New Year often brings with it the dreaded question, ‘So, what is your New Year’s?’ Often, it’s the same thing we would like to achieve; often, those things lie abandoned and forgotten by February. If it’s not to do with improving health or accruing wealth, it’s to do with having more love in our lives. As ever, most things can be achieved if we put our minds to it. If love is on your list, let us help you find – or refresh – it.
Whether you are single or in a relationship that could do with a boost, here are our two top tips to get you started on your New Year’s love resolution to have more fulfilling relationships
1. Adopt a growth mindset
You may have heard of Carol Dweck’s work on growth vs. fixed mindsets. This is the idea that some people believe they have agency in their lives and can influence their course through effort (growth mindset), whilst others seem to accept things as they are, becoming more helpless in their attitude towards their lives (fixed mindset). The research originally focused on intelligence, but it transpires that people adopt a fixedmindset when it comes to love. Psychologist Raymond Knee called it ‘destiny belief’. People with such an outlook are those who believe that love is destined, that the person they meet is something written in the stars. People with a destiny belief are more likely to get disappointed, and disillusioned, with love, and are more likely to give up on the relationship. It seems that, when things become difficult – as they inevitably do in any relationship – the stars no longer feel quite so aligned, so to speak, and people erroneously conclude that “this wasn’t meant to be”. People with a ‘growth belief’, contrastingly, are more likely to be happy in their relationships; take responsibility for their role in it; and work on making it better.
2. Date someone you admire and respect
One of the first things to erode in a relationship is admiration for one’s partner. The most successful relationships are those in which both parties consistently admire and respect their other half, even when things get tough. Psychologists Thomas Bradbury and Benjamin Karney found that the kind of attribution that people make towards their partners’ behaviours influences the health of the relationship. If, for example, your partner arrives late for a date, and you blamed them, rather than an extraneous circumstance such as the traffic, you are more likely to be dissatisfied with the relationship.
If you are in a relationship already, you can change this tendency by questioning whether your partner truly has bad intentions for you. Psychologist Eli Finkel suggests taking a ‘third-party view’. Imagine that a friend is looking in on your relationship and wanting the best for both of you. What might your third-party view be? This is assuming that you are in a relationship with a decent person in the first place, of course. No-one should ever accept emotional or physical abuse.
If you are single and looking for love, ask yourself, when you are on a date, whether this person is someone whom you can admire.
Navigating relationships can be difficult enough without then trying to find someone with whom you connect well enough with to embark on that journey. We are here to help you, not only by helping to introduce you to quality people, but by supporting you through the various phases of the relationship. Our dating and relationship psychologist Madeleine Mason provides coaching for anyone who feels stuck on this journey.
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Or get in touch with Madeleine for more relationship advice.