The “What” vs. the “How”

It’s not WHAT you do that makes or breaks a relationship, but HOW you do it.

This isn’t unique to designer relationships. It applies to all relationships. It just so happens I’m writing about it because I’m into designer relationships and recent experiences in the last 10 months drive this point further home for me.

Back when I was raising my children, I tried to drive this home to them. Like most kids, they’d cross a boundary, often failing to recognize they could have achieved the same result with less angst and negative consequences if they’d used a different approach.

Intimate relationships are the same way. Rather than a partner being open and asking for exactly they want or need, the partner seeks subversive ways to obtain that want or need. Typically the motive is avoidance:  to avoid rejection for the request, avoid hurting someone or avoid having to deal with the other partner’s initial reaction.

Avoidance is not justification for operating irresponsibly within a relationship. All relationships have an expectation of clear, honest communication; whether you’re acquaintances, colleagues, friends, peers, family, lovers, or anchor partners, no one wants to be manipulated or lied to.

In designer relationships, the problem is multiplied with multiple partners. Designer relationships can be rewarding and fulfilling, but they require a commitment to transparency and communication. What that means to each designer relationship is unique and subject to negotiation, but it should be set before the beginning of any relationship. And if any of the partners find the needs of the other(s) difficult to meet, then the establishment or the continuation of the relationship should be honestly reconsidered.

Being able to negotiate transparency in a relationship also requires everyone involved be self-aware; self-awareness can include admitting you don’t know how you feel about a certain situation or topic. It’s ok to say you don’t know what you don’t know, to use a Rummyism. Conversely, your behavior should not involve actions, the WHAT in a relationship, that shows a decision otherwise not clearly communicated. That’s where the HOW becomes important. If you can’t talk about it, don’t be passive-aggressive in your actions.

Communication in relationships is hard. No one likes to have their viewpoints or feelings rejected or overridden. In my opinion, I think it’s egotistical to believe you know best how your partner is going to respond to your request or demand, and it’s far more painful when you take subversive actions to gain instant gratification.

You can lose all your material possessions in this world and your most valued relationships. At the end of the day, all you have to claim as your own are your words and deeds. Remember, it’s not WHAT you do, it’s HOW you do it.cropped-georgian-ghan1.png


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