I’ve asked the lovely Hayley West to write a guest blog this month. Hayley and…
There are lots of things that can affect a relationship. Life can get in the way. Getting caught up in chores, kids, work, friends, family, fitness, rushing from one thing to another. Lockdown might have meant we weren’t rushing from one place to another, but working, home schooling and doing everything else didn’t necessarily mean slowing down. You may feel you are drifting apart and getting that time to connect and just be with a partner becomes difficult. This starts bringing up a whole bunch of negative thoughts and feelings to the surface.
How do you really feel?
It is really important to start acknowledging how you feel about your relationship and your partner. Are you starting to feel disconnected with them? Are you feeling frustrated and angry at them? Do you worry they have lost interest in you? You don’t know what to say to them when you are alone?
Tune into these emotions coming up. A really good way is to journal how you are feeling. Write down all the feelings you are having, without judging them. Whether you think you should be feeling an emotion or not, it doesn’t matter, you are feeling that and it is true for you and judging it doesn’t help move on from it.
Allow yourself to feel whatever comes up. If you feel sad and want to cry, then cry. If you feel angry and want to shout, shout. The point is to identify how you are truly feeling, and allow those feelings out. When they stay trapped inside, they do you no good, and create a block to getting to the solution.
I would suggest doing the journaling part somewhere you won’t get disturbed, because then you can allow yourself to relax and let the writing flow. This isn’t a thinking exercise, it is just a start writing and see what comes up exercise.
Another really good way to do this is that I like to do with my clients, is look into the mirror, put a timer on for about 10/15 minutes and keep repeating “I feel …” until your subconscious fills the gap. It is about relaxing into the exercise and letting your feelings flow. If nothing is coming up, you keep repeating “I feel, I feel, I feel…” until something comes up. I love this exercise because it always brings up things you weren’t even aware of.
Awareness is the whole point of journaling or the ‘I feel’ exercise, because we hold emotions we aren’t always fully aware of. And identifying them is key to change.
What’s your self-talk saying?
So now we have worked on feelings. Next you want to start thinking about the thoughts you are having. We have thousands of thoughts a day. A lot of them just repeat the same thing. Again, we aren’t always aware of the things we are saying to ourselves. When it comes to your relationship, what are you saying to yourself? It could be “I’m too tired to do something with my partner”, or “why does he never do what I ask him?”, or “I don’t have time for him right now”, or “does he really love me?”. These are just a few examples to give you an idea, but these thoughts can be a WHOLE bunch of other stuff.
Having these thoughts on repeat in your mind will affect how you behave in that relationship. These thoughts can be coming from deep rooted beliefs you have (not always beliefs we want to accept but come from things like childhood experiences or past relationship experiences). These beliefs and thoughts affect your relationship.
For example, if a woman grew up in an environment where her parents divorced and was surrounded by others whose relationships broke down, she may hold the belief that all relationships fail. Now, as an adult in a relationship, she wants a long lasting and loving relationship. But this deep rooted belief is in her subconscious and affecting her thoughts.
So, maybe life has caught up with her and she’s not spending time with her husband and she’s starting to have thoughts along the lines of “this is the start to the end of my relationship because relationships always fail”. This thought will affect her actions, her behaviour. She may decide it isn’t worth fighting for her relationship. She may have decided the relationship is over and gets frustrated and angry and takes it out on her partner. She may unconsciously be sabotaging the relationship to fulfil that belief.
I know none of us want to think we purposely sabotage what we want, but unfortunately we do. That is why being aware of thoughts is really important. Noticing what you are saying to yourself, noticing when your behaviour is fulfilling that thought. Noticing means you can catch yourself and break the pattern.
You can journal on your thoughts. Let yourself relax and write whatever comes to mind, without thinking about it. Just get it out. This can reveal a lot. Do this regularly until you start catching those thoughts when you have them. Acknowledge the thought and let it go. You can replace it with a more positive thought.
Align to what you want
This brings us on nicely to aligning to what you desire in your relationship. What is it you want? What does your ideal relationship look like? What things do you do with your partner? If you could have your life any way, how would it be?
You can journal this, or daydream about it. What is that relationship you desire? Only you know that and only you can make it happen. This is such a nice way to spend time. Really tuning into how it feels to be in that relationship. Put some music on that makes you feel good, and let your imagination go wild.
The final part I want you to think about is what steps do you take to start creating that relationship you want to have. So, for example, if life is busy and you and your partner are not spending enough quality time together, just the two of you, how can you make that happen? Maybe it is a case of you and your partner scheduling an hour together, just like you would anything else. Put it into the diary, so there is no way anything else can take priority. And talk to your partner. They may be feeling the same way as you. Chances are they have their own fears and worries about the relationship. Actually talking about what’s coming up for you and deciding to take steps together to change where you are at is huge.
Commit to those steps.
We all have our own blocks and negative stuff going on. Being in a relationship can bring this stuff to the surface, and our partner’s blocks are going to come to the surface too. It can become easy to trigger each other without realising it.
With this work we want to stop that negative cycle by being responsible for our thoughts, feelings and actions and acknowledging them and changing the pattern, so we can create the life we desire.
If your relationship isn’t where you want it to be, don’t struggle alone, get in touch and we can have a chat (free, no obligation chat) and see how I may be able to help you.