Many of us have been at the point and you could well be here right now wondering if you should leave the relationship you are in – perhaps you are staying just waiting for things to improve but you’re not actually quite sure how? Communication and lack of affection are two main ingredients that cause issues between couples.
Or perhaps you leave and then are consumed with regret and guilt? Before you make any of these life-changing decisions it might be a good time to ask yourself some questions about you to get clear on some facts. You will then have a much better perspective on the next step. Many of my clients come to me with this exact question – ‘I’m just so unhappy, it’s not working, should I leave or should I put up with the relationship as it is?’
I’d like to share with you a few things that I feel might just resonate with you so you don’t feel so alone and desperate before we go into the questions to ask yourself.
- We are ALL struggling in some way – even if your friends appear to be ‘on top of the world’ they could well be suffering inside, wealthy people might seem to have it all only to be desperately unhappy behind closed doors. With this in mind notice how you see others, you don’t know what mask they are wearing or what that smile hides.
- Real love is worth working towards – whether that is romantic or personal, we all want to create those loving emotional connections. Love is about connection, not just that physical connection of touch and feel but that subconscious ‘knowing’ you are ‘at one’ with that person. This takes time and grows as your relationship develops. When two people love each other they have a mutual respect, and work through those challenging times together.
- Attraction isn’t what you think – seriously there is NO such thing as a perfect partner so if you are looking right now, STOP. You aren’t perfect and neither is anyone else……so it’s only when two ‘imperfect people’ compliment each other does the relationship work! This took me years to work out until I let go of the ‘needing to be perfect’ as it was totally unachievable. So start with yourself and realise your own imperfections, those parts of you that you really don’t like very much, start to embrace them, learn to love them – they all make up you. It’s at this point you will know what you are looking for in someone.
- However hard you try sometimes the relationship will never work – it is natural and easier for some of us to think in a negative way and some people will always put you down, regardless of what you do or what your capabilities are. These relationships are very unhealthy and you will end up feeling totally held back in your personal growth and your relationship.
- Resentment will only ever hurt you – holding a grudge against someone will hurt you over and over again, no matter how small a grudge it is, it’s like ‘drinking poison and expecting the other person to die’. Make a decision and choose to let these ‘grudges’ go, choose to release them, they are only thoughts and fears they are not part of you so release them.
- Forgiveness is the one thing that will bring you peace – the forgiveness is for you and no one else, choose to forgive, to find peace, to let the anger and resentment go. Choose to stay calm and let that pain go – there are lots of ways of doing this so find a way that works for you.
- Time alone is key for us all – you can be yourself without any pressure or deadlines. So in any relationship, we always need space to discover more of ourselves, to stretch our boundaries and to listen to our own thoughts. Take time out to walk alone, go to the beach, go for a drive, listen to music and just cherish the moments being by yourself.
With much research and helping many couples over the years I have come up with a few questions here that will provoke you into thinking about yourself. After all, we can only change ourselves so it makes sense to place our focus here in the beginning. These questions will allow you to think about what you really want from life.
- Am I happy most of the time?
All of us have struggles in our relationships and it is true to say that some challenges make these relationships stronger but if you are spending more time unhappy in your relationship then you should question what is happening. No one should stay ‘quietly’ unhappy – you should discuss this with your partner. Of course, there are always going to be the ‘down times’ but it’s when these take over and become a normal way of life that you have to really ‘grab the bull by the horns’ and face the fact that this isn’t working. Go and voice your words.
- Is this relationship bringing out the best in me?
A question few of us ask ourselves and not even quite sure how to answer but it really is imperative to ask yourself if your partner is encouraging you to be the best version of yourself or do they constantly pull you down? Are your needs being met? Are you creating dreams? Does your partner bring out the negative emotions indie of you? Find a quiet space, go inside of yourself and be honest with what you find.
- Am I making time for him/her?
Equally, is he/she making time for you? We are all on a roller coaster ride and life gets very busy and we can put our relationships on the back burner as work, sport, friends and socialising takeover. However hectic your life is you always need to make time for each other, ask yourself if you really are?
- Have we shared dreams?
If your relationship is heading in a similar direction you will have some shared goals and dreams. If you are totally off course nothing will match. Of course you can have separate dreams but if they don’t intertwine together at some level you will never meet. Every relationship needs a shared dream with a shared passion.
- Do I have regrets?
Here I’m not talking about past regret but the future. How will you feel if you are still here in the same situation in one year’s time where nothing has changed? Will you have wished you had done something about yourself? Will you have wished you had moved on? Living with regrets will leave you far more emotionally hurt than leaving an unfulfilled relationship. So ask yourself today if you can make these changes and if not will you be better off making a decision now and not waiting until next year?
- How often do I laugh?
Laughter is key in any relationship – it’s the glue that sticks us together during the hard times. Are you laughing more than arguing? Be very honest and ask yourself how many times a week do you laugh together over how many times a week do you argue? It might be a real eye-opener for you. Relationships are not supposed to be a hassle in life and drag you down; they are supposed to uplift you and make you feel good.
- What sacrifices am I making right now?
Are you feeling that you are being taken advantage of and ‘used’? Is the relationship feeling more like a burden than a pleasure? Are you constantly giving and receiving nothing or very little back? Healthy relationships are about ‘give and take’ – are you giving too much?
- Am I in love with who I want them to be?
So many of us do this. Are you simply waiting for that person to change into the sort of person you want them to be? We convince ourselves that one day they will change and actually be that person if we wait long enough or if we try harder. But unless that person themselves really wants to make any changes – nothing will change. Be honest and tell them the truth…..yes sometimes the truth really hurts but at least you are being honest for both of your sakes.
- Do they add meaning to my life?
What is life like without them? Are you happier by yourself? Does your partner make your life more colourful, richer and leave you with a feeling of fulfillment or are you left depleted and zapped of energy?
- Would I be better off alone?
The hardest question of all…….and one that may not seem at all clear but one that really needs answering. Now you have faced some realities with the above questions perhaps the time has come to really make a decision by yourself or to seek out a trusted friend or a coach or councilor to guide you through the process of making one of the most important decisions of your life. What changes will you make within your relationship? What are you waiting for?
Every relationship requires hard work and patience and it all starts with you. We all have tough times, we all have times of despair, it’s a normal part of life – it’s during these times we need to really look after ourselves as self-care is paramount.
We need to take time out, pamper ourselves, nurture ourselves and ultimately make sure that we are doing the best we can to work on bettering ourselves and bettering our relationships every day. I hope the above questions have stirred something inside of you – take action now to seek help so you become very clear on that next step with your relationship – probably one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life.
Take the relationship ‘Loving Spark Quiz’ now and dive a little further to see where you really are in your relationship right now.
Ladies, come & join us in our wonderful caring, nonjudgmental FB group – ‘Let’s Talk Relationships & Life’ – https://www.facebook.com/groups/relationshipsandlife/. Can’t wait to meet you