Nothing can get you more twisted up than being in a relationship that isn’t going well. People talk about falling in and out of love as if love involves gravity. In some homes the tension is so thick you can feel the chill in the air. What happens in a relationship that makes it go so terribly wrong? What changed from the original proposition? What the heck happened? And, how can you rescue it from the danger of failing altogether?
In order for any relationship to work successfully there has to be some underlying form of goodwill; a willingness to make it good. Spending all that time engaged in pitiful diatribes about what the other person isn’t doing to make you feel a certain way is a frightful waste of time. Although your feelings are no doubt sincere in every way, it fails to address the real issue. The real question is why is your partner acting the way they are acting? Why are they ignoring you? Why don’t they want to talk with you? What thoughts and feelings are they carrying around concerning you? You began on the sound footing of goodwill; a sincere desire to make the other person happy, then something happened to change the dynamic. You need to find out what changed the dynamic. It always amazes me when engaging in relationship counseling how clear and obvious the issues are when completely alien to the people involved. Somewhere along the way, each person began developing a narrative about who or what the other person is (or became) and they are loathe to let go of their narrative. And, the narrative they have created for the other person always, always, always fails to include the part they are playing in the story! Step one in rescuing your relationship is acknowledging the part you personally are playing! You can’t send out rejection vibes and expect love vibes to return. You can’t discourage honest conversations by getting all outraged and angry then complain that your partner won’t talk! If you want love you have to give love. If you want kindness you have to give kindness. Waiting for your partner to go first will be a very long wait…
Warm, loving feelings follow warm, loving thoughts. Dragging around the world history of everything your partner ever did that you don’t like or how they wronged you or don’t get you (whatever that means…) or how different they are than you is a surefire recipe for disaster. People do wrong things, ever notice? Surely you have done a few blunders in your days, haven’t you? Rehearsing the time they did this to me or when they said that to me is relationship poison. It was evil enough the first time it happened, was it not? So, why on earth would you drag about that corpse of a memory with you now? Forgiveness means stop bringing that bullshit back up! Further, if you really want your partner to get you, you have to do a good job of communicating who you are to get. Feeling like they should somehow instinctively know who you are is madness. Say what you love and do not hide your aversions. If you spend your days modifying yourself for others; hiding the real you, the real you will be real hard to get. Get it? Surprisingly, relationships thrive more on differences than on similarities. Fretting over not having all the same interests is equally insane. Relationships aren’t about turning into each other. How weird? Relationships are about two people with different backgrounds and different upbringings coming together to form a union that works together. Relationships compliment each other by one strong area compensating for one weaker area in the other and we all have both involved.
Love is not something you fall into or fall out of over time. Love isn’t some magical spell someone casts on you that is only as good as the spell lasts. Love is a decision. Your soul-mate is simply someone who meets most of the expectations you have set for yourself. I’m certainly not trying to take away the beauty or the romance of love. Rather I’m trying to point out that true love is a decision you make and keep making. When things go south it isn’t that mythical love has left the situation, but rather you have left the situation. Instead of good thoughts towards your partner, you harbor wrong thoughts. You are no longer focused on making them happy or helping them feel good, but focused instead on how you are feeling and where you suffer lack. Your feelings are valid and matter much, but harboring the wrong thoughts about your significant other are making the decision to love no longer. You may proclaim the magic is gone, but it wasn’t magic to begin with. If you want to rescue your relationship, get back to your decision to love.
I often muse that any relationship could be brought back to life if both people simply acted as if it was brand new again. Instead of carrying around all of those preconceived notions, start fresh. I can assure you, just because you have been together for twenty five years does not mean you already know where the other person is coming from. You barely know where you are coming from, right? How often do you allow yourself the privilege of changing? Can you not put aside the undesirable parts of yourself and go another direction? Well, can’t they as well? Don’t you see it? We all need the opportunity of a new day. We all need the chance to reinvent ourselves. We all need a fresh start; many, many fresh starts. Just because your wife always does such and such doesn’t mean she always has to do such and such. Just because you struggled early on with such and such doesn’t mean you have to struggle with such and such now.
Maybe you can’t rescue every relationship given whatever may have occurred, but you can surely rescue yours if you really want to do it. Take your long time partner on a date and find out what they like. Hey, they may just surprise you! Put some love in the air, it just feels better.
Just some good thoughts…