Relationships can be stressful which for some might be an understatement, and my relationship is no exception. Over the course of the last 13 years my relationship has had highs and lows with different degrees of stress attached to that. There’s been times I really didn’t know if we’d recover, when it felt like we were just room mates or even worse, strangers. When it comes down to it, figuring out the cause of the problems has always been the key factor in “fixing” before we let years of love, friendship and companionship go down the gurgles like many other relationships. It’s never nice having to realise you might be on your way to relationship purgatory.
Relationships go through phases and understandably the longer you’re in a relationship the likely theory is there are many! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the way they are. When things change pace within a relationship it has a tendency to freak people out. I know, I’m one of them. It’s important to keep your head out of the Clouds and here are just two things that with minimal effort, work for us in getting through awkward relationship phases.
Be Objective: Most solutions to our problems are figured out by taking to time to address any outside influences; work, finances, family concerns. Earlier this year we had a massive work drought which pretty much disabled the work and the finances of our life. It realistically took us at least 3 months to come to a point of realisation of the effects of the work drought on our life. Being out of work suddenly and at the same time as each other meant a whole heap of structure disintegrated and things got under us a lot faster. I started getting really frustrated with how much time he spent on the xbox and I resented him for it. I resented the fact I was stuck at home again after 3 years of being a full time night shift worker. I was bored! I lost my shit one day and it forced us to take the time to be honest with ourselves about the reasons for things so bloody out of whack. As soon as we put a face to it, we could make changes and find solutions.
Make Time: Ever been so busy being busy? Ever had a partner so busy being busy while you’re busy? Or worse, being busy while you’re not? It’s not a fantastic feeling. We make time a priority in our house whether that be in real obvious ways like “date night” or my personal favourite “no phones at the table during meals”. (I love this rule so much) I’m going to go on here to say that some of our versions of date night are more like, quick coffee while we’re out, lunch on the run, or checking out a new breakfast spot. It doesn’t have to involve difficult planning, getting a wax or even getting a babysitter. Making time to share a meal or hang out watching tv in the evening with the kids is still precious time spent. We found the biggest ugliest relationship monsters reared their heads when we were so busy being busy and never making time to even say “Hi, How was your day?”.
People and relationships are complicated enough, and they really don’t need to be. If you like each other and you enjoy your life then try not to be so critical at the first sign of a rough patch. Most people think that the first rule of relationships is communication and it’s true that communication is important, but I disagree that it’s the first rule. Usually when people go looking for communication to fix things, they’ve already neglected being objective, or spending time with their SO. This makes trying to mend the road for communication so much harder. It’s not impossible, just a little more work.