Three reasons why people have relationship difficulties and how to solve them.

We often think of sex and money as being the two primary areas of conflict in relationship. Conflict is an expression of underlying unmet needs. So, what are the motivating factors that lead to conflict?


The dictionary definition of the word assumption is "taking for granted; arrogant". When I take someone for granted or I am arrogant, I recognize this as an expression of  "self importance".  What to do?  Deny our self? Love our self?  To understand which path to take, we need to understand what we mean by "self".

 What is this self that we think of as us?  When we speak of "self", aren't we just referring to a collection of stories; of memories, fantasies, and beliefs? Think of this as a book. We're each a "book" of stories.  From our early life, we identify with this collection of stories and develop strategies to keep this "book" safe and "alive". We move through our lives comparing our "book-selves" to other peoples "book selves".

Yet, like the wind, these "books" have no solid ground, no permanence. And until we question the truth of our existence, we enforce this "story" illusion each time we rely on a story to determine the basis of  reality.
In Vedanta, one practice is "neti neti" or "not this, not this". This is the practice of recognizing what of our existence is temporary. When all that is temporary is identified and transcended, whatever remains is of a permanent nature; the truth of our existence.

Beyond the "book" that makes up our "self", there is an awareness that has existed throughout our entire lives. As a child, that awareness observed our every thought, word, and action. It is the same awareness that watches our thoughts today. Everything else in our lives has changed, except this awareness. From the cells of our bodies which are completely renewed every seven years to our deepest beliefs, everything changes.

This "awareness" is our eternal and only real Self. It is pure awareness, free from story and any sense of duality. Everything else is a critique of life based on the stories.

When I'm "story-less", I have no thoughts about me; what I can get, how I can hide, how I can be "seen". When I am "story-less" I have no  inclination to  make other's wrong, or overpower them. In these moments, I "get" whomever I'm with. I understand them intellectually, I "walk in their shoes" empathetically. If they are living from their "book", I recognize the  need they are trying to get met. Along with this awareness is the appropriate means to be with them in a way that reaches beyond their "book" to them; the uniquely beautiful and alive being they intrinsically are. This is often understood as "being present."

A teacher of mine once said "I'm monogamous with everyone".  I understand him to mean that he is fully present with each person he's with. His attention and his love are given to them unconditionally.

"I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the
content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am
consciousness. I am Now. I Am."
                                                                                 Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks


This one always leads to disappointment. The extent to which I have invested in my expectation is the extent to which I will be be disappointed. 'Tis a bummer. When I recognize that I'm expecting a certain response from someone, I look to see what need of mine I'm trying to get them to meet. It may be that I want appreciation. It's always about wanting acceptance.

So, what better way to meet this need than by giving it? "In giving is receiving." Simple and easy.
"The greatest gift you can give is the purity of your attention." ~ Owm'r Faruuk
Keeping secrets. 

I don't mean day to day details. I mean the stuff of life. When we're honest with ourselves, we know which "stuff" is pertinent to share. By not sharing, we create a deception, no matter how small.

Whenever we withhold something from another, mental, emotional, and physical energy is stifled. Our natural state of being is one of flow. Consider that e-motions are "energy in motion". In our natural state, emotions are experienced and expressed. It's that simple. Otherwise they (along with their accompanying stories) remain within us and manifest as "stuck energy" or "cellular memory".

Stress as defined in the dictionary is "pressure or tension exerted". Stuck energy is stress. Each secret/withhold we accumulate adds to the amount of stress we carry and experience. Eventually, "withholds" require so much energy that we give more vital energy to them than we do those things that we hold precious! We're investing more of our life force into hiding than we are into what and who we love.
That's gotta hurt!

Oriah Mountain Dreamer put it this way in The Invitation :

         It doesn’t interest me
         if the story you are telling me is true.
         I want to know if you can
         disappoint another
         to be true to yourself.
         If you can bear
         the accusation of betrayal
         and not betray your own soul.

Do you feel stuck in your life; have concerns in a relationship; .feel weighted down by addiction?
Do you want to experience the wealth of strength and joy within you? It is my profound honor to assist you through whatever passage you are traversing, to a deeper awareness of your innate worth, and the recognition and expression of your unique gifts.

Visit my web page;

I wish you Peace.


  1. I resonate very much with what you say. It's always my intention to be fully present with whoever I'm with. During my lifetime of 70 years, I've found that so many haven't been truly listened to. This deeply affects how significant they feel. In the moments I'm with them, I bless them with significance.

    About 20 years ago, while working in a mall kiosk, demonstrating exercise equipment, a young man approached me. He was wearing headphones. He asked if he could try the equipment. After using it, he commented that it was really a good product. He sat down in the chair provided for customers, and began to talk non-stop about himself and his situation. He shared that he was bipolar, which I recognized because my brother was afflicted with the same illness, and had killed himself.

    After about 15 minutes of this one sided "conversation", he stopped and took off his headphones, and said to me "You're really listening...." to which I simply replied "Yes".
    Twently years later, I'm still listening, but there are times when I say, "O.K. I can't listen anymore today."

    He credits me with saving his life, and I may have. The question I ask myself is "By saving his life, have I extended his suffering?" He's at the same age (40) that my brother was when he took his life. This young man has tried 5 times, without success, and not due to my intervention.

    In addition to basic food and other needs, the most important thing I've given is presence. I'm the one person he can count on to listen once a day, to his freight train words that come like speeding bullets. It's as though he fears he might not be able to get them all out before his time is up.

    If we're together in a space, he can talk non-stop for a half an hour or more, but after about 15 minutes, I raise my hand and indicate that I want a turn to speak. Even though his need greatly exceeds mine, I'm teaching him about 2 way communication.

    Even though he's severely mentally challenged, he's very bright, and very compassionate. Many things I've given to him end up in the hands of the homeless that permeate his neighborhood in the San Rafael canal. I tell him that I can't afford to keep replacing coats, blankets, etc. He just answers "If you could see the suffering, you would do the same." And, I know he's right.

    As Valentine's Day approaches, consider giving your listening "presence". You can't go wrong with this gift, because it transforms the other with the feeling of "significance" that they may have never felt.

    I guess that's why we have the term "Significant Other".

  2. Thank you for this blog on difficulties in relationships. I agree about assumptions. I do have some expectations from a primary relationship. (Actually these are the guidelines I developed for community living. They are:

    COMMUNICATON~ in which all parties have a voice, until satisfied

    COOPERATION ~ for the highest good of all concerned

    CONTRIBUTION ~ to support each other with time, energy, and commodities

    CONSIDERATION ~ awareness of how our behavior affects others (Imagine everyone
    following our exampe.)

    COMPASSION ~ words and actions that show caring

    I also have guidelines for a "conscious household". These also imply expectation. I believe that many relationships have expectation at their core. When we buy something, we're expected to pay for it. When we meet with another, there's an expectation of a greeting. If we rent a room or buy a house, we're expected to make monthly payments.

    So, while I agree about assumptions, which is a cousin to "mind reading", I don't agree about expectations, unless they are "unrealistic". That's a whole other topic you might address in a future blog.