Are you someone who has a list of New Year resolutions at the beginning of the year? If so, has your relationship made its way onto that list?
You are probably thinking ‘this blog is a little late’ and that would be a fine thought. My intention behind this blog is to encourage you to take a pulse check of your relationship as we are still at the beginning of 2020 and hopefully, armed with a clear goal you could steer your relationship in the direction that is going to ensure you have the best relational year ever!!!!
Some people start the New Year with a renewed hope “It’s a new year and I’m not going to let the past hold us back. This is the year where we stop engaging in old patterns. This year we won’t wait for something to change because if we want change than we have to take proactive steps to ensure it happens”
Others come into the New Year with wishes to meet “the one” or a desire to see improvement in their relationship. However, in the back of their minds, there might be nervousness, anxiety and worries running the familiar script of “Will anything be different? Will my partner keep their promise? Are we both committed to making the necessary changes?”
Reading this you are most likely thinking “yep, I am anxious because I don’t know what I would do if things don’t change” and trust me, you are not alone in that which is why we are having this discussion. Many people just like you are tired of nagging and begging for things to improve, so where is your line in the sand?
Roommates vs. Romantics
Peter and Michele are partners who have become complacent in their relationship. They’ve been married for 20yrs, kids have all grown and left home, what you would call ‘empty nesters’. Both were looking forward to this next stage of their relationship, they were full of optimism and hope but the glitter soon disappeared when they realised that they’ve been living more as ‘roommates than lovers’ and either knew what to do.
In their first session, Peter stated “I think there’s something wrong with our relationship. It’s not like it used to be”. Michele interrupted with “We are not in love anymore”.
Peter complained that his wife never had time for him “the kids always came first, then the dogs and then me”. Michele complained that her husband never made time to talk with her “he was always on the phone or in the study working”.
Wondering, hoping and praying that your partner will change, you’ll be waiting for a long time because we don’t like to change. By nature, we are selfish and often we don’t see why? We need to change, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard clients say “if only they would change…..”
Therefore, in couple therapy, I help the partners to become curious and see what actions and steps they could take toward change as a couple.
Complacency vs. Connection
I can almost guarantee that when Peter and Michele were a couple “falling in love” they spent quality time together, found interests and commonalities which helped their relationship to thrive. So, I ask you:
- What made your relationship work?
- Are you doing those things now?
In the case of Peter and Michele, it’s clear that their relationship took the back seat as they embarked on building their careers, raising a family, caring for elderly parents etc. When they allowed themselves to pause and really consider, what type of relationship they wish to have? And, if this is the person they wish to do that with? Sometimes, these questions can be difficult and confronting but I believe when we are honest and transparent with our wishes and dreams, we have a much higher chance of getting what we want.
It takes courage, but you are worth it!