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The #1 Reason Why Relationships Fail (And How to Fix It)

Relationship Failure

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Ed Yourdon

You heard about the movie Friends with Benefits, and you swore you’d never accept such a dating arrangement. Steve Harvey’s book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man was the source of many a conversation, yet secretly your stomach churned because you’re frustrated with the way things are going in your relationship. It seems like single people are everywhere, making you question should you give up and join their ranks. The truth of the matter is, the number of single people is growing – 1 out of every 4 households is occupied by a single person living alone. Why are so many people struggling to have successful long term relationships?

Chances are extremely high that you, like almost everyone else, failed to communicate 3 simple expectations, and this dramatically increased the potential for relationship failure. When you finish this article, you will have an extremely effective road map for creating success in any relationship.

Relationship Failure is an Inside Job

Sure, you can identify several expectations you want your partner to meet, but let’s keep it real – if we compared your expectations to what you’ve actually tolerated, there would be a gap. And your list is likely to include vague expectations (like “treat me nice”, “communicate effectively”, “be respectful”, etc.). These are the reasons why most relationships fail – 90% of people cannot clearly identify their expectations and cannot communicate them effectively. Read on, follow the process exactly as stated, and the outcome will be a powerfully simple road map for relationship success.

Step 1: Develop Your Relationship Success Chart

Take out a piece of paper. Draw a chart with 3 columns on the page. From left to right, label the first column “Must Haves”. Label the middle column “Negotiables”. Label the 3rd column “Unacceptables”.

Step 2: Complete the Chart in the Following Order

Start with the “Must Haves”

In this column, write down every characteristic, behavior, and trait that you absolutely expect your mate to have. These are things you will not compromise on – ever! A few examples that went into my column include: Smiles regularly, likes to and can travel, has an extraverted/outgoing personality.

Next, Complete the “Unacceptables” Column

In this column, write down every characteristic, behavior, and trait that you absolutely will not accept in your mate – ever! A few examples from my chart: Smokes, uses drugs, consistently makes negative comments.

Be sure the items in your “Must Haves” and “Unacceptables” columns are truly those because if you ever allow yourself to compromise on any of these, they automatically must be put in the “Negotiables” column. In fact, you don’t even need to complete the “Negotiables” column because anything that is not in the other 2 columns is, by default, a negotiable.

Step 3: Develop Your Critical Agreements

Now that you’ve identified what you “must have” and what you clearly won’t accept, you are well prepared to have one powerfully revealing conversation with your partner. Have your mate complete his/her own Relationship Success chart before your conversation. Then sit down and have an honest and candid conversation with the goal being to agree on a set of common “Must Haves” and “Unacceptables”. You should also agree on a process for addressing any violations and the consequences associated with those violations.

The Relationship Success Chart can be used as a great screening tool for evaluating potential candidates of your affection as well as an effective communication tool to re-establish the core values of an existing relationship. And the chart’s value is not limited to personal relationships – it can be used to improve work-related relationships as well. So give it a try today. Remember to revisit your chart regularly to ensure it is accurate and agreements remain valid, and you will dramatically improve your ability to maintain highly successful long-term relationships.

For more tips and strategies on thinking your way to success in your relationships at work and at home, explore the rest of this website, subscribe to this blog, and follow me on social media (Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Facebook). By doing so, you will gain access to leading edge research on management and leadership development and have access to daily inspirational and motivational quotes that will drive your success trajectory upward. So don’t delay, follow me and think yourself to success today!


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