Rarely do I outright tell clients to end their relationships. I like to trust that eventually we gain the perspective and energy necessary to make the decisions that serve us best; however, I’ve supported countless clients over the years as their relationships unwravelled, and some themes seem to emerge again and again.
If one or more of the following is true for you, it might be worth reevaluating your relationship status.
1. You talk about the relationship improving in some hypothetical future.
In other words, you’re convinced the relationship will be better “when“: I know he’ll appreciate me more when his friends get married; She’ll be more supportive of my anxiety disorder when we’ve finished school; We’ll enjoy each other’s company more when we move in together.
Many believe their partners will change — for example become more committed, understanding, or affectionate — when they hit a milestone or some external stressor is reduced. This certainly does happen, but it’s not a guarantee. If you knew they’d never change, would you still be in it for the long haul?
Base your desire to be in your relationship on your present experience, not on some future idea of what you want it to be.
2. You’re feeling pressured to change in one or more areas, and it makes you feel less worthy as a result.
It’s one thing for your partner to ask you to stop putting so much garlic in the salad dressing. It’s another thing for them to ask you to lose 20 pounds or get a better job. You want to feel loved by your partner unconditionally. If they want you to change, it’s likely a projection of their own insecurity. Tell them to connect with a counselor and let you keep being you.
3. You feel loved and supported … when you’re happy.
Many of us feel loved and supported in our relationships when we’re feeling happy, confident and comfortable. But what happens when we’re having a “low” day, when we’re mega-stressed at work, when we’re bedridden with the stomach flu, or when we’re paralyzed by anxiety? What happens when we lose someone we love, get laid off at work, or get a diagnosis that turns our world upside down?
When we feel pressured to maintain a certain emotional equilibrium around our partners, we breed secondary emotions — guilt, shame, and anxiety — for experiencing anything other than happiness and calm. Inevitably, life will throw more things than just happiness and calm your way, so it’s important feel safe feeling those less less comfortable emotions in the presence of your partner.relationships,relationships,relationships