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How To Succeed in Relationships, A Step By Step Guide for Building Successful, Thriving Relationships.

Why Learn How to Succeed In Relationships.

Learning how to succeed in modern relationships is critical if you want to enjoy life and living.  Mastering relationships is essential if you want to maximize your personal and professional success, satisfaction and fulfilment.  Learning how to succeed in relationships makes both your personal and professional lives easier and more enjoyable. For the majority of us relationships are the thing we do most in our lives, apart from breathing.

No One Get’s Through Life In The Absence of Relationships.

Even if you’re a bit reclusive you still have to navigate relationships if you want to get the most out of life and living. We need people in our lives, to be happy, satisfied, secure and successful.  What’s more we need people to help us get things done.  If you’re someone who wants to be single, understanding how relationships work is still relevant to you.  It will help you succeed with the ones you have, it will help work more effectively with people enabling you to get more of what you want out of life.

No one is able to fully avoid relationships.  You may be able to reduce the number of relationships you have but at some point you’re going to have to relate.  With that in mind if you know how they work and how to work them you’ll be able to make them work for you and not against you.  What’s more you will avoid the common traps and you will also be able to avoid the relationships you don’t want.  Learning how relationships work is for any one a way of staying in control of large part of our lives.

Relationships Can Be Our Greatest Source of Happiness, or Greatest Source of Distress.

If you take the time to think about it, you’ll quickly realize that relationships can be the our greatest source of love, excitement, security, nurture and a whole bunch more good stuff, but only if they are working well.  Equally if they are not working well they will be our biggest source of distress, insecurity, anger, frustration and resentment.  So it makes sense to learn to master them because they are central to how much joy, happiness, success or failure we get in life.

You Can’t Experience Couples Stuff on Your Own

There is a whole world of experiences in life that require that people cooperate.  In other words there are a whole bunch of experiences in life that require two or more work together.  Equally there are a large number of experiences in life that are individualistic.  It’s pretty obvious that you can’t have a couples or team experience in the absence of others.

Take a second to think about that great Zen mind bender puzzle that asks you to consider the sound of one hand clapping. Being without it’s partner in clapping crime one hand clapping can’t make the sound of clapping.  No matter how hard it tries.  It can go through the motions of clapping, but on its own it can only fulfil part of the total experience.  It can only go through the motions.  But no matter how much it tries there cannot be any sound produced.  It needs to work with the other hand to create the full clapping experience.

You Need a Partner To Enjoy Partnering

People are the same.  If you are one person and you want the partner experience, you can’t fulfil your desires on your own, you have to partner.  Please understand, I am not suggesting that life as a single is any less fulfilling than life as a partner.  I am only saying it is different.  Large numbers of people over the age of 35 are choosing to remain single.  It’s not a better or worse choice, it’s just a different choice.  If you are not in a relationship and you want to be in one that is loving, lasting and empowering, you need to find someone who will help cooperate with you to build that lasting loving cooperative bond.

If this is the case, then you definitely need to know how modern relationships work. You have to know how to avoid the traps, which are very common, and you have to know how to realize the plentiful opportunities that are available.  To do this you need awareness, understanding and skills. You need to master this thing called relationships.  Nothing else will do.

Success in Life and Living Doesn’t Start and End with Romantic Relationships.

As I eluded to earlier, the benefits of understanding and successfully navigating relationships doesn’t start and finish with romantic or social, relationships.  Understanding how relationships work and how to work with them successfully, allows you to engage in your professional relationships with skill and confidence.  Being skilled in the interpersonal space will absolutely increase your likelihood or professional success.

You see the same psychology applies in professional relationships as occurs in romantic and social relationships.  It’s true that the emphasis and the intent are different but the processes and the  machinery are the same.  The reason the same psychology occurs is because people are people no matter what world you walk in.  If you want to enjoy success in business and career, you have to know how relationships actually work and how to work with them so they work for you and not against you.

One of The Most Common Things Most People Do is Relate

Sure, you probably breath more than you relate, but that’s about it.  You might think you can escape relating but the thing is YOU CAN’T.  NO ONE gets through life alone. I have a number of friends who for various reasons avoid relating.  They’ve been hurt in the past or they have been through extraordinary circumstances that make it difficult for them to relate, but as much as they want to avoid relating they can’t.  At some point they have to cooperate with another person to make something happen.  Sure as I’ve already mentioned it is possible to avoid all but a handful of relationships and if that truly makes you satisfied and fulfilled then that’s what you should do.

If on the other hand you’re not trying to avoid relating, but you struggle with relationship confidence then learning how to get relationship ready or relationship fit will enhance your confidence, and your satisfaction in life immensely.

Get Relationship Fit So You Can Succeed In Relationships

I personally believe that it makes sense to understand how relationships really work if you want to enjoy life, career, love and living.  If you want to succeed in both your personal and professional lives, it makes sense to learn how to succeed in relationships.  With that in mind I’m writing these posts so I can help anyone who is interested learn how to understand and master relating and relationships.  It’s no different to learning how to master any other skill.  It’s really very similar to going to the gym and learning how to get physically fit.  The only difference here is your training your mind and emotions, not just your body.

You Train for Your Health and Careers, Why Not For Your Relationships

Many people spend many hours training to do their jobs better or to get their bodies in shape, and fail to put any time and effort into learning to be relationship ready.  It’s kind of like doing 75% of the work to get the most out of life and ignoring the most important 25%, that is the interpersonal stuff.  With that in mind think of these posts of helping anyone who’s interested learn how to relationship fit.

To get started I want to begin by highlighting the obvious.  Things in the world of dating and relating changed radically during the 20th Century.  Now we live in a world of competing ideas in which everything seems to be on offer.  But be careful not everything that is on offer is good for you.  Let’s have a brief look at the differences between old ideas about relationships and the new modern realities of relating.

Old World New World What’s the Difference?

There is a very big difference between the old world of dating and relating and the new world.  The old relationships world was regulated by social, legal, religious and biological rules and expectations that don’t really apply any more.  Not really.  To succeed in the old world of dating and relating you simply had to find someone and stick to the rules for forty or more years.  If you didn’t have any scandals you were said to be successful.  It didn’t matter if you were happy.  If you met expectations for your whole marriage you were said to be successful.

The Rules Based Social Order Changed Radically During the 20th Century.

This rules based relationships order radically changed during the 20th Century.  The reason it change was because during the 20th Century,  there were a large number of global change events that rocked the foundations of social thinking on everything, relationships included and the pillars that had up held peoples ideas about relationships crumbled.

Starting with the Suffragette movement followed by the first world war, the great depression, the second world war, the Vietnam war, the Korean war, the rise in Stalinist Communism, the emergence of Democracy and the decline in Monarchy, the average person in the street lost faith in God and Kings and Queens and Governments to rule.

People Started thinking For Themselves

The average person started to think for themselves.  At the end of the second world war in the 1950’s we had the rise of the civil rights movement.  During the Vietnam war we had the emergence of the protest movement.  Shortly after that we saw the strengthening of the feminist movement in the 60s.

The the Oral Contraceptive Pill came about in the early 1960’s.  When the OCP arrived on the scene it meant that women could have sex without having to fall pregnant, changing sexual politics forever.  Women finally had choice.

After that we saw the rise of no fault divorce, better pay for individuals, the rise in women’s financial success.  On top of that the Baby Boomers could keep their kids at home for longer.  In just the first half of the 20th Century the world changed Seismically.  But even more profound change was coming.

The Baby Boomers Thrived and So Did Their Children

As a result of the success of the Baby Boomers,  their children began to pursue higher education, and loftier goals than their parents had ever dreamed of.  They also shifted in their thinking from growing up to serve God, King/Queen and Country to living their best life and pursuing individual experiences.   From the 60’s to the 80’s we saw shifts in the purpose and place of relationships in people’s lives.

The Internet of Relationships

By the 90’s at the end of the 20th century the great disrupter emerged.  The rise of the internet, social media we saw massive change in relationships.  Whilst people have always experimented with relationships in the past they were often restricted by social, legal and religious norms that made relationship experiments potentially dangerous.  However, with more accepting and tolerant views we have seen an emergence in relationship experimentation that has never occurred before.  Everything from open relationships to distance virtual relationships..

Some Relationship Experiments Worked, Some Didn’t

Some of those experiments were fabulous and provided great joy and satisfaction to many.  While others were complete disasters.  Anything from open relationships, polyamorous relationships, distance relationships, digital relationships in each of these domains the good, the bad and the disastrous have been tried..  The gay movement became bolder creating greater opportunities for gay people.  Society has become more tolerant of difference.  Yes there is still more work to be done but we’ve come a long way.  At the end of the 20th Century,  if you could imagine it it was probably happening.  The modern world of dating and relating is a cauldron of competing ideas.

The Social Imperative to Partner Has Changed.

Now, we have a situation where everything seems to be on offer, if you can imagine it you can probably indulge it.  Men don’t need women to be socially acceptable and women certainly don’t need men to navigate life.  People have lost faith in the old rules based order.  So how does anyone navigate all this confusion?  There is a way, but it isn’t by having a set of rules that governs all circumstances.

Dating and Relating in the Modern World Has Become Complicated

Needless to say dating and relating in the modern world has become complicated as life and society has become complicated. You now have unlimited options, the old ideas don’t seem to work anymore because there are too many variables.  But that doesn’t mean that the old ideas are all bad.  Many old world ideas have there place in the modern world.

How Does Anyone Succeed in Relationships When it’s So Complicated?

How does anyone thrive in such a complicated place? The answer is not going to be found in rules.   There are rules to relating but they are far simpler than previous generations might have had.  Rules supporting safety,  and respect form the basis of modern relationships.  Attributes such as acceptance, tolerance, understanding and care are critically important. But after these what else is important to the modern person endeavouring to engage in dating and relating.  How does anyone navigate this cauldron of competing ideas?  What is the super power of the modern couple?

The answer is straight forward enough.  It’s rather like setting out of a jungle adventure.  Know what you’re going to encounter, learn how to navigate the complexity, avoid the traps and seize the opportunities, become a great relater,  go find another great relater and then grow your connection.  Then work together to create mutually fulfilling experiences.  The pathway is pretty straight forward, but it take commitment to learning how relationships really work.  Are you ready to learn, so you can go on to create the kind of relationships you love being in?

Introducing the R-Blog and Jim O’Connor

I am Jim O’Connor psychotherapist relationships counsellor and creator of the R-Blog. In my practice, I teach people how to navigate the complex world of modern relationships; I help them become great relaters and find other great relaters; I teach them strategies to overcome the problems they face in their relationships every day so they can create the kind of relationship they love being in.  But I don’t just teach people how to create great relationships.  You see I believe in a more wholistic approach.  To explain, I believe that it is critically important to teach people how to thrive in life and love.  We know that happy, secure self determining individuals are much more likely to have happy, secure, lasting relationships.  That is what this series in my blog is focused on, teaching you how to thrive in life as much as love.

About the R-Blog and How to Succeed in Relationships.

Welcome to the Relationships Blog or R-blog for short. The R-blog is dedicated to giving you all the information, skills and strategies you need to thrive in the modern world of relationships despite the chaos and confusion that is out there.  It will also give you great ideas about how to thrive in life and career not just your personal relationships.

By reading the R-Blog you’ll learn how to identify, understand and avoid the traps, and dangers that are common out there in the world of relationships. You’ll learn how to become a great relator so you can go on to find your own great relator. Needless to say, it will teach how to turn arguing into solutions, how to massively improve your communications and most importantly how to connect.  You’ll become more confident, your become more capable.  What’s more you’ll enjoy life more.  In short, if it has anything to do with navigating the complex world of modern relationships and creating the kind of relationship that will work for you and not against you we’re going to cover it.

This is the First Post in the Series:  How To Succeed In  Relationships.

In this post I want to get right down to the foundations of dating and relating.  To do that I want to ask you some questions.  Are you someone who is looking for the right partner but don’t really know how to go about finding them? Maybe you are in an established relationship and you’ve noticed that you’re arguing and bickering all the time making you question whether you want to stay or you want to fix it?

Or perhaps you are in an abusive relationship and you think you should leave and you’re not sure how. Perhaps you’re somebody who simply wants to create the kind of wonderful satisfying and fulfilling relationship that you’ve always wanted but you don’t necessarily know how.  Would you like to know how?  Do you have a plan or a strategy or an approach to learning how to succeed in modern relationships?

You’re Not Alone

If you have asked any of these questions or the thousands of other challenging relationship questions that we ask ourselves every day you’re not alone. These are just some of the more common problems, that you have to find the answer to if you want to become a great relator, find another great relater and go on to create the satisfying and fulfilling relationship you want. What’s crazy is many of these problems have answers.  That’s not the problem.


The Real Relationship Problem?

The real problem is not, do we have the answers, the skills and the strategies that we need to solve most of the relationship problems we face every day. We do know the answers to most of the problems that people are ever going to face.  The real problems are getting the right answers for you in your situation in the easiest and most effective way possible. But knowing the right answers isn’t enough,  the second problem is helping people adopt the skills and strategies they need to succeed.

The 15 Critical Questions For Knowing How to Succeed in Relationships.

Below are 15 critical questions that you have to find answers to if you’re going to have any chance of being successful in relationships.  The way you answer them drastically impacts the way you understand and relate to others.

  1. Do you really know what’s going on out there in the modern dating and relating world?
  2. Do you have the skills and strategies to successfully navigate and avoid the traps and dangers, whilst simultaneously finding the right person and going on to build the kind of relationship you want to be in.
  3. Are you relationship ready and how would you know?
  4. If not how do you become relationship ready?
  5. How do you find, attract, connect with the person who’s right for you?
  6. What is relating?
  7. What is good relating?
  8. What’s a relationship or partnership?
  9. What’s a good relationship or partnership?
  10. What are the principles, skills and strategies that make a good relationship?
  11. What are the principles, skills and strategies that make a bad relationship?
  12. How do you get out of a bad relationship?
  13. How do you become a great relater?
  14. How do you attract another great relater?
  15. How do you strengthen your relationship?

There are many questions you could ask, however I believe that these are the 15 critical questions you have to answer to know how to succeed in relationships.  Here is a link to some other articles you could look at that ask some different questions.  They come from the website Life Hack.  Here’s the link.  53 Relationship Questions That Will Make Your Love Life Better by Anna Chui

It’s Important to Know the Answer To These Fundamental Questions

Here’s the thing, it’s important that you know the answers to all of these questions so that you can navigate the modern dating and relating world successfully.  In short if you want to succeed in relationships you have to know the answers to these 15 critical questions.

The modern world of dating and relating is more like a jungle than a happy fun party. There are traps and dangers out there that you must avoid.  Yes there are also plenty of wonderful opportunities, but you need to be able to identify the difference between the pretenders and the keepers lest you get snared by the duds.

You have to be relationship ready because you’ve got to know how to connect with people and maintain that connection through life’s ups and downs. It is critical to know what good relating and good relationships are so you can recognize what you need to fix and if your relationship is even worth fixing. What’s more it goes without saying that great relaters create great relationships.

A Framework On How To Succeed in Relationships that Works.

So to make this as simple as it can possibly be I’ve put this series of posts together on How to Succeed in Relationships so you can just follow them step by step.  All you have to do is read them, apply them, learn and grow.

The information in them breaks down everything you need to know and do to create the kind of relationship you love being in.  Research shows us that the principles, skills and strategies in these posts work because they come from research into what successful couples think and do to make their relationships thrive.

I’ve tried as best I can to put this series together in the form of a framework that you can just follow.  So, let’s start building a framework that works.  There are four parts to that framework.  I call this framework the The Modern Dating and Relating Fitness Framework.  It’s about getting relationship fit and working with the world as it is not as you wish it would be.  It’s about getting you prepared to navigate the real world of relationships so you can avoid the traps and pitfalls and maximize the opportunities.  Also it is about learning how to create the kind of relationship you love being in not one that you have to survive.  

  1. Know what you’re dealing with.
  2. Become a great relater, so you can find, attract and connect with another great relator.
  3. Find, attract and connect with another great relater and connect with them.
  4. Develop your connection and commit. 
  5. Keep growing so you can thrive together.

In the Next Post

In the next post in this series on How to Succeed in Relationships, were going to look at the first part of the framework, “Know what you’re dealing with” .  It’s much more complicated than it seems on Tele.


Until next time

I’m Jim O’Connor,


Clear Day Counselling & Coaching on 02 9420 0788 for Relationship Counselling and other services such as Drug and AlcoholExecutive Coaching, Life Coaching and Confidence Coaching.


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