out – because you’re two potentially compatible people who may be doing stuff that’s counterproductive that eventually ends up making you both incompatible or because you’re actually incompatible, whether it’s because you’re two great people with different agendas due to your values etc or because it’s an unhealthy relationship.
Sometimes the agenda is about changing the relationship (could be a mix of playing Florence Nightingale and trying to be the exception to the rule or I Can Change Them), but it’s also often about catering to the self-fulfilling prophecy of negative and unrealistic beliefs.Many people chase stuff like passion, chemistry and common interests and then wonder why it’s not working.They assume that if these elements are present that the landmarks will automatically follow.The landmarks of healthy relationships are intimacy, consistency, balance, progression, and commitment as well as shared values and what should come as standard in any relationship – love, care, trust, and respect.If you have the hallmarks without the landmarks, your relationship is either casual and/or unhealthy.