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.
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?