How to Manage Ups and Downs in Your Relationship?

Annoying

“Marriage is ugly, you see the absolute worst in someone. You see them when they’re mad, sad, being stubborn, when they’re so unlovable they make you scream. But you also get to see them when they are laughing so hard that tears run down their face, and they can’t help but let out those weird gurgling noises. You see them at 3am when the world is asleep except you two, and you’re eating in the middle of the kitchen floor. You get to see the side of them that no one else does, and it’s not always pretty. Its snorting while laughing, its the tears when it feels like its all crashing down, its the farting, its the bedhead and bad breath, its the random dances, its the anger and the joy. Marriage isn’t a beautiful thing, but it is amazing. It’s knowing that someone loves you so much, and won’t leave you even though you said something nasty. It’s having someone have your back no matter what. Its fights over stupid things, like someone not doing the dishes or picking up after themselves. And it’s those nights you fall asleep in each others arms, feeling like there will never be enough time with them. It’s cleaning up their throw up, or just rubbing their back when they’re sick. It’s the dirtiest, hardest, most rewarding job there is. Because at the end of the day you get to crawl into bed with your best friend, the weirdest, most annoying, loving, goofy, perfect person that you know. Marriage is not beautiful, but it’s one heaven of a ride.”

From Journey to the Centre of Us

Put up

All marriages have ups and downs. Relationship journey is not a straight line yet one that zigs and zags and has numerous curves. Sometimes it feels like it goes backwards and forwards all the time. You might be:

  • Feeling very close and intimate sometimes – then distant and disconnected other times
  • Communicating in ways that you feel heard, accepted and supported sometimes and other times communicating in a blaming and harsh manner where you feel unheard, rejected and disrespected
  • Resolving differences and conflicts effectively sometimes while other times your efforts seem to make matters worse resulting in ongoing disagreements and conflict
  • Having satisfying, passionate and intimate sex sometimes while other times it feels rote, mundane and boring
  • Sharing joy, laughter and fun while other times you are pushing each other’s buttons
  • Experiencing times of calm and ease with one another which may be suddenly interrupted by an intense explosive fight leaving you confused and shocked and wondering “where’d that come from”
  • Gazing at your partner and having the conviction that you are with your soul mate and other times wondering “who is this person and how did I end up with him/her”
  • Agreeing on lifestyle and financial needs and wants compared to strongly disagreeing about these things.
  • Wanting to spend as much time with your partner as possible and other times wanting to be alone or with friends, or maybe even wanting to be as far away from you partner as possible.

Perhaps you can think about these ups and downs and curves in the following way. Sometimes when you go on a trip you get directly to your destination with ease in a timely manner. The trip and the roads you take are as smooth as can be. Other times you go on a trip and you have to negotiate bumpy roads filled with potholes and/or inclement weather and/or you are re-routed due to construction  and/or you get stuck in long tedious traffic delays… Travel, and life, is inconsistent and uncertain. Relationships are surely like this too.

How to Manage Ups and Downs in Your Relationship?

  • Understand that ups and downs and fluctuations are normal and know that they are surely going to happen
  • Be patient, kind and compassionate with yourself and your partner as you navigate the changes and curves
  • Look back to where you were and where you are now in terms of growth
  • Address concerns and issues as they arise to thwart building resentments
  • Communicate regularly with openness and honesty
  • Seek input and advice from friends or an experienced professional to help you see things objectively
  • Take responsibility for your part in the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship
  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings—your grief, relief, sadness, joy, sorrow, loneliness and anger

Adapted from 9 Ways to Manage the Ups and Downs in Your Relationship

 

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  1. Image 1 from pininterest
  2. Image 2 from pininterest

Healing through divorce

New beginnings

Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have. No one ever enters a divorce with joy and glee. Prior to the decision to divorce someone there has been a lot of hurt. Once you get to the divorce phase of the relationship you have already been through quite an agonizing process of grief and disappointment. Once it is all said and done, how do you proceed?

Be gentle with yourself. Showing yourself compassion as you work your way through the divorce will help you get through it a whole lot more quickly than if you’re impatient with yourself.

Don’t dwell on the past. Dwelling on the past keeps you there. Just like you can’t drive a car forward by staring in the rearview mirror, you can’t move your life forward if you’re focusing on the past. You can’t change the past. The best you can do is learn from it.

View your divorce is as an important lesson about relationships. You and your ex were in a relationship that didn’t make it. The relationship failed and you can learn from it – if you choose to. Once you decide to learn from your failed marriage instead of labelling yourself as a failure, you will regain confidence in yourself and your ability to have a successful relationship in the future.

Look forward. There is no point in focusing on the past. Picture yourself shutting the door on your marriage, visualizing it as a room you are leaving. See yourself entering a new room, full of possibilities and hope.

Clean house. It is time to get your life in order. Cleaning house is both literal and figurative. Take care of unfinished business. Organize your home. Whatever you have left unattended because of the emotional turmoil the divorce has caused you, now is the time to start putting the pieces back together.

Connect with your children. The divorce has impacted your entire family; this includes your children. Your children probably have no idea how to heal from what happened in their lives and probably have no idea what to do with their feelings. The best thing you can do is lean in to your relationship with your children and be there for them and with them.

Surround yourself with nurturing people. And definitively say “no” to those who are not providing you comfort. Now is the time to look at expanding or remodeling your social circle. Look for people who are happy, positive and self-assured in their own lives. While going the solo route can feel lonely, it’s also an incredible opportunity to develop a more grounded, fulfilling life.

Create a new normal.  Now that you are no longer part of a marriage, you have a new reality. You are single and independent. You can do whatever you want. You no longer have to share your decisions with your spouse.

Develop your confidence. Divorce has a way of corroding your confidence. Regardless, you still have tremendous qualities that you can and should feel really great about. Figure out what you really like about yourself and remind yourself of these things daily.

Don’t close your door to love. Lastly, as you recover from divorce, don’t close the door to love and throw away the key! Allow yourself to meet new people and be open to the chance of falling in love again. Divorce is not the end of your life. Don’t allow your fears to prevent you from finding your happiness.

Yes, getting a divorce is difficult, but so is staying in an unhealthy marriage. It is hard to face, but it is helpful to know that you’re not alone… Getting divorced hurts, but you will recover and have a better future as you go through the healing process.

What helped you to heal through your divorce?

 

Adapted from:

 

Real love

True love

Love is a spiritual journey that involves constant learning and shedding of illusions. The illusions and fantasies of Love that we grew up with and have been fed through movies and the media. Let’s clear up the Fantasy of Love versus the Truth about Love.

Fantasy:

  • Love will always feel exciting, passionate, and fearless. We will always feel attraction
  • Love eliminates feelings of pain and grief and sorrow and promises only ecstasy
  • We will never argue, have disagreements or fight
  • It will be completely effortless, always

Real love:

  • Holds everything, every feeling. Ecstasy and pain, magic and sorrow. We will disappoint and upset each other and we will have to choose to love each other. We will have to practice forgiveness and compassion.
  • Requires my conscious effort each day. Every day is brand new and every day it’s my responsibility to show up fully. I am responsible for my part in the relationship
  • We are wildly imperfect
  • Everything changes and we are always changing
  • We will have to talk about responsibilities, money and sex and taxes and values and children and time and needs and fears and feelings and make lots of difficult decisions together
  • The work never ends, there is no destination and I intend to make sure my partner feels loved and appreciated every day
  • My partner can’t read my mind. It’s my responsibility to express what I need and how I feel.

The fantasy keeps so many in such painful, excruciating struggles and their feet are never on the ground. The fantasy fuels unrealistic expectations that leave us empty and starving for real love. Real love is grounding, humbling and messy.  It is a choice that requires effort every day. It shines through the routine experiences of the everyday life.

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Be careful who you give your heart to…

unmasked

Infidelity is a major factor in broken marriages. It destroys families, and paves the way for traumatic experiences for children.

Cheating does not always mean actual sexual activity. Emotional cheating and flirting are still considered as cheating.

The cheater’s actions hurt the spouse who was betrayed, their children, their families, close friends. But these aren’t the only people infidelity hurts. Cheating hurts the cheater too.

Despite the initial thrill of an affair, cheating often negatively affects the cheater emotionally. It’s common for them to feel anxiety, guilt, shame, worry, regret, confusion, embarrassment, and self-loathing when they contemplate how their actions impact those they love and why they cheated in the first place.

When they think about and experience how their actions impact them and others they feel the sting and anguish of their poor judgment.

All of these thoughts swirling through their heads and the rollercoaster of their emotions can lead cheaters to live two completely different lives while the affair continues. One where they feel the addictive ecstasy of love and one where they feel hatred.

Of course, living these two polar-opposite lives puts extreme stress not only on themselves, but on their marriage too. And when the spouse does discover the truth, they will feel pain to their core as they rightfully wonder what part of the relationship with their wayward spouse was real and what part was a lie.

Not only can the spouse now blame the cheater for every bad thing that happens to them and every problem in their relationship, but their children get to blame them too. If they feel depressed, if they cheat or their spouse cheats on them, that will be their cheater-parent’s fault. When their children are sitting on the therapist’s couch unmarried, unloved and childless at 44, the cheater-parent will be the reason they can’t trust or make and keep commitments.

Cheaters often are not able to trust others to be loyal to them. After all if they did this themselves, anyone can. If they could violate trust and hurt someone they love in such a deeply damaging way, what’s to stop others from doing it to them?

Being on the receiving end of the pain their spouse is suffering because of the cheating can easily become too much for the straying spouse. At one extreme, they may deny their responsibility for causing the pain and blame their spouse for forcing them to cheat. At the other extreme, they may feel they deserve the punishment, accept it as just, and live out the rest of their lives as a mere shadow of their true selves.

How cheating affects the cheater is complicated and painful. Why do they cheat then?

There are a lot of reasons why cheaters cheat, including:

  • emotional immaturity,
  • personality disorders: narcissism, borderline personality disorder, and psychopathy.
  • childhood trauma, or
  • being raised with bad influence regarding relationships.

Cheaters often deeply fear abandonment and seek out their second relationship as something of a security blanket against physical or emotional loneliness.

Repeat cheaters often have certain core negative beliefs. They feel unworthy, feel no one can genuinely love them and so on. As a result of these insecurities, people addicted to cheating tend to avoid intimacy and to compartmentalise and split off part of their sexual, romantic or intimate life. Being intimate with a spouse is problematic for them and they find an escape.

People who cheat will look for opportunities where the potential mate may be in a vulnerable state, such as after a break-up or divorce. When the preyed-upon is in a more vulnerable state, they are more likely to be open to and engage in the cheating behavior because they miss the feeling of being loved and are not emotionally grounded enough yet to set secure boundaries.

Like with all addictions, repeat cheating is a dependency on a ‘drug’ to escape pain, fear and other negative emotions.

The prospects for repeat cheaters can be good if addicts give up all the related behaviours and get treatment that addresses their insecurities and their fears around intimacy; in other words the “deeper work”. This might involve:

  1. Professional help to uncover the root cause of cheating
  2. Practicing total transparency with the spouse OR
  3. Changing the relationship type. Instead of cheating, they can find partners who are comfortable with non-monogamy. Sometimes it is better to follow a less traditional — but honest — path, then live a life of destruction, betrayal and lies.

As with all recovery, it takes time and treatment to change a lifelong adaptation. It also takes vigilance. Even well into recovery, addicts may still be drawn to sexual validation and non-sexual forms of cheating. But these behaviors will continue to fade away over the years.

Resources:

Take off the mask and let your true self shine

Stage

Transparency and authenticity are buzz words that are heard a lot nowadays, but the actual practice of being honest, open, and even emotionally raw in a relationship is no easy task. On some level we are all facing that fear – afraid of being seen for who we truly are. Afraid of seeing ourselves for who we really are…

When we continually lock out our partners and refuse to let them know who we really are “behind the mask,” we limit intimacy, hamper communication, and create barriers to a fulfilled relationship.

According to Dr Gary Brown, “Being vulnerable in relationships is really opening your heart and letting your partner know your true self. It’s the warts and all. It’s those secret parts of yourself that you may have never shared with your partner…or maybe anyone else for that matter.

It’s the stuff that has stayed hidden away that you really don’t want to say – too scared to say — but maybe are thinking. It’s surrounded by the “if I share this stuff” my friend/partner/lover won’t like me/love me/will want to leave me.

And that is why being vulnerable with our inner world is directly linked to overcoming our fear of how our loved one may react. That is why vulnerability requires the courage to be truly authentic and real, letting your friend/partner/lover know all the sides of you, even the icky parts alongside the fear of the reveal.

Being vulnerable can be really scary. But it is the single most thing that will create trust and deep connection for a relationship to go the distance.

In a healthy relationship, both partners have a sense of connection and trust. Vulnerability creates emotional (and sometimes physical) intimacy and a closeness because you can feel safe to be your true self. It’s what creates a deeper sense of love and understanding.

In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. And that, understandably, can feel emotionally risky….

To know that you are seen and loved for simply being your full self, to be with someone else in all of their vulnerability and love them for all that they are may just be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. When you feel yourself starting to shut down out of fear in your relationship, notice if you can make the choice to be courageous and embrace vulnerability.”

Mask

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To love OR not to love…

“You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

woman about to kiss man

Photo by Сергей Гладкий on Pexels.com

All grown-ups were once children … but only few of them remember it. The Little Prince reminds us who we are and what makes us special by helping us to see the world through the eyes of a child.

As Michael Rennier points out, “adults aren’t disappointing simply because we have grown bigger, or obtained jobs, or taken on responsibilities. We are disappointing because for many of us these pursuits have taken on a disproportionate importance. We have forgotten how to see the world as it actually is and are blinded by appearances. We see people as statistics, education as functional, food as fuel, clothing as utilitarian, books as unnecessary luxury… We vastly over-value what we can experience with the senses. If this is what it means to be a grown up, is it any wonder that Saint-Exupery refused to condone our way of life? We are like the accountant he describes, spending our days working over our books, counting everything up, claiming ownership of all we can fit in the ledger, and failing to see that we live in a whole, wild universe filled to the brim with stars somewhere in the midst of which one, unique rose lives on a planet and calls out for love.

anniversary beautiful bloom blooming

Photo by Tucu0103 Bianca on Pexels.com

The rose, for Saint-Exupery, represents love, the way in which we tame each other and allow ourselves to be tamed. It is this invisible virtue that makes one, single rose special. It isn’t the flower itself, after all, there are fields and fields of roses out there. By outward appearances, a rose is like any other rose. So how is it different? It is the invisible bond of love.

In order to have a truly perfect love, we are required in a way to become children again and learn to whole-heartedly trust and give all we have to the beloved. If we care for one another, we deny ourselves for their sake, even if this means we sometimes get hurt. It is worth the risk because the only other alternative… is to treat every other person as an object… to see a field of roses, objects that are nice enough but fairly common… ”

The cost of not daring to love is to miss the warmth of a close connection with another person, inability to open up, be loved and understood…

 

References:

Is YOUR VOICE heard and respected at home?

Marriage

“My wife sent me to the supermarket to buy a fabric softener. Well, actually I was told to take a photo of the shelf of softeners and send it over: apparently, I am not qualified to choose which one to buy. So I came up to the shelf and started taking photos. Suddenly a man nearby pointed at me with his phone and said, “I can send you my photos of all the softeners here. With WhatsApp. I have a full gallery. Each bottle is a close-up from both sides.” I replied, ”No, thanks. I was just told to send the full shelf without close-ups.“ ”Clear. Lucky man…” I laughed, “Something like that, but thanks for your offer anyway. Great idea with WhatsApp.” The man smiled and said, “Sure, but the idea is not mine. See that man taking photos of detergents? He sent the photos to me. And my photo session of baby food starts now. Have fun!”

From 15 Overheard Life Stories Charged With Optimism

 

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It is very well known that men generally do not like to ‘sweat the small stuff’. Therefore they are often happy to leave routine domestic decision-making to women and are often putting a great deal of their energy into placating the women in their lives in order to keep their world manageable.

Celia Lashlie however identified some areas of concern in her book “He’ll be OK”:

“The principal told me again and again that when two parents come in for a chat because their boy’s in trouble, it’s the norm for the mother to do all the talking. The principal looks towards the father and it’s obvious he has something to say, an opinion to offer, but she won’t shut up long enough for him to actually say it…. I thought it might be an overly prejudiced view, so decided to investigate a little further. The opportunity to do so arose when I found myself in front of a group of fathers.

‘Listen guys, I just want to check something out with you. Apparently when you and your wife are in the principal’s office because your son’s in a spot of bother and you’ve been called to the school, you’re really quiet, you just don’t talk.’

‘No,’ came the reply from one man.

‘Why not?’

‘Because I’ll get it wrong.’

Somewhat naively, I replied, ‘No, you can’t get it wrong, he’s your boy.’

‘Oh no,’ he said, looking straight at me, a now-familiar look of resignation on his face, ‘I’ll get it wrong… and I’ll get a pull-through when I get home.’

As he said this, several heads in the room nodded, the men seeming to relish the fact that someone had identified a situation with which they were all very familiar…

After a bit more discussion on this topic with the men, I headed back to talk to their wives and partners and, as I did so, I found myself thinking that the views expressed by the men were probably a little unfair and would offend the women I was about to talk to. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

‘The guys have just told me that when they’re in the principal’s office with you, they don’t talk because they’ll get it wrong.’

One woman didn’t even hesitate; she looked straight at me and without the slightest hint of the embarrassment I was expecting, she said, ‘He will.’

‘And he reckons he’ll get a pull-through when he gets home?’

‘I won’t wait that long – I’ll get him in the car.’

There seemed to be universal agreement with her comments and the conversation continued with one woman saying, ‘I take him to parent-teacher evenings, but he just won’t talk.’ By this time I was thinking, Yes, and I think I’m beginning to see why, so I said, ‘Well, there’s one possible solution.’

‘What’s that?’

‘You could send him by himself, then he’s going to have to talk.

At that moment the entire group of intelligent, articulate middle-class women looked as if I’d just asked them to eat a snake. (No power and control issues here, I thought to myself!)”…

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Is YOUR VOICE heard and respected at home?

THE END

Credits:

Do you feel understood and fully accepted?

Kurt

Feeling understood and fully accepted as you are is crucial to your well-being and enduring sense of security. Let’s consider a few reasons why:

1. You’re known.

When you experience being misunderstood, the connection between you and the other person is (however temporarily) severed. You’re by yourself, “dis-joined,” cut off.

2. Your identity is confirmed.

Having others see you as you want and need to be seen verifies your sense of self. It assures you that who you believe you are is understandable and acceptable. To feel truly “gotten” is to feel deeply, rewardingly validated.

3. You belong.

Feeling understood connects you to others, allowing you to feel welcome.

4. You’re part of something larger than yourself.

We all need to feel that we’re related to a community of (at least relatively) like-minded individuals. Such an expanded perception of self helps to make our lives feel more meaningful, more purposeful — and it contributes to a sense of personal value as well.

5. You’re accepted.

Feeling understood is in many ways tantamount to feeling accepted as you are.

6. You’re empowered.

If you feel understood, you’re not groping your way in the darkness. With others’ respectful willingness to recognize you and your intentions, you’re empowered to attempt, and accomplish, things that you otherwise might not be driven to do.

7. You understand yourself better.

If someone says, “So, in other words, it sounds as though you must believe [X] because you seem to be implying [Y],” it’s quite possible that their synopsis of what you shared actually goes beyond what you yourself had realized. In adding something of their own intuition and experience to your utterance, they may help you better comprehend the deeper, more personal ramifications of what you’re communicating.

8. You experience more satisfaction in your relationships.

Feeling understood prompts you to relate more fully to others, to show more willingness to be open and vulnerable with them. As Carl Nassar (“The Importance of Feeling Understood”) astutely observes: “When we feel understood . . . we show [others] our true selves—flaws and all. In turn, they are more likely to be vulnerable and honest with us. This helps us connect . . . on a deeper level, improving the quality of our relationships.”

9. It becomes easier for you to accept yourself

When you feel truly understood, it becomes easier to accept yourself just as you are. If others can understand you and accept who you are, you should be able to, as well.

10. You’re shielded from the depths of depression.

Depression is closely tied to feelings of separation and estrangement. So feeling understood and connected to those around us may be one of the best safeguards from entering this so torturous, agonizing state.

The first criteria of a fulfilling relationship is to be truly understood by another person without trying too hard. And the second is to be accepted without judgment for who we truly are. Understanding and acceptance are the essentials of any fulfilling relationship…

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Do you feel understood and fully accepted
OR
Do you need to compromise the REAL YOU to be loved…?

THE END

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