Marriage & Life Partners · Relationships & Dating

Make February Relationship Rehab Month

You can engineer your own spring by sowing the seeds of love and friendship now.

FAMILY

Proactivity is also likely to help you get closer to your family. Staying in touch, small gestures of appreciation, remembering to ask about their interests, finding ways to do things together are obvious moves you can make. This can work, even with the crankiest of adolescents, if you don’t expect too much in return—maybe not right away, but the rewards can often be seen later. When my daughter first went away to school I thought sending frequent postcards and packages might help ease the transition. Though at first she said it was “embarrassing” that she got so much mail, she admitted that she would miss them if I cut back. When I came to visit her at school, I saw she had taped all the postcards to her wall. Sometimes family members need things that they don’t realize they want.

In another instance, a woman I know who, though she had an ambivalent relationship with her aging mother, made up her mind to speak to her (briefly) every day. Although she had plenty of reasons to be angry about her mother’s poor nurturing skills when she was a child, this led to an important rapprochement and allowed her to have a more positive relationship with her mother in her last years.

FRIENDS

Staying in touch is easier than ever, due to the pervasive use of email, cell phones, Skype, social media, etc. It has become so easy that there’s no excuse not to be in contact with your friends, old and new. Though some people feel deluged with emails and Facebook requests, it can be surprisingly rewarding to be in contact with a large “online” community. Sociologists, starting in the1950s, despaired about the isolation and loneliness that our increasingly mobile society has engendered. Stephanie Broadbent, who studies the effects of the Internet and hails it as an “enabler of intimacy,” states that an important positive transformation is going on. We need only look to the role that social media, like Twitter, played in the “Arab Spring” to acknowledge its power.

SPRING AWAKENING

You can engineer your own spring by sowing the seeds of love and friendship now. If you have a partner, try to make more of your days Valentine’s Day: days of positive moments, rather than Groundhog Day: the same moments, over and over. If you are looking for someone, you must do something or it won’t happen: do something to stir the waters or try a new approach.

If you are content without a romantic relationship (and many people are), it’s important to stay connected with the people you love. Resolve to repair, reach out, and re-energize your social connections now and you’ll feel the glow of love throughout the year.

 

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  • APA February 16, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Thank you Cecilia for a great and insightful article about the art of relationships. My favorite piece of advice was
    “Remember to ask yourself, would you rather always be right or would you rather be happy?”
    I try to live by the credo “don’t sweat the small stuff” – a similar and valuable consideration.

    Reply