Lockdown or not, being unhappy in a relationship will affect us in many different ways from low self-esteem to struggling to concentrate at work, etc… More often than not, it does lead to a vicious cycle of more and more unhappiness.
It can be a very confusing time too. Should we do something about it? Is it actually that big an issue? Maybe time will make it better… Unfortunately, the common way to deal with it is often to wait or hope and unconsciously give up trying. Even worse, we then start to expect the other person to do something about it because they surely can’t be happy either, and more importantly, it would mean that they care. Incidentally, the other person is either thinking or feeling exactly the same or they are completely oblivious to it.
So at this rate, nothing is going to get solved any time soon… The relationship then often becomes a game of blame or about scoring points and trying to win one over on the other person. The focus shifts to being right as opposed to being happy, instead of what it should actually be – a nice, safe and lovely environment for both partners to flourish and have an enriched life.
So if this is you, then there’s only one solution. And I doubt you will like it because it is the one thing that people are scared of doing… Talk. But not just talk for the sake of talking, talk constructively.
Then come out all the excuses under the sun as to why that’s not the answer, what the other person is going to say or not say, that it’s been tried before, etc… And trust me, over the years I’ve probably heard them all. The upshot is that if you don’t talk, the only way your relationship is going is south so unless that’s what you want, then there really is no other alternative.
Far too many people think that’s what they do but most conversations are usually pointing the finger of blame and reeling a painfully long list of how needs aren’t met, how they are right and how the other person is wrong. That will not induce anything other than more damage, with a good dose of resentment because it’s just white noise.
So here are a few pointers on how to do have that talk, in a constructive way that will get you results.
Do it as soon as you can
The longer you leave it, the worst it will become. One of the reasons why is that once we start to stop having all of these important conversations with our partner (and have them in our own heads instead), we actually start the grieving process of the relationship. I cannot stress enough how essential it is to talk and to voice the problem constructively.
Create a communicative environment
The conversation should be about exchanging your opinions as opposed to blame as I said earlier. We all believe that our opinions are right and the best possible, so we want to show the other person why their point of view is warped, for their own good. The problem is that they also believe that they are right, so it leads to confrontations. Arguments happen when we don’t feel understood or listened to, so it is crucial that both are given the chance to give their side of the story. You may not like what they have to say but it is essential that you listen as opposed to just defend yourself before they have finished talking. it’s about understanding the way both of you are feeling as well as why. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes issues are deeply rooted and actually beyond salvation but this is exactly why you should talk as soon as you can.
Always always always start talking once you have both eaten. You’ll get much further that way and there are less chances for tempers to flare.
In order to have a constructive conversation, here is what you should go through first and ask yourself:
- What is the problem and how is it a problem?
- What triggered the situation?
- Is it a problem just for you or for both?
- Why did it start in the first place? Why has it carried on growing? Why has it been allowed to become such a massive thing between you two?
- What can you actually do about it?
- What can they do about it?
- What outcomes would you be happy with? Note I said outcomes – look at 3 different ones you would be satisfied with so you have something to offer.
Not just with the other person, with yourself first and foremost. Refrain from assuming or hinting, explain clearly the way you feel and why. Is there a pattern and the same problem keeps on coming back? If so, there is probably a deeper reason as to why that is and that’s what needs to be uncovered.
At the end of the day, it comes down to how much you value the relationship. This may sound a bit drastic but how you would feel on your death bed reflecting back on your life? Is this relationship serving you? Would you wish you had walked away sooner or would you wish you had tried harder? Only you know the answer and only you know what to do about it…
Do you want to get your life back on track? Sometimes, we just can’t see the wood from the trees & we need a bit of some clarity about what needs to happen next… Download your FREE Life Assessment Toolkit and start moving forward.