Do you know the biggest challenge and pitfalls in your relationships, when you change?
Before we get to that, falling in love is one of the most joyous experiences in your life. But even when you find the right person, having a long-lasting love is not usually effortless. It also doesn’t have to be an endlessly laborious process that can be filled with more struggle than pleasure in your life. Sometimes we just have to accept that relationships may seem complicated because there are two people with separate life experiences from different pasts and sets of emotional baggage. Coming together in an intimate relationship, over time, is not likely be all smooth sailing.
When the going gets tough, you may often wonder and reflect on how to change things… Have you had the thought, “If only they would change?” or “When are they going to just get it and change?” A lot of people get caught in the trap of expecting the other person to change first. The reality is that while this may be the end result you want, what you can control is changing yourself. This is what I am going to be sharing today…
“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.”~Glenda Cloud
This quote pretty much is applicable in all our relationships. Changing yourself is more often than not, good for a relationship. In fact I am going to suggest, it is utterly necessary. The question then becomes, ‘What do I need to change?’ What often needs to change is how you see yourself in this world and how you interact with your partner. The next pitfall is trying to change to much too quickly. As one of my mentors said. “It is the smallest changes that have the biggest impact”. So begin by looking for only one or two areas to start working on.
Here are some of the areas in your life that you might want to examine and start changing:
- Throughout your journey as a couple, you may often have unspoken resentments you don’t express at the time. These will build up along the way. These, if not dealt with properly, will most likely turn into a blow up at some stage. Being aware of your feelings and emotions and recognizing them first hand is a great way for us to stop having resentments. The pitfall here is that for whatever reason, you are allowing these resentments to build up inside of you. Can you see you can be creating our own time bomb? Acknowledging the tiny hurts and voicing them to yourself is a start. Being able to safely express them to your partner at the time is your end goal.
- You may view ‘compromise’ as a key factor to make a relationship work. This is what many of us have been taught. It would be unlikely that someone will conform exactly to the life you built when you were still single. You have to learn to adjust and accept each other’s ways. Refusing to do so and wanting them to change for you instead might not be effective. The pitfall here is that if you have to give up something you really value, the compromise is likely to add to resentments. So check into the areas in your life that you feel you are compromising and creating resentments.
A better way to approach differences is to really understand the real needs of each person and then work out the best ways to get each other’s needs met.
- Have you given up hobbies or interests that you loved or were passionate about? This could be an area that you have compromised for the relationship. And at the time it may have felt like the right decision. If you’ve missed your hobbies, why not start to do them again? These were the things that made you who you are before you got together with your partner. You may be surprised at the outcome if you refocus your energy to yourself and the stuff that makes you happy, and what that could bring into your relationship.
- How do you handle disagreements? Are you and your partner’s approach in handling arguments healthy? Sometimes you may find that the way you solved conflicts from your previous relationships or family, doesn’t work as well in your current one. Do the same things still trigger you?
The pitfall here may be that relying too much on old strategies may not work. Some people may only have two strategies. Have a fight or run away and ignore it. Consider it might be time to look at developing some new skills and strategies in this area.
- What is your “Ideal Vision of Love”? Most of us carry around specific ideas of how we should be loved or what the “perfect love” should be like. We often get so hung up on these ideations that we don’t take the time to appreciate the love that we have now. This is another area that we need to consider if you wish to change some things in yourself. The pitfall here can be that you are reliant on someone else to feel loved. There is the saying. “We need to love ourselves first before we can love another.” I suggest that we can all work on loving ourselves more.
Here is the biggest challenge to your changing – Homeostasis.
Have you heard of the word “homeostasis”? Homeostasis is about keeping things the way the are. Status Quo. When one person changes in a relationship, this affects others around them especially those closest to them. Because, at the unconscious level, others are used to the person’s attitude or behaviour, there is an unconscious tendency to “put the person back in their place.”
In relationships where one partner is used to getting their own way, they are likely to escalate their dominant and possibly bullying behaviour. I have seen this happen time and time again with clients. Often this partner has limited strategies. The key here is to hold your ground until they run out of puff. For some this may not be easy, and I suggest that if it is that important to you, seek some professional help to support you. The pitfall here is that if you can not weather the storm, the partner or other person continues to believe that their strategy to keep will always win and the only options you end up with are: 1) to always give in or 2) walk out on the relationship.
Dare to be selfish and start honoring yourself today. You can start by taking small steps to reclaim your personal power.
Getting professional help from a relationship expert, relationship counsellor or coach is a great way to get you started and to support you in making personal changes. This will lead to creating changes in yourself and your relationship.
If you have any questions or feedback or just want to have somebody to speak about your relationship, feel free to reach out and have a conversation with me. Also, feel free to pass this on to anyone you know that may benefit from this.
Here’s to more happy, loving, and fulfilling relationships. Until next time.
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