Defining Real Relationships

There are many different kinds of relationships, and not all of them will make you happy. In fact, many men are in relationships that make them miserable. I know a man who is in a relationship with a woman that runs around on him every chance she gets. I know another whose wife will leave the house and not come home until late at night, and never thinks to call him to let him know where she is and that she is going to be late.

In each case, these men sold themselves out in order to stay in relationships that made them miserable. The guy with the girlfriend put up with it because of a promise he made to her never to leave her. The guy with the wife put up with it because of his marriage vows of “for better or worse.” Men tolerate bad employers for fear of losing their jobs. They stay in careers that they despise for fear of not being able to pay the mortgage and being thrown out into the street.

Many men live in misery because they are trying to do the “right thing” around promises they made when they were young and didn’t know any better. And many men stick around “for the sake of the children.” In my view, these men are not in real relationships.

A real relationship is one where two or more people are dealing with each other as equals and where the result is greater happiness than if the relationship didn’t exist. These “quasi” relationships wind up not making anybody happy, even the ones doing the bullying and the running around.

It has been my experience that quasi-relationships are almost never really necessary, in spite of the fact that the people in them absolutely believe that they have no choice. They surround themselves with obligations and fears of loss that they raise to the status of sacred cows and then see something almost martyr-like in their own suffering.

This series of columns which is based on my book, “The Real Deal”, is for those men who are sick and tired of the drama and are ready to make a decision to have something better: real relationships that hold the promise of something more than martyrdom and grief. These are relationships that can bring that most precious of God’s gifts: happiness.

©2008, Irv Engel

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One's life has value so long as one attributes values to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion., - Simone de Beauvoir

Irv Engel is a successful salesman, builder, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He loves to sing, dance and is currently taking an art class to learn water color painting. He is the creator and coordinator of the Relationship Training Course for Men. This book, The Real Deal: A Guide to Achieving Successful and Real Relationships, is the result of hundreds of hours spent writing down the lessons learned in a lifetime of marriage, divorce, re-marriage and raising four kids. He hosts free telephone conference coaching sessions in the evening or on weekends.The conference is a good way to find out about relationship coaching and to ask any personal questions around your own relationships without risk to your money or your privacy. E-mail him for phone number, access code and schedule. Irv and Monica live in Lake Forest, Calif. They have eleven grandchildren. They have celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.

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