Losing your partner and the ability to come back committed to renew your love.
So often articles on relationships focus on trying to find the right person, building a quality relationship, keeping love alive, or learning to let go. Rarely do we read about a couple who lose each other but then come back committed and ready to renew their love again.
When couples ask for my guidance in that renewed endeavor, I feel incredibly blessed. I do not have to help them fight out of a dark place. Instead, my role is to help them fully explore how they lost each other so that they will never allow those behaviors again. They come to me for guidance, but also for their process to be witnessed as a mirror to help them always remember.
Each must authentically share their own story, connecting and intertwining them in shared memories, some beautiful and some terribly sad. They need me to help them put all the pictures in a visual and emotional scrapbook that they can carry in their minds and hearts forever. It will be the ever-reminder of what they did wrong, and a reminder of their new commitment to each other and the relationship.
In this rebuilding process, they know they must not blame or invalidate for what is in the past but use the lessons learned to not repeat the errors. Recognizing and taking responsibility for what either of them did to contribute to the relationship’s demise is crucial. True and sincere atonement is a miracle behavior that helps the healing process.
The following 10 situations and the couple’s responses to them are the most common saboteurs that undermine and destroy a loving relationship over time. A couple seeking to recapture and hold sacred what they once had must make certain that neither of them ever behave in these ways again.
1. Too Many Unexpected Challenges
Any relationship will fall under the weight of multiple crises that overwhelm a couple’s resources of time, energy, finances, and availability, especially if there is not sufficient social support. A couple who lives in an extended community of quality friends and family can better weather barrages of unexpected demands. Both must be able to sustain faith that they can and will overcome their sorrows. If there is no community support, they must seek someone who holds their sorrow with them like seeking spiritual guidance or quality therapy.
2. The Relationship Became a Place Only to Rest
The partners in the relationship began giving the best of themselves elsewhere and forgot the importance of prime time at home. They stopped bringing outside experiences into the relationship to nurture and sustain it. They leave each other to be more alive elsewhere and come home only to rest and regenerate.
3. A Change in Priorities
A job lost. An unexpected illness. A change in career. An ill parent or child. An unexpected move. All could result in a need to redistribute resources in ways that may burden one partner more than the other. Dreams and goals may have to be put off or given up. The “team” has become a parallel relationship, each member fighting to make it through alone. The relationship, unattended and ignored, begins to die.
4. Believing That “Us” Will Always Sustain Until Things Are Back Under Control
“Us” is a creation of mutual support, interest, and commitment. The peaks of divorce most often happen when other challenges invalidate that promise, no matter what challenges threaten it.
5. Too Much Sacrificing for the Other’s Dream
Even if a couple agrees that one of them deserves and should pursue a new direction that requires the other’s continuing sacrifice, they must make certain that the supportive partner is appreciated and beloved for the loss of personal need that accompanies that commitment and is not discarded after the goal is reached.
6. Not Wanting to Burden the Other
Loss should be shared. Troubles must be fought together. Mental or emotional illness can either separate or unite. A couple who share each other’s burdens become stronger together.
7. Bringing Outside Troubles Home
Too often, a committed relationship becomes an emotional trash bin. In their desire to help one another with the trials and hardships of life in the outside world, a couple can become the primary place to solve problems that are not coming from within the relationship, but eclipse what the partners need from each other to regenerate the energy the partnership needs to thrive.
8. Battle Fatigue
For whatever reasons, and often because of some of the above situations, a couple begins to take their individual and outside frustrations out on each other. Perhaps their needs for care have increased or changed and they don’t know, or can’t, give the other partner what they need. Now, every conversation ends up in airing differences, invalidating the other’s point of view, withholding, accusations of disappointment or loss, or low frustration tolerances that push the other away. It is easier to fight, and it takes longer to heal. What once was a haven has become a boxing ring.
9. Addictive Escapes That Exile the Other
Loneliness, being overwhelmed, disillusionment, internal unresolved conflict, boredom, depression, and disabling anxiety can push a person to seek a reliable escape. As the dependence on that way out increases, the other partner becomes an object either in the way of that escape, or inadvertently blamed for it. Addiction in a relationship can take precedence in the partnership, and unless it is treated, that triangle may not be sustainable.
10. Needing to Find Self as a Separate Entity
Many people devote themselves to a relationship over their own needs or dreams, believing that will be enough to sustain them in life. They truly believed that sacrificing self for a relationship to work was the right thing to do. Yet, over time, they become increasingly burdened by the responsibilities and obligations that a partnership requires. Their need for separateness and a lighter load increases and their partners cannot understand why they are pulling back and no longer participating as they once did. Hearing their partner “ask for space” is indistinguishable from rejection.
Choose Dr. Randi Gunther a Clinical Psychologist & Marriage Counselor who truly understands the complexities of human connection.
Reach out to Dr. Randi today and take the first step toward a brighter, more fulfilling future together.
Dr. Gunther is available by Zoom or Facetime