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How Can We Improve
Our Relationships?

Our happiness can be greatly affected by the quality of relationships we have with other people.

Home life is better or worse, depending on how we interact with the people who come and go there.

Our personal life is colored by how we interact with the people who weave in and out of our daily life.

The great news is that we ourselves have a great deal of control over whether or not we are happy in the midst of our various types of relationships.


We Have More Control
Over Our Happiness
Than We Realize
- The Story of Roger's Freedom

I once heard an interview by a man named Roger who was raised in an orphanage. While the other children were sad to be away from their biological families, this man (as a 10-year-old boy) took full advantage of the freedom he found in that environment.

Since there were so many children and only a few supervisory adults, he was able to run and play in the back yard and fields for hours without disturbing the staff. He was able to scavenge glass bottles and redeem them for pennies, buying enough candy to keep him happy. Eventually, he saved his money to start a small enterprise, which brought him in even more money.

freedom in relationships

But one point he mentioned struck me as profound. He stated that while at the orphanage he discovered that the other orphans cared about what other people thought of them. This concept shocked him. Even as a boy, he couldn't understand why the other children cared what people thought.

Roger couldn't care less. He had his own life. He was doing his own thing, making the most of his situation, biding his time until he could begin his own adult life, growing, learning, working and playing. He was fed and clothed. He had time to think and play. He didn't care a whit about what other people thought about him or his circumstances.

As you can imagine, Roger did quite well in life. He was not hindered by trying to be what other people wanted him to be. (Not that he could please everyone even if he wanted to.)

His thoughts were on making the most of each day, living and enjoying the world around him. He knew that his time in the orphanage was not permanent. The orphanage was just a phase in his life. What difference did it make to him if other people liked him or not? They had their lives and he had his.

Roger's story my a great impression on me because I was raised to care about what other people think. I was supposed to dress the way they wanted me to, speak in a way that pleased them and so on. You undoubtedly know what I mean.

As I listened to Roger, I grew jealous. Could a person actually have that much inner freedom? Why was I not afforded that much freedom? Then I realized it was because I had not granted myself that freedom.

I realized that the people around Roger were not as free as he was. He mentioned that he was shocked to discover that they cared about what other people thought about them being orphans. Roger, on the other hand, saw his situation as his own business and nobody else's. Whether someone liked him or not, he didn't care. He was growing where he was planted.

Even as a child, Roger recognized that his time in the orphanage was not permanent. Whether he understood that every stage in life is temporary, I don't know, though I imagine he had the hint of it.

While at the orphanage, he enjoyed the few benefits he found and prepared himself for the next phase of his life.

I found myself wishing that I had been as wise as Roger when I was a child. Then I realized that I could start now. I could recognize my current phase of life as temporary. I could make the most of the good parts and prepare myself for the next phase, not leaving it to chance but building the framework for it now.

What did I want the next phase of my life to look like? What did I want to bring with me from this phase? What did I want to leave behind?

Although I'm not able to paint a crystal clear picture in my mind of the next phase of my life, I am able to grab a glimpse here and there. I can latch onto a thing or two that I want included in that phase and I can work toward it.

And although my current situation is not ideal, I can list the good parts and make the most of them. I can snatch an hour here and there to work on my future. I'm not asking anyone else if they approve of my goals or of my current situation. They are mine. Other people have theirs and I won't judge what they do with them.

There is no need to be jealous anymore - I have found Roger's freedom - and you can, too.



Can You be Addicted
to a PERSON?

The answer is yes, but with the right understanding and determination, the answer can change to no.

Being addicted to a person or relationship is more common than most people realize. Have you ever seen a couple fighting and wonder, "Why do they stay together? They seem to hate each other." The answer may be that at least one of them is addicted to the person or the relationship.

How Does This Addiction Get Hold of Us?

When we hear the word "addiction," we first think about drug addiction. Well, when we first fall in love or are strongly attracted to a person, it's like getting high on a drug? We want to be with the person. We can't seem to get enough - much like drug addition.

as addictive as a drug

However, even when the initial thrill subsides, we have the feeling that we can't live without that person. Something in our brains became imprinted with the "need" to be with that person. We feel dependant.

What are Some of the Signs of Being Addicted to a Person?

Our identity can become entwined with the other person's life. We start to do things because he likes to do them. We start moving away from former non-romantic relationships that defined part of who we really are. We neglect the things that we used to enjoy because he's not into those things.

Our identity is not just slipping away; it's changing to be like someone else's.

You want him to be around you so you spend money on activities or gifts that will result in him spending time with you. Although giving gifts and spending time together is a good thing, if you are going into debt or spending money on him instead of the car payment, then you are probably addicted to him and the relationship.

image of a girl and boy together

We all want other people's approval, but if he shrugs his shoulders when you ask him if he likes your new hairdo, you should take a reading on how that makes you feel. If you're crushed and can't recover quickly, you're too dependent on his approval.

Who is in control when you both are together?

It's natural to miss the people we love, but if you feel unhappy and empty when he's not next to you, this is a warning sign. If the idea of losing him for any reason makes you panic, you are in danger.

If he goes on a trip without you, do you feel like you may have done something wrong which pushed him away? Do you beat yourself up over some insignificant remark you made?

You get the idea. If we are not our former selves, we need to step back and take a look at who we now are. Do we really want to throw out the person we used to be? Are we changing so much that home, friends and work have lost importance in our lives?

If so, it's time to admit you're addicted to a person.

How Can We Break this Addiction?

The first step is to recognize the symptoms of addiction. If you found yourself nodding at any of the traits of addiction listed above, you can be cured. You realize there's a problem and you're wondering what can be done to solve it.

There's no need to lose your identity to be loved by this person. In fact, he was drawn to you when you were you. There is no guarantee he'll love the new you. Maybe he liked the fact that you were different. Becoming more like him may not be what either of you want.

Start on your road to recovery by listing the ways you've changed since you met him. What have you stopped doing and why? What have you been neglecting and why? What negative feelings are you having now that you didn't have before you met him? When do these feelings arise?

Continue listing anything that seems to be pertinent to the relationship. Do you have trouble concentrating at work now? Do you think of him more than seems reasonable? What else do you notice? Get these things down on paper where you can examine and admit them.

sadness within an addictive relationship

Do you see patterns? Does this person remind you of someone in your past? How have you changed since you first met him? How quickly did that change occur?

What are the emotions you feel during your time together. Love? Anger? Insecurity? Contentment? Pride? Shame? Anxiety? Worthlessness? Peace? What?

When you parted, did you feel that your needs had been met? Did you feel appreciated? Loved? Put upon? Put down? Frustrated? Happy?

There are no right or wrong answers - only honest and dishonest ones. You are not trying to over-think the relationship - you're trying to figure out if you are addicted to it and, if so, what to do about it.

You're not trying to decide if the relationship should continue or end. You just want to know how you can live with this relationship in your life without being addicted to it.

IMPORTANT: Keep this written exercise private. It's not something that should be shared with others, especially the person you're addicted to. Use it as a tool to renew your own independence and to rediscover your real you.

Furthermore, if you knew that someone else was going to see your list, you may not be as honest about yourself and your situation as you otherwise might be.

Steps to Making it a Healthier (Less Addictive) Relationship

The first thing you should think about is your life before you met him. It had friends, family, chores, work, bills, cooking, cleaning, reading, sports and a myriad of things that made you who you were. Do your best to recover some of the things that have been set aside, even if it's on a much smaller scale.

You can recover these aspects of your life gradually, if you don't want to make a scene. Don't announce anything. Just gradually reintroduce your favorite author, favorite sport, sleeping in on Saturday, cooking YOUR favorite dish...

Because chances are what you really want is a healthy relationship. You also want him to love you the way you really are.

If you have to change drastically, if you have to be addicted to him, if you have to lose who you are, do you think the relationship can last long term? Chances are it will reach a crisis point where the entanglements of addition are too much for either of you to bear.

So believe in yourself and the fact that you are worth loving by the right person. Face the fact that an addictive relationship is not a healthy or sustainable one and do what you can to establish some balance in your wonderful, unique world.


you can be free from addictive relationships



Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship
- and What You Can Do About it TODAY

Relationships get into trouble for many reasons. Furthermore, young couples often have different issues to deal with than older couples. Every stage of life presents challenges, so if you're going through struggles in a relationship you can be sure that you are not alone.

First, let's look at a list of behaviors that indicate a relationship is in trouble. You may be experiencing one or more of these problems.

Realizing that these problems are COMMON can be the first step in easing your pain. You are not being singled out to suffer in this way. Others are also going through similar unhappy experiences and they, too, are seeking solutions.

verbal abuse is common in an unhealthy relationship

In today's society, leaving the relationship is the first instinct. But some circumstances don't allow for this option. If there are children or financial problems, staying together may be the only means of survival - at least for the time being. However, this does not mean that there is no relief for the pain. There is always hope of a brighter day and you can start today to find that light.

Here is a List of Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Problems within a relationship can be categorized by physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial. You can also have lifestyle issues, such as in-law problems, religious difference, different home life expectations and so on.

Physical abuse
Passive aggressive behavior
Substance abuse

Criticism and ridicule
Lack of communication
Other forms of
Verbal abuse

Loss of emotional intimacy
Inability to forgive
Codependent behavior
Loss of respect
Jealousy and insecurity
Narcissistic or controlling behavior
Threats of leaving
Trying to change you

Little physical affection
Sexually focused relationship

Disagreement on major values
Dishonesty and secrecy
Poor money skills or values
Overly involved extended family

What You Can Do TODAY to Start Solving Your Problems?

For Physical Abuse:

Physical abuse is the most serious sign of an unhealthy relationship and is in a category all its own because if you are being physically abused, it could escalate and your life could be in danger. (Perhaps it already is.) If this is your situation, get help TODAY from the police department or social services. Don't depend on a friend or church to help you solve this problem; it's too serious and must be dealt with swiftly.

Don't warn your abuser that you're going to talk to the police. Just do it. At the police station, ask to speak to an officer of your gender. Let the officer know you want to know all your options and what they recommend.

For Verbal and Emotional Abuse:

The first thing you should do today is realized that nobody should be verbally or emotionally abused. It's one thing to have a disagreement; it's another thing to be abused.

look online to find solutions

Every relationship has disagreements. Even best friends don't agree on everything. But if the situation crosses the line where you feel bad about yourself for your opinion or you feel belittled and worthless, things have entered the realm of abuse.

There is a great deal written about emotional abuse. The more you learn about it, the more you'll be able to deal with it properly. Our natural tendencies are to shout back, to name-call and to belittle in return. This is not a solution and could, in fact, make matters worse.

So if you are experiencing verbal or emotional abuse, start TODAY to learn all you can about this issue. There are articles and videos online that can help you find comfort and options. Buy a book on the subject and read what others have done to solve this problem.

Most importantly, work on your self-esteem. Verbal and emotional abuse rips us apart inside and leaves us feeling worthless. Realize that you are a valuable and unique human being. You don't deserve to be abused by ANYONE.

there are lots of books written about abusive relationships

To learn how others have successfully dealt with verbal and emotional abuse, seek out videos, articles and books that address the issue of self esteem. Don't underestimate this aspect of the situation. It may well be the KEY to solving your problem.

The Bible has many promises and statements about God's love for us. It would be worth your time to learn what this great book says about leaning on God during times of trouble. Start TODAY.

For Sexual Issues:

If your relationship is based only on the need for sex, then it's time to find other things that you and your partner have in common.

If sexual relations have died off, there is a need to understand the reasons. A book about the passages of life will help you understand that it could be a health issue. Start by exploring the bookstore for books on this important life issue.

For Financial Difference:

There are countless books and courses designed to help couples work through financial problems. Start TODAY to seek out all the free help you can find. Once you zero in on the root of the problem, you may decide to hire someone to help you solve the problem once and for all.

financial problems are common

Sometimes what appears to be simply a lack of money is really a misuse of money. On the other hand, it might be someone's false idea of the best use of the money. Therefore, it may take some exploration to find what is the true cause of the financial difficulty. You may find that the solution is simplier than you thought it would be.

For Lifestyle Difference:

Do you and your partner have drastically different ideas of how the household should be run? Do you each have different viewpoints of what's important in life? Do you value money while he values recreation?

Thankfully, lifestyle differences do not have to end in divorce but can, in fact, lead to personal growth and an interesting, diverse life.

The first thing to understand it that it's almost impossible to change another person's view of what's valuable to them. But what CAN be changed is your own personal growth, exploring and enjoying what YOU like and what type of person you want to become.

Today might be the day to set some goals for yourself. Who do you want to be 5 years, 10 years or 15 years from now? There are loads of excellent books on personal transformation and living a purposeful life. Delving into this line of thinking will open a big, exciting world to you. Treat yourself TODAY to this information and let your imagination run wild.


Just like the human body, relationships can become sick and need nurturing. Breaking up with your partner is not always the best solution.

If you recognize signs of an unhealthy relationship in your life, start by exploring all your options. Perhaps someone else has found a solution to your exact problem. Don't be afraid to ask for help from people who may have the right answers.

Second and most importantly, work on yourself. Abuse of any kind can do a number on your heart and mind. Start today to strengthen them with positive self talk. Go today to YouTube, search for "affirmations" and listen to the videos.

If you have been emotionally abused, these affirmations may sound silly to you. You might even be afraid to believe them because you have been conditioned to believe the opposite. Nevertheless, stick with them. Return to them from time to time. If you are working on building your self esteem, these affirmations will comfort you when you are ready for them.

So TODAY is the day to start loving and respecting yourself and doctoring those parts of you that have been wounded. As you gain strength physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and financially, you will be better equipped to deal with the problems caused by your unhealthy relationship.


there is always a way to solve this problem



Home Life Has Many Facets:

Home Page

Improving Relationships

    (1) We Have More Control Than We Realize

    (2) Can You be Addicted to a Person?

    (3) Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

    (4) How to Send Flowers to Someone

Successful Goal Setting and New Year Resolutions

Creating Simple Home Crafts

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