There is No Cookie-Cutter Solution
By: Nozomu (Naz) Ozaki
Perhaps, you’ve met your soul mate, but things have become different and now the relationship has gone sour, despite your love for one another. It may have been that life-changing events have happened in your relationship, in addition trust issues have developed with one another. Or your relationship doesn’t feel as fresh and romantic as it had before. Perchance over time the “fire” between you and your partner seems to have diluted. As the case may be you don’t feel like “yourself”, or maybe you feel as if your partner has become a “different person”. Your relationship may have caused stress and other issues for the both of you. You’ve tried to make it better on your own, but nothing has worked. If every time you bring up your concerns with him or her and it leads to an argument… You are left wondering, “What did I get into?”
In all probability, one thing you can do is to listen to your partner, without interrupting. Of course, it can be very difficult to do this because your partner may blame or attack you for what has happened. But hold on! Try paying attention to his or her experience, behind their words. As a therapist, I observe that many people feel hurt by the other person in their relationship. When it comes to talking about the issues at hand an intense emotion like anger comes out, instead of the feeling of being hurt. Once you find it, you might want to point it out to your partner. Using phrases such as “I wonder if you too are feeling hurt by our relationship?” this may help to shift your conversation. Later, you may find it’s also a good time for you to bring up and talk about your own experience. Stay honest and clear without blaming or attacking your partner. Remember, you care about him or her AND about yourself. Because, it is new type of conversation for both of you this may feel uncomfortable, but stay with these uncomfortable feelings.
We bring a lot of hopes, expectations, including dreams into our relationships and they likely have to do with our core values and our identity of who we are. No wonder things can get heated up very quickly! You want to be clear about how you feel in your relationship. Reflect on what you are looking for from your relationship (financial stability, playfulness, children, your own space, etc.) and communicate this with your partner in a caring and sensitive manner. We grow and change over time along with our priorities and plans. Be honest about these changes for yourself and your partner, to limit surprises. If the change is drastic or fundamental to your values and identity you may come to the realization that you and your partner may no longer be compatible. This can be difficult, but it is more important that you stay true to yourself than you stay loyal to your partner.
Needless to say, relationships are very complex! There is no cookie-cutter solution. Books, comments or blogs may help, or it may not. Your solution needs to be tailored to your unique relationship. When you’ve tried many things on your own and still haven’t been able to resolve your issues, it may be the time for a professional’s help.