You know what the most powerfully toxic emotion is in relationships?
But the problem with trying to get rid of fear once it’s taken root is that it infects your behavior in the relationship like black mold in a wet basement. Once it’s already in there, it’s awfully hard to get rid of.
And being afraid leads to some of the most powerfully unattractive relationship behavior anywhere— neediness, clinging and desperation are all fruits of fear. And if you’ve ever had someone cling to you like saran wrap on hot casserole, you know how painfully unattractive it is.
Prevention is so powerful. Here are the 8 most powerful ways I know of to prevent fear from taking over your relationship in the first place.
1. Nip Problems in the Bud
Tony Robbins likes to say, “kill the dragon while it’s small.” I wholeheartedly agree. When you take the time to talk to your partner gently about things that bother you, it’s easier to iron out problems right away instead of letting them grow into big huge issues later on down the line.
2. Fill Your Own Tank First
You can’t operate well in a relationship when you’re neglecting your own needs. Someone else cannot be your only source of happiness. If you’re looking to the other person to be your source of happiness or ego fulfillment, when your partner is busy, distracted or dealing with issues of their own, where does that leave you? Lost. And that’s precisely the problem.
3. Live In The Moment
If you’re worried about what someone did in the past or terrified that they’re going to desert you in the future, it becomes impossible to enjoy the present with them. I realize that it’s easier said than done, but the benefits are worth it. Stop worrying about “where this relationship is going” and analyzing things that happened in the past. You can’t change the past or control the future so you might as well enjoy the present.
4. Avoid Overthink
Little worried thoughts grow into big worried thoughts when left unchecked. As this happens, usually our negative story clouds our judgement entirely. That’s why when we make an effort to enjoy the other person and not worry so much, it usually leads to a happier, more fulfilling relationship.
5. Let The Relationship Breathe
You must allow both of you time to follow your individual bliss. If you both give up all of your passions in favor of the other person, you’re going to run into serious problems sooner or later.
If you’re “living for” another person and the sun rises and sets with them, it’s simply way too much pressure for another mere mortal to cope with. Over time, that all-consuming infatuation at the beginning of a relationship naturally wanes. If you’ve given up everything you care about besides the other person by that point, boredom and contempt are going to grow.
6. Allow the Other Person the Freedom to Be Who They Really Are
Stop trying to change other people. Resolve to change your own mind, accept it or exit the situation and nothing more.
When you allow people to just be who they are and accept them in exactly that place, you are left with the choice to joyfully allow a relationship with them or leave. Trying to make them give up something they enjoy or reconfigure their life into what you want it to be is cruel and frankly, completely unfulfilling in the long run.
7. Stop Forcing Square Pegs Into Round Holes
If you’re trying to have a relationship with someone who is inherently wrong for you, welcome to a life of fear and doubt. If you know it’s wrong deep down, it’s wrong. No amount of pretzel-twisting yourself into someone else will make it better. Being afraid to end it is silly at that point. Give both of you the gift of change. It might be hard, but in the long run it’ll be better for both of you.
If you feel bad that you’re going to deeply hurt them, remember that if you know they’re not right for you, you’re wasting their precious time. The right person for them is better than you are if you already know they aren’t the one for you.
Not just when it comes to your relationship, but in general. So often we have busy lives where we sprint from one activity to another. This leaves us little time to either enjoy our lives or nurture our relationship with someone else. Relationships wither and die from neglect, so if you’ve been busy a lot, you might want to rethink that as a life strategy.