Build a healthy relationship

Justin is seeing a woman named Amber who will not go certain places because her ex-boy friend might be there. Amber and her ex broke up over a year before she met Justin, and he does not understand why the man is an issue.

Amber says that she is over him. She does not act like it. Other than this one problem, Justin is happy with the relationship.  My advice was to ask Amber how long her current relationship with her former boy friend is going to affect her future with Justin.

He did ask her. She was upset with him, but it did help them get into a deeper conversation. Their relationship has gone on for a year and a half and Amber has started criticizing Justin for things he cannot change. When Justin told her how those words upset him, she continued to berate him. Justin decided to end the relationship.

Amber was pushing Justin away. She had not gotten over her past relationship. This is an example of someone stuck in the grief process. See Escape the Grief Process, page 20. Amber did not want to feel the pain of dealing with her feelings. She may spend the rest of her life protecting her feelings. Justin did the right thing to first warn her about how her behavior was affecting him. It is questionable whether Amber will ever completely commit to any relationship. Justin was competing with her dream of the past.

If someone betrays you once, it is his fault; if he betrays you twice, it is your fault.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

IMPROVE A CURRENT RELATIONSHIP. The following thoughts will help you improve your bond with your partner.

  • Remember that you are in love. Show your affection frequently. Hold hands and tell this person how handsome/beautiful/kind/caring he or she is. The more specific the compliment, the better.
  • Speak well of your partner’s family, even the ones you do not like.
  • Do not criticize your partner for something he cannot change.
  • Expect the best of your partner.
  • Say, “I’m sorry” when you’re wrong.
  • Remain quiet when you’re not wrong. Nobody likes, “I told you so.”
  • When your partner is talking, listen. Give your full attention. Give feedback.
  • Ask her how she feels about something. Ask him what he thinks about something. Then reverse it. Ask her what she thinks and ask him how he feels. Notice what happens.
  • Never judge your partner’s feelings.
  • Ask your partner how you can show love. Do not judge your partner’s choice. One might want more companionship; another might want less companionship. See Show Love, page 91.
  • Try to settle disagreements before going to bed.
  • Never intentionally embarrass your partner, whether in public or in private.
  • Accept your partner for who this person is. Do not try to make your mate into what you would like, even if it is for the person’s own good.


  • How does your partner want you to show love?
  • How do you want love shown to you?
  • Do you love your partner, or is this a practical arrangement?
  • What can you do today to improve your relationship?

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