Relationship Salvage - Is there hope for your Lovelife?
Updated: Mar 26
Does your love life have you feeling in the dumps? Does your significant other drive you crazy?! Have you lost that lovin’ feelin’? Do you feel there’s no hope for your future together? Whether you are married, in a long-term relationship or even a considerably new one, we have all had similar thoughts and questions. You are definitely NOT alone. Let’s see if we can dig through the rubbish and salvage the feelings that, once upon a time made you call them, “the love of your life”.
Relationships of the romantic type, can be tough. Unlike all the other relationships in your life, such as a family member, coworker, or bestie, you don’t, usually, have the added stress of SEX or BILLS, etc. Well, unless you’re friends with benefits and then, ummm, that’s a whole separate blog post. When you add something like SEX and Intimacy and if you live together, also juggling household duties, and bill payments, it’s a lot of pressure. We are just human beings trying to move forward in a positive way, and so it’s hard to banish all the negative. In fact, somehow it just feels easier to give in, and join the negativity bandwagon.
In love, it’s like a story. There’s a beginning, middle and ending. Who knows how their story will go, but in the beginning, we assume the ending is “until death do we part”. Ps. You all know that means ‘natural death’, right?! I understand that during some very heated disagreements, we might envision cutting their brakelines and their car going off a cliff, but deep down inside we do love them. And we would never go so far....not to mention the rest of your life behind bars - we could never get Uber Eats again! That's not the kinda story we're going for here anyway!
In the BEGINNING of the story, it’s SO FUN. You feel kinda giddy when you hear their name. You get butterflies when you see them. Everything is new - exploring each other is amazing. You wonder how you could ever live without that person. You wish every phone call, text or DM is that person. You have pet names for each other. Who doesn’t wanna be called Snookums?? We love it! We think they are 'the best thing since sliced bread'. I know, it’s an old saying, but once upon a time, I guess it was really, really an amazing invention. I’m using it. Anyway, you know how it feels. We all love, love. This is the feeling we want to harness for a lifetime.
Then there’s the longer MIDDLE portion. This is where all the peaks and valleys lay. As we embark on the middle section of our love story, perhaps we have moved in together or got married. We have some troubles, but we are still on ’a high’ from the beginning part of our story, so the anger doesn’t last long. We move on from disagreements rather quickly and remember how much we love that person. Down for a little ‘make-up sex’ anyone? Of course! That still works!
Eventually, that may cease to work. Continuing further into our ‘middle’ portion of the story, one or both of you are holding on to resentments. Maybe it’s a power struggle. Maybe it’s the amount of money one makes and the other is not pulling their weight. Perhaps we feel like the other one has changed. They aren’t calling you Snookums anymore!!! Did you add kids to the mix? This adds another level of difficulty. You may begin to have a shift in duties. One of you is putting in, what they feel, is more effort than the other. At this time we are well into our love story but the ‘love‘ portion is waning a bit. It’s feeling more like just ‘a story’ Or even a ‘sad story’.
Near the end of the middle portion one of you or both may feel like you don’t even wanna be around the other person. Resentment, anger, bitterness. There’s no way they can even think I would wanna have sex with that! We’ve resigned to calling them, “That”. That? What? Where have we gone wrong? It feels like we are too far gone to even bother. Do we just call it quits?
Then there’s the ENDing. How do we navigate this? Is it gonna be a divorce or do we live unhappily ever after? Is there even a way to resuscitate this relationship? Is all hope lost?
We think the easy answer is to just move on. If we move on, we can start fresh. We can find someone new and have that all-consuming love once again that we felt in the beginning. And it’s all their fault anyway. Of course we blame it all on them. They didn’t contribute enough. They didn’t love us enough. They didn’t help out enough. They didn’t communicate well enough. They didn’t spend enough time with us. They, they, they. I will just move on and find another who will do better. In some cases, it’s true. There may not be any hope. (Note: IF you find yourself in any kind of abusive situation, please feel free to NOT take my advice. Seek the help of someone more qualified and move on.) But for the majority of relationships, let’s just try a few methods that might help to get your relationship back on track. And remember, you may just find the next person has a whole new set of "didn't do enough..." Before moving on, I suggest we take a deeper dive into our current situation.
1st - Take a good long look at yourself. Hard to hear. This may be the most difficult, but the most necessary. Even if you end your relationship, please take a peek into your communication styles and how you approach and/or handle conflict. IF you don’t fix yourself first, you will only attract the exact same relationship over and over again. I guarantee it will help you get off that ever-squeaky hamster wheel that has you feeling like you pick the same type of person every time. Working on one‘s self is a very eye-opening experience. You can and should do this while in your current relationship. It will help with, and even avoid future conflict. I know, it’s hard to admit you may have contributed to the negativity. We all wanna be right. And sometimes it’s ok to be wrong. Even if you are right, sometimes it just doesn’t matter. It’s not worth being right and being alone. I mean, wow, yeah you are right! You are always right! …. So… Now what. Who cares? I know. It’s a control issue. We all want to be in control of something! When I learned to let go of a bit of control, my world felt so much better. I understood people better. I wasn’t focusing on always being right. I realized there are other ways than just mine. Trust me when I say it lifted a weight off that just floated away and readied me for dealing with my own relationship in a healthier way.
Another problem that we sometimes encounter is holding on to the past. If we don’t let go, we cannot grow. If we’re always looking back, how on earth can we move forward? If you have talked about a particular problem and kissed and made up, you can’t keep re-hashing the same issue over and over. Perhaps you like to rub it in here and there to make yourself feel better or you like to make them feel bad about themself. This is not nice, heathy or helpful. Maybe it is because of your own fear that ‘it’ might happen again in the future. No matter how big or small. Some of us have been cheated on in previous relationships. We carry that into current relationships. We make the mistake of holding our current partner responsible for things they haven’t even done. This is self-sabotaging behaviour. We must become aware that we can be ruining current relationships for no good reason. It just pushes people further away from us. OR, if it was your current that did the cheating and you have worked through it, you cannot keep bringing it up. It’s not fair. It doesn’t allow for growth in your relationship.
2nd - Take a look at the other person in a different way than you have in the past. You CANNOT change people. Only they can come to that decision. Look at the person you are with, with a different set of eyes. Don’t just look at what makes you angry with them lately. Instead, what makes them do things the way they do? Try and truly understand what makes them tick. How were they raised? Maybe in the house they grew up, their value was in how well they kept their things clean. That could translate to them not understanding how you don’t care if the bed’s not made, or the dishes are left in the sink. They take it personal when you don’t notice every little thing they cleaned. They feel undervalued, get offended and eventually resentful that you don’t share this need to clean. They think “at least praise the hell out of me for job well done”. And on the other hand you didn’t grow up like that. Maybe someone did the cleaning when you weren’t even around and you just never thought twice about it. You may have grown up with value being on how much money you can save at the grocery store, or how much money you could make, etc. It’s possible they stink at communication because of the way a parent was with them in the past. They may have learned that if they just kept their mouth shut and didn’t say a word, it would go away. It worked when mom or dad yelled at them for something. Stay quiet, let them yell, and it will be over soon. You may want them to speak and they think it‘s best they say nothing, which makes you fume even more…
Have some compassion and understanding. So, if we try to understand why they are the way they are, you will find yourself angry at them far less often. You won’t be so offended by the little things that you think they are doing on purpose. You will have practiced Empathy. You will forgive quicker, move on faster, let go easier.
3rd - Communication! Our communication skills are terrible. We are fabulous at MIScommunication though. One great thing is that we all wanna be heard these days.
The problem is that everyone hears things differently. It’s a funny thing how two people can be in the same room, watch the same news and hear two completely different versions!! We pick out certain key words and they pick out different key words and therefore our focus is now in different areas. I have a suggestion to couples trying to ‘hear’ each other while trying to resolve a problem. Practice repeating, in their own words, what they hear the other saying. This way they can be corrected immediately in case of misinterpretation leading to miscommunication.
4th - Butterflies don’t last forever. Make peace with that. Let’s be real. It’s an amazing feeling in the beginning of most romantic relationships. It’s addictive. We want that feeling forever. For the vast majority of people, that tingly feeling is not sustainable forever. BUT, there are ways to have fleeting moments. MEMORIES!!! This is a technique that works. When things get old and boring, we tend to focus on the negative, which is counter-intuitive. You will find yourself in a downward spiral. It’s not good for you or your love life. Let me give you just the smallest example of something negative, and how it can snowball; So, your partner has upset you because they left the toilet seat in a way that you don’t like. You’re mad. You get in an argument. Later that day, they come in for a kiss. You deny them. Now they are upset. The next day, you’ve gotten over your little temper, and you go in for a kiss. They deny you. Now nobody is talking to anyone. This goes on and each one of you just adds and adds on. You get to a point where a week has passed and now everything that they do is pissing you off! It snowballs out of control. If we had practiced the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd way of doing things, this wouldn’t even happen. I’m asking you try something different If you wanna save things.
Remember when you had butterflies? Remember some of your best times. Focus on that. Did you have a wedding? Remember the best parts of that day. When you are in the car or wherever you listen to music, put on your wedding song! Really let yourself remember that day. Remember that first dance, the kiss, the love. The music really brings you back to that place, time and best of all, Those Feelings! Make some time to watch the video again. Look at old photos. If there was no wedding, there will be other times you shared. It doesn’t matter that we don’t make photo albums the way we used to. You can still download everything to a computer and go through some pics of the first year you met; clubs you frequented; an amazing vacation you had together. The only rule to this is that you focus on the time. Do not veer off and focus on the ’now’. That’s negative and will never work. Truly focus on how you felt during all those times together, falling in love.
5th - Everyone has imperfections. Try and remember that none of us are perfect. We don‘t set out wanting to hurt each other. Well, when we are in a negative space and almost hating each other, we may fantasize of hurting one another, but STOP! It’s not helping. You don’t want to be the one who hinders your progress. Learn that yes, they aren’t as perfect as you thought they once were, but guess what… Neither are you! You may as well make your peace with the fact that they may never put the toilet seat the way you like it. I’m guessing they like it the other way. Let go of the little things and even some of the big things. Compromise. It’s the only way. They will never be perfect and you, too, will never be perfect.
Implementing the 5 steps above will have you on the road to salvaging your relationship, one step at a time. There’s a lot more work to do, but this is a Great start. Once you begin to make the changes to yourself, you will find your partner will receive you differently. You may actually get what you want more and more often, allowing you to fall more in love each day.
1. Look at one’s self & Let go of some control
2. Let go of the past
3. Communicate better
4. Butterflies don’t last forever
5. Everyone has imperfections
Thanks for tuning in.
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