Over time that relationship may well be almost forgotten about because it’s there, all the time, winter and summer, and it can be very easy, in the midst of other pressing demands on our time and attention, to commit all our energy and enthusiasm to a growing family or cultivating a career or getting our finances in a better place. When a relationship feels good and is reliable and comfortable, it can be all too easy to put that relationship on the back burner and let it take care of itself. It’s only when our partner starts to perhaps get a little restless with us or appear disinterested in us, or start to do other things away from us that we may well start to get that wake up call and realise that all is not well.
This wake up call can be just that and does not necessarily signify the end of a relationship. In fact, it can be the start of a new, more mature and loving phase of the relationship.
So, let’s look at ways of getting things back on track for both of you. Start by identifying what is going on, what is going wrong for your partner. Ask questions. Listen to the answers. They may feel bored, not listened to, not loved, taken for granted. They may be aware of getting older and have unfulfilled dreams and desires that they wanted or still want to achieve.
Take time out to commit to an undisturbed conversation with your partner. Some people find that they can do this at home and they switch off the TV, the telephone, arrange a sleepover for the children. Other people may find it easier to go out to a place like a restaurant or bar, where they can talk and have a pleasant evening together. Other people like the structure of a couples counselling session, where the counsellor provides the neutral environment and ensures that both people have the opportunity to talk, uninterrupted by the other, say what they want to say and keep to the relevant topic, not digress into other subject areas away from what is really important. A framework can help avoid common pitfalls like accusations and and keep the atmosphere respectful of each others’ viewpoints.
Whatever option is chosen, it’s important to maintain the commitment to each other and not treat it as a one off exercise.
Some other positive input can include:
– Have a meal together once a week. Even if it’s at home, shower, put on nice clothes, make up or shave. Set the table. Demonstrate that the time together matters to you.
– Remember what it was that attracted you to each other in the first place. Reminisce.
– Take care to listen to each other. Be genuinely interested in what you are being told. Ask questions. Remember what you have been told. It can take a little time for this to become a relaxed and natural part of your life, but it is worth it.
– Having quality communications establishes a good basis to your relationship. A strong friendship built on caring, sharing and genuine interest in each other.
– Take time to go for a walk, stop and have a drink in a country pub along the way.
– Find an interest that you can both enjoy, like a project in the garden or learning a language together.
Shared interest don’t have to be expensive. Just interests that you can share.
Susan Leigh, Counsellor and Hypnotherapist