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On Reading Relationships

be willing to notice the signs that indicate whether this connection can grow into a loving partnership - or is simply a warm and inspiring friendship

by Danielle

Too often, one of the messages I must deliver in a relationship reading is "you saw this coming months ago, but chose to overlook the signs. Perhaps now you will trust those uneasy feelings within you." The signs are obvious in hindsight. A painful breakdown might have been avoided if the client had acknowledged and reacted to the red flags that had been waving in the background.

So what are these subtle signs and signals, the green, amber and red flags that tell us whether a relationship is right for us? How DO you accurately read a relationship? There are some clear indicators, obvious cues. You just have to be willing to notice them.

Signs that you shouldn't hang your hat on this one:

While theses signals may not mean that a relationship can never work, they do indicate where work must be done if you want a healthy long-lasting commitment. Here are some clues to look for.

1) Not making space. I spoke with a woman recently whose partner had frequently complained about not feeling comfortable in her home, even after more than three years together. She had finally consented to sell, deposited money to build a new home - a move which she never felt good about.. he moved out anyway. Now she was struggling to get her deposit back. There were good reasons why she had been so unwilling to open and share her space with him, good reason also for her resistance to moving. The financial loss that ensued from her refusing to trust her intuition, to notice how they were living - together, but separately - would be a good reminder for the rest of her life to trust herself. She had known all along that this wasn't the right partner for her, but as so many do, she kept hoping he would change.

I recall visiting a dear friend a year or so after she had married and was shocked to notice that there was very little indication of my friend's presence in her new husband's home, even after a year. The house was very cluttered, unusual for her, but the only items in the room that were hers were their wedding picture on the piano and one of her favourite paintings behind it. As I expected, within months, I got the call telling me the marriage had ended... he just couldn't make space for her in his life.

2) Only one of you is working on the relationship. If you're doing all of the reaching out, planning and organizing, this relationship is probably not happening... if you're something of a control freak, you prefer leading, and if your partner hates making decisions, happily goes along with whatever you want, then you've probably got a good partnership. Until the day comes when you're tired, or ill, or you've made a serious error in judgment and blown the family bank account. Then suddenly you realize that carrying the load all by yourself isn't so great afterall.

Relatonships need to be balanced so that each person feels they have some power and control, as well as the authority to make some decisions independently. Whenever there is a real imbalance, when one person is doing all the work to make the relationship work, eventually it will break down. If you're paying all of the bills and your partner is spending all of the money, you may want to take a second look at how you are feeling and whether you are truly happy. By the same token, if your heart's desire insists on making all the calls, arranging all of the dates, you need to think about making the next call yourself - otherwise you'll end up feeling powerless in the relationship.

3) Not mixing with friends and family. While it isn't necessary to like all of your potential partner's friends and family members, you each need to feel accepted in the other's family and friendships - and when you aren't being introduced to any of them - PAY ATTENTION... this could very well be the signal to tell you this relationship isn't going anywhere - or shouldn't be.

Notice also how much time the other spends with friends and family. A person who has few friends, and doesn't spend much time with family is probably not going to be a great contributor to a relationship. (And could in fact be an abuser. - abusive men and women try to isolate their victims from other relationships, even with close family members.) And on the opposite end of the scale, a man who spends every spare moment hanging with his buddies or a woman who just can't make a decision without first consulting three of her friends, her Mom and favourite aunt, is probably not going to pay a whole lot of attention to what you have to say.

4) It's hard to trust. When there appear to be a lot of secrets, or lies, or you're afraid to ask the hard questions, you're left constantly trying to "read" what the other will do or say, or think or feel. This leads to serious trust issues. Without trust, communications break down and this spells disaster for any relationship. You need to be able to freely speak what's on your mind and in your heart. And to trust that your partner is honest with you.

While you don't want to be asking the hard questions in the first weeks of getting to know each other, it is important that you get around to asking how the other feels about key values, such as religious beliefs, family, marriage and kids - if you want them.... and you must be able to trust that "what you see is what you get", in other words, that there is no baggage hidden in the wings.

There are a lot of other ways that you can tell whether a relationship will work in the long-term or not.

While the presence of any one of these signals does not mean that you should end the relationship and the sooner, the better, more than two or three of these "negative" signals, should suggest that you back off. Let the objective observer in you take over so you can float along for awhile. Give yourself time to acknowledge those uneasy feelings within. In this time you can consider your options, and decide whether it's worth negotiating a change in attitude.. or that it's time to let go..

Signs that this relationship is on its way to happily ever after,

The signs that a relationship is "right" are very simple: you're relaxed, it's easy, you work together well, you're not so concerned about outcome, where you're going doesn't matter so much as where you're at right now... There's real chemisty between you, but it isn't taking over your life... life in general is moving well - you just got a promotion, you're happy for no good reason... these are all good clues that something wonderful is working in your life, that love is flowing.

I found it interesting that I could easily write about the amber and red flags that come up around relationships, but there wasn't a whole lot to say about the green flags, the "go" signals. There is a simple reason why - when it's right, it's usually quite obvious... with no amber and red flags flying, the way forward is clear. While there may be obstacles ahead, the couple is aware of them and willing to face them together... the love connection really is that simple.

You don't have to be psychic to read relationships... you just have to be willing to notice the signs. The art of noticing suggests that you pay attention:

If you're spending your energy trying to read the object of your affections, instead of just enjoying being together, you probably need to think twice about this relationship... but when you're happy to take it as it comes, well, this could be that happily ever after partnership you've always dreamed about.

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