Over the last few months, I’ve been having a lot of discussions surrounding relationships – should I stay? Should I leave? Why do I feel so bad about myself? Is this ever really going to work? So on and so on. Since this seems to be a theme in my office, I figured I go ahead and bring it into my blog and talk about it. What do we do when the going gets tough and relationships turn from fun to yuck?
I’ll just go ahead and throw it out there – relationships are hard. Regardless of it being a: same-sex, opposite-sex, mixed-sex, duo, trio, or more, relationships are tough. There’s both beauty and challenge within that toughness. If the relationship is too easy, then complacency can quickly take hold, but if a relationship is too hard, we start to build resentment, anger, and frustration. Is there a happy medium that can be found? Well...yes and no.
Sometimes we forget that, at the core of every relationship, are humans. We’re constantly evolving, have innate feelings and emotions, and have central values and personalities that makes us each unique and different. At times, these differences serve as compliments to other individuals and, at times, these differences create dissonance with other individuals. I don’t believe that there are any relationships where the harmony between the individuals resounds 100% of the time. That compliment and dissonance sort of dance with each other within each relationship. The struggle, though, is experienced when the dissonance begins to take the lead, causing one or more of the individuals within the relationship to feel less-than. This is where the doubt is born and the questions start to pop up – is this really what I want?
The million-dollar question that I’m consistently asked is, “what should I do?” Even if I could give an answer, I wouldn’t. My job is to support each individual in finding that answer for themselves. When we find ourselves in this place of questioning the health of a relationship, I always encourage the individual to examine what it is that is creating such discord and unhappiness for it’s within that space that the answer is found. Going back to the idea that each of us are human, we need to understand that each of us are inherently vying for power and validation. If and when our personal power starts to erode or be stolen and our feelings and emotions become invalidated, the dissonance has started to take the lead in the relationship tango.
Once we find ourselves in this position of questioning the health and happiness of relationship, there are really only three options: figure out what it is that creating so much unhappiness and work on resolving the issue, recognize that the harm is outweighing the benefit and cut your losses so to begin healing, or do nothing and remain in a place of discontent. None of the options are either easy or fun; two will take a tremendous amount of work and self-reflection while the latter will provide a playground for the resentment and anger to build.
Choosing the latter option of doing nothing may not be the best choice but seem like the easiest thing to do. In reality, it will do nothing more that foster negativity and self-deprecation. I get it, taking action and making tough decisions are hard. At the end of the day, though, this is about you and your happiness. Are you worth the extra effort? The answer is yes; yes you are! Regardless of if you choose to work things out or cut your losses, you must do some self-exploration and really examine what it is that has made or is making you unhappy. Communication is absolutely essential in this next step for you must be able to talk to the other person(s) and share your feelings honestly and authentically. Through that communication, the true answer will present itself. Remember, the only expectations that you can place, aside from expectations of safety, are only on yourself. It’s unfair and unethical to place expectations on another person regarding their feelings and their experiences. Talk, talk, talk...if you feel that you’re unable to effectively illuminate your innermost feelings and emotions, then there may be the problem. Check out my earlier blog about on The Power Of Effective Communication for tips on this.
Always keep at the forefront of your mind where your power is. Is it being stripped away by someone else or are you choosing to keep it within your grasp? At the sake of sounding egotistical or self-centered, I’ll go ahead and say that you are the most important person within any relationship. Don’t interpret that as the relationship must revolve around you, rather you must keep your emotional health and needs nourished and supported. If the relationship is not providing you with those nutrients, then you must decide if these needs can be met within the relationship or not. Finding the answer is not easy but the ultimate discovery will be tremendously beneficial in the end. So now, ask yourself: What does your your relationship tango look like? Is the dissonance leading or are the dissonance and happiness dancing in harmony with each other?
For additional insight and tips, check out my other blogs: