Relationships: When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em

Ultimately, Danger, Sex and Magic is all about personal empowerment in relationship.

It is about Designing Relationship….
Redesigning it…
… And then Redesigning it some more.

We look at how relationships at work, in social life, and those that are personally most intimate, often involve interpersonal struggles around power and control. Relationships become the battleground for manipulation, avoidance, rejection and exclusion…

…. Everyone loses when relationships go that route. There are no winners.

And the question arises sooner or later:  When to “hold” and when to “fold”?

The answer is complicated by anxiety, fear and emotional investment contrasted with our natural drive to be happy, self-expressed and connected to others.

Learning “when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em” is an ongoing practice of Self-Care and Self-empowerment, and to make that determination there are three critical distinctions you can begin to make now.

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1. Respect vs. Control

Respect means that you see the person you are in relationship with as a human being you are capable of holding in high regard.

However you manage to get there, you see that person as a unique individual who has lived their life based on information and experience you will never fully know or understand.

When this basic requirement for relationship redesign is missing the underlying energy shifts into the area of Control. The book, Leadership and Self-Deception, explores this dynamic in a very insightful way.

It explains that when you make an honest assessment – and if it becomes apparent that one or both parties are acting as if the other were an OBJECT rather than a Person – future redesign of the relationship will be very difficult or impossible without a radical change.

Here are three ways to tell if you are an object and not a person in a relationship. Also, look and consider if you might treating others in any of these ways.

  • You are addressed as an obstacle that has to be worked around so the other person gets their way?
  • You are used as a vehicle to achieve some end the other person wants; and as if that is the only reason the relationship exists.
  • You are irrelevant in the relationship, easily replaceable, and what you want is of no concern?

If Respect is present, you can “hold ‘em”. Especially, when respect goes both ways the forecast is very good. There is a strong possibility the relationship can be redesigned and ALL will be winners!

If Control is what the relationship is about, however, and there is no dialog to explore anything else, it’s wise to strategize how you will “fold” and move on.

In that way, you’ll at least feel like a winner even if what was once possible is now lost.

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2.  Hope vs. Anticipation

People talk about Hope all the time as if it were a good thing. Overall, it is not a “bad” feeling, but in terms of how it bodes for powerful redesign of a relationship, it is weak.

Here’s why:

Hope is most often a feeling of last resort that reflects only the glimmer of possibility that something could happen in the future, usually by grace, luck, coincidence or magic!

Hope also strips away self-responsibility and undermines personal power. It keeps an individual hooked into waiting for someone to change and make everything OK!

Ex: “I hope he will figure it out and change how he speaks to me”, or, “I have some hope she will grow up and see the error of her                  ways”.

Pay attention to how “hope” may be holding you stuck in a relationship. Also, start listening carefully to how and when you and others use the word “hope”.  We’re quite sure you will soon see that it is a weak expression of personal power.

Anticipation, on the other hand, signifies an expectation paired with a high probability that something specific will occur.

When there is anticipation, especially when all parties in a relationship share it, powerful redesign is possible because there is a shared and focused attention on a specific outcome.

With anticipation there is curiosity, vibrancy, confidence, trust and a willingness to explore new possibilities.

So… with this distinction… When do you Hold ‘em or Fold em?

If the relationship is hanging by a thread of hope, it’s time to accept what is happening and come to terms with it. It may be one of the hardest things to do, but you are more likely to be a winner if you fold the relationship.

If Anticipation is the dominant feeling, hold fast first!  Take a measure of the other two distinctions.  Anticipate everyone winning!

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3. Context vs. Content

A relationship that functions mostly on Content is a relationship in which people are reactive, self-focused, resistant to change, and fearful.

A content-based relationship will not redesign easily because the parties are stuck in a perspective of right way (mine) and wrong way (yours).

The situations and circumstances currently occurring are seen as “the issue”, and the patterns and energy that are going on beneath the surface are ignored.

That part that’s being ignored and stepped over? …. That’s Context.

A context-based relationship values the importance of each person slowing themselves down enough to get to know what they want, why they want it, and how to articulate it. Each individual also has the patience and courage to support others to do the same.

Context includes courtesies such as being heard, appreciated and respected, regardless of situations and circumstance that are occurring.

If Context is understood and honored, you have a winning relationship  and can Hold!

If Content is all that matters, this relationship has no depth, will always be difficult, and will not redesign well. Best bet—Fold’em!

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We encourage you to contemplate how Respect, Anticipation and Context show up in the relationships you think may be ripe for a Redesign.

Also, how is Control, Hope or Content working against the relationship, and potentially informing you about your next directions?

These three distinctions are constantly in flux as they dynamically impact any relationship. Use them to gauge relationships and measure if they are working the way you want them to.

Should you hold it…or fold it!