Cupid's Pulse Article: Expert Relationship Advice: 5 Ways to Turn “Me” to “We”Cupid's Pulse Article: Expert Relationship Advice: 5 Ways to Turn “Me” to “We”

By Dr. Beth Gineris

In order to create successful partnerships in our lives, we must learn to shift thinking from an independent state (me) to a mutually interdependent state (we). Our mindset becomes both caring and supportive, rather than self focused. Here are some details of the two different relationship styles:

The Me-style in relationship

This is a style that is dependent, co-dependent, dramatic, and needy.  The two people act as halves who come together and make one whole, with weak or non-existent boundaries.  In the Me-style both parties feel lonely, unheard and unseen. They are desperate to feel connected.

Related: How to Master Being in a Relationship

Example: Britney Spears. She needs others’ approval, is insecure, and has found herself entangled with men unavailable to her and lacking stability.  She has had great difficulty stepping up to her strength without constant reassurance from others.

The I-style in relationship

This is a style that is independent, solitary, and where individual credit and competition are paramount. Connection is via an intricate tally-sheet of each other’s actions; two I’s walking side-by-side, with rigid, inflexible boundaries, without interdependence, and lacking dependability.

Related: Katy Perry and Russell Brand: What Went Wrong?

Example: Russell Brand and Katy Perry. Russell Brand’s reasoning for their split was that when you see that you may be incompatible, it’s best to call an end to it.

These Me-dependent and I-Independent styles lack empathy and negotiation; either due to an inability of the person to get outside of him or herself to see the other’s point of view and weak boundaries of self- Me-style OR due to a foundational insecurity of autonomy and competence resulting in rigid boundaries of self- I-style.

The We-style in relationship

This is a style that values interdependence, mutual give and take, negotiation, dependability, and trust.  The two parties work together toward shared and individual goals; Boundaries are osmotic allowing interconnections without loss of self.

Example: Jennifer Garner and the newest Best Picture Oscar winner Ben Affleck.  They describe a dependable foundation of trust, collaboration and mutuality toward both individual and collective goals.

Here are five specific ways to bridge the gap between “me” and we”:

1. Discover your style of relating. Which describers fit? Possessive, needy, manipulated, insecure? Me-style; Defensive, competitive, antagonistic, or a fear of being engulfed? I-style; Valued, heard, accepted, dependability? We-style

2. To turn Me to We begin with yourself first. Determine what is keeping you in a Me or I-style of relating.  Is it an issue of security?  Is it something you learned from early life-experiences or a misunderstanding of your true strength?

3. Define when, how, under what conditions you feel secure. Create those conditions. Security can take the form of financial, emotional, physical, or spiritual security.

4. If you are in a Me-style you have to create independence before you move to interdependence.

5. Share your insights with your partner.  Invite your partner to follow these steps.  Trust the process.

Dr. Beth Gineris holds three graduate degrees, in business, counseling, and Oriental medicine. She has spent twenty years as a psychotherapist, over fourteen years as a strategic management consultant, and eight years as an acupuncturist.  She is devoted to providing supportive, solution-focused teachings that allow people to live a more harmonious and happy life. She is the author of ‘Turning NO to ON: The Art of Parenting with Mindfulness’, and ‘Turning Me to We: The Art of Partnering with Mindfulness’.