It started out wonderfully well - you raved on to your girlfriends about all his positive qualities and how well you got along - and now it's hard to know where the downward slide began. Instead of singing praises you realise you've started to complain. You feel irritated instead of adoring, upset instead of happy and you're starting to ask yourself "how did it get like this?"
There are many reasons why relationships run into difficulty and one of those reasons is the way our minds work.
We have all sorts of ideas about how the world should look and especially how our partner should be. You may not have noticed it but if you take a really close look at your inner dialogue you might discover that once the gloss has worn off a lot of "should's" have started to appear;
he should be more affectionate,
he should take more responsibility with the chores,
he should spend more time with me,
he should understand how I feel.
Alternately, you might also notice the rise of the word "shouldn't".
He shouldn't go on about work so much,
he shouldn't try to control what I do,
he shouldn't criticize my sister,
he shouldn't be negative about my goals
he shouldn't be so frivolous with money.
They might not show up directly like this. Instead, you might find yourself saying to a friend - "I'm annoyed that Damian doesn't think I'll get the new job I've applied for". This statement of feeling means you think Damian should be more supportive of you, or shouldn't be negative about what you want to achieve.
These are all criticisms about how he is. They are based on your wanting your partner to be different in some way. If he criticizes you, you probably get upset or angry but in actual fact, you're doing exactly the same thing! We all want to be right and want the other person to change to make the relationship work, so it's their fault if it doesn't. The problem is they also want the same thing - they want us to change so they can be right and blame us.
Relationship is all about emotional connection and we come with a lot of baggage from our past. We are all seeking to get our emotional need for love met. The intensity of upsets in a relationship are often vastly disproportionate to what has actually happened due to the fact that we are fighting to get our deepest needs met. We want love, but feel rejected, hurt, betrayed and angry instead. Then we want to punish them for how they don't meet our needs. We might withdraw, withhold or constantly criticize. We say we love the person but in fact start behaving in a very unloving way, defending our actions because it's their fault for behaving the way they do. The relationship becomes a battleground - it might be an underground silent battle, or it might be overt and noisy, each person wanting the other to straighten themselves out so the relationship can work.
This is a universal issue in all relationships so if it sounds familiar don't think it just happens in your relationship! We all have the same fears - that we won't survive or be happy without someone else's love or approval - and this fear, in all its different forms, governs all relationships.
But what to do about resolving the battleground of discontent? The first step is to take responsibility for changing it - and that is the first hurdle. We don't want to take responsibility for it - they are the problem so they should! "Why should I do all the work on myself and be kind and loving and understanding to him when he isn't to me"? Well, you want them to change, so if you are not prepared to change yourself then you are expecting something from them that you yourself won't do. Did you get that? Willingness to take responsibility for your part, in all of this is power and freedom - otherwise you are a victim to your partner and will remain so. Who are you changing for? No, not them, you're changing for you, because you want to feel a deep connection in a peaceful, loving relationship.
When you take responsibility, you're ready to look at what you need to change in order to enjoy a more loving relationship, instead of the easier option of dumping on someone else. If you can understand that wanting someone else to meet your requirements for love and acceptance is doomed, then you're well on the way to creating a much happier, fulfilling life. Self-acceptance is the key ingredient in all successful relationships because it the only thing that can create true inner security. Only when we can accept ourselves can we begin to accept someone else because our criticism of them is our projection of our own self-criticism.
How confident do you feel about yourself? Do you rely on your partner to say you look great in your new dress - and how do you feel if he doesn't? Take a look at the inner voice that carries on endlessly in your head - is it a loving, supportive, acknowledging voice or is it a constant flow of negativity? I'm not good enough, I'll never be able to do that, I should never have done that, I don't earn enough money, I hate my hair, I'm too fat, I can't make decisions, I should be more organized, I should, I should!! those should's creeping in always signify a lack of acceptance.
The interesting thing is that our inner dialogue always seems to be about fighting with reality. You think your partner should handled money better - but the reality is he doesn't. The thought makes you get upset and angry, so you tell him how he should do things differently. He doesn't like being criticized so he either defends himself or attacks back and the bun fight begins! It's not his bad handling of money that's the problem it's your thoughts about it that creates the negative emotions.
The whole issue boils down to thinking things should be different to how they are. It's not actually what our partner does that is the problem - it's how we think about it. And the truth of the matter is that so often we are in other people's business instead of in our own.
So to find the wonder in your relationship again be willing to take responsibility for your part in it, work on accepting yourself first and stop fighting reality.
The Power of Tapping
Is a comprehensive guide to using Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) a highly effective and fast acting method of creating personal transformation that is generating excitement worldwide.
Discover how to free yourself rapidly from negative emotions, physcial symptoms, limiting beliefs and unwanted behaviours so you can enjoy a happier, more relaxed and fulfilling life. This book gives a detailed explaination of how you can use EFT for yourself in many different stressful situations and circumstances. It's easy to learn and simple to apply so experience for yourself how powerful it is.
Margaret Munoz is an international peak performance specialist who guides people back to self-acceptance, their own personal power and limitless potential.www.tangibleresults.com.au