If your love relationship or marriage has become something you never wanted (and maybe never thought it would be), any– or all– of the above words may accurately describe how you feel right now.
Decades (or maybe not so long) ago you had a vision of what it would be like when you finally found the right partner. Even if you weren’t dreaming of your perfect match or soulmate, you probably had a clear idea of what you wanted in a relationship.
You imagined how the two of you would really listen to each other and share your deepest feelings. In your mind, you could see how affectionate, loving and passionate you and your future partner would be with one another.
When you finally did meet and start a relationship with your partner, this delicious vision came true– maybe not perfectly, but at least partly so. The two of you DID share a special connection that was from the heart. You were open and available to one another and you didn’t doubt how important you were to your partner.
Somewhere along the line, something changed.
You no longer feel the same closeness as before and your relationship seems to have lost its spark. You can’t remember the last time you two actually laughed together.
“How did we end up here?”
When you can’t find the sweet and loving relationship you used to have, it’s time to decide where your commitment is. Are you committed to continuing on a path that’s unfulfilling and maybe even emotionally unhealthy or are you ready for a turnaround?
A turnaround can be a subtle shift that happens within you and that your partner isn’t even aware of or it may be more noticeable. You can even invite your partner to join you in making significant changes in the way you two communicate, spend your time together (and individually), trust one another and even how you make you love.
The kind of turnaround you choose is up to you. Just be sure that you approach this change in a way that will be effective and allow your relationship to point in a new direction…one you actually want to go.
These 5 reminders will get you started:
1. Stop blaming
Blame about your current relationship gripes and problems will only keep you stuck there– or worse, it will morph disappointment into outright hostility. Every time you say things like, “If only you would ____, we would be happy,” you push your partner away from you. Every time you make him or her wrong, you move your relationship closer to disaster. And every time you stop a blame mid-thought or mid-sentence and speak your truth differently, you make room for a positive turnaround.
2. Be honest with yourself
You’ve got to be completely honest with yourself about the role you play in the disconnecting patterns in your relationship. Recognize your specific habits that keep you dissatisfied or take you two apart. While there are things that your partner does that also isn’t good for your relationship, acknowledge what you often say or do because that’s where you have the most power to make a change.
3. Update your relationship vision
Remember that “dream relationship” you used to have? You’ve grown over time and so has your partner and it’s likely that your “dream” is no longer a fit. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pencil and write or even draw what your new relationship vision looks like. Get excited about what you want and share about it with your partner.
4. Get specific
As you come up with the new direction for your relationship, it’s okay to have general hopes like, “We’ll be happy” or “Passion and romance will revive,” but be sure to get specific too. What particular words and actions do you associate with your updated relationship vision? What old habits will you replace with new ones? From this specific list of words and actions, start making changes in your own behavior. You can also create agreements with your partner around them.
5. Build positive momentum
Next, put into motion your agreements and start practicing your own new habits that are supportive of the turnaround you want. And be sure to watch. Watch for any signs of improvement. Watch for signs that you and your partner are following through and that your relationship is beginning to shift (in a direction you want to go).
Allow momentum to build up as you notice what’s getting better and what you like and appreciate. Let that momentum carry you and your partner closer together.