How To Have an Authentic Relationship - How To Win a Man's Heart

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August 8, 2017

How To Have an Authentic Relationship

Do they exist? Is it really possible to have a genuine relationship that grows between two authentic people?

Let’s just say, it’s been done.  In fact, it is done quite a bit.  But how to get them—that’s the trick.

The series of articles that will be included here under the heading of Authentic Relationships is going to explore each of the following:

  • why we don’t have them,
  • what do they look like
  • how do we make them happen.

Why Don’t We Have Them?

Authentic relationships cannot be established between two people who are identified with the masks and costumes we donned early to survive our childhoods.  The truth is we don’t establish healthy authentic relationships with others until we outgrow our upbringing.

But most of us think we’ve done that by the age of 21, so why isn’t the fairytale true? Why don’t we just grow up, meet someone, fall in love and live happily ever after? Well, most of us know by now that the fairytale is, indeed, a fairytale, but what we don’t know is why it is a fairytale. After all, doesn’t love conquer all?

We don’t know how to relate.

Most parents from the generations that preceded the most recent ones rarely-to-never thought to teach children how to relate. Relationship skills were just supposed to come with the package. Or not. Children were taught to have good manners, and that was thought to be the essential ingredient in the social skills spectrum. When it came to questions about love, marriage, s-e-x, and how to relate to a partner—these questions were rarely asked and if asked, never answered with any kind of honesty.  It simply wasn’t done.

Apparently, we are still not too far removed from that thinking, even to this day.  Remember the recent commercial in which the little boy asks his Dad, from the backseat of the car, how babies are made? The Dad gives the kid this wild-hair story about aliens and the kids says, “Well Tommy says that babies come from….” at which point the Dad interrupts him quickly and starts singing a car-song. This is how it was, and apparently, all too often, how it still is.

Teachers didn’t and typically still don’t teach children how to relate. Other than the “we don’t hit and we share” lessons that children get, while corporal punishment still exists in too many schools, children are getting hit at home, and who really shares anyway.  In fact, we teach our children much more in school about sex than we do about relationship.

We haven’t been taught how to relate. We haven’t been taught the skills of owning our own stuff, of taking responsibility for our own happiness and of, from that position of personal responsibility, joining with another human being while maintaining a sense of self. We haven’t been taught the both/and ability to keep the self as the primary impetus and power-to-joy, while simultaneously giving the self over completely to someone else.  In fact, most of us today live in an either/or mentality in which it’s either me or it’s you. And if it’s both, well that’s just the rare mutual perfect orgasm. It happens, but not so much. And we rarely understand why it happened this time and not another.

So that’s the first reason why we don’t establish authentic relationships.

We fall in love with unresolved issues.

The second reason why we don’t have authentic relationships is that we are all too busy trying to resolve our unresolved childhood issues through our present-day relationships.  Was Daddy cold, indifferent and absent much of the time? How did that impact you? If you felt that Daddy’s apparent indifference was your fault or because you were just not lovable enough or something like that, then you are likely to carry that issue with you into primary relationships—regardless of your gender.

In this case, you might be attracted to cold, indifferent and absent people who you will try to change into the Daddy you never had. The only problem is that because they are just like dear old dad, they are no more likely to change than he was. They are doing what they do out of their own unresolved issues—as was he.

The psyche, unlike our fancies of the psyche, wants to resolve our unresolved issues more than it wants to fall in love and live happily ever after. Further, it knows that we will not even have a shot at happiness in relationship until we resolve those issues.  It’s very smart that way.

It orchestrates that process by attracting us to those issues, in order to facilitate their resolution. We don’t get attracted to these issues because we are stupid, or masochistic.  We get attracted to them because these relationships were meant to be temporary teachers. In other words, they are not meant to last forever, but to wake us up. They are meant to teach us that really, the reason Daddy was cold and indifferent was because Daddy needed, for whatever reason, to be cold and indifferent—it had nothing whatsoever to do with us. It was just Daddy’s stuff.

Stuck in Bargaining

That awareness is the final acceptance stage of the long grief process that started when Daddy originally broke our hearts. We’ve been stuck in the bargaining stage of grief all these years, in which we felt that IF we could just be good enough, sexy enough, pretty enough, smart enough, tough enough, strong enough, loving enough THEN Daddy would finally love us. But the only way to be loved is to be with someone who has the capacity to really love us—just the way we are.

That slow awakening process can get us to the very beginning of the process of developing the capacity to formulate an authentic relationship—if  we are listening, tuning in and getting to that final stage of grief. If not, we’ll just keep repeating it again and again and wondering why we are so unlucky in love.

The third reason—which will be discussed in the next article—is our belief in several myths that surround the unhealthy relationship.  Stay tuned for that.

About the author

Andrea Mathews

Andrea Mathews is the author of two published books, with another coming out later this year, as well as several magazine articles and a blog on Psychology Today Magazine entitled Traversing the Inner Terrain. She is a Psychotherapist, practicing both Transpersonal and Cognitive Therapy, for individuals, families and couples—living together, married or alternative (  She is also a Corporate Trainer, teaching soft skills to large and small corporations, and a Motivational and Inspirational speaker (