Conversation on Purpose::
Justin: “Let’s start with the question: You are in a loving relationship. 100% you and your partner. And along comes this little bundle of joy. Does your love expand, so that there is more love to go around? Or is the “pie” still the same size and you need to take a portion of the love you have for your partner and allocate it to the new member of the family?”
Jürgen: “Our ability to love is limitless! The love we can give and can experience is infinite. I think, the love is always expanding.
But, and it’s a big BUT: Time doesn’t expand! We share with our spouse a lot of time… until the first baby comes along. And suddenly this new person in our lives demands time of us…”
You can see the writing on the wall already.
Your relationship is going nowhere.
Time is running out
The passion is gone, the talking has been missing for a long time.
The sex and the children is keeping it together – somehow.
It has been running its course for far too long now.
On the other hand – is it really over? Is it beyond repair?
You have been a good team. You are good parents. There is no violence, no hatred.
There is just plain emptiness.
How can you restore this?
Warning: This blog article covers a very contentious topic and might challenge your thinking. Please bear with me and please keep an open mind when reading.
The other day a client – let’s call her Louise – said to me “Why did he cheat on me? Why did he lie to me?”
Even though I wasn’t sure if this was a rhetorical question, I tried to answer her.
What became apparent was that she felt she had no influence in the matter and felt utterly betrayed by her husband.
And I don’t blame her.
The broken trust, the humiliation, the anger, and the hurt she’s carrying with her is often times too much to endure.
An affair is one of the major reasons for ending a relationship.
In the beginning of your relationship, there are a couple of phases that are super critical for the chance of having a long-lasting relationship.
The first phase is when you move in with each other. In this phase, you learn more about yourself and about your partner than in all the months or years of dating before.
No longer can you now ignore the un-tidiness of your partner nor the way they like to organise things. During your time of dating, that might have been a small annoyance – now it is visible in plain sight.
And even more crucial than tidiness or organisational talents is the way your partner handles money.
Because moving in with each other is – even in the 21st century – also an economic decision. A major part of your living costs (rent, groceries, and insurances) are now shared.read more
In one of his famous poems the German poet and author Bertold Brecht notes –
“What do you do” – Mr. Nebody was asked, “when you love a person”.
“I take a blueprint of this person” – he responded “and see to it that they are going to be alike”
“What, the blueprint?” – “No, the person”
You see, comparison is one of the great dangers in your relationship.
You might have seen me comment before that the gap between your expectations and the reality is one of the biggest stressors within a relationship.
We all have a metaphorical chest full of memories, experiences and – for lack of a better word – trauma. That’s the baggage we all carry with us through our lives.
Not talking about these things, not acknowledging that they are there is dangerous for your relationship.
I always recommend to have many active appointments in your relationship, and one of the most important reasons for this is because it gives you both an opportunity to exchange stories and trauma from each other’s past.
Now, your future is even more important.
Why? Because you have the chance to create it. You can learn from your past experiences and traumas, and use the lessons learned and wisdom gained to craft a relationship that you really want.
This is your life, it is your relationship, and these are your dreams. No one else can create your future but yourself.
She comes to me for help.
She is desperate.
She is not getting through to him.
“Why does he not see me?”
She’s tried everything.
And the best response she’s getting from him is his “What else do you want?”
She gave sex, she withdrew sex.
She cried, she pleaded, she fought, she was even about to hit him.
He is oblivious to her pain.
With over 3,200 participants in my online survey, I have been able to gather a lot of data and insights on the relationship status of many, many couples.
What has become apparent to me is that there are many relationships out there which are on the brink.
Some participants don’t know it yet.
Some of them feel it inside of them.
And the majority are well aware of the pain they are in, but they don’t know what to do.
85% of responses to my survey are from women, which does not surprise me, because often the woman in the relationship have the finer antenna for any disturbances.
Recently I spoke with a client of mine about her long way to separation.
I’ve asked her what went through her mind while she was still in the relationship but wanted to get out. I was wondering what kind of thoughts were circling around in her head.
Was it denial? Was it anger?
“No” she said, “I just felt utterly helpless.”
She had her bag packed to leave, but she never did.
One of her friends eventually said to her “You have to unpack your bag!” and my client responded “What are you talking about?” To what her friend responded “You have your bag packed, haven’t you? I know this, I’ve been there myself. But you need to unpack it, because you are not leaving him.”
The point I want to make here is, that we all face situations in our lives where we feel utterly helpless.
This morning, while walking at the beach, I saw a little girl alone with her surfboard staring out into the roaring sea. She was freezing and shivering. “My dad is still out there surfing” she responded when I asked her. “Oh, does he know you are standing here waiting in the freezing wind?” And she assured me that he would know.
When I walked on, I took a look out to sea myself but could not make out which of the surfers might be her father and I could not see anyone making an effort to come to shore soon. I left her and walked on but turned my head around every now and then to see whether her father would finally pick her up.
My thoughts went to my own children and I asked myself whether I would have left one of my sons standing there, shivering and freezing. I doubt it.
You see, having children means making a lot of sacrifices.
I regularly assess the 3,000 responses we now have to my online quiz, and I am always left reflecting upon the daring questions some members of our community asked confidentially there.
I’m sure you are not surprised to hear that the number one issue that comes up again and again is with regards to Trust.
Here are a few quotes:
“Can you forget an affair?”
“How do I trust him again?”
“Why would he cheat?”
“Can they be saved after an affair?”
“Does everyone cheat?”
The list is endless.
Where on earth do you find the time (and the energy) to work on your relationship?
Actually, we should be looking at this the other way around. Once your relationship is happy, relaxed and energising, everything else seems to feel like it’s going smoothly as well. The kids are fighting less, because they see and feel the happiness within you and want to be part of it. The mortgage is still threatening, but now you are a team and can manage it together. Your relationship becomes the source for your strength to stay calm in your job and positive while commuting. And because your relationship is working, you find enough time for yourself to recharge.