The changing currents of relationships, we have all been through them.
I often say one of the biggest pitfalls for any relationship is holding onto the idea or expectation that we, or the person/people we are in relationship with, will be the same tomorrow, next month, 1, 5 or 10 years down the road. We all know change is the only constant.
Logically we know this, yet we all to some degree may still fight it. The uncertainty, loss of control, concerns about competency, self doubt, and the resulting domino effect it may have. The holding on that has built resentment and kept one strangled in the cage of fear can suddenly burst the dam of control with catastrophic results. The list can go on with why we resist change, however, what if the resistance itself is what makes the pain unbearable? Kind of like the feeling we have at the top of the big hill of a roller coaster, sometimes both exhilarating yet scary.
While change at times will uncover some intense emotional patterning hiding in the dark corners of your humanness, it can also be the saving grace for any relationship when we learn to embrace it. It is sort of like flowing with the currents of a river rather than pushing upstream.
I was having a conversation with a client about how the lifestyle they said yes to years ago with their partner, now seems to be changing. What was a yes in the past is now a “No, I want to do something different”. They feel a desire and call to create some different choices and change while they feel their partner is confused by this change, projecting their own unease through judging and criticizing their new desire in life. This can certainly be a challenging crossroads in any relationship and one of the things I have learned so often is to remember nothing is personal and how big can I love.
It happens. We are going to want different things at times. Realizing and being empowered to admit that we, individuals are independent identities who are sharing life with each other and we do not have to want the exact same things all the time. I find relationships in this sense are dynamic in nature, there is a waxing and waning, seasons to everything, perfectly mirroring nature with our own human existence. How big the differences, values and wants, of course, determine the direction of the relationship at times, however, I am a firm believer that nothing is black and white or set in stone forever.
What happens when what we want changes in a relationship? What happens depends on how open and flexible our minds and emotions can be. As well, how much self sourcing and emotional intelligence are a regular part of our lives.
I remember a story a friend shared with me once. He and his partner were going out for dinner and a movie. He wanted steak and she wanted sushi. So they made an empowered proactive decision that they would go their separate ways for dinner and meet up after dinner for the movie.
While we all have feelings and by not having what we want, there will be feelings of disappointment at times, however, it’s simpler than we think if we know how to be with our feelings. We need to talk about them and stop taking everything so personally. I understand how tough that can be with all the ideas we have of what love means. What we attach to our partners’ choices and actions will make things feel quite hard. So many stories which have nothing to do with love and overtime will begin to sink any relation-ship. Whether that be a loss of desire, always stuck in an argument or resentment or a charged breakup.
There are so many stories such as, “If they do this it means they don’t love me”, “I must have never really known them”, “How could you change?”, “Them not wanting what I want means our relationship is doomed”, “What have I done wrong?”, “How could they disrespect me like that?”. Sound familiar? The good old codependency train. You know, that place where we say our partners and loved ones are responsible for my feelings and for my happiness. What if a different approach was taken?
Love was never meant to be safe. It is edgy, wild and free. What if we began to see our partners or our own choice changes as a beautiful metamorphosis that actually creates space for more life to be experienced and love to be shared? This would also take changing our views possibly of what we think love is and realize that needs and wants are different from love.
It’s all about the development of emotional intelligence to ease the way and soften the storms.
Some of my best practices for creating more ease within change:
- Be Accountable for your feelings and needs. Watch out for things like the blame game and being passive aggressive to get what you want.
- Diagnosing the sources of resistance. Learn what the fears, concerns and emotional stories are so you are able to begin self sourcing your needs.
- Get clear on where you share a YES. This means the things you both enjoy sharing together, shared values and experiences and lifestyle choices. I love the idea of focusing on what is working and the strengths within the relationship.
- Get clear on the values, experiences and lifestyle choices where your desires are different. While having a certain number of shared values is essential in any relationship, being in a relationship does not mean we have to do everything or like all the same things together. Awareness is the first step. These might be the activities and experiences you want to do with someone else or enjoy on your own. Follow what feels good in your body and avoid fitting a square peg in a round hole, AKA forcing something to happen in your relationship. This will only make things worse and over time build resentment and distance.
- Compersion. Feeling the joy associated with seeing your partner or loved ones doing what really brings them joy when it may not include you.
- Appreciation Shower – It is easy to get comfortable, which leads to taking things for granted. Remember to set time aside or be spontaneous but remember to offer appreciations and those heart opening appreciation showers.
Now it’s your turn to give these steps a try in your own relationships. Let me know what your experiences are like with change. How has going about these moments differently impacted your life and relationships?
If this sounds all too familiar and you’re ready to feel more secure in your communication, experience greater intimacy within even the most challenging of moments, and are looking to find winning solutions for your relationship needs, join me for your self discovery call. A 30 minute dedicated call to learning more about your feelings, needs and what your next step might be to serve you best. Not ready for a call yet? Download my FREE eBook, The Art of Communication: The Top 6 Simple Strategies to Strengthen Your Relationships to uncover new approaches to communication and stay in the loop with Your Soulful Relating Tribe. Sign up for your self discovery call HERE.