These days, we hear a lot about what politicians said or did a number of years ago. That got me thinking about how we can look back at past relationships and see if we handled them any differently than what we would do today. I remember at one time, going through the old books (!), I realized that in all relationships, I had been the one to leave or to end the connection. Some food for thought there for me …. So what about you? Have you had long-term affairs? Mostly short-term? What works for you and what doesn’t?

Ideally, we learn from past mistakes and strive to be better. But that in itself is not an end-point. Evolving is a life-long effort. What do you do differently now that works better with your partner? Do you listen to each other when you exchange problem issues? Or do you take it as unreasonable criticism and dismiss it?

For any human interaction to contribute to our health – mental and physical – we need to listen to each other, weigh what is being said and learn to guide our actions and opinions accordingly. Are you open to hearing views contrary to yours? Can you weigh them and then discuss a possible resolution? Too often, our insecurities make us outright reject a dissenting thought. With that move, we may lose the chance to grow and evolve. Not that everything a partner says will be on point, but if we can accept the words of good intentions, we make it possible to improve the feelings and the strength of the relationship.

It takes a lot of work to relate to another person, whether it is a friend, a parent, a sibling, a boss, a colleague, or a partner. Our only tool to learn to get along is that gift of communication and our ability to learn from the past. What gets in the way is that basic insecurity, wants and needs that demand immediate gratification or solution, and a strong striving for power and control. With some personalities, a sense of entitlement really brings in harmful behaviors and hurtful words. What we can do to combat all that is the willingness to do some soul-searching, to look at how we may contribute to the situation, and see that almost as an educational exercise we can learn from and aim for a solution. None of us is perfect, but we can do better, act better, and love with joy and kindness. 

The life which is unexamined is not worth living.” – Socrates

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Author Profile

Janan Broadbent, PhD
Janan Broadbent, PhD
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.

Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577