We get information from all kinds of places. If we entrust our thoughts and concerns about our relationship to other people, we will find most folks are all too ready to give us their opinions...along with their tales of "ain't it awful" and "s/he did me wrong." In fact, some of them will jump in and give you their thoughts without an invitation!
So, who you gonna believe? Your friends, your partner, or yourself? Let's look at this a bit:
Why do we go to friends when we're hurting? We want advice, comfort, affirmation and/or propping up...or, we want them to tell us what to do so we don't have to think it through. In the words of Dr. Phil:
"How's that working for ya?"
What I know is that more people are willing to end relationships than fix them? It's because they know what to do, even if it is painful. Often, they simply don't know what to do to fix them, enrich them and restore them. (That's why I'm currently writing a book about how to do that!)
It's easier for a friend to get righteously indignant on your behalf and tell you that you don't deserve to be treated that way and maybe, you should just walk out. Some people go to their friends for this. But, in most cases, relationship problems can actually be resolved or managed with good guidance and willingness on the part of the couple to move forward together rather than looking for a justification to move apart.
Who do you believe? Do you believe your friends?
Let me ask you a few question about them:
- How's their current relationship going?
- Have they learned from previous relationships and are actually creating one, or are now able to create one, that is based on love, commitment, willingness to walk through molasses together backwards?
- Are they happy generally, being more glass half full than half-empty sort of folks?
- Could they actually help you restore your relationship, or just join in the conversation about ending it?
If you don't get a big 'YES!" to those questions, don't ask them for their advice or opinion. They are not the ones to be believed. (NOTE:If you friends are "addicted to drama," for sure don't be sharing too much with them! Stick to talking about the weather.)
Do you believe your partner? This is a better step.
- Do you have open communication with your partner?
- Do you basically trust each other?
- Is your history together generally happy? (No relationship is without hiccups!)
- Do you know how to resolve issues and relationship problems together?
- If you don't, are you willing to learn?
- Have you two cared enough to get some help in the past and would you do it again now?
- Do you both want the relationship to weather this storm and be better for it?
If you don't get a big "YES!" on those questions, your relationship definitely needs to be re-thought. If it is not worth the time, energy and money to improve it, what's there now? Likely nothing but convenience and habit.
Do you believe yourself? Do you actually know what you are thinking or feeling, or, are you only aware of what you think you should be thinking or feeling? If find with new clients of mine, that the latter is usually the case. They are measuring their relationship against the shoulds they have adopted from other people, television and magazines.
Tune in to yourself:
- How do you want to be treated?
- What behaviors say "I love you" to you?
- How do you want to feel?
- What are you willing to do to restore your relationship?
- Do you have clear boundaries?
- Are your boundaries being violated, or have you never communicated them?
- Are you living in an "either this or I'm out of here" regime?
- Are you leading from self-esteem, self-confidence and a strong sense that you want to be engaged in a full-on, committed loving relationship?
- Or, are you living looking for the loopholes or side doors?
If you love your partner and there is no physical abuse going on, you can restore your relationship. Even in the case of emotional abuse, two willing partners can change the dynamics and the outcomes with some experienced, wise help, clear boundaries and consequences and a lot of love and patience. Of course, if there is only one willing partner, that's another story for another time.
So, who are you believing? And, knowing that, what course of action will you take to resolve your relationship problems?
Don't hesitate to call if you would like my help? You can come to my office or we can work on the phone.
760.593.4604 Counseling | Mediation | Anger Management