5 Thoughts That Are Keeping You From Fixing Your Relationship
1. My partner is the problem.
They get angry. They are a little too close to that woman they work with. They don't want to spend time with you. They won't clean the house. They didn't plan anything for your birthday.
Wouldn't it be great if your partner did exactly what you wanted them to? Here's the thing, as much as I know you want your partner to change, the only person you can actually change is you. Also, you'll be amazed at how the people around you change once you start to change. It's like magic.
2.. There is something wrong with me.
A close cousin to blaming other people, blaming ourselves is also ineffective. Blaming myself was my go to for years. I didn't even know I was doing it half the time. It sounded like: What am I doing wrong? Why don't they like me? Am I asking for too much?
I believe in accountability, but there is a fine line between being responsible for our own actions and blaming ourselves for things we have no control over (i.e. other people).
There isn't anything wrong with you. There never has been. There might just be a few things that you haven't learned how to do yet.
3. I should be able to figure this out on my own.
I thought for a long time that I should be able to do everything on my own. I'm a smart, capable, independent woman. But you know what? If you knew how to fix it, then you would have fixed it already. It's okay that you don't know how to fix it. There are lots of things you don't know how to fix - like probably your car and even your own hair.
4. I've tried everything.
"Have you really tried everything? Or do you keep trying the same thing over and over?" that was some tough love a counsellor friend gave to me when I was in the middle of a breakup. The truth was, I hadn't tried everything. What was exhausting me was trying the same thing over and over.
5. I don't have the time and/or money to fix my relationship.
You know what's costing you a lot of time and money? Being distracted at work because of the fight you had last night. Or because you aren't sure if you should be in your relationship or because you are anxious and constantly thinking about if you said the wrong thing.
That's costing you a LOT of time and money.
I speak from experience on this one. Getting your love life in order helps out the rest of your life too.
Have you ever listened to how someone in love talks about their relationship?
One of the biggest indicators of if a relationship will succeed or fail is how each partner talks about the relationship.
This is how I used to talk about my relationships:Why hasn’t he made plans with me this weekend? Is he hanging out with someone else? What did I do wrong? I don’t think this will work. He doesn’t really like me. I’m asking for too much. Am I being unreasonable? I wish he would tell me what he wants.
That used to be my life. I was constantly thinking about my relationships or almost-relationships in a way that had me feeling anxious. It wasn't on purpose. I wasn't trying to complain or be negative. I thought I was actually trying to make the relationship better, but it never worked.
Then I learned that HOW I was thinking about my relationship was making it worse.
Let me give you an example:
A few weeks ago, I met a woman who has been happily married for almost 40 years. I’m always interested in what makes a relationship successful, so I asked her “Have you ever had any struggles?” “Of course there have been struggles!” she said. “It was hard when he retired. I was working all day and coming home tired. He would immediately want to hang out and I needed to be left alone. He really missed me while I was away all day,” she said with a loving smile.
She said he missed her. She didn’t say that he was being super needy and annoying. She didn’t say he was in her space all the time. She didn’t make excuses for why he was acting how he was acting or pretending she didn't really need space even though she did.
She didn’t ignore the problem. There was a problem, but she was talking about it in a way that made her feel good.
Just the day before, I’d been talking with another women, who had the same problem but talked about in a different way:
“He’s driving me crazy. He’s home all day and always moving my stuff around. I always have to worry about what mess I’ll come home to next. When I get home I just want to relax and he never leaves me alone. I just wish he would give me some space.”
Can you guess the outcome of that woman’s relationship?I used to be mostly like the second woman, but I learned how to change that story, and now I almost always think about my relationship in a way that makes it stronger.
Action: What’s the story you are telling about your relationship? How is that story making you feel?
I want you to be honest. Not how you think you should be thinking, but what you really are thinking. Let that inner, overly-emotional side of you come out. Being honest about what you are thinking now really is the first step to changing your relationships.
The fastest way to change your relationship is to start feeling better.
I know it feels like we need to fix things before we can feel better, but over and over I’ve seen that feeling better first then allows us to make the decisions we need to make a change.
When we are anxious or frustrated, we tend to react. Our body shuts down or we jump into actions like making passive aggressive comments, saying things we don’t mean, or anxiously checking our phone every 5 min. I’ve done all of these things. It only made my relationships worse.
What helps me feel better when I’m feeling anxious, frustrated, and a little bit hopeless, is to focus more on what I want to create than on what’s going wrong.
Knowing where I want to go, or at least what I don’t want, injects some hope. It helps me feel better. From that better feeling place I'm WAY more able to figure out what I need to do to fix things.
So what DO you want?
What’s your dream for your relationship?
How would you feel if you were already in that perfect relationship?