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
Now, seven years after the wedding and honeymoon you sit with two children age 6 and 3 and pregnant with the third. But despite having everything you supposedly should want, you have the distinct, undeniable feeling that something is missing – big time.
It seems like having children has somehow moved you further apart from each other instead of closer together. How can this be? He is a good father and does his share at home. And yet still, you both feel the loss of something important in your relationship.
So how do you not let your children become a problem in your relationship?
Children are the greatest source of joy and the greatest source of trouble for any relationship.read more
Every now and then I receive this very question from one of the participants in my online quiz. “How do I know it is over?” or “When is it time to leave?”
When I then look at the time they have been with their partner, more often than not I find they have together for more than 15 years.
In other words, they know their partners very well, they know themselves well – you’d assume. Still they are living in a relationship which must be so unfulfilling that they think of leaving but are not quite sure.
And the difficulty here is, that the answer is not clear cut at all.read more
“Oh, no I can’t come, my wife wouldn’t like it…”
“Yes, I’d love to see you guys, but my husband does not have time…”
You want to be selfish from time to time and do something just for you.
Sure you want to spend as much time with your partner as possible. And through your different work-schedules there is already a big chunk of your week occupied – and you can’t be together.
Where are your own interests?
You want to be selfish from time to time and do something just for you, within limits of course.
You don’t want to do things that hurt your partner. It’s not about betraying your partner or cheating on them. It’s not about getting mindlessly drunk and do something stupid. It’s not about risking your life in the pursuit of your dreams.
In my relationship quiz, I enable participants to ask their daunting, private questions at the end. One very common question that is posed to be, time and time again, is based around the different communication styles between men and women. Just like this one “Why can’t he communicate?”
Let’s unravel and analyse this question a bit. By the way, is it a question or an accusation? For the moment, let’s take as a question. First of all, I am sure that he can communicate very well, because you are in a relationship with him and he must have clearly communicated to you at one time that he loves you and that he wants to be with you. I am also sure that each day he is able to communicate with his peers, his work colleagues and also any shop assistant or waiter when he wants something.
“Anyone who stops getting better has stopped being good.”
Countless companies have this motto pinned to the wall.
This shall serve as a constant reminder that you need to refine, improve and optimise as often as possible, if not constantly.
Does this motto serve for relationships as well?
In a way I think it does.
You see the biggest danger for a relationship is routine, the knowing that it will be the same tomorrow. But why is that? We want certainty, do we not?
Yes, we want certainty but it could be argued that we want an equal amount of uncertainty in our lives too.
Remember the time you were dating your partner. You would go out together. You’d feel the spark in each other’s company. You’d get butterflies in your stomach. Your first kiss felt electric.
Since then you have moved in together. You have built your home together. Everything is perfect and you are happy and grateful that you met the soulmate you were always searching for.
And now the routine sets in.
“I want to give us a chance.”
“I am the one always working on our relationship.”
“I don’t know what to do anymore. I am at my wits’ end”
“My partner doesn’t know or even realise how bad it is.”
You can feel the desperation in those lines.
These are some of the comments from over a thousand people who have participated in my online relationship quiz so far.
What do you do if you are the only one in your relationship wanting to work on it?read more
Recently I presented Inspiring Relationships to a group of strangers and one of their question was, “What is their greatest fear?” – referring to the people seeking my guidance in regards to their relationship. I responded that the biggest fear I see most often is to...read more
For the last couple of years, you have secretly (and sometimes openly) voiced your concerns that your kids will never leave the home environment. You felt like Hotel Mama or Hotel Papa. They come when they please, not announcing friends staying over and the fridge is perpetually empty despite being at the grocery store more than you’d like. They drive your car every now and then, and surely borrow your camera equipment once in a while. As a result, you’ve felt a bit like a supplier of all sorts of services and gadgets.read more