A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you that my partner and I had been reconsidering our relationship.
Following a particularly challenge time together with almost the same arguments re-surfacing, we talked and decided to keep working on things together.
Firstly, let me tell you that it hasn’t always been easy. Relationships rarely are.
And it hasn’t been a straight march forward. Like many couples I see working to maintain their connection, at times it has seemed like two steps forward and one step back.
We’ve shared a process of having things stirred up, working through them and deepening our connection since then. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and each other. Overall, we’re getting there and falling more deeply in love because of it.
I want to share with you one of the things that has made the biggest difference for me.
Good support. Support from outside the relationship.
Sometimes we are so stuck in our battles, stuck in our own emotion and locked in our positions we can’t see the full picture of what is going on. We become stuck in our positions because we’re hurt and we’re not feeling heard. And we play out the same challenges and arguments over and over.
Sometimes an outside perspective and outside support can make all the difference.
I’m blessed to have friends who are brilliant therapists and I’m blessed to have been able to call on their support, perspective and guidance these past couple of weeks.
There are 3 things this support has so clearly given me over the past 2 weeks.
Feeling that I’m heard
Sometimes in a relationship, we’re both so frustrated trying to get our point across and be understood that it’s hard to hear the other person. Or, we feel defensive about what they’re saying, so instead of just listening we defend ourselves.
When I can be heard and understood by someone else, I’m able to let go of some of my more emotional reactions. I feel less frustrated. I don’t need as much from my partner. Once I’ve been heard – even by someone else – I’m much more able to hear (and have empathy for) what is happening for my partner.
Opening to a difference perspective
Someone who isn’t as emotionally invested as my partner and I, is often able to point something out, or offer a perspective that neither of us can see.
It’s amazing what this can do to break the cycle of tension.
Helping me see my part more clearly
When there are challenges in a relationship, it’s often a little bit of what is happening for me, a little bit of what is happening for you and then what is happening between us. I’m often however more open to hearing about my role from someone who isn’t feeling frustrated with me at the time. A friend or therapist calmly and lovingly pointing out to me what I might be doing to contribute to our challenges, reaches me in a way my partner sometimes can’t.
Believe me, I have been looking at the part I play in all of this over the past few weeks. I think that’s actually one of the most challenging gifts a relationship offers – to see ourselves, our patterns and our wounds.
I’ve seen things about myself over the past two weeks, that are not my most shining attributes. I’ve uncovered painful experiences from my past that were diligently covered for a reason.
But in seeing them, we can understand how they’ve been effecting our current experience AND let them go.
All of this, can be done in a relationship, yes – but why put that kind of pressure on our relationship? We ask enough from our relationships as it is.
Supporting and nourishing ourselves outside of our relationship is so valuable. It means we have more to give to our relationship and our partner.
We don’t need to do it alone.
This support I’ve sought out in the past few weeks has allowed me to come back to my relationship differently. I can catch those moments where I would have reacted, stand firm within myself and take a different course of action going forward.
The most magical thing about this is that as I did that – my partner’s actions changed too.
It’s easy to get stuck in wanting our partner to change – or insisting that we go to couples therapy together.
If you are experiencing challenges, know that you don’t have wait for your partner to go to therapy with you. It can help so much to get support for yourself. It can also inspire our partners to want to join us or see someone together.
Outside support helps you bring a different perspective and the possibility of a different way of relating back to your relationship.
Just one of us working on ourselves and the relationship can make the world of difference.
Between now and Christmas, I’m offer my 45 minute Relationship Reset sessions for $67 instead of $100. In person or via Skype, you’ll get practical steps on how you can move forward and you get to test out what it’s like working with me.
I know what a challenge relationships can be and what a huge step it can be to reach out and ask for help, I want to make it easy for you.
Fill out the form below and I’ll call you for a free 10 minute chat so we can see if we’re a good fit for working together.