(Please note that this article is not referring to relationships that are abusive, either physically or mentally. If you are in an abusive relationship, please seek out the most appropriate support for yourself.)
Sometimes, it is wrong.
We know or have known from the beginning that this relationship is not quite right for us.
But what about relationships that you were entirely sure that they were the one?' But now you doubt it, and there are multiple reasons that it is not right anymore? It just feels so hard it must be wrong - right?
You put so much effort in, but you feel empty inside. You feel like nothing is right; you argue, miscommunicate. Even the days where you go on dates or do fun activities together don't go the way you want them to, or you think they should.
You end up feeling helpless and can only see what is wrong with your partner and your relationship. You feel frustrated and cannot understand why they behave the way they do. Small things irritate you that never bothered you before.
Your partner may seem shut down, and the struggle to get them to open up seems impossible.
Maybe there is a power struggle. Perhaps your partner doesn't seem to care. Do you feel taken for granted? Has the connection you once had left the building?
Why has it changed? You ask; what happened to 'Us?'
Or you may be asking what happened to them? Why have they changed so much?
Do they put everything or everyone ahead of you?
You feel alone, and you spend all of your time telling everyone you know tales of how bad it is.
You may find you don't like them anymore.
Or do you not know what it is? It just doesn't seem to flow anymore?
Eventually, it comes to the point where you cannot see any other choice than to leave or separate, but you don't want to.
The habits you both have developed can be taken unwittingly into your next relationships if you decide to leave, and so repeating the outcome, so they are very much worth exploring.
So why do these things happen to couples who were, at one time, madly in love with each other?
Take a moment now, and choose to take responsibility for YOUR part in your relationship. Do this for the duration of reading this article. If you prefer, and you think it is in your best interests, you can go back to blaming your partner afterwards. (Clue; it isn't.)
Choosing to look at your share is not a comfortable choice; however, this gives you the power to change an otherwise helpless situation without separating. Is it valuable for you to know you did everything you could to save the relationship before you leave? If so, this is your opportunity to delve deeper and make some changes for yourself.
So what did happen? Consider the following and see if any resonate with you. You do need to be brutally honest with yourself. Kidding yourself that you had nothing to do with it isn't serving anyone.
The good news is when you do that, you can also create changes.
The next good news is that, as my title suggests, just because it feels like this at the moment doesn't necessarily mean that you are with the wrong person.
Mistakes that we made in the smallest of ways can add up and create something different than we wanted. By changing these behaviours, it is absolutely possible to turn your relationship around and see your partner for who they really are once again, and of course, for them to see you for who you really are too.
We want our partners to bring their best selves to the relationship. We deserve that, after all, don't we? Furthermore, we also need to do the same.
When you recognise what has brought you to this point, you can change it. As a Relationship Coach, I have seen couples with very little hope, on the brink of separation, or even going through separation bring their relationship back to life in a far shorter period of time than it took to ruin it.
Here are a few possible reasons why you may be questioning the integrity of your relationship:
Unfortunately, this has been a common contention in my practice as a Relationship Coach. Couples, or one half of the couple, have not realised the impact that long hours and a distracted mind or stress levels have affected their partner and, subsequently, their relationship.
When one partner is working many hours more than the other, this can trigger guilt. This can affect their behaviour at home, causing them to either overcompensate or shut down from their partner. They become unable to face up to the conversation about how it may be affecting their loved one.
The partner who is left at home or working fewer hours can feel disconnected or insignificant. Their need for conversation and attention at the end of the day may be too much for the working partner to achieve. This type of disengagement can lead to a feeling of detachment, low self-esteem and as though they don't matter to their partner, which may be far from the truth.
Ultimately, the space this creates between them can result in them feeling as though they're leading separate lives, and so what is the point?
These issues can all be resolved with open conversation and a fair amount of vulnerability with each other. It may take some time to work through it all, and it may not be easy to know where to start, but it can be done.
This kind of issue, combined with an absence of openness or willingness to hear what our partner has to say genuinely, is just one of the matters of contention that sets in motion the mindset that our partner is not right for us.
Often in relationships, over time, habits form that no longer create the environment for the feelings that we once had. One of the most common assassins for love and intimacy are judgments and criticisms. Add to that blaming, shaming and belittling; then you have the perfect recipe for divorce.
Our reasons supposedly justify this calamitous concoction of behaviours towards our partner as to why they deserve it. We plead-but they did this or that! We seek validation from those around us who we know will be on our side. Before we know it, our relationship has become a power struggle of who is right. Our primary focus becomes what our partner does wrong rather than what we love about them, how devoted or reliable they are, how our values are the same, what a great parent or provider they are, and how much they make or made us laugh. Unsurprisingly this kills romance and sucks the joy of out our day to day lives.
I cannot stress enough how crucial changing this is to your relationship.
Just changing this one attitude could transform your relationship within a matter of weeks. You could start to notice changes within days.
The first action you can take to change this destructive behaviour is to actively notice and acknowledge all that is valuable about your partner. Throughout your day, look for things to be grateful for, even minimal attributes or contributions your partner makes. What have they added to your life? Your home, your children, your finances? What attitudes do they have that you can be grateful for? Pull yourself out of the automatic response of looking for what isn't good enough and start seeking out anything to appreciate.
If you really can't see anything, then remember what you liked about them when you met, why did you fall in love with them? Then remind them of that, in an affectionate way. 'I loved it when you did that; I loved those times.'
Gratitude and appreciation create connection and reminds them of how they used to be and may inspire them the be that way again.
You have lacked in your self-care
Taking care of others is natural to some people, and it is their way of showing love. However, the saying you teach people how to treat you is genuine. If you put others before yourself enough times, it becomes expected or at the least received without question. This can lead to a caring person feeling insignificant and taken for granted. Many wives complain that their husband doesn't contribute enough round the house whilst being blissfully unaware that they created the situation themselves. If you do this to the point where you have no time for self-care, you neglect your own needs.
So, start small. Increase time for yourself a little each day or week. Start to ask your partner to do small things to contribute or stop doing as much yourself. Make it a gradual process rather than a defiant 'I am not doing anything from now on' statement!
You took your eye off the ball
Have you neglected your relationship? Have you made it your priority? Have you paid attention, nurtured it and put time and focus into growing it?
'Where attention goes, energy flows.'
Whatever the dominant focus of your mind is, that is the area of your life that will either flourish or die. If your main focus is on your relationship, you will create more of that, whether it is in a positive or negative way.
If work is your priority, you will likely succeed at work, same with your parenting, health, and all other parts of life.
Make your relationship your absolute priority, and watch things start to shift straight away.
Lack of gratitude/not valuing your partner.
If you have taken your partner for granted or you feel taken for granted, then this will cause feelings of insignificance and hurt.
If you can honestly say that none of these things has occurred in your relationship, then maybe you are with the wrong person. However, if you recognise any of these, why not do your best to improve it and see what shows up. It can sometimes only be one thing that has affected the relationship as a whole.
If you are not sure how to do that, why not get in touch with me and consider receiving Relationship Coaching for you and your partner?
Relationship Coaching is an empowering process where two people take responsibility for their part in the relationship and are prepared to make effective changes.