Intro to Collaborative Relationships

 Experience both freedom AND commitment within a relationship of your own making.

So we’ve gone through The Mating Dance of the Honeymoon Phase.
We’ve arrived at the next phase and welcomed Coupledom.

danceThis week, I’d like to share the kind of relationships I participate in and help facilitate for others to enjoy. It’s about learning to move together, rather than all on one’s own. It’s about asking for what you need, rather than wishing another could read your mind. It’s about owning your desires, rather than keeping them a forbidden secret. It’s about following through in making your dreams come true, while receiving total support. It’s about taking responsibility for your life, while being lovingly held accountable through it. It’s about Collaboration.

Being collaborative ensures that the individuals involved create a relationship that has the ability to shift dynamics based on their needs, desires, and circumstances that arise through life. People can safely adapt when needed, and allow for individual growth, both together and apart. Collaborative relationships encourage a willingness to work with each other, rather than against one another. Unfortunately, the modern, competitive social model for relating fosters the latter. The collaborative approach is a social model that fosters teamwork & partnership. This way of relating includes ALL kinds of relationships – from romantic to familial and from monogamous to polyamorous.

Dear Readers, what does collaborative mean to you?
Please submit your answers. With your permission, your submissions may be used in future articles. 





Practicing Minimalism in Relationships

In modern relationships, the reality of genders coming to the table to participate in Equal Partnership means this: We have gifts to offer the world through outer-world achievement(s) AND we desire to cultivate quality, intimate connections with loved ones via community and romantic counterparts.

∴Question  How do I make time for my dreams and goals as well as my personal and romantic relationships?

betterworldIn modern relationships, the reality of genders coming to the table to participate in Equal Partnership means this: We have gifts to offer the world through outer-world achievement(s) AND we desire to cultivate quality, intimate connections with loved ones via community and romantic counterparts.

Minimalism is the art of paring down.  Practicing minimalism in relationship means clearing mental & emotional space to make room for what we truly desire to create.  To do this, we must take stock what our major priorities are.  Then, take note of which priorities need your full attention to help facilitate what you actually desire.  Paring down priorities like this can help direct your focus.  Pure attentiveness translates into nurture.  This nurturing communicates deep love for the people and activities we care about around us.

After getting clear about who and where to give your full attention, ask yourself these questions: What adjustments am I willing to make in my life to achieve this goal?  What or who am I willing to commit to in order to fulfill this dream? When all of this is clear, it is important to communicate to your loved ones.

Communication of your own needs and desires and how to create support for yourself is an invitation to others into your intimate world.  When we include others, we are creating deeper connection and intimacy with them.  So when your focus needs to be on an activity that is more about your outer-world achievement, you’re still building intimacy and connection with your relationship(s).  When engaging this kind of communication, be sure that you are also willing to be supportive in return.  Even ask if the other is feeling supported in what he/she/they desire to create.

focusIn a world with so much going on and lots to do and be, it is vital to take time out, step back and map out the bigger picture of your life as well as the collective bigger picture.  Clearing space in your mind and heart and even letting go of what no longer serves our bigger picture purpose, are all aspects of practicing the art of minimalism in a relational way.  We are limited beings that have limited time and energy.  By paring down, we reduce where we distribute our love, but we increase how we love.  This is an important lesson in balance and what it means to truly be present in a world fixated on the future.

 Try this Helpful Hint—tip to try on your own time.

Communication. It’s All in a Word.

imagesI work with all kinds of relationships, but mainly those of the romantic kind.  To be honest, they are my favorite.  I emphasize my work in communication because I found it to be at the heart of relationship.  Quite literally, actually.  In the very meaning of the word relation is  “the act of telling”  also “correspondence” and “connection.”  In the very definition of relating, we find words that imbibe verbal communication and the impact thereof.  What is behind the word communicate?  The root word, commune, means “to talk intimately.”  The word itself means “to share.”   Connection and sharing is the very reason why we humans gravitate towards relationship.

The main issue I have always found in relationships that needed help was miscommunication.  People either misread, misheard, misunderstood and misspoke with one another all the time.  Although their intentions would usually be pure, and each person believed their communication was very clear, in truth, it was not.  This very act of miscommunication is at the basis of almost every conflict I encounter.  Whether it is within myself, with another, among a group or between groups.  There is constant miscommunication.  We, as humans, are constantly, mis-sharing with one another.  Why is this?  As a social scientist, I could go into the myriad of reasons, but that is a book in and of itself.  What I have found, however, is our very ability to communicate and relate with others harmoniously, directly reflects our ability to share.  Helping people develop their ability to share within themselves, and the world around them, is at the core of my work in relationship counseling.

As humans, we are naturally wired for community.  Our innate ability to commune with ourselves, each other, and the world around us has taken a huge back burner within a societal structure that demands our livelihoods revolve around mass production, consumption and exponential monetary growth.  It leaves little time and energy for us to truly commune with ourselves, let alone with each other.  Most communication now happens digitally and I feel this is a symptom of our lack of time in our daily lives that revolve around work for most of us.  In a society that teaches values surrounding individualism, I’m not surprised that so many of us “mis-share” ourselves with one another and find miscommunication to be such an issue in our relationships.

¹All definitions were gathered from the etymological source: