Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why Be in a Relationship if You Still Have a Single Person's Mentality?

One of the things that being in a relationship involves is changing our mindset from one of just pleasing ourselves and thinking,"what do I want or need to do," to, "what do we want to do or need to do". There is another person to consider. This means that you may not always get to do what you want, because there are other considerations.

Sadly, I am finding more and more that many couples (whether some people have a piece of paper saying they are married and a wedding ring on their finger, or have just committed to one another) have not changed their mentality. They still think like a single person. Their plans and schemes still revolve around themselves and what they want. They still think they can act like a single person, without considering the needs of their spouse or partner.
Take for example the husband who makes plans to go out with his boys and play basketball on the weekend. When he tells his partner she says, "But I told you it was my mother's birthday and we are taking her out for lunch." What she'd already told him didn't even register on his radar.
At this point he's likely to say, "Well, you don't need me anyway. You can go or you and the kids can go." She's left feeling her plans don't matter.
Another example is the guy who thinks it's still okay for him to go out on a regular basis and get drunk with his friends and in the process flirt with other women, while his wife stays at home. Or he may make plans without considering what the needs of the family are, whether kids have to be dropped off to football practice or baby-sitter. 
This single mentality applies equally to the woman who thinks she ought to be able to spend time with her friends, doing the things they want to do without considering what her husband might want or that he might have other plans already lined up. She might think she ought to be able to spend her money on whatever she likes since she earned it, without considering they are now a couple and there may be other more pressing needs than a new pair of shoes or outfit.
For men, the "single mentality" has always been  a little more difficult to shift from then for women. Men, historically have been the leaders in their relationships, whether they be business, personal or financial. Leadership can bring with it a feeling of "entitlement" or the "you need me more than I need you" attitude. With it comes the long list of infidelities we see today in our public figures from Bill Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger to Anthony Weiner. 
As more and more women take positions of leadership we see this same disturbing trend. When you have been in charge of your finances, your spending, the raising of your children, your "comings and goings" and every aspect of your life for 3 years or more, it can be EXTREMELY difficult to allow someone else to come in and CONSISTENTLY take over any part of that. The "routine" becomes ingrained and unconsciously we act as if we are by ourselves while consciously asserting how much we want to be in our current relationship! These two opposing mentalities will eventually pull apart the best relationships!
It is the single mentality that is the root cause of problems in many relationships that I see in our neighborhoods and in society. It all comes back to people being used to, and expecting to get, their own way rather than put the other person in the relationship first. The next generations will grow up thinking this is the way it works and the divorce rate will continue to go up, unless we show them another and  better way.
Think. Grow. Live!

Roland N. Gilbert

Roland works one-on-one – via phone and face-to-face – and with MasterMind Groups. Through Couples Coaching Roland helps clients communicate better, find the love they want, and create relationships of significance. Contact Roland at 800-974-3692 to determine if coaching is right for you.