Thursday, February 26, 2015

Don't push the river uphill.

If the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome then, in my experience, when it comes to relationships most people are mad.

Again and again I hear people saying 'I really want my relationship to work'  'I really want things to be different' - yet do nothing to change the way they relate to the other person.  

The bottom line is you can talk until you are blue in the face but nothing will change unless you do. 

Trying to make a relationship work by getting the other person to change is like trying to push a river uphill.  Why bother?  It is a waste of energy and the moment you stop it reverts back to its old path.

Many women have come through my door heartbroken about the state of their relationship.  Although their circumstances may be very different, the pattern is always the same: communication has broken down, intimacy is gone, there's no fun, no spark and if it weren't for the children they'd be gone.
Most of time any attempt to talk to their partner results in the same response: denial.  Although it may show up in different forms here are the most common forms of denial:
The Fixer:  They like to be in charge and come up with the answers.  'If you got a job/took up a hobby/went for a weekend with your'd feel better about yourself'.  In other words 'you're the problem, our relationship is fine'.

The Ostrich: Confronted with a problem they suddenly get so busy that they're exhausted and too tired to talk during the week and will do miraculously tackle long forgotten jobs at the weekend - anything to avoid a conversation.  They believe if they keep their head in the sand long enough the problem/subject matter will go away.

The Rabbit:  Looks at you like a rabbit caught in the headlights and then says 'I don't know what you want me to say', leaving you speechless and ready to run them down. 

The Raging Bull:  Turns the tables straight away and starts pointing the finger at you and your inadequacies.  

The Teddy Bear:  Listens attentively, declares their love for you, cooks a lovely meal - saying how silly you are, that we've got an amazing life together and that you're not to think like that.  

Like I said, denial.

If either partner feels there is a relationship problem, there's a relationship problem for both partners and denial is the kiss of death.

I believe you can initiate conversation about a relationship 3 times and if the other person isn't responsive and actively engages in addressing the issue, then the best thing to do is stop talking and take action.  

When words are no longer getting through, you need to communicate clearly with your behaviour.  I don't mean emotional blackmail, or making empty threats just a clean, clear-cut demonstration of how you feel about things. 

Of course its scary.  Of course it takes courage to really address issues in a relationship, but its scarier to spend years pushing the river uphill only to find that when you stop you drown due to exhaustion.  

A relationship is a boat that rides the river of life and the woman is the captain; she is in touch with the emotional currents and intuitively reads the ebbs and flow, she feels the direction the relationship is taking.  If things are stagnant, it is time to develop skills to harness the power and potential of the river and lead your relationship through tricky waters and back into the flow.

Stop pushing the river uphill and use the energy to work on yourself first.  You may need to get the help and support to develop the confidence, courage and communication skills that allow you to take your true position as leader in the relationship,  the same skills you need to make your life work for you - whatever direction the river takes.

No comments: