During my last relationship, I learned a valuable lesson. A lesson that I’ll never forget.
I learned that love is a verb. Love is a daily decision that takes effort. When you wake up in the morning, you choose to love your partner, and it’s never an afterthought.
But there are lots of reasons as to why some people struggle in their relationships. Most of all, they stop working for it. What they did, in the beginning, to pursue that relationship no longer applies. There’s this expectation that your partner will always be there because they love you. So, maybe you find yourself doing things that hurt your partner, hoping to get a pass, using the love they have for you as leverage. And one day, when you think things are pretty good, they’ll leave.
Love isn’t a struggle. There’s this misconception that relationships are a struggle. Do you find yourself caught in a cycle of chaos? The chaos fuels both of you, and when you don’t feel it, you go looking for it. Then it restarts. Well, what this is, is a power struggle. Both of you are looking to occupy more ego space than the other. Relationships work better when you problem solve as a team, and the results are a win-win for you both.
But, to understand the depths of your relationships, I encourage you to seek someone that can help you look at past relationship patterns. Someone that could help you to look at your attachment style. Most likely, the reason for relationship downfalls stems from the kind of relationships you had growing up. Were they secure? Did you feel safe? If not, you’ll find yourself reenacting the same old relationship patterns in your relationships. Start reflecting on your relationships to see where you can make improvements.
In the meantime, here’s a thought exercise that my therapist taught me that I hope helps you in the moment of intense anger. Before you lash out, pause and ask these questions.
T H I N K
- T = is it TRUE?
- H = is it HELPFUL?
- I = is it INSPIRING?
- N = is it NECESSARY?
- K = is it KIND?
If you can’t say yes to every one of those questions, then I recommend not saying it. Using think works not just in romantic relationships but in all relationships. It’s going to take practice but saying it ensures that what you’re about to say is rooted in love and not ego. And what you’re about to say isn’t continuing the cycle of chaos and pain. So, next time something comes up for you in a conversation with your partner, pause, breathe, and think.
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