From Benita’s “Being Happier” Podcast
Series: How To Attract A Better Relationship – Part 8
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“One Person Can’t Be Doing All The Relationship Work”
This message is great to read -before- you get into a relationship, so it gets off on the right track and it definitely applies to you if you’re already in a relationship where you might notice “it’s always me trying to solve all the problems”.
There =can’t= be ONE lonely person working everything out in a relationship: planning ahead, making suggestions, bringing things up from the past that were partially resolved or maybe never resolved, pointing out the problems that need addressing and facing. One person can’t do it.
If it’s you feeling like you’re doing all the work, you might feel accused by your partner or made to feel guilty when you bring things up for discussion.
You could be made to feel that you’re creating problems, that you’re causing arguments, that you’re never happy or that you never see the good stuff about the relationship.
Those types of comments are very unfair in general but especially because they are designed to distract you away from the problems again by shutting you up and making you feel there’s something wrong with you.
You might then go away and actually wonder if there is something wrong with you and consider if your partner is right. But after a few days or weeks pass, you break out of that spell and remember that the things you wanted to talk about with your partner were really important. Can’t your partner see that?
Why can’t your partner notice you’re upset that you’ve asked them a hundred or a thousand times to do something? Doesn’t your partner care about you doing all the work? Can’t they see how stressed you are? They probably don’t…
You’re spending hours a day wondering about the right words to use, the right tone to speak in, peering into your telescope waiting for when all the planets might line up so that you can plot the exact time to say something to your partner in the hope that they will be open to listen… It’s like rocket science!
What’s also happening is that you’re swinging from:
(A) feeling numb to the relationship problems to (B) losing it to ‘A’ again and the back to ‘B’ again and so on.
You grow weary and are too tired to react or say anything about anything to your partner about the issues. Other days you lose it, you can’t cope anymore and want to leave.
This cycle of feeling numb then losing it then feeling numb to losing it again, can make a very dysfunctional relationship last for years when it shouldn’t have lived that long. Perhaps there’s no cycle for you anymore, you’ve just kept yourself numb?
And why does the cycle happen? Because you live on hope and in hope that things will change and improve. One day… your partner will listen… act on what you say and become a team with you. All the while, your tolerance and patience threshold is getting higher to the point where something incredibly drastic needs to happen to jolt you out of your endless, seeming fruitless efforts.
If you notice that you’re doing all the relationship work of bringing up issues to be discussed, if you’re doing all the planning, all the instigating and all the organizing, I seriously suggest that you try stopping…
Stopping and pulling back from your relationship efforts can seem very weird and wrong, but you need to acknowledge your energy levels and look after yourself. See what happens when you stop making the relationship work…
One of two things will happen when you let go:
- The problems get worse. If this happens, it’s actually a good thing. You need to see what the relationship becomes when you’re not holding it up and making it work. When you see the long term effects of your withheld efforts, it can help you decide on what to do next, which might be to leave the relationship…
- Your partner steps up to the plate and starts doing more and listening more.
- You want option 2 of course.
And do give to yourself more 🙂 Do more of your favorite, fun things that help you feel that your life isn’t about the problems in the relationship.
To conclude, the problems in your relationship are NOT your sole responsibility. Both of you are having the relationship, the problems you have belong to both of you and both of you need to sort them out.
When you’re doing all the work, it’s unfair and tiring and creates an unhealthy ‘numb versus losing it’ cycle. Hope becomes what you live on which can keep a dysfunctional relationship going for a long time.
Pull back, give to yourself, see if the problems get worse or whether your partner steps up to the plate like you’ve been -hoping- for.