emotional honesty in relationshipsAs a dating and relationship coach I put a lot of emphasis on using positive energy and a cheerful mood to attract the kind of men who tend to make good life-long partners.  Several people have asked me if they should put on a cheerful mask even when they are not feeling cheerful.  It’s a good question, and one worthy of a response for others to hear.

What if I told you the answer depends on how long the two of you have been together?  Would you go for that answer?

What if I told you it depends on the emotional maturity of the man you are dealing with?  Would that make sense?

What if I said the answer depends on whether you feel ready to test the strength of the relationship?

Maybe the answer should come down to your own personal comfort with opening up to him about the issues that got you down.  There are many factors to consider, but there is one factor that is more important than any of the others.

We all like to be authentic.  The idea of wearing a mask seems to detract from the natural romance two people share in a genuine relationship.  Yet most couples gradually decrease the effort they put into a relationship as the novelty wears off.  Sharing the best of themselves with their partner ceases to be a high priority in life.

I believe you should steadily increase the effort you put into how you come across as the relationship matures.  I’m not talking about being fake.  Read on to learn more.

When a new romance sparks to life, both partners automatically put their best foot forward.  You may be experiencing the mood-altering effects of hormones, an argument with your boss, or any other number of frustrations, yet you do not wear your grumpy face into the restaurant as you walk in to meet him for your second date.  This is just automatic and natural; you put your best foot forward.

The truth is, it takes effort not to wear a mask when a relationship first begins.  As time progresses, you begin to rely on each other for emotional support.  You even talk about the minor hardships you face during the course of a typical day.

Not long after that things begin to slip.  The two of you still appreciate each other, but you don’t really bother to show it is as much as you used to.  When one of you is having a hard day, there’s no apology for your mood.  You just assume the other person will be compassionate.

It’s a process by which two people gradually start to take each other for granted, sort of like the way siblings do.  You may deeply care for your sibling, but you don’t go out of your way to show the same level of respect or appreciation that you would for someone with equal qualities who was a friend rather than a sibling.

I believe this is one of the several factors that cause great relationships to erode gradually.  Over time, the grass begins to seem greener on the other side of the fence.  I believe this is one of the biggest reasons why it happens.  The more comfortable we become with being ourselves, the more we neglect to SHOW our partner how much we love, appreciate, respect, and adore them.  It’s no wonder they begin to have wandering affections when someone else DOES start to adorn them with love, appreciation, and respect.

Let’s go back to the question we started with.  If you’re having a bad day, should you let it show on your face and in your nonverbal actions?

Here’s my answer.  I think you absolutely should, but with an explanation and an apology.  Instead of taking them for granted, tell them how much you appreciate being able to show your true emotion with someone who cares for you.

So the most important factor that I alluded to at the beginning of this article is the demonstration of appreciation.  You need to SHOW your partner that you appreciate them.  When you don’t feel capable of putting on a smiley face, you need to apologize to them, acknowledge the strain it must put on them to see you in this state, and thereby show your respect, love, and adoration while being “yourself” at the same time.

emotional honesty in relationshipsThis way, your partner feels your respect and admiration while simultaneously participating in your real life.  Don’t take this too far.  If you are feeling miserable for days you will need to put forth effort to smile and make eye contact and use a pleasant voice tone.

Otherwise, you are putting the expression of your emotions at a higher priority than your relationship.  Expressing emotions is important, but not in marathon style.  Express your emotions in short sprints that allow the release of internal feelings, comfort and support from your partner, and protection for your relationship.

It’s just human nature.  If you consistently frown and grumble and mope around, he will automatically and unconsciously begin to feel motivation to avoid you.  This is true even if he truly loves you.

Putting the relationship first sometimes means you need to behave like a person who is interested in making a good impression.  Doing so comes naturally with someone you barely know, like the lady who cuts your hair, but we tend to drop this effort when we spend time with the person we love the most.

I hope this article was helpful to those of you who have been wondering about this.  As you can see, long-term relationship success can be significantly enhanced with just a few simple shifts in your mindset.

Some forms of appreciation need to be expressed in very specific ways for men to “sense” that they are being appreciated.  One of the most awkward and difficult things my clients face with men is the odd ways men experience and interpret signs of respect.  Because men can’t feel loved when they don’t feel respected, I’ve put together an important training course to empower women in a way that makes relationships with guys much easier.  If you have not already gone through my short course, get your copy here.

James

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