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.
It was a normal Tuesday morning when Steve entered the building.
It was not a normal Tuesday for Steve…
Last night he had a bad row with his wife Louise. It was really bad and they both said things they hadn’t said to each other in a long time.
Even the kids, Sandra and Mitch, were woken by their loud voices, Louise comforted them back to their beds.
He hasn’t seen her since… He went to bed shortly after that – still angry and distressed, but Louise never showed up.
He was too upset to look for her and when he left this morning at 6:00am to go to work she was nowhere to be seen.
Most likely she slept in the kids’ bedroom to comfort them and get away from him.
He doesn’t blame her.
Meditation is good for you because it can –
° Reduce stress.
° Control anxiety
° Promote emotional health
° Enhance self-awareness
° Lengthen the attention span
° And it can also widen the gap between stimulus and response
Widening the gap between stimulus and response means that the reaction from someone who meditates regularly to any outside situation is less likely triggered by the limbic-brain response of fight or flight. The practices involved in meditations can promote a deeper analysis of a situation, a calmer response and a more thoughtful reaction.
One thing I often observe with many couples is the way that they talk to each other. Many couples I see have been living together for five, ten or even twenty years, and because they know each other so well, they are at a point in their relationship where they can literally finish each other’s sentences.
Although this is definitely a sign of being in sync with each other, what I notice a lot is that then instead of listening to their partner attentively and patiently, they almost seem to want to rush ahead and speed up the conversation. There is no doubt that this can sometimes lead to very funny misunderstandings and discussions.
In my online quiz “Find out: Your Relationship Performance Indicator” I have now collected over 2,150 responses. Over 80% of these are from women and I am sorry to say that I have lost count of how often their question is “Does he love me?”
In her great song, Cher believes the answer is easy – ”it’s in his kiss!”
And we all know the saying that “you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince” – which is a common saying in Germany and France.
So why are so many women feeling that they’ve been left in the dark?
What are we men doing to not communicate that we love our partner?
Many couples report that over time they’ve been drifting apart.
The early cracks are getting wider and wider and eventually the chasm isn’t bridgeable any more.
In his regular podcast “Conversations on Purpose” Justin Cooper is interviewing me and we are exploring the early warning signs every couple should be aware of.
Many people approach me to find help or support with their relationships, often at a time when their relationship has already taken a turn for the worse.
They are sometimes unhappy about their partner’s behaviour; others sometimes compare their relationship now with what it was three or five years ago and are left feeling disappointed.
Other times, I speak to people who just can’t put their finger on the problem, but see that their connection to their partner is broken or lost.
I hear a lot of clients say that the conversations they have with their partner seem to end in the same argument over and over. Intimacy and sex are happening less and less.
Some people admit to not looking forward to coming home to spend time with their partner. They’d rather stay at work or go the gym instead.
How much do you value your relationship?
Every now and then I speak to couples who are really suffering in an unhappy relationship.
Imagine you are with your spouse spending time together, still neither you nor your spouse is happy. You both look for distractions to avoid to being too close to each other.
Think of how badly you’ve lost connection when you are talking to each other but not listening.
Or worse still, you’ve stopped talking altogether.
Each of you is going your own way at home and questions are either ignored or answered with a single word or phrase. There is not much left: No empathy, no heart, no love.
Being lonely or feeling lonely is a new epidemic in our society.
In spite of all the connections we make online, in spite of all the social media interactions we have and in spite of having a communication tool in our hands 24/7 we, as a society, are feeling lonelier than ever before.
We touched on this subject in one of my recent blogs: “perception is reality”.
There, we discussed how our personal awareness makes it clear that there really is no difference between actually being lonely is reality, or simply ‘feeling’ lonely.
A lot of people come to me and report that they are feeling lonely in their relationship, which might have been a problem for the majority of their partnership.
How can that be?read more