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Methods For Changing Your Relationships

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Updated: Apr 26th 2016

People are social creatures by nature. They are born into families and being a member of a family is their natural state. Most people live and work with other people and are, in varying ways, dependent upon them for their livelihood and their life. Other people are, in turn, dependent on them. People depend on one another to meet the basic necessities of life, including food, clothing, shelter and safety needs. They need access to the paycheck that pays the rent and buys the food, they need protection from common enemies, and they also need assurances that they will be cared for should they fall ill. They depend on each other to meet sexual and reproductive needs. They also need to belong to groups of other people (e.g., their family of origin, the family they build with a spouse, a tribe, a culture, a work group, a religion, a nation) in order to define themselves as people; to form healthy identities. Such belonging needs become primary to most people as soon as their more basic and safety needs are attended to. Group membership even figures into "higher" sorts of needs, such as people's need for achievement and status; there is no achievement or status except in relationship to others. Relationships are so important to human health, that it is in fact, unthinkable that a person could be healthy without them.

Though relationships are a vital and necessary part of the human condition, it is frequently quite painful to need other people. There are essentially two different kinds of relationship problems. Either people do not have sufficient relationships (or sufficient quality of relationships), or they have relationships, but those relationships are conflicted in some manner so that they don't satisfy, or are a source of pain. People feel lonely when the relationships they crave are not available to them. As painful as it can be to be lonely, it is sometimes balanced out by another pain - the pain caused by fear of rejection that some people feel when they think about pursuing new relationships. People who are in relationships are not immune either. Some relationships end painfully. Some end up being abusive, while others simply don't measure up to people's varying needs and hopes, or somehow fail to provide a nutrient necessary for keeping the relationship alive. Some people stay in such relationships and make due with their pain, while others leave and face a different sort of difficulty; that of finding new relationships that will work out better. Even healthy, caring and supportive relationships have moments of tension that are distinctly uncomfortable. Though some relationships are undoubtedly healthier and better to be in than others, there is no such thing as a perfect pain-free relationship.

Creating Satisfying Relationships

Some people have an easier time forming and maintaining satisfying relationships than do others. It is true, in small part, that differences in physical appearance, wealth and social status account for some of this ease (there is no shortage of people who want to be with others who are attractive, well off or famous), but there are also many, many people who aren't particularly attractive, rich or famous who still enjoy numerous satisfying relationships. What sets these regular satisfied types apart from other less-satisfied people are their mastery of social skills.


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Sleeping Beauty 2011 - Angela Disney - Jan 1st 2011

When in doubt, move to another state preferably where your own children were born for safety.

To x - Amadeus Moisl - Sep 28th 2009

Hi x.

I have the same problem as you. Please write me an email at . We can study together.


what is wrong with me - paula - Jul 4th 2009

i am 25 years old and i have pretty much been with the same guy for almost ten years. the first 4 years he was amazing, then we broke up for 3 years and now everything is horrible. he has done the most unimaginable things to me, things that any normal person would just walk away from but for some reason i cant. the pain i feel from him is so horrible and overwhelming it has ruined my life and i have a little girl and its making it hard for me to cope and take care of her. he is verbally emotinaly and physically abusive. and to top it off he is addicted to oxycotin which is destroying him. between that and his lies and his cheating and his abuse i dont even feel human anymore and i honestly dont know whats ujp from down anymore? my head is just a blur and i feel pathetic and crazy. i know i need to leave him but its so hard and when i do he does something for a short period of time that dulls the pain for a min and im so desperate for that i fall into it. i dont know what to do i was so misrable with out him too. im getting hopeless

Heelppp mee please!! - Louise - May 29th 2009
Hi I’m 16, currently going through my GCSE exams! I’m really confused with life, and I feel lost by the way people are behaving around me. Am I the reason why people treat me like this, what can I do I only want to make things better? Is it the way that I look? These are questions I ask myself daily, I really need someone to make it clear what I can do to improve my relationships with people so I can be happy- I always feel as if I’m trying so hard for people to be happy, it just always ends in disaster! And neglect!
The first few years of school I was extremely loud, having the best fun, had a group of 20 friends the popular group, who would be at the local park smoking and drinking (Realised now how ridiculous that was).Then everyone started to grow up, things started to change, I realised how it was so Un-cool to smoke and to blare music out on buses, I wanted this to change, I could sense the future of what I would become if I carried on that way.(The girls back in the day i used to hang around with are now not turning up to exams, On the streets still, drinking, smoking and are even now taking damaging drugs).But when the attention was forced onto New girls, the more grown up (By not smoking and they paid attention in school) we got pushed to the side; nobody was interested in us anymore. Are group split up in Half, I then was included in a small group, the same girls who I was with before. I made the greatest best of friend, we was with each other everyday, Laughing non-stop literally (it seems now). At the time we were still not going places, No one wanted to know us and we wasn’t getting invited to the parties, I really wanted to have a better life, We become unhappy in the group and we spilt.I was Devastated from the brake, I was always looking for ways to make are life more exciting, I just wanted everyone to be happy(Is this bad?). We become un-happy, we didn't really go out much in the winter, no-one bothered with each over- I was still putting so much effort into them all, ringing them up trying to get them round, I just wanted to see my ' friends' but it was always something silly, 'my cousin is round so yea sorry I’m not able to go out'- But she actually is able, We always used to go out together-This excuse was for 2 weeks, It built up over months I just pretended to not notice-Although at home I was asking those same questions I am now. (When I was searching for ways to make the group happy this was because they would always be moaning about how boring and rubbish are life was, I wasn’t forcing them to do things they didn’t want to, I just simply wanted everyone to get on and be happy)Was my choice the right choice?It took me ages to get over the fact we weren’t able to be friends anymore, When she wanted to be my friend we would have the best times, I just couldn’t cope with the feeing of being used, I was only needed when she wanted me to - I felt as if it was always me trying so hard, like I had to convince her to come out before she would, but when we were together we seriously would not stop laughing? (I would convince her and try time and time again as I said we really did have fun in each others company, and I would never mention to her how I felt really, so it wasn’t my behaviour as a friend, I mean how could it be I was only ever there when she wanted and I wasn’t too pushy as I knew if I was to be the relationship would just be ended- Which I really didn’t want it to be as I would have no-one, I can’t stand the thought of being lonely)So we broke up in December, me and my best friend. I couldn’t handle it any more and realised I shouldn’t have to put up with such an awful relationship. I then went to another girl, Emily, who was also apart of the group previously, but she was always best friends with Chloe, a girl from another group. I have known Emily since I was little. Emily and I joined onto Chloe’s group of friends; at first we had a strong, equal relationship. I was really happy and thought to myself I have found decent friends who are intelligent and do have a general understanding of how to treat people. But no I get left out all the time, none of them ever text me to see how I’m doing, Ask me if I want to go out. I always text them and see how they re doing, I do get replies and they act like my best friend to my face, but they are obviously faking it. I don’t know what to do. This new group of friends are not treating me right either, they seriously aren't I mean, none of them text me to see how I’m doing, they don't invite me out, but what’s more confusing is that they all pretend when I’m with them they really do like me, every relationship I’m in seems people pretend they really really like me to my face, Saying oh I enjoy myself so much when I’m around you, Your such a funny person, They make out they really enjoy my company. But then they will say ok I’ll ring you tomorrow I don't receive no phone calls. (By the way I don’t think I’m a bad person, I’m really nice to all the girls, I think me being to nice is the problem, and were I am always available to their needs they just take it for granted and pick and drop me when they want) My school prom is coming up I have paid for a limo to go with these girls, I just want to enjoy myself, As I am moving to Spain and won’t see any body ever again. I do have over people I can go with, and I do have over friends, I feel as if I need these girls though, even though they make me feel bad? Is it best to just move on now and not even try to make things better, as I haven’t actually done anything wrong?Throughout my life at Coopers school (At the beginning was strangely not the person I am today, as I naturally had people who wanted to be around me) I have put so much effort into people, Always being really nice, complementing them all the time, just anything to try and make them feel good. I never get anything back and I still carry on. I’m wondering how to find the real me, How can I get away from all these people, How I can make myself feel Happy? I just want to make myself feel good, but I do this by making over people feel good but it just doesn't happen. What is actually needed in life to remain happy? Do I need to put up with people like this? How can I make myself feel I don’t need these people anymore?I would really appreciate it if someone helped me, as I am much stressed, and my phorasis (skin disease) is on an up-roar! Your opinions would really help thank you x

Ending the cycle - C harlotte - Sep 28th 2008

Getting out of an abusive relationship takes courage. If you are worth it, you will do it. I know. I've been there. Physically and mentally taken down since I was 19 years old, 20 years later, men like that don't even bother with me anymore. I walk, talk, and carry myself that says don't even waste my time. Don't settle for any abuse of any kind. It's called respect. Surround yourself with positive people who tell it like it is. Pay attention to how others treat you. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself and those who take care of you. It could take some time to adjust to the new you, but you can do it. Ditch anyone who treats you badly ASAP. Crossing the line is not allowed!

Pattern Changing - Peg - Jun 11th 2008

pattern changing for abused women by Goodman and Fallon.

getting over someone who is - - Apr 19th 2008
how do you get over the hurt of leaving someone who was metally, physicaly and verbely abusive.

insercurity problems - mike - Apr 16th 2008

ok first thing is first how can people over come being insecure with their loved one like who is that possible, I mean, I myself and her are both insecure with each other how does that follow threw with out being insecure, I mean i try not to be that way but i cant pull it off and i dont like it's just not me but i love her so much it's hard not to be what should, I do? ???????? any suggestings or ideas please help!!!!!!!!!

Relationships - Divine - Feb 12th 2008

Thank you for posting this article. I also try hard to work on relationships as much as humanly possible and this article helps tremendously. My appreciation to you is in the highest sense.  To show you my gratitude I would like to share with you a post I found that also helps with this:

Thank you indeed. I hope it helps you and others who read this as much as this post of yours as helped, please keep up the incredible work in helping others!

Thanks for the great article - David - Feb 10th 2008

Thanks for writing a great article about how to improve a conflicted relationship. Good social skills are so important and they also mean being nice to your partner regularly to maintain the connection.

I want to let you know I blogged about your piece here:

Thanks again for sharing your insight.


patterns - nancy - Feb 1st 2008
being in abusive relationships is a pattern that must be broken at some time in your life if you are truly seeking happiness.  This has never been easy as you might need to make some changes in your life that are also as painfull as being in abusive relationships.  These changes can bring happiness and joy if you are willing to do the work.  Getting away from abusive relationships means that you value yourself and that you will no longer subject yourself the abuse.

Help - Random - Nov 11th 2007
Linda, I think you should talk to your parents, and sort your boyfriend out with their help.

You! - Theresa - Sep 25th 2007
The most important thing to remember is that YOU deserve the love and attention that is healthy and satisfying! 

Relationships - Linda - Sep 20th 2007
How does a person not get into a relationship that is abusive? My ex-husband was abusive and  my current boyfriend is abusive. My ex physically and emotionally. My boyfriend is emotionally abusive. How do I get out of it? I have tried to break up with him in the past.

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