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wundayatta's avatar

When do we start being able to handle relationships more effectively?

Asked by wundayatta (58568points) February 2nd, 2009

I know it’s a process, and that people do it at different rates, and that some never do it. My daughter is just getting into that age where she’s thinking about boys (she’s 12). I know she’s got a lot to go through; a lot to learn, before she has much competence in relationships. I know that I didn’t get very competent until I had graduated from college.

What is relationship competence? I’m not sure. I guess it’s when you feel like you can mostly do what you need to do to get what you want.

So, are there stages of competence? Like having crushes, first dates, first loves (or not), then perhaps a series of relationships. Or, all this could happen with one person. Still, whether it happens with one person, or many, I think there must be some common turning points for all of us. From the first crush to the long term happy love. What are they? How do we know when we’ve passed them?

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13 Answers

eponymoushipster's avatar

i think when a person isn’t thinking, and i say this with all seriousness, purely with hormones and genitals. Sexual development clouds the ability to make logical, reasonable decisions, and until you learn to properly deal with those natural, yet craze-inducing urges, you can’t make proper decisions or deal with relationships in a mature, competent way.

cwilbur's avatar

When we can step back and think about relationships from the point of view of the other person.

jellyfish's avatar

When you can make healthy choices for yourself re men. This person is good for me rather than I want this person – a sense of self and self-preservation. looking further than instant gratification. Turning points are inward – like I know now i won’t date an alcoholic I am very attractive to beacause I now know what trouble addiction brings to relationships. Taken me 48 years!!Learning not to repeat

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I think it’s when people have a very good sense of who they are personally, or at least have an extremely good idea. Attempting a serious relationship before you know who you are is only going to end badly for both people involved. If you attempt to have a relationship with someone who has very different morals than yourself, before you even realize what morals you have, it will only cause severe clashing, arguments and conflict. Likewise for goals. Say you meet someone, fall in love and get along great, only to realize one day that you want a family and they don’t… There’s no way it could work.

All in all, I think people learn to handle relationships when they actually know what type of person they’re looking for and wanting to have a serious relationship, rather than deciding to be with someone they meet, who happens to simply make them happy in the moment. Being in a good, serious relationship requires – at least somewhat – looking into the future, knowing how to truly get to know someone and knowing who you are.

marinelife's avatar

The last things to mature and develop in the brain are the decision-making and judgment centers. So, from aphysical standpoint, I would say mid-to-late 20s.

On the other hand, some people never do.

It really depends.

aprilsimnel's avatar

It’s different for everyone. Some people I’ve known were very wise about them from a young age and some people I know who are much older than me still haven’t figured out how to make a relationship work. I’m in the “not quite there” camp, but I do agree that the status of your relationship with yourself is a pretty good predictor of how your relationships with others are going to turn out, if not 100% accurate.

dynamicduo's avatar

To answer your main question, personally it was when I got burned for the first time. It shattered through my impressions and naivete of what I thought a relationship was or should be and grounded me in a way I’ve been thankful of ever since. I’ve gotten all my real romantic education from one person and I don’t feel short changed or uneducated because of this. Although I do know that there are aspects of relationship managing that I haven’t had experience with (such as managing multiple relationships). Whether I want to learn and explore this will depend on time and my desires later on in life. But as long as I know that I don’t know, I feel a bit more secure.

gimmedat's avatar

When I realized that I cannot be held responsible for anyone’s happiness or bad choices.

Blondesjon's avatar

Strangely enough I believe it’s the same mindset that allows a person to drop a bad habit.

True commitment to the task at hand.

For any relationship to be successful, you have to be utterly commited to doing whatever it takes to make it work. This includes but is not limited to:

1. Working on you, not your other. Everybody loves telling people how they could be better but not too many of us like to turn that bit of introspection on ourselves.

2. Learn to really listen. Instead of using the time your other is speaking to think about what you’re going to say, pay attention, you might learn something.

3. Don’t take it for granted. Always be grateful for the people you have and let them know you are. As callous as many of us pretend to be, being told you mean something to someone just because you are you is a pretty good feeling.

Learn how to be selflessly commited to a relationship and the ‘handling it effectively’ part takes care of itself.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

there are a flobbety-gillion variables that make up a person’s psyche .. this answer is different for everyone

Milladyret's avatar

You learn a litte bit in every relationship you’re in. The trick is to figure out WHAT you learned, and NOT do the same mistakes again. You’ll get better at it the more relationships you’re in. It just takes a bit of insight ;-)

introv's avatar

Some people never get their long term happy love. Personally I’m still learning and get more and more competent, not necessarily in relationships as such, but in the way i handle myself.

I think to assume one has total competency in a relationship is quite arrogant. Even when you perceive you are in complete control of a relationship and know exactly where you are things can change suddenly and without warning if you take your eye off the ball – just as with any area of life. You never totally know someones mind after all.

Hopefully the current source of my affections will turn out to be my long term happy love tho. That would be great! Then I can perhaps claim relationship competence! :)

Zen's avatar

It just happens. One fine day. The combination of love and trust, the cumulation of experience and (love) wisdom. With the right partner, of course.

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