Recently I have worked with people (women) that are at a cross-road in their relationships. The theme is pretty much the same. A lack of trust, lack of loyalty and their world no longer rocks! The other theme that underpins the dialogue is a CRY for help; a genuine attempt to find a solution, and to save all what has been achieved together – even more so where there are children involved.
And yet, there is also for the most part a sense from all the subjects a ‘knowing’ that a leopard very rarely goes from spots to stripes, which in turn drives a reluctant need to look towards greener grass. We all know that the proverbial grass over there is rarely greener don’t we?
It seems to me that the old school values of my parents generation no longer holds sway. The ‘Till death do us part’ conditioning seems out of kilter with our 21st century if it ain’t working get rid culture. Our level of tolerance seems to be lower than those hailing from a more romantic era.
Some men will argue that the relationship dynamics have changed. Today’s women no longer consider themselves the weaker sex, they see themselves as often doing as much if not more than their male partners professionally and stereotypically, domestically. I would probably remark here that I am guessing that these factors may be less prominent in same-sex relationships (though I have not researched whether this is the case).
My conversations very often show another theme. This is where the subjects tend to focus on the relatively small percentage of things that they don’t like, and not the overwhelmingly positive things that they do! Tolerance, what tolerance!
Again I put this down to the instant gratification culture that we now live in. If a need isn’t satisfied in the tiniest of timelines, well all hell will break loose. Add this to the accompanying ’emotional decision making’ that will often precede or follow the gratification void, and you have a destructive cocktail that will only amplify the negatives rather than the positives that would manifest if only either party would be mature enough and choose to count to 10 and beyond and looked on the bright side of life.
When I think of my own parents, I know that at times they really did not like each other. Love is another matter of course, but if you don’t like someone, you rarely don’t want to have anything to do with that person. Yet, my parents never slept apart; they woke up together and at the end of the day, they retired together. The only time they didn’t or rather couldn’t was when one or other was on holiday, in hospital, and eventually when their time was up; yes till death they did part.
So here are 10 tips on what one could do to retrieve and reignite the dying embers of a relationship.
1. Recognise that the relationship breakdown didn’t happen by accident; it was either cultivated or neglected.
2. If you intend to make a key decision; insure you do so without the dreaded negative emotion. Often when a relationship is no longer satisfying, your raw emotion will not be reflecting rays of sunshine and royal blue skies.
3. Communicate, talk. Don’t sulk, do not accuse or finger point and avoid the blame game.
4. Do not involve other members of the extended family if possible. Should either party give their version of the story, it will likely be done so to covet support, seek sympathy or set up an alliance. This will serve to make matters worse.
5. Behaviours will have brought you to this point. Review your behaviours. Take responsibility. Should you have done something different? It is also likely that to have seemingly reached a point of no return, you should be able to use memory recall and find a pattern, a repetition of actions and choices that you have taken, or have accepted over time.
6. Remember there is more that unites you than divides you. Adopt the half-full approach always.
7. Do something special; surprise your partner with something that you know will make them happy; a hug, a night out, their favourite tipple, force them to look at you with the eyes that carried all that original excitement.
8. Are you really ready to start over? What does that look like across your life chart?
9. The grass is rarely greener over the fence.