Michele O'Mara

50 Ways to Keep Your Lover: # 19-20

Filed By Michele O'Mara | February 22, 2008 9:24 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: advice column, lesbian, relationship, tips

In my book, Love Tips and Trips for Gay and Lesbian Relationships, I have identified 50 Ways to Keep Your Lover. My post last Friday offered strategies 17-18, this week I am sharing strategies 19-20. Look for more strategies next Friday!

19. Lose the Score, Win the Game. In OUTstanding relationships you give because you want to and for no other reason. When you load up your gifts with hidden expectations, both you and your partner are in for a disappointing outcome. For example, do not surprise your partner with a romantic candlelight dinner because you want to get her in the mood to make love. Do it because you want to nurture your partner and treat her to a delicious, romantic meal—no strings attached. If by chance your evening moves you to a more physically intimate place, enjoy it - don’t expect it.

Mean what you give, and give what you mean. If you give dinner, you must mean dinner. If what you really mean is an invitation to be sexual, extend an invitation to be sexual and don’t disguise it as a dinner. And when you give, don’t keep score. Give because you want to give, not because you want to add points to your side of the scoreboard.

When you nurture your relationship, you nurture yourself. We ARE fifty-percent of our relationship. You cannot add to your relationship without also adding to yourself. What a great investment; one that always gives back.

If you find yourself always giving, ask yourself if you are giving to your relationship—that which also gives to yourself—or if you are giving to your partner? If you are focused on your partner and adding to his life, you might be adding to his while taking away from yours. If, for example, you are doing all of the household chores, paying the bills, and essentially taking care of your partner, that is not “adding to his life”—that is enabling him not to become his highest version of himself.

When you take care of your relationship, you both will always win. You cannot take care of each other; each of you has to take care of yourself. Just as players on a team can’t work out for each other; each has to strengthen their skills themselves. What you can do, and must do, is take care of the relationship. The relationship is your shared resource. The investment offers you dividends and keeps on giving back to you if you keep giving to your relationship.

20. Let your partner influence you. One of the greatest gifts associated with having an OUTstanding relationship is the gift of partner influence. For those of you sensitive to being “controlled,” I want you to listen closely to what I’m saying, turn off your filter, and be sure that you get the difference between influence and control.

When you partner with someone, typically you do so because you have respect, value, admiration, appreciation, and belief in the person with whom you choose to spend your life. If that is not true for you, then you may need to revisit your motivations for your partnership, and be honest with yourself as to whether or not you have made a good choice. Remember, you partner to improve your life. If your investment in a relationship does not improve your life, then what purpose does it serve?

By partnering, you are positioning your life in such a way that you have an expanded resource (your relationship) on which to draw from and assist you in becoming the very best version of yourself. If you have indeed partnered with someone you respect and value, then it only makes sense that it may be worth listening to their thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and suggestions.

OUTstanding couples respond to one another in ways that consistently communicate to the other, “What you think and how you feel about things matters to me, and I value you and your opinions, even when I disagree.” OUTstanding couples do not have to agree on everything, but they do have to respect and value one another’s opinions and allow their partner to influence their decisions in life.

Michele O'Mara, LCSW

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I love these. I'm glad you're posting them, Michele.