Have you ever gone along with something--or someone--despite that little voice in your head or flop in your stomach that screamed 'no' at you?  Of course you have.  In fact, most of us have ignored those signals.  Like it or not, we are social animals who often like to please, be liked and included. 

Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of these needs is that you find yourself dating the wrong person for too long, over-accommodating or tolerating things you shouldn't in relationships.  Soon, you end up saying 'yes' when you should have said 'no'.

Here are questions and answers to the top relationship traps that tempt us to answer in ways that may be unhealthy. Each question includes solutions. 

1.  Why do I end up having sex--even when I don't want it to happen?

The Relationship Recipe for how you end up saying yes to sex when you want to say no:

  • Hurt and loneliness resulting from long lapses in dating or relating
  • Fear of being alone
  • Feeling rushed in life to find a partner
  • Feeling unlovable and insecure with a belief that you are lucky to be on a date with a decent-enough person
  • Being uncomfortable saying 'no' and fear of being judgmental, hurting a person's feelings or appearing too cautious, afraid and not fun

Better Recipe Solution:

Planning ahead to say no.  You do not need to go to either of your places. Set up a reason to go home early such as feeding your cat, putting clothes in the dryer or finishing a report.  Besides, ending the evening early can create more desire to be together again. And if you do want to extend the date, remember that hotel bars and lounges are open almost all night.  These are great places to sit and talk.

Before going out, make a list of all the factors in your life that would make you act hastily.  Read the list out loud at least two times and notice your emotional reaction.  Keep that reaction in your memory.  Now write down positive messages to yourself that counter your emotions.  For example, you could write:  "I will not give in to that feeling."  Or, "I don't have to grab the last person standing."

Getting massages regularly so you build in being touched.  If you can't afford them, go to your local massage school and get a far less expensive student massage.

Calling a buddy and tell that person to help you say no.  Go into the restroom and call your buddy when you feel yourself saying yes when you want to say no.

2.  Why do I say or do such hurtful things when my partner and I fight or disagree?

The Relationship Recipe for regretful behavior:

  • Feeling you have to be right and needing to have the last word
  • Difficulty in saying you are sorry or discomfort of being wrong
  • Not being aware of your emotional reactivity
  • Confusing being right with being loved and accepted
  • Three cups of getting caught in "I said/You said"

Better Recipe Solution:  Gallons of:

Getting solution-oriented. Work together as a team, and keep your eye on correcting things now for the future 

Not playing a game of "history" where all you do is review the past conversation or behavior 

Developing signals, such as holding your hand up to say stop when the conversation turns into criticism of each other.  Hold back when you want to say unkind things.

Aiming to understand your partner's viewpoint.

3.  Why do I "hang in there" when I know the relationship is going nowhere?

The Relationship Recipe for "hoping against hope":

  • Low feelings of self-worth with frequently feeling the "blues"
  • Feeling hopeless and negative about life and love
  • Family or life history of being abused, neglected and rejected
  • Feeling that "time is running out" for love
  • Believing you "have no right to be judgmental of anyone", mixed in with a firmly packed cup of ignoring important behavior and trying to make the person emotionally "fit" your needs

Better Recipe Solution:  Gallons of:

Making a list of your accomplishments.  When you see that you are making progress, you feel a sense pride and are less willing to accept too little from others.

Taking action.  Saying no or speaking up boosts your self-esteem because you are reducing your feelings of powerlessness. 

Asking yourself:  "Would I tell a friend or relative to accept this behavior?"

Reminding yourself how far you've come--and what you've overcome.

Not measuring yourself by others.

Trusting more in your "gut feelings."

Not always believing that you emotionally "owe" more than you are getting.  You are not Little Orphan Annie. You don't' have to feel perpetually grateful.  Expect things from people.

Fighting your feelings that "nice" people tolerate and accept everything in a person.

Over time, you'll be able to come up with your own positive recipes.