Building Relationships


A committed relationship is about building and nurturing an enduring love between two people. However, you may never have been nurtured by your parent, so you may have difficulty in receiving love and nurturance. Or you may resent giving love and consequently hold back.

Guidelines for finding relationships

Love is the attracting united and harmonising force of the universe, Love is not conditional:

Not IF,
not as long as,
not when or until.

Love with conditions is nothing more than emotional blackmail. You can’t give love, you can only be loving. You can’t love someone forever – that is an empty promise, but you can make love a moment by moment experience. Only those who are free can love without reservation.

The truth is that every relationship has one of two goals:

connection or disconnection

These goals are revealed by the skill sets people adopt to achieve them (Danny Silk, Keep your Love on)

What is your goal with relationships?

Are you trying to create safe connections or safe distance? Are you building a skill set to move away from or control the distance between you and your loved ones? John Gottman found that 69% of issues that cause conflict within a long-term committed relationship are perpetual.

They don’t go away – they don’t even get resolved.

Five Requisites for a relationship: (Alasko, et al., 2008)

  1. Physical Availability (not in another relationship)
  2. Financial Viability (Not dependent on others or in transition)
  3. Emotional Availability (Emotionally ready to make the necessary compromises inherent in developing a successful relationship)
  4. No active addictions: Alcohol, drugs, gambling, pornography, food etc
  5. Congruent values and ethics

Creating Safety in relationships

(Patterson, et al., 2011)

People feel unsafe when they believe one of two things:

You don’t respect them
as a human being
(You lack mutual respect)
You don’t care about their goals

(You lack mutual purpose)

Baggage you may bring to a relationship (or they might do too)

Area Healthy Unhealthy
Unresolved Relationships
  • Good Upbringing
  • Well-being
  • Competence
  • Security
  • Becoming free
  •  Modelling
  • Feeling Bad
  • Feeling worthless
  • Being put-down
  • Smoothed or apathetic freedom
  • Feeling invisible
  • Absence of things to aspire to
Unaddressed guilt
  • Makes unstable choice making
  • Distorts perspectives
  • Twists meanings
  • Undermines confidence
Untreated pain
  • Reactive to triggers
  • Always alert to danger
  • Can over compensate
  • Can react disproportionally

Key Relationship Questions

(Sue Johnson, 2011)

Key Question  Your answer Your Partner’s answer
1. Can I count on you?
Depend on you?
2.  Are you there for me?
3.  Will you respond to me when I need, when I call?
4.  Do I matter to you?
5.  Am I valued and accepted by you?
6.  Do you need me, rely on me?

Important needs in the relationship

(Johnson, 2011)

Key Question How do you show that? How does your partner show that?
1.  I am special to you and that you really value our relationship. I need that reassurance that I am number one with you and that nothing is more important to you than us
2. I am wanted by you, as a partner and a lover, that making me happy is important to you
3. I am loved and accepted with my failings and imperfections. I can’t be perfect for you.
4. I am needed. You want me close.
5. I am safe because you care about my feelings, hurts and needs
6. I can count on you to hear me and to put everything else aside
7. I can ask you to hold me and to understand that just asking is very hard for me.

Building long term relationships

  1. Ask directly and respectfully what you need (Core needs and compromise
  2. Respond slowly to communication
    • Don’t over react
    • Shouting, name calling and threats doom a relationship
  3. Dedicate meaningful time to each other
    • To share feelings and concerns
  4. Focus on your long term goals
    • What’s the long term best interests

Some other resources about maintain relationships

The 5 Stages Of Relationships: Which Relationship Stage Is Yours At?

Sue Johnson and 7 transformational conversations

How do I prevent a relationship going sour?