your relationship


Your relationship in 2019?


It’s clearly at the dawn of New Year that people tend to reassess and scrutinise their lives more than at any other time.  Without question, life with a partner, either finding one or leaving one, is usually high on the thought agenda.  If your own relationship hasn’t lived up to expectations, or the excitement is beginning to wane, it’s possible that you’ve also designated this year as the last battle in fighting for it.  If so and you’re determined to give each other ‘one more chance’, then pay close attention.  Here we let you in on some truths and share a little honest guidance.


Understand that time is arbitrary

If there’s a specific pain point in your relationship that you’re waiting for time to heal, then you should know it’s not going to happen without proper exploration and an excavation of all the issues surrounding it. The only way this year is going to be any different from the previous years, is if you are.  For this reason, it may be an idea to reframe how you describe and approach your last attempt at relationship recovery.


Instead of focusing on the next 365 days, try to focus on what needs to be resolved and how you plan to do it.  Is it something you each have to tackle individually, or will it require a joint effort?  Once you have an idea of the way forward, the next step is to have an awareness of what emotional or mental milestone will help inform your decision about the future.  For example, will you commit to staying the day your partner apologises or, will you leave when you no longer feel safe and appreciated?  What is the moment you’re aiming for?


Heal, as an individual

Even when there’s shared pain in a relationship, there are times when healing has to be undertaken separately before you’re able to both connect as you wish to.  Healing is about taking ownership of things such as why you find it difficult to talk to your spouse, why either of you cheated, or why your sex life has become dull and predictable.


Paradoxically, selfishness in relationships can present itself as always talking about the other person and what they’ve done wrong, or what they need to work on and fix about themselves.  The tried and tested method of beginning sentences with ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ will help to steer you clear from this blame treadmill.  For example, saying ‘I feel upset when I am not listened to’ instead of ‘You make me upset when you ignore me’.


Focus forward not backward

When we argue with our spouse or find ourselves locked into patterns that aren’t serving us and are difficult to break, it’s very easy to long for the old days.  In our memory, the early years take on a gloss of semi-perfection, where love was free-flowing and disagreements lasted roughly ten seconds.  But let’s not fool ourselves.  In the midst of any nostalgia be careful to recognise that chasing the past, however romantic, is a marathon with no finish line.


One of the healthiest ways to heal and progress in relationships is to accept that a new couple is being created in the aftermath of whatever history has come before.  Your relationship may have the hallmarks of what you both once were but it will be different, better, fresh and new.  This immediately removes the pressure of trying to live up to an ideal and stops you both from chasing your tails.  Embrace growth, creativity and the new couple you’re becoming.


Be realistic

It may be your make or break year, but be wary if it’s the year you’re hoping that you or your partner will change fundamental parts of your personality.  Growth is admirable and being the best versions of yourselves is always attainable, but personality transplants not so much.


If your man has been a workaholic for the past decade, before even you met him, then banking on this being the year he slows down is possibly unfair and unrealistic.  If your wife has a sexual libido that has always been lower than yours, hoping this is the year that your sex life suddenly sky rockets is wishful thinking.


Of course, compromises are always available if that’s what works for the pair of you, but deep and lasting personality alteration takes a lot of work and the truth is, acceptance can often last longer.


Know why you’re still trying

Be very clear about why you’ve designated this year the make or break point and why you haven’t just walked away and ended things already.  Are you frightened of being on your own, of starting again, of hurting the children, of being shunned by your community?


Put bluntly, there comes a time when you have to put on your grown up pants and acknowledge what’s best for your life. After this, yes, you can look to lessen the impact on those nearest and dearest to you. In the majority of situations however, this must come second for your own sake.  Stop putting your emotional health last.


Fear and shame are not reasons to stay in a relationship.  They are, if handled correctly, temporary conditions and shouldn’t result in you creating or maintaining permanent environments just to avoid them.


As all the ambitions and dreams that dissipated throughout the previous years suddenly gather muster and you’re raring once again, to give it your best shot, the road ahead can seem daunting.  But whether your big plans are fulfilled or not, introspection and the time for it, should always be a welcome gift to yourself, regardless of what you discover.  It’s the truth found in these moments, of why you’re still in that job, house, town, and of course relationship, that will help you to break free from what’s holding you back.


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