20 Do's and Don'ts of a Functional Relationship


From TheTransitionProcessTM Interactive Lecture

The following is a list of The 20 Dos and Don'ts of A Functional Relationship. It has been an effective tool and starting point for individuals and couples who are serious about creating more joy, honesty, and real intimacy in their lives. Most often clients they say this list has given them a beginning template of what a functional relationship should look like.

Hierarchy of A Functional Relationship



All relationships need to start with a base of truth. Without truth at the base of our relationship pyramid, trust cannot occur. Without this development of trust, respect will never be born. Without the essential level of respect for one another, love will never grow and nourish the partners. Intimacy occurs when we are willing to share our whole selves with one another. Intimacy is the gift we get at the top of this hierarchy when we are willing to participate and engage in a balanced relationship. A functional relationship always continues to grow and expand into a beautiful, ongoing adventure of emotional intimacy.

If you are one of those who constantly feels like you are walking on eggshells, afraid of telling your truth, you may not be participating in a functional relationship. Read the 20 do's and don'ts and see how many apply to you.


1. Who you think you are is important. Like attracts like. Think about it. Do you like who you are?

2. What you want in a relationship is important, and when you are willing to ask for it, you will be able to create it. But only ask for what you want when you are clear about what it is. Until then, don't go around demanding things you just think you should have.

3. We get exactly what we focus on. The problem or the solution. We make a choice between them with every decision we make.

4. Tell yourself the truth about what you want, not what others (family, friends, spouse) say you should have.

5. Tell everyone else your truth about what you want. Do not be afraid to share your vision and dreams with those you love.

6. You are not defined by your relationships unless you choose to be. Consider what it says about you if you deed over you soul to one (partner/relationship).

7. Interdependent (two independent functional people) relationships are the only ones that work, long term. (Not dependent or co-dependent)

8. Truth is the first thing necessary to create trust in our relationships. Respect is earned from trust, and love is earned from respect. Intimacy is the gift we get when we risk telling the truth. * See the hierarchy of a functional relationship

9. Fear of intimacy is fear of the truth. Your truth is better for you than someone else's. Just get to know what it is, so you can finally own it, and speak it.

10. If your relationship is not getting better, it is probably getting worse. Life is dynamic and nothing ever stays the same.

11. Every relationship is unique. It takes what it takes to work. If you want it to work, you have to work it. No shortcuts. No 50/50 deals.

12. It is not your job to fix your mate, and it is not his or her job to fix you. Take this relationship and what your mate says at face value and stop reading into it what you would like to hear. We can work with what is real. It is impossible to deal with what is not real.

13. Unconditional love is an inside job. If you have not gotten it by now, guess what...start working from within. When you can give it to yourself, you will be ready to give it to someone else. If you can give it to someone else, you will recognize it when it is being given to you. Joy can only be experienced in the present moment.

14. If you both are committed to creating a functional relationship, agree to start doing it today, without any judgments about the past. Be willing to work in the solution and let go of your need to control the outcome, moment to moment, one day at a time

15. Most of our fears about what may happen in this relationship are really fears we experienced in past relationships, and have nothing to do with this person. Come to grips with what's real and what's Memorex! .

16. When in an argument, ask yourself Does this really PASS THE SO WHAT TEST? For you to be right does the other person have to be wrong? Think about it. Life is short. Do not waste it on arguments that have no meaning or purpose. You can always agree to disagree if you need to. Then laugh about it, and go on to the next thing. Start observing your need to argue as just another dysfunctional, immature habit that needs to be broken.

17. When we finally learn to say we are sorry (at 3 or 93), we get to finally hear we are O.K. To error is human, and there is great virtue in all forgiveness, ourselves included. The best way to teach our children this lesson is by watching us demonstrate it.

18. Any negative, hurtful or sarcastic remark is abusive. Like a sharp knife, each word will carve out a chunk of a loving relationship that can never grow back. Please consider the source and outcome of your remarks; before you open you mouth to tell your truth.

19. Never let a day go by without saying and showing how much your relationship and partner mean to you. Never take a moment for granted. Express how grateful you are for your good fortune, however meek or humble it may be. Appreciation and gratefulness have magic in them. It seems the more we express them, the more reasons we are given to say thank you.

20. To have a functional relationship you have to be willing to risk loosing it everyday, by telling your truth. If you don't feel free to tell your truth, start asking yourself why you think it's so important to stay, and what else you are willing to lose besides your self-esteem. For starters, you can ask your mate to tell their truth, and be willing to accept it at face value, with no judgment. Now you both get to finally know if you each want a relationship based on what's real for each of you.
...For optimum results, start doing this in the first five minutes of meeting anyone.

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TRANSITIONS, as a private practice, training and consulting firm, has a primary focus of teaching individuals a unique decision-making technique called TheTransitionProcessTM. Please note the teaching of & support given in facilitating this process should not be construed in any manner, as psychotherapy, and TTP author & facilitator, Eve K. Bernshaw is a AIP Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and is not a licensed psychotherapist.
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