What is the Secret to a Happy Relationship? - Deepstash
What is the Secret to a Happy Relationship?

What is the Secret to a Happy Relationship?

The secret sauce in a happy relationship isn't magic; it's empathy.

  • Feeling empathy is the ability to imagine what someone else is thinking and feeling.
  • Unlike sympathy, which means feeling compassion or pity for another, empathy is putting yourself in the other person's place and seeing the world through their eyes.
  • Sympathy is "I'm sorry that happened to you"; empathy is "I feel your pain."
  • Empathy means caring as much about your partner's well-being as you care about your own, and it can make the difference between a healthy relationship and an unhealthy one.

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What You Really Need to Create Empathy

What you need to create empathy is to listen - REALLY LISTEN - to your partner when they speak.

Listening doesn't mean waiting for your turn to talk. It means :

  • asking questions if you're unclear about something they have said,
  • repeating what they've told you in your own words to make sure you understand them, and
  • validating their emotions.

Even if you don't agree with their opinions or feel the same way, you can acknowledge that your partner has a right to their feelings.

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Exercise to Build Empathy in Your Relationship (cont.)
  1. What activities does your partner enjoy? Are they good at what they do? Do they need to excel, or are they content just doing it?
  2. What does your partner like about you? What do you think they find irritating?
  3. What do you think you could say or do to enhance your partner's life?

After you've written your answers down, take some time to share your responses. See how close you were to getting it right.

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Exercise to Build Empathy in Your Relationship

On separate pieces of paper, write your answers to the following questions. Don't help each other or share your responses until the end.

  1. What makes your partner happy? How do they act when happy? Are there words or gestures they use to indicate their mood?
  2. What makes your partner angry? How do they show their anger - or how can you tell that they're mad even if they don't show it?
  3. Describe your partner's favorite foods, music, books, movies, podcasts/radio programs, and TV shows.

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Empathy can create a bridge and generate mutual respect

A long term relationship has to be based on more than shared likes and mutual dislikes.

You and your partner may agree 99% of the time, but it's that 1% that can spell disaster if there's no empathy between you.

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How can you tell if your relationship lacks empathy?

One sign is that you assume your partner has the same needs and boundaries as you do and that they experience life the same way as well.

  • A relationship without empathy quickly hits a bump.
  • A few weeks or months in, you discover your partner is not the person you thought they were when you started dating.
  • Suddenly you're confronted with the fact that he or she doesn't always share your preferences or opinions, and you begin to have the same argument again and again.

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How Do You Develop Empathy?

You develop empathy within a relationship by regularly listening to each other's thoughts and feelings.

Seeing the world from your partner's point of view helps to build closeness as well as respect for your partner's individuality.

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Empathy is the Secret to a Successful Relationship

The secret to a successful relationship, whether you're the couple that agrees 99 percent of the time or the couple with seemingly nothing in common, is EMPATHY. Now you have the skills to brew some up in your relationship.

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RELATED IDEAS

Sympathy Vs Empathy

Sympathy is when you feel pity at someone, or are sad due to the hardships of a person. Empathy is when you are able to put yourself into what they are going through.

Example: If someone gets a fracture while bike riding, you feel sympathy for them, but if someone gets a fracture and you also fell from your bike and suffered a fracture a while ago, you feel empathy for them.

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Codependency

The traditional definition of codependency focuses on control, nurturing, and maintenance of relationships with individuals who are chemically dependent or engaging in undesirable behaviors, such as narcissism.

A classic codependency model is an alcoholic husband and his enabling wife.

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The Four Horsemen of The Relationship Apocalypse:

  • Criticism: is staging the problem in a relationship as a character flaw in a partner.
  • Defensiveness: responding to relationship issues by counterattacking or whining.
  • Contempt: acting like you’re a better person than they are.
  • Stonewalling: shutting down or tuning out.

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