In a long term relationship?
Wish you could fall in love all over again, and refresh your relationship?
I'm coming up to my 12th year of being married to my husband, Andy, and this last year has been the best yet.
If you'd have asked me 5 years ago I couldn't have said the same thing.
Like so many relationships, we have had some
really rough patches and it was around that time when we really hit make or break. We had just spent christmas day together and we argued all day and in the end I packed my bag and went back to my mums.
I was seriously wondering if we could continue.
We seemed to have grown apart in what we wanted from our lives together. I had chosen a career that took me away from
home. I was going through long periods of depression and Andy's anxiety levels were through the roof. We had moved house but still weren't happy.
We had stopped communicating effectively. We had forgotten why we were together in the first place.
Something had to change.
It was around this time that I really started doing some thought work. I had not long since been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I had realised that though medications really helped, most of the work I was going to have to do to re-balance my life and emotions was related to my lifestyle and, most importantly, my thought patterns.
I knew that my relationship was something that needed urgent attention and so I set about trying to find out how to fix what seemed so broken.
What would it take to fix this relationship?
There were so many things I wanted to change.
I wanted Andy to be less anxious. I saw him suffering and I was also feeling all the effects of living with it.
I wanted to feel more loved and appreciated.
I wanted him to support my career.
I wanted thim to not see me as a financial burden.
The dynamic of our relationship seemed more like one of duty than a friendship.
But was I asking too much?
I saw that Andy had always been predisposed to anxiety (just as I had issues with depression).
I saw it just wasn't in his nature to be particularly demonstrative/showy when it came to love and affection, it's not like he had been like that in the begining so why did I expect it now?
He didn't like my career choices, not because he didn't want me to be happy but because of the impact it would have on us (and he was right about that at this point).
I was a financial burden at the time because bringing in enough work consistantly was tough.
So trying to match my WANTS to reality was just not going to work.
I would be trying to change him at a fundamental level and it wasn't fair.
It slowly dawned on me that problem was mine.
I was fighting mentally to change some things that just weren't mine to change.
And maybe, just maybe, some of these things didn't need changing at all.
So now what? Do we just throw 10 years down the pan?
At this point in my journey a piece of advice changed EVERYTHING for me, and ultimately for my relationship and that advice was this.
If you buy a dog or a cat as a pet, you don't buy it so that it will fulfil your needs for you. You buy it to love!
So why is it any different for choosing a life partner?
When you choose someone to spend the rest of your life with, you choose them to be in your life for you to love and that is ALL!
If you have needs going unfilled are those needs actually something you should be fulfilling for yourself!
Let go of all your expectations and just focus on your partner being there to love and then love them. Go all in!
I did this by learning how to fulfill my own needs. I let go of trying to change Andy, which was taking up so much mental energy.
I started to practice serious self care which took care of my needs for love and affection.
I found work that covered my financial needs.
I gave myself permission to support myself in whatever line of work I chose to do.
Then I found I was free to just enjoy having my husband there as my best friend and that is what he was always there for!
This last year we have both reaped the benefits of learning to take care of ourselves better and then getting to spend our free time together laughing and joking, making exciting future plans together, like we should all be doing.
So what about you? Are you willing to let go of the baggage and just decide to love your partner again?