Today we have a very sincere and important question that one of our readers sent in to us and our suggestions for what she might consider doing to solve this unhappy relationship situation.
Whether you’re a man or a woman and regardless of your situation, we think there are some really good take-ways for you in here that you’ll benefit greatly from.
Question from a Reader>>>
Dear Susie and Otto–
“How can I implement your suggestions and hope for any success when my husband refuses to believe that there is anything to improve?
“His answer to everything is… “I’m perfectly happy–if there is a problem, it’s YOUR problem, so you’d better fix your problem and then everything would be OK. Are all men like this?
“Despite your assurances that changes I make within myself will offer him options to change, it has not worked that
way, and I’m tired. Tired of trying every suggestion, being more open, listening without judgment, all the things you and all the other self-help gurus preach, and seeing no results.
“It’s very frustrating. I am pulling more and more into my own world and spending time with people who relate to me the way I am and with whom I can connect without “talking on eggshells.” It’s just too exhausting, so I’ve resigned myself to living with a ‘roommate.’
“It’s sad, but my marriage will never be one of connectedness, soul-mate-ness. It’s just two flawed people living under the same roof, trying to get through each day.”
We can understand how painful this is for you and believe us when we say that it isn’t just men who don’t take any responsibility for fixing upsets in a relationship.
Women can be just as guilty of this too.
We’ve worked with enough couples with similar stories that we know the drill…
You feel like you try and try and try and nothing ever seems to change so you do what a lot of people do.
You give up and “settle” for mediocrity in your relationship or worse.
We’re certainly not blaming you, but…
Everyone’s entitled to live their life in whatever they want but if you want more love, passion, connection or anything else in your relationship, here’s a suggestion…
Do something–ANYTHING but don’t ever settle.
That’s the death knell of relationships.
Don’t settle for what you are currently doing in REACTION to your partner.
We know that you’re fed up with doing everything in the relationship and trying ideas that don’t seem to budge him
from his position.
Here’s the thing…
He may or may not want to change but if you start changing and taking yourself out of your old “relationship dance,” something will shift.
Paula and her husband were coaching clients of ours and over the years before coming to us, Paula and her husband increasingly fought more and more–even about little things. Paula felt like she couldn’t say or do anything right.
He seemed to be constantly irritated (and she thought it was always about her) and they spent a lot of time in separate rooms during evening hours–him on the computer and Paula watching tv or reading a book.
She wanted the closeness they used to have and although she didn’t want to fight with him, it always ended up that way.
He wasn’t interested in talking about their relationship and Paula was very frustrated.
Here’s what we suggested to make her unhappy relationship better…
1. Look at what part you’re playing in your “relationship dance.”
Simply replay the action in one of your troublesome interactions and don’t pay attention to what your partner does–pay attention to what you do.
2. When you really see how you withdraw, fight back, defend yourself or whatever else you do, take a breath and don’t do that thing you’ve always done.
In other words, don’t keep repeating what doesn’t work.
3. Say what’s true for you and don’t defend it.
If your partner wants to fight over it, don’t do it. Take yourself out of the fight.
4. Get clear about what you’re committed to and figure out what you’re willing to tolerate in your relationship.
Make sure you don’t just “settle” and commit to something bigger than you can see for yourself right now.
Paula started practicing these ideas (as well as others) and her husband began to actually reveal more about himself to her than he had in years. They are also having far fewer arguments.
Is Paula’s relationship exactly the way she wants it? No, not completely but Paula has seen that it’s finally going in
the right direction–and she’s happy with the changes she’s seeing in herself and in her husband.
So to our reader–Keep experimenting and growing as a person by trying different ideas.
Do it for your relationship but more importantly, do it for you.
No matter what your partner does or doesn’t do, you have the choice to keep growing.
You can also consider other options if it becomes too painful for you and you can’t fathom living in this way forever.
If you need help sorting out one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make, check out our “Should you stay or should you go?” book.
The truth is that if you’re growing, your partner may also choose to change.
Dr. David Schnarch in his book, “Intimacy & Desire” says this about marriage and love relationships…
“Marriage asks, Are you willing to stand up now, or do things have to get worse?…Love relationships prod you to stand up and deal with things that frighten you.”
Our question to you is this…
Are you going to stand up and deal with what frightens you or are you going to let it get worse?
Whether your relationship issues are overwhelming or not very big, take this opportunity to love yourself, your partner and your relationship by taking action to stop your behaviors that hold you back from having the love you want.