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Why THIS Secret Twist On The 8020 Rule Makes Rela­tion­ships Hap­pi­er

The 80/20 Rule For Relationships

The equa­tion will nev­er work until you under­stand this vital truth …

For any­one new to the “80/​20 rule for rela­tion­ships,” it’s the the­ory that says, in a fairly healthy rela­tion­ship you only get 80 per­cent of what you want. Maybe your part­ner isn’t a tri-ath­lete or great at shar­ing his feel­ings, but it’s okay because the 80 per­cent you do get is really good.

The oth­er part of the equa­tion says it’s the end­less search for that miss­ing 20 per­cent you’d hoped for in your mate that leads many people to cheat.

Why do people feel like the 80 per­cent isn’t enough for them? Why do they want the oth­er 20 per­cent so darn bad?

The reas­on is that THEY don’t feel ful­filled and good enough in the rela­tion­ship but are unaware of that and, in turn, think it’s their part­ner that is the prob­lem. As it turns out, it is our own intern­al battles that are show­ing up on the scene and it has abso­lutely noth­ing to do with our part­ner.

Although many of us would debate that fact. I was one of those people when I first got divorced. I was sure all my prob­lems were my ex-hus­band’s fault. But time and exper­i­ence has shown me, that was simply not the case.

This is where I turn the 8020 rule for rela­tion­ships on it’s head and add my own twist … 

80 per­cent of the issues we have with oth­ers are our own intern­al battles. 20 per­cent are actu­al rela­tion­ship issues.

Here’s the catch on the 8020 rule when work­ing on rela­tion­ships; to get to that cru­cial twenty per­cent, you must first work through your own bag­gage. Oth­er­wise, you spend all your time bogged down in your own intern­al issues, nev­er get­ting to the 20 per­cent that is vital to cre­at­ing a mean­ing­ful rela­tion­ship.

Speak­er Tony Rob­bins fam­ously said, “The qual­ity of our life is the qual­ity of our rela­tion­ships.”

This is good news because it means we can actu­ally do some­thing about the cur­rent qual­ity of our rela­tion­ships, to change the future of them.

So what can we do to cre­ate health­i­er new rela­tion­ships and improve our exist­ing ones? Once we begin to become aware of our own needs and wants, then we know what’s import­ant to us and what’s not. We won’t waste our time with people who aren’t a good fit for us, and we can work on main­tain­ing good rela­tion­ships with the people who share our core val­ues.

Remem­ber, 80 per­cent of our dif­fi­culty with oth­er people comes from our own exper­i­ences, which we learned as chil­dren from soci­ety and fam­ily. Then we incor­por­ate these exper­i­ences as fact and think it they’re true about everything and every­one else. The good thing about these troub­ling pat­terns of thought is you’re cap­able of chan­ging them.

Man is not dis­turbed by events, but by the view he takes of the event!” — Epic­t­etus

For example, men and women who you meet or date may behave in ways that you find offens­ive. How­ever, your rela­tion­ship to them when they behave offens­ively is not determ­ined by their beha­vi­or; it’s only determ­ined by how you choose to relate to that beha­vi­or. Their actions are theirs, you can­not own them, you can­not change them, you can only pro­cess them in your mind.

How you choose to inter­pret people’s words and actions makes a huge dif­fer­ence in your rela­tion­ship and how that rela­tion­ship will unfold. You must go inside to real­ize that your inter­pret­a­tions are from the past, not from the cur­rent real­ity.

So dur­ing a date, if some­thing does­n’t go as planned or the way you thought it would (or should) go, you can chalk it up to exper­i­ence and get clear that these beha­vi­ors are some­thing that you don’t want in a rela­tion­ship … or, take it per­son­ally and nev­er want to date again. (This may seem extreme … but haven’t we all felt that way!?)

Take a look at your assump­tions, expect­a­tions, and stor­ies about the situ­ation and ask your­self, “Where is this com­ing from?” Some of the biggest chal­lenges in rela­tion­ships come from the fact that most people enter a rela­tion­ship to get some­thing. They’re try­ing to find someone who’s going to make them feel good.

In real­ity, the only way a rela­tion­ship will last past the first date is if you see your rela­tion­ship as a place that you go to give and explore — not a place that you take.

It is very help­ful before enter­ing a rela­tion­ship to already like your­self and see your­self as com­plete, oth­er­wise you’re likely to chase new rela­tion­ships, search­ing for that jolt of feel­ing good over and over again. This is part of under­stand­ing that how we see any­thing in life is first through our own fil­ters, and then we pro­ject those ideas onto every­one we meet.

So the next time you are in a rela­tion­ship situ­ation (dat­ing or friend­ship) and you find your­self hav­ing neg­at­ive judg­ments about what’s hap­pen­ing, first ask your­self what’s going on with­inyour­self and just observe it. Then you’ll handle any­thing your date is doing with more ease and maybe with a sense of excite­ment and humor.

Remem­ber, to build a rela­tion­ship that lasts, you must work on your own inner 80 per­cent while approach­ing the remain­ing 20 per­cent as a joint effort.

If you find your­self get­ting stuck, a rela­tion­ship coach can help you fig­ure out the dif­fer­ence between your own needs versus what you need/​want from a rela­tion­ship. Wish­ing you more joy and fun in rela­tion­ships!

Sue De Santo, LCSW is a rela­tion­ship coach. Do you want to change your rela­tion­ship story? Call for a free con­sulta­tion.

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