Relationship Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Relationship Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Relationship Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

How to Stop a Divorce… And Have a Happy, Healthy Marriage

As a marriage counselor, couples therapist and premarital counselor I’ve had a few interesting observations about January. Two types of couples tend to show up: Sparkly-eyed premarital couples who got engaged over the holidays and how are eager for premarital counseling to set their marriages up for success, and…. couples who are on the absolute brink of divorce.

The latter are often couples who did NOT do meaningful premarital counseling, and who have had hurts, resentments, and issues simmering underneath the surface for a long time. They’ve often put off getting real relationship help for years, until it’s turned into a full-blown relationship crisis, and someone files for divorce. It’s true: divorce filings spike in January. There are many reasons for the rationale behind the timing. Holiday stress can certainly be one, but in my experience as a marriage counselor and couples therapist, a more common reason that people file for divorce in January is the simple fact that they’ve been keeping a lid on things until after the holidays are over, and are eager to start a new chapter of their live that coincides with the new year.

Whether you’re reading this with the intention of learning how to prevent a divorce and keep your marriage strong, or possibly looking for advice for how to stop a divorce and save your marriage — I’ve got you covered!

How to Keep Your Relationship Strong, and Prevent a Divorce

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I have a special gift for both premarital couples AND couples on the brink of divorce: A special interview with Jim Sexton, author of “How to Stay in Love.” Jim has a unique perspective — he has spent years working as a divorce lawyer and has sat with countless couples who are in the process of ending their marriage. Through these experiences he gained insight into the biggest mistakes couples can make, the most important things you can do to prevent a divorce, and key things that couples can do to keep their relationship healthy and strong.

Relationship Advice For Premarital Couples: If you’re a premarital couple getting ready for the adventure of marriage, I hope you listen and get some great, practical advice for how to prevent future problems.

Relationship Advice For Couples In Crisis: If you are considering divorce, or trying to stop a divorce, I also hope you listen. Gaining new understanding of why couples get divorced can give you a roadmap for healing in your relationship.

And saving a marriage from divorce is possible. I’ve seen it! While divorce can seem like “the final solution” to relationship problems that couples don’t know how else to solve, sometimes one person threatening (or even filing for) divorce can be a powerful opportunity to create real and lasting positive change in your marriage. Saying “I want a divorce” can mean “I am so hurt and angry and I don’t know how else to make this better.” Understanding that for what it is, a statement of pain and a plea for understanding, can launch a new era of compassion and connection in a relationship. This podcast (and some of the other resources I share within) can help you repair your marriage.

Relationship Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

Listen and learn:

  • Things premarital couples should consider prior to marriage that will help lessen the chances of future divorce
  • The subtle “fork in the road” moments that many couples miss that will lead towards increased connection… or increased disconnection
  • The crucial conversations every premarital (and married) couple should have
  • Why marriages end, and simple, daily things you can do to keep YOUR marriage healthy and strong
  • Specific things you can do to pull your relationship back from the brink
  • How to protect your relationship from an affair (especially a “Facebook affair.”)
  • If you must get divorced, how to go about it in the best way possible

 

I hope this episode helps you understand your marriage in a new way, and provides some direction for how to keep it healthy and strong.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: In addition to speaking with Jim about his wonderful perspective and relationship advice, I mentioned some other resources as well. Here’s a link to a past podcast, “How to Stop a Divorce and Save Your Marriage” with lots of specific tips for what to do if your spouse is moving towards divorce. Also here’s a link to the “How Healthy Is Your Relationship Quiz” I mentioned. This quiz can be a doorway to having meaningful and important conversations with your partner, especially if your relationship has been struggling. — LMB

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Relationship Advice From a Divorce Lawyer

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Like This Episode? Please Rate, Review & Share the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast!

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Let’s  Talk

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Create Your Ten Year Plan

What Does YOUR Future Hold?

“People overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten.”

— Bill Gates

Create Your Ten Year Plan

Have you ever thought to yourself, “What’s my TEN year plan?” It can be difficult to think about your life and your goals on such a long timeline, but it’s important to consider where you want to go, so that you can take positive action to make it happen. It’s incredibly powerful too: You can do SO MUCH in the next ten years.

Truthfully, creating incredible (like, jaw-droppingly amazing) kinds of BIG changes are practically inevitable when you are running a long-game life plan. Things will certainly be different for you ten years from now. But only YOU have the power to guide the arc of change in the direction you want it to go. 

You Have The Power To Create Your Future

Life paths tend to go in one of two directions: Towards growth, which requires cultivation and intention. Or, in the absence of that, the path of least resistance leads to carry us downward, over time. If you’re not paying attention, as many extremely wise people before me have observed, things tend towards “entropy,” (aka, disorder and chaos) unless we’re deliberately putting energy into them. (Stop doing your laundry for a few weeks if you’d like to test my theory for yourself!)

That’s a short term example though. Think about what happens to a home that’s not maintained, or a relationship that’s chronically neglected, or the personal finances of someone who never saves money… over very long periods of time. It’s not good.

It’s very easy to unintentionally create those types of outcomes, through doing what is easiest to do, which is:

  1. Not thinking about what we really want, long term.
  2. Not having awareness about the negative impact of some of our daily decisions on our long term goals.
  3. Not having clarity about what, specifically, we need to invest our time and energy in to get there.

That’s the effortless path. The path towards growth, advancement and success can also be surprisingly easy to do, but only if you know the critical keys to success.

The Keys To Success: Clarity + Action

The key to achieving real and lasting success in life, in love, and in work is to understand that small things, over time, lead to big things. Understanding that basic principle and working with it, will allow you to achieve amazing things with much less effort than you might think.

This type of practice is even more powerful when it is done in alignment with your core values and your full awareness of what is really and truly most important to you. That may sound obvious but take it from an experienced life coach and therapist: A lot of people are spending a lot of time and energy attempting to achieve goals that — upon deeper exploration — are not genuinely meaningful and important to them. (Please see “Design Your Life Around What Matters Most” for more on this subject.)

Knowing who you are, what is most important to you, and what you really want is only the first step though. Then, you have to pay close attention to what you do. 

Your life — ALL of our lives — are absolutely filled with those teeny-tiny moments that will either carry us towards our ideal future, or away from it. If you’re clear about where you want to go and you have clarity about what you need to do (and NOT do) to create that, you’re empowered to actively create your future reality.

My Ten Year Plan Tool: Free, Easy, and YOURS

To assist you in getting the clarity you need about where you want to go, what types of activities will take you there (as well as clarity about what will pull you off your happy path) I have created something special for you: a free planning tool called “My Ten Year Plan.” Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Listen to the “How to Create Your Ten Year Plan” episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast (player is below) to cultivate a long-game, growth-oriented mindset and learn how to use the ten year planning tool.

Step 2: Sign up (above or below)  to allow me to send you:

  • Our free, online Ten Year Plan tool that you can use on your phone, tablet or computer.
  • Or, if you’re a paper-person, access to our free, downloadable pdf worksheet that you can print out and use to create your plan.

Step 3: Walk through the “My Ten Year Plan” activity!

You’ll be prompted to answer thought provoking questions to help you:

  • Uncover your most important values
  • Develop appreciation for how powerful you are
  • Understand your most significant strengths and growth opportunities
  • Get clarity about what you want for your future
  • Create an action plan to create your ideal reality… ten years from now.

I sincerely hope that this Ten Year Plan activity empowers you make your life — ten years from now — exactly what you want it to be.

Your partner in growth,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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How to Create Your Ten Year Plan

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Citay, “On The Wings”

Spread the Love Happiness & Success

Enjoy This Episode? Please Rate, Review & SHARE the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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What’s Most Important To YOU?

WHAT MATTERS MOST | It’s so easy — especially for smart, determined, proactive and successful people — to spend a lot (a LOT) of time and energy pursuing goals that, at the end of the day, are not actually the most important or meaningful ones to them. Sounds crazy, but it’s true: We’re all vulnerable to absorbing messages from our families, social media, our culture, and certainly the combined efforts of many savvy marketers about what we should want. About who we should be. About what we should do with our lives.

You Are The Author of Your Own Life Story

At the end of the day, buying in to someone else’s hopes and dreams for your life can lead you down the wrong path. Even if you — by virtue of your intelligence, determination, and hard work — are successful in creating all of it and achieving the ideals that you were handed, they will still feel hollow to you. Because they were never genuinely meaningful and important to YOU. And you will have spent so much of your precious time, energy, love, and devotion to achieving goals that — at the end of the day — could have been spent creating the life and reality that was your heart’s desire.

You deserve better. You deserve to own your own goals and create a destiny that will lead to your heart overflowing with authentic happiness and gratitude. You deserve, at the very end of your precious life, to have zero regrets. You deserve to feel pride and appreciation for what you have created, and what will last long after your time on this earth has passed.

How to Design Your Life Around What Matters Most

To help you create this reality — the clear-eyed pursuit and attainment of the goals that are actually the most important and precious to YOU — I have a very special gift for you. On the latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing a very wise and insightful man, author Chris Meyer.

Chris has a fascinating story: He spent many years as the director of a funeral home. (Stay with me here!) Over the years, he sat with many families as they planned their final goodbyes. He sat with people who were dying, and grieving families, and heard their stories — their gratitude, and their regrets, and the profound insights into what really mattered…. from the perspective of looking back on their lives.

Over and over again, he had family members say the same thing to him: Their heartfelt insights about what really mattered most to them, and the things they realized when their time was over. Chris put all of these lessons into his book: Life In 20 Lessons: What A Funeral Guy Discovered About Life, From Death.

Today, he is here to share these insights directly with YOU. He is bringing you the messages from people at the end, so that YOU can design your life with intention, clarity and love, and maintain you focus on what really matters most to you.

It’s a heartfelt gift for you, on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. I sincerely hope that it helps you get clarity and self-awareness for how you’d like to design YOUR life as we enter into a new decade, together.

Now, question for you: What did you think about as you were listening to this podcast about what was genuinely most meaningful and important to you?? I hope you share your thoughts and feelings with the Growing Self community in the comments below.

With love,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: This episode is personally meaningful to ME because it’s in alignment with what is most important to me: Being of service to YOU. I have so many things planned for you on upcoming episodes of the podcast this coming year. If we’re not already connected, please join me on Instagram @drlisamariebobby, and don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast!

PPS: I’m now routinely embarrassing myself on YouTube too! Watch the video version of this episode below, or keep scrolling for the audio only version.

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Design Your Life Around What Matters Most

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits:  Rodellos Machine, “Beauty of Your Life”

Spread the Love Happiness & Success

Please Rate, Review & SHARE the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Let’s Talk About YOU

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Let’s Talk About YOU

Your Questions, Answered.

The latest episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast was absolutely devoted to YOUR questions. Your relationship questions, dating questions, dating questions, communication questions, therapy questions were all answered. If you’ve left a question in the comments section on the blog lately, or through Facebook or Instagram (or via one of our quizzes) you’ll want to turn in and hear the answers!

Specifically, we discussed: 

  • What if you’re having an argument with your partner and need to take a break to calm down, and they keep pursuing you?
  • How to handle it when you’re married and have a crush on someone else? What if you have a crush on an EMPLOYEE? 
  • Are you dating and hearing, “I like you but just as friends” a lot? We’re talking about what that might mean! 
  • What are some tips to handle a hard breakup or divorce when you coparent with your Ex and have to see your Ex?
  • What should you do if your family members are fighting with each other and you keep getting dragged into it?
  • Can you do couples therapy by video if you’re in a long-distance relationship? Why might that be a good idea?
  • How should you approach your partner if you think they would really benefit from individual therapy or couples counseling, but they won’t go?
  • And so. Much. More.

Listen now, using the podcast player below, or WATCH the discussion on YouTube below! (FYI, this podcast was recorded LIVE on Instagram — if you’d ever like to join, tune in (most) Mondays at 12pm Mountain. 

Your partner in growth, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Let's Talk About YOU: Your Questions, Answered.

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Spread the Love Happiness & Success!

Please Rate, Review & Share the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

iTunes

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Commitment: The Key to Long-Lasting Relationships

Commitment: The Key to Long-Lasting Relationships

Commitment: The Key to Long-Lasting Relationships

Choosing to Grow Together

What do you think of when you hear the word “commitment?”  On a small scale, I often think of “obligations” that I would prefer to be free from, such as being committed to going to a social gathering when I’d prefer to be at home watching Schitt’s Creek on Netflix or my “commitment” to being fiscally responsible despite my firm belief in retail therapy. 

What about commitment in terms of a relationship? Currently, we live in a culture where commitment isn’t always valued. For example, we get many messages that if something or someone does not bring you happiness, you should discard it or find someone else who makes you feel [fill in the blank]. 

Sometimes we buy into the notion that the grass is greener on the other side and we shouldn’t waste time being unhappy. If we buy into these messages, we can start to view commitment as something that we only do when we feel like it. 

Commitment is Not a Feeling: It’s a Choice

And honestly, it’s much easier to feel like being committed in the beginning of a relationship when things are fun, new, easy, and exciting. It’s much harder to be committed to someone when the monotony of everyday life (and stress) sets in, or when the reality of being in the relationship is different from what you expected. So what do you do when the new relationship bliss has long worn off and you’re left wondering if maybe you’re just not as “compatible” as you once thought? 

Commitment is a major key to long-lasting relationships. Why is that? Because commitment is a choice. It’s a conscious decision to choose your partner even on the days when they’ve disappointed you, hurt your feelings, or when you feel that initial “spark” has gone away. Commitment is the choice to love your partner despite their annoying habits, their flaws, and their mistakes. 

How to Strengthen Your Commitment To Your Relationship

You can strengthen the commitment in your relationship by practicing a few key skills:

Trust

Trust is the foundation that is needed for commitment because it allows you to feel physically and emotionally safe in your partnership. With trust often comes loyalty, friendship, and a mutual respect, and an acceptance of one another that allows for the ability to extend the “benefit of the doubt” to your partner when they disappoint you.

Forgiveness

This can be difficult when you feel your needs or wants have gone unmet by your partner, which can easily lend itself to a feeling of resentment. While communicating with your partner about those unmet needs is necessary, choosing to let go of the resentment and the hurt feelings that linger after you have resolved the issue is a continuous process. Choosing commitment means choosing to let go of past hurts without holding your partner’s mistakes against them.

Turning Towards Your Partner

This means choosing to be emotionally available to your partner by choosing vulnerability and connection instead of pulling away. Part of turning towards your partner is choosing to be present in the small, everyday moments that you share with your partner. For example, say you and your partner just sat down for your usual Friday night Netflix binge (can you tell what I do in my spare time?) and you hear them let out a sigh. Turning towards your partner would be pausing and asking your partner if they’re ok. While such a moment may seem insignificant, taking advantage of the small opportunities for connection enhances your relationship. This also helps to build trust, which is essential to commitment.

In a healthy partnership, commitment is a necessary choice. Relationships naturally go through ebbs and flows, and going through the ebbs can really make the choice to continue to commit to your partner difficult. However, committing to your partner in the “ebbs” allows you to experience the fullness of your relationship.

Warmly,
Anastacia Sams, M.A., LMFT-C

Anastacia Sams, M.A., LMFT-C helps you create your very best life. She has a warm, compassionate, and gentle yet highly effective approach to personal growth work. She specializes in helping couples create healthy, happy partnerships, and assisting individuals to heal from past hurts in order to create fulfillment and joy.

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How to Deal With Selfish People

How to Deal With Selfish People

How to Deal With Selfish People

Building Awareness and Setting Boundaries

Do you have someone in your life who consistently makes you feel like they don’t care about you, or whatever you’re feeling is not *quite* as important as whatever is happening for them?

If so, you may be in a relationship with a selfish person. This can be emotionally draining, not to mention frustrating — particularly if they’re your husband, wife, or partner. (Though selfish bosses, friends, and coworkers are challenging too).

If you’re trying to figure out how to get your needs met in a relationship with a selfish person, here are some strategies to make it work. (Or, give you the clarity and confidence to let them go).

The first step? Understanding the psychology of selfish people can help you get insight and compassion into the way they think, and why they do the infuriating things they do…

Why Are Some People So Selfish?

Emotional intelligence exists on a spectrum. Some individuals are higher in emotional intelligence than others. One symptom of low emotional intelligence is the tendency to be self-absorbed: Exclusively concerned about what you’re thinking, feeling, needing and wanting, rather than attuned to the thoughts, feelings, needs and desires of others.

One thing that I have found to be helpful is to conceptualize the way that people are functioning in the context of their life experiences. People who are “selfish” (have little awareness of the thoughts, feelings, or needs of others) tend to have been raised in environments in which their feelings, thoughts and needs were not recognized or valued. In contrast, highly empathetic people had — from earliest childhood — their feelings and thoughts reflected back to them, and at least respected.

In this way, thoughtful and compassionate people are not born: they’re made. Likewise, people who have arrived in adulthood without the easy ability to understand or value the emotions of others are products of their environment. The good news is that everyone can learn how to become more other-focused. However, this work is long and slow.

Can Selfish People Become Less Selfish, Over Time?

While emotional intelligence is different than cognitive abilities in that it can be strengthened and increased through deliberate learning and practice, it requires the person who is lower in emotional intelligence to 1) recognize that there is an issue, 2) have an interest or desire in improving the situation 3) learn specific skills and strategies to increase emotional intelligence and then 4) commit to practicing these skills regularly.

Unfortunately, in this situation the question “can we ‘train’ self-absorbed people to take more of an interest and listen?” is describing the central problem which is also creating barriers for the solution. People with low emotional intelligence generally have zero awareness that their relational focus is creating distress or annoyance for others…. Because they often fail to pick up or consider how others are feeling. “Being trained” would require them to pick up on cues given by others and then respond by doing things they struggle to do: containing their inner experience to the point that they’re able to focus on the other person, listening, etc.

All of these activities, though they seem simple, actually require a complex emotional intelligence / emotional regulation / communication skill-set that is developed over time. Expecting that someone who doesn’t do these things should be able to if they only cared enough is a recipe for disappointment and resentment.

Should You Call Someone Out on Selfish Behavior?

You certainly can point out when someone is being self absorbed or inconsiderate. But, consider this: 

When you (naturally) react negatively to someone with low emotional intelligence (again, someone who may have little to no self-awareness around how they may be impacting others) they will often feel genuinely surprised, offended, and even attacked and victimized. For this reason, enerally speaking, more often than not, attempts to directly confront self-centered behavior and ask for improvement results in defensiveness, minimization and often an unproductive conflict.

It is therefore extremely difficult for others to create change in a self-focused person.

The person doing the calling out is usually just going to get dismissed by a self-centered person as being hostile, difficult, “selfish” (ironically), or a variety of other things. It usually takes a self-centered person to experience consequences in multiple relationships as well as in the occupational domain in order for them to entertain the possibility that they themselves are the common denominator.

Now, what CAN work is to “assist” the other person in experiencing natural consequences for their relational patterns. For example, it’s normal and natural to not want to spend as much time with someone who is self-centered and a poor listener. Over time, they may notice that they don’t have that many friends, or have short-lived relationships, aren’t advancing in their careers, or often feel lonely and disconnected. They may start to feel badly about that and wonder why. 

This type of self-reflection can lead them to enter into a personal growth process, ideally with the assistance of a therapist or coach who can help shine a light on the relational blind-spots that have been causing others — and ultimately themselves — so much pain. This can lead to a transformational new level of self-awareness and personal responsibility, particularly when it’s coupled with effective direction around how to learn emotional intelligence skills.

How To Become Less Selfish

People committed to the process of increasing their emotional intelligence can then begin learning how to understand their own feelings, and use that as a starting point to develop empathy for others. Often, learning how to name and manage their own feelings feels like new territory for them. 

They can shift away from the “mind-blindness” that may have characterized their relationships in the past, and begin deliberately focusing on what others are thinking, feeling, or wanting. Often, learning how to actively and empathetically listen, ask open-ended questions, and slow their process down to incorporate the perspectives of others are central to developing stronger relationships going forward.

However — and this is key — no one can do this work for them. The selfish person has to be motivated to do this work for themselves. If you try to “help” a person grow in this area by confronting them, nagging them, or pushing them towards personal growth work it’s just going to make YOU angry, and THEM defensive. (And less likely to do the work).

Should You Stay In a Relationship With a Selfish Person?

The  answer to this question depends on what type of relationship you’re hoping to have with a self-focused person, and how committed you are to supporting them through their growth process.

Dating Someone Who is Selfish

If you’re dating, it may be wise to let this person go sooner rather than later so that they have time and space to continue to develop themselves personally. You’ll be saved the frustration, hurt and resentment that you’re certain to experience if you continue attempting to get your needs met by them before they are able to do so.

Being Friends With a Selfish Person

Likewise, casual friendships with people who relate to others this way are rarely satisfying. You’d do better to invest your time and energy into friendships with people who you can have a more balanced and mutually generous relationship.

Married to a Selfish Person

Now, if you’re neck-deep in a marriage / kids / mortgage situation with someone who you’ve come to realize is a self-centered and lacking in emotional intelligence skills, it may be worth working on things with them. In these situations “working on things” tends to look like one person getting really angry with the other person for doing what they usually do — being thoughtless and self-absorbed — which leads to defensiveness and withdrawal.

A better solution is to bring this party to a good marriage counselor who can help you both understand what is happening in the relationship in a neutral and productive way that’s more likely to generate real and lasting change. The person who struggles with emotional intelligence skills needs guidance around how to be a more emotionally present partner. However, the person on the other side of the dynamic may also need to work on having acceptance, compassion and appreciation for their partner as well.

A particularly difficult relationship to manage is when you have a parent or a close family member who is very self-centered. The best strategy here may be to 1) lower your expectations dramatically 2) limit your time together and 3) look to other people to meet your emotional and relational needs, because you’re not going to get them met here. 

Early Warning Signs That Someone is Selfish

You can save yourself a lot of frustration and heartache by avoiding getting entangled in relationships with selfish, self-absorbed people from the get-go. When you’re getting to know someone new, observe how they relate to you, and other people too.

When you’re dating, take self-centered behavior extremely seriously, and do not make the mistake that too many people do (especially women) which is to “date optimistically.” Optimistic dating is thinking that behavior / personality / values / life goals will change in response to how much someone cares about you or how committed they are to the relationship. 

A lot of women take selfish behavior on their new boyfriend’s part to indicate that they should work harder to be more loveable because then their boyfriend would treat them better. This is not true: The guy is being self-centered because that’s actually who he is. If you want better, cut them loose. 

Furthermore, remember that the way people do small things is generally a microcosm of the way they do big things. Not taking five seconds to text you back all day “because they were busy” implies that your needs are actually secondary to theirs, in their mind. Pay attention to that, especially early on.

A great way to test someone’s generosity vs. tendency towards selfishness is to say no to them when they ask you for something. A generous person who is capable of having empathy for your feelings will understand and respect your boundaries. A selfish person who struggles to understand and prioritize the feelings of others sometimes will likely get upset, “hurt” or even angry with you. 

A fantastic and very reliable way to prune self-centered people from your life is to get good at saying no. Expect that they’ll get mad at you, and stay the course. If you set a new expectation for the relationship — that this is a two-way street — they’ll either have to do some important growth work, or the relationship will self-destruct. Win – win, either way.

How can someone break a cycle in which the selfish person in their life frequently asks them for favors or time, without reciprocation?

Having Compassion For Selfish People

If you’re navigating a challenging relationship with a self-centered person, it can help you to hold on to empathy and compassion for them. Keep in mind that the self-centered person really has no idea how off-putting their way of relating is, and that the origins of their selfish behavior are in their own unmet needs for emotional support. These ideas can help you stay in a compassionate place when dealing with these types of people. 

Remember that they just want to be loved too, and they are also doing the best they can with what they have. They got dealt a crappy hand in the supportive family department (OR they are on the autism spectrum, which we have not touched upon, but which is also very real).

All of the above can help you be patient, but also manage your expectations so that you don’t find yourself getting hurt, disappointed, or resentful when they don’t behave differently. 

Until they discover that the way they’re relating to other people is pushing them away, and decide to get help for this, they’re unlikely to change. That’s not your fault, but it’s also not your problem. You can be kind to self-centered people, but knowing who and what they are will also help you set healthy boundaries for yourself and invest your energy and attention in people who can love you back.

Wishing you all the best,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Have you had to develop boundaries with similar relationships in the past? Share with us your suggestions in the comments section!

 

 

 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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