Relationships are a mystery to most people. They hope they’ll meet someone and everything will click, but the reality is that every relationship will have a set of problems and obstacles to overcome.
These problems and hurdles are the journey we have to go on. We have to become a better version of ourselves.
We have to rise to a higher level. But how?
Overwhelmed By Advice
What makes everything confusing is that if you search for a relationship book they will all advocate a different solution.
The Five Love Languages says all relationship issues are about communication.
Stan Tatkin will tell you it’s all about Attachment Style.
Dan Wile will say it’s all about conflict management.
Sue Johnson has a book called Hold Me Tight.
Esther Perel argues that we need distance to maintain desire.
Harville Hendrix will say it’s all part of a spiritual journey to go back and heal your past wounds.
Whereas John Gottman will say it’s just about being able to have a pastry together.
There is no-one book that encapsulates all relationship knowledge.
It’s a bit like the story of the blind men and the elephant.
Everyone is discussing relationships from their own perspective. None have the whole picture. So no one book will equip you for relationship success.
It gets even worse when you add in dating advice. While relationship education has wide contrasts, for the most part, it is based on some solid evidence.
Dating is the wild west.
There’s wide ranges of opinions and styles and relatively little science.
And they all work to some extent. Because people naturally get into relationships whether they follow a particular strategy or not. The more popular ones naturally have more people getting into relationships and claim to be the reason why.
So every strategy ranging from The Rules to the most misogynistic male oriented pick up strategy will work.
The key point is not that they get you into a relationship, but do they let you build the kind of lasting relationship that you want?
The Secret To Success
So what does someone who doesn’t want become a professional Relationship Researcher do to have better relationships?
I think we can learn from the British Cycling team.
In 2002 when they hired Sir Dave Brailsford as their new Coach they had a track record of failure. Just once in 76 years had a Brit won an Olympic gold. None had ever won the Tour de France in 110 years.
In fact, their reputation was so poor that major bike manufacturers didn’t want to supply them for fear of negative association.
Since then British cycling has had a golden age dominating cycling the Olympics, Tour de France and all major cycling events. Cyclists like Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton have become household names.
What changed and what can we learn from them?
The core principle
The strategy Sir Dave Brailsford brought was Marginal Gains and the philosophy of a CORE principle.
Commitment to constant improvement
Ownership of the process
Responsibility and accountability which leads to
what does this have to do with relationships and dating?
How does this relate to your relationships and dating?
First of all it means, you have to look at relationships with an attitude that they are a lifelong goal that is important enough to be committed to mastering.
We have to take ownership of the process of our relationships. Oftentimes, we become passive and reactive in relationships. We wait for the other person to act and react to whatever they do.
We have to take responsibility for your relationships. We always like to blame others. It’s a natural response. Yet, that’s a losing game because then we become the victim of our circumstances. We can’t control others, but ultimately we have the choice of who we are in relationship with.
When we pursue excellence, not necessarily all-time excellence, but continuously better, great things happen.
Relationships Have projects too
In relationships I believe in the concept of projects. Often people will baulk when I talk of relationships being a project.
This is an indication that they’re working from a framework that sees relationships as different. Too intimate to be treated as a process. As being something that should just naturally happen. The problem is when they don’t you have no way of fixing things.
I’m not saying that you should treat your partner or children like a work project. I’m suggesting that you should find the elements that are breaking and focus on improving them. When you separate the person from the process, you take away blame, resentment and anger. Then you can fix the process and still feel loving with your partner.
If you’re in a relationship and keep rowing over housework and scheduling, then fixing those rows is your project. The key idea is that there’s always a project to improve.
Dating as a process
Let’s say you’re single and take dating as a process.
Your project is to find a partner. Now there’s a lot of elements to this. It’s a bit like a water pipeline.
There’s the reservoir where you draw the water from. There’s the purification process. Then there’s the pipeline it travels down to the tap. And the tap where it emerges.
Dating is about finding a pool of potential dates.
Attracting their attention and engaging with some of them.
Dating a few.
And developing a relationship with even fewer.
The final output is one you decide to commit to a relationship with.
don't confuse the part with the process
When people say that dating isn’t working for them, they take dating as one thing. Yet actually there’s many aspects.
Some people have a problem getting anyone to reply to their messaging.
Other’s refuse to date because they get dick pics and hostile messages.
Another can’t get past the first date.
Then there’s the ones who get into relationships, but always with the wrong people.
The problem isn’t dating, but an aspect of the dating process.
step by step progress
Success in dating is in incremental improvements.
A slightly better profile.
A slightly better message.
A slightly better filtering process.
A slightly better mindset.
Slightly better photos.
A slightly better username.
A slightly better dating app or site.
If we do nothing, our profile might appeal to 20% of our potential market.
You’ll still get dates and conversations with enough messages and action.
Yet if we appeal to 25%, this means we find the right person quicker.
If our messages get a 5% response and we can up that to 15% on top of that we are going to have a lot more interaction and so we’ll reach our goal much quicker.
If we keep doing this at each stage of our process, we soon can go from minimal chance to almost certainty..