Posted on Friday, August 14 2009 by
It has been a while since I last wrote a post for our articles. This is something it has been on my mind for a while now. Firstly because I have been there before and secondly because I can see someone close to me being in a similar situation.
Before I met my soul mate in my lovely wife, I had two very consuming long term relationships, which in the end made me very lonely. Looking back at them from where I am today, it makes me realize that I missed out on a lot of quality time with people that I love. The question I didn’t ask was: Is this relationship a two way street? , who is giving and who is taking in the relationship. There was one thing that kept me in both relationships and that was guilt. Yes I felt guilty and I was allowing my partners to play the guilt game with me. I want to make clear that I am not blaming my former partners for this, I allowed this to happen. I made myself feeling guilty and instead of standing up for myself I curled up and closed down to protect myself.
At one stage I had my brother visiting from overseas and staying with us a couple of months after we got engaged. From that moment on he was the intruder and I was responsible for this. The consequence was that I didn’t spend quality time with him and in the end it turned out to be a loose/ loose situation for everyone. This didn’t resolve the conflict I had with my fiancé and it didn’t help my relationship with my brother either.
The other problem was that my partner at the time was very jealous and loved to drink. Most times when we went out we would end up fighting, because I was talking to other women for too long or just looked at someone the wrong way. This went on and on and in the end I didn’t go out anymore just to keep the peace. Did this help the relationship? No it didn’t it just made the relationship very flat. But for some reason I couldn’t bring myself to end it. I felt like a prisoner, as I kept punishing myself in the process.
People around me noticed the change in me and they saw that the relationship didn’t have a future. Did I listen to them? No I didn’t and it took a long time until both of us realized how unhappy we really were and we eventually went separate ways. In the end we were unable to resolve the conflict as we kept adding to the unhappiness with every argument we had. It grew bigger and bigger until there was no turning back.
Here are a couple of questions that you can ask yourself to recognize if your relationship is in trouble. If you don’t address them eventually the relationship will fail. I am not saying that if you experience any of this you need to leave your partner. No, take some time and address the issues with your partner. If necessary seek help from either a relationship coach or relationship counselor.
1) Do you feel empowered in your relationship?
I believe this is a very important point. As I mentioned before every relationship is a two-way street, you are there to support your partner and your partner is there to support you. Ask yourself is my partner supporting my ideas and is my partner giving me constructive criticism. If not you may stop trying and stop being yourself and ultimately you stop growing as person. Your partner might not realize what they are doing, so if you feel a lack of support it is important to let them know.
2) Do you laugh every day with your partner?
Laughing is the best medicine for many things in life and certainly for relationships. Take some laugh time with your partner; this will help you form a closer bond. When you laugh you cannot hold on to any negative emotions, this is a great remedy for a looming argument.
3) Is your partner listening to you?
This comes back to support from your partner. You have a right to have your own opinion and your partner needs to learn to listen to them. If you feel you are never heard, let them know how you feel about this.
4) Are your arguments turning into screaming matches?
Whilst it is normal for couples to have disagreements, they must never turn into screaming matches. I have learned the hard way that a fight is a waste of time. People get angrier and angrier and some even turn to violence. Just think what else you could have done with this time and you soon realize this is not worth it. As I said it is very normal that you disagree with your partner from time to time, after all both of you would have a completely different experiences and point of reference. There is usually no right or wrong, both opinions are valid according to the person’s belief system. You can see there are no winners.
Talk about this with your partner and when you disagree, have a signal that tells both of you to step back. Take a deep breath and have a laugh. You will find this is a great way of turning the argument around. You can also talk to a mediator, which can be a common friend.
5) Is your partner keeping you away from family or friends?
Well this is a difficult one and something that is close to my heart. Whilst your partner should be the most important person in your life, there might be others like close friends or family members, that you would like to spent quality time with. Do not allow your partner to make you feel guilty about spending time with them. You will loose out on those moments. They are once in a lifetime. We cannot turn back the clock. I still feel guilty towards my brother as he was witnessing a lot of the fights that we had, and I didn’t spend quality-bonding time with him.
Remember your family and friends are a part of you, they played a big part in forming who you are and your partner fell in love with YOU and not a person that they want you to be.