“I think this girl’s The One”, said my client.
I nod, bearing in mind that he has said this about three different women during our previous coaching sessions.
Later, I gently pointed out to my client that his enchantment with the enchantment of new relationships was holding him back from experiencing the remarkable growth, intimacy, and beauty of the kind of long-term relationship he said he wanted to be in.
It’s a familiar story. You know how it goes.
All starry-eyed and flush with feel-good oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’ produced by your brain), couples start out feeling like this new connection has the potential to meet every hope they have for an enduring relationship.
Everything feels easy, from the sex to the sleep-deprivation-inducing, late night phone conversations about everything under the sun.
You feel seen. You feel heard. You feel connected.
It’s delicious. It’s what you’ve been waiting for!
But whether it’s one month later or twelve, eventually, you come (singly or together) to the conclusion that things just don’t feel easy anymore.
You start arguing more often. Perhaps one of you withdraws while the other tries to cling tighter to your bond. Someone asks for space. Doubts multiply.
Or, you both withdraw from the relationships in a pre-emptive move to prevent the pain of the anticipated breakup.
Sometimes, you simply deny that there is a problem – hoping that if you pretend hard enough, wait long enough, or sacrifice deeply enough, your relationship can go back to feeling the way it did in the beginning…but it never does.
Why does this happen?
In my relationship coaching with couples and individuals, I see three, clear reasons why couples commonly collapse.
The 3rd biggest reason that couples collapse is that they wait for a crisis to arise before they prioritize working on this thing called relationship.
This is like allowing a plant to die before you remember to water it!
It can also lead to what I call, “don’t-rock-the-boat syndrome”.
This is when couples get stuck in a loop that looks something like this: crisis followed by a period of relative peace…followed by crisis…followed by period of relative peace…you get the idea.
When things are relatively peaceful, you don’t want to rock the boat – so you avoid working on the relationship because you’re afraid the relative peace will dissolve into conflict if you bring up the issues that caused the crisis!
Don’t-rock-the-boat syndrome robs us of the very best parts of relationship. And worse, it makes us hold ourselves in – as if we were waiting to exhale, indefinitely.
But there’s a way out!
Imagine: what if you didn’t wait for a post-honeymoon crisis (or crises) to arise before you talked about what your personal and collective relationship values are?
What if you consciously collaborated in establishing a foundation for connection early in your relationship – one that you could return to when things aren’t easy? A foundation that is built out of shared, honest disclosure about:
- What your strengths and weaknesses are in relationships.
- How you react to conflict.
- What activates you (i.e. what are the triggers that sometimes make you over-react?).
- What makes you feel small.
- What you need to be open-hearted with a partner.
- How can you build acknowledgement, space for connection, and time apart into your relationship?
This is just the beginning of a longer list of relationship-boosting dialogues that can nurture, nourish, and grow your relationship.
Because it’s never too early (or too late) to craft a foundation for your relationship that gives it the best chance to flourish – and each of you the greatest opportunity to thrive as individuals in the relationship.
Next week, I’m going to share The 2nd Biggest Reason Couples Collapse.
However, if you want to take a BIG, relationship-boosting step right now, I’m going to make it super easy for you: this summer, I’m going to be traveling around Ontario holding workshops.
That’s right: I’m offering you the opportunity to get in a room with me and hear my best thinking on the most massive mistakes people in committed relationships make that keep them disconnected, fighting all the time, and feeling totally alone.
Tickets are just $20 at the door, BUT…you can receive a complimentary ticket if you pre-register!
Simply click here, and you will be redirected to the event page where you can pre-register for…
Dates for Ontario Events!
Toronto: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013, 7pm-10pm – venue TBA
Barrie: Thursday, July 4th, 2013, 7pm-10pm – venue TBA
Ottawa: Tuesday, July 9th, 2013, 7pm-10pm – venue TBA
Guelph: Tuesday, July 16th, 2013, 7pm-10pm – venue TBA
Toronto: Thursday, August 8th, 2013, 7pm-10pm – venue TBA