18 May 2006

12 home truths about relationships

When it comes to relationships, there are certain things that you just cannot get away from. Like them or not.


You have stars in your eyes and your heart is skipping beats every time you see him. But when it comes to relationships, there are certain things that you just cannot get away from. Like them or not.

Maltreated by your partner? Have you gone for help and read lots of books? The truth is that you cannot control or cause someone else’s behaviour and changing yourself will not make them change. You might as well drink water when your partner is thirsty. If the problem doesn’t lie with you, then neither does the solution.

Is love blind? Love might be blind, but when you get married your vision improves. If no-one likes your partner, are all of them in the wrong? Getting married to someone who is universally disliked is usually the first step towards a very isolated and lonely life. Ignore all of them now and pay later, very dearly.

Always a giver and never a taker. This is the short road to compassion fatigue. Give to yourself and receive from others, otherwise you will get to a point where you have nothing left to give. And hey, if you cannot receive from others, how can you expect them to receive from you?

Let me do this for you. What do you get out of doing things regularly for other people, which they should be doing for themselves? Be honest, now. Don’t you feel deep down that they owe you big? That they must heed your advice? Rather let others be and focus on your own life, says Robin Norwood in her book ‘Women who love too much’.

It ain’t over till it’s over. End relationships that no longer work for you, as you could be spending time in a dead end. Do a 180-degree turn and head for more meaningful things. You could be missing opportunities while you’re stuck in a meaningless rut, trying to breathe life into something that is long gone.

Men are different. Your husband cannot turn into your best girlfriend, no matter how hard you try. Men are different (haven’t you noticed?) and we get different things from them. Trying to change him to be more like your friend Betty will only result in disgruntled lack of co-operation. Learn to live with it, girlfriend.

Relationships are hard work. Blood, sweat, toil and tears – what all worthwhile relationships require. The ones that keep you going really are worth lots of time and energy. These provide you with a shelter from the storm and the worth of this cannot be measured. As Shakespeare said, “The path of true love never did run smooth”.

Babies change lives. Anyone who says they won’t allow the new baby to change their lifestyle hasn’t had one. You try camping in the rain with a howling infant. Your relationship will also change, so be prepared.

Guilt trips. “If you loved me, you would…” Anyone who says this to you does not love you, but sees you merely in terms of what you could mean to them. It is not hate that is the opposite of love, but guilt. Deep down they don’t think they really deserve your love, so they try and wrench it out of you through manipulation. Giving in to this will only encourage them to continue along this road.

Strong people go for help. Gnashing your teeth in the dark will not get you extra brownie points. It is a sign of strength to ask for assistance and people will respect you for it. If there is a relationship problem, the one who refuses to go for help is usually the one with whom the problem lies to begin with.

Money matters. Love and marriage is not all about money, but it is marginally important. If you are slaving away in two jobs to keep someone going whose idea of work is to find the remote control for the TV, you’re in for a hard time. If your ideas on spending and budgeting are also very different, it could spell trouble for the future.

Love vs. addiction. Someone will not stop drinking or drugging because you love them, in the same way a TB sufferer will not stop coughing because you want them to. You cannot force someone to change – leave this to the professionals, unless you feel like setting yourself up for a fall.

(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated July 2012)


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Exercise benefits for seniors »

Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running

Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness

When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them.