www.andreamathewslpc.com www.DecodingHim.comHow To Have An Authentic RelationshipDo they exist? Is it really possible to have a genuine relationship that grows betweentwo authentic people?Let’s just say, it’s been done. In fact, it is done quite a bit. But how to get them—that’sthe trick.The series of articles that will be included here under the heading of AuthenticRelationships is going to explore each of the following: why we don’t have them, what do they look like how do we make them happen.Why Don’t We Have Them?Authentic relationships cannot be established between two people who are identifiedwith the masks and costumes we donned early to survive our childhoods. The truth iswe don’t establish healthy authentic relationships with others until we outgrow ourupbringing.But most of us think we’ve done that by the age of 21, so why isn’t the fairytale true?Why don’t we just grow up, meet someone, fall in love and live happily ever after? Well,most of us know by now that the fairytale is, indeed, a fairytale, but what we don’t knowis why it is a fairytale. After all, doesn’t love conquer all?We don’t know how to relate.Most parents from the generations that preceded the most recent ones rarely-to-neverthought to teach children how to relate. Relationship skills were just supposed to comewith the package. Or not. Children were taught to have good manners, and that wasthought to be the essential ingredient in the social skills spectrum. When it came to
www.andreamathewslpc.com www.DecodingHim.comquestions about love, marriage, s-e-x, and how to relate to a partner—these questionswere rarely asked and if asked, never answered with any kind of honesty. It simplywasn’t done.Apparently, we are still not too far removed from that thinking, even to thisday. Remember the recent commercial in which the little boy asks his Dad, from thebackseat of the car, how babies are made? The Dad gives the kid this wild-hair storyabout aliens and the kids says, “Well Tommy says that babies come from….” at whichpoint the Dad interrupts him quickly and starts singing a car-song. This is how it was,and apparently, all too often, how it still is.Teachers didn’t and typically still don’t teach children how to relate. Other than the “wedon’t hit and we share” lessons that children get, while corporal punishment still exists intoo many schools, children are getting hit at home, and who really shares anyway. Infact, we teach our children much more in school about sex than we do aboutrelationship.We haven’t been taught how to relate. We haven’t been taught the skills of owning ourown stuff, of taking responsibility for our own happiness and of, from that position ofpersonal responsibility, joining with another human being while maintaining a sense ofself. We haven’t been taught the both/and ability to keep the self as the primary impetusand power-to-joy, while simultaneously giving the self over completely to someoneelse. In fact, most of us today live in an either/or mentality in which it’s either me or it’syou. And if it’s both, well that’s just the rare mutual perfect orgasm. It happens, but notso much. And we rarely understand why it happened this time and not another.So that’s the first reason why we don’t establish authentic relationships.We fall in love with unresolved issues.The second reason why we don’t have authentic relationships is that we are all too busytrying to resolve our unresolved childhood issues through our present-dayrelationships. Was Daddy cold, indifferent and absent much of the time? How did thatimpact you? If you felt that Daddy’s apparent indifference was your fault or because you
www.andreamathewslpc.com www.DecodingHim.comwere just not lovable enough or something like that, then you are likely to carry thatissue with you into primary relationships—regardless of your gender.In this case, you might be attracted to cold, indifferent and absent people who you willtry to change into the Daddy you never had. The only problem is that because they arejust like dear old dad, they are no more likely to change than he was. They are doingwhat they do out of their own unresolved issues—as was he.The psyche, unlike our fancies of the psyche, wants to resolve our unresolved issuesmore than it wants to fall in love and live happily ever after. Further, it knows that we willnot even have a shot at happiness in relationship until we resolve those issues. It’s verysmart that way.It orchestrates that process by attracting us to those issues, in order to facilitate theirresolution. We don’t get attracted to these issues because we are stupid, ormasochistic. We get attracted to them because these relationships were meant to betemporary teachers. In other words, they are not meant to last forever, but to wake usup. They are meant to teach us that really, the reason Daddy was cold and indifferentwas because Daddy needed, for whatever reason, to be cold and indifferent—it hadnothing whatsoever to do with us. It was just Daddy’s stuff.Stuck in BargainingThat awareness is the final acceptance stage of the long grief process that started whenDaddy originally broke our hearts. We’ve been stuck in the bargaining stage of grief allthese years, in which we felt that IF we could just be good enough, sexy enough, prettyenough, smart enough, tough enough, strong enough, loving enough THEN Daddywould finally love us. But the only way to be loved is to be with someone who has thecapacity to really love us—just the way we are.That slow awakening process can get us to the very beginning of the process ofdeveloping the capacity to formulate an authentic relationship—if we are listening,tuning in and getting to that final stage of grief. If not, we’ll just keep repeating it againand again and wondering why we are so unlucky in love.
www.andreamathewslpc.com www.DecodingHim.comThe third reason—which will be discussed in the next article—is our belief in severalmyths that surround the unhealthy relationship. Stay tuned for that.About the author:Andrea Mathews is the author of two published books, with another coming out later thisyear, as well as several magazine articles and a blog on Psychology Today Magazineentitled Traversing the Inner Terrain. She is a Psychotherapist, practicing bothTranspersonal and Cognitive Therapy, for individuals, families and couples—livingtogether, married or alternative (www.andreamathewslpc.com). She is also a CorporateTrainer, teaching soft skills to large and small corporations, and a Motivational andInspirational speaker (www.InnerWings.com).For more free tips and insights on what really attracts a man, how tomake yourself irresistible to him and how to capture his heart, click thelink below.www.decodinghim.com