It’s the New Year and as I was contemplating on what to write about as my first post of the new year, initially I was going to go with something fluffy and standard like “ How to Win in 2017” with a bunch of tips and tricks that you can find in any article right now. But, that’s just not my forte. I don’t do fluff and I don’t do standard.
I know there are many people who can find value from the latest diet fad or fashion trend, but I like to touch subjects that are a little bit deeper. So my first post of the New Year is going to be about something I that hits close to home for me- struggling relationships. This topic has been weighing on my heart, especially because I know first-hand how incredibly hard the holidays and the new year are when your relationship is struggling.
It’s something no one talks about, so let’s be a little taboo and tackle it together. Every relationship is complex and unique in it’s own way and when you’re already feeling close to the edge, it can become increasing more difficult during this time of year. Life is supposed to be full of love, laughter and new beginnings right now, and you feel, well, the opposite.
I understand. I’ve been there. I had two significant relationships before my current one and I can tell you that that there is no worse feeling than when you are fighting so hard to save a relationship that just isn’t working.
The relationship when it seems like nothing is working and you are close to your breaking point.
I want to be clear before I go on about the struggling relationship I am referring to. Every relationship will go through struggles and times that are difficult, but I am referring to the relationship when it seems like nothing is working and you are close to your breaking point.
In both of my significant past relationships there were plenty of happy moments filled with love, laughter and joy. Many of those memories I can still replay in my mind and remember why I stayed for so long, those were the moments I believed that person was my forever. But the one thing that both these relationships had in common is they came to a point where destruction outweighed happiness and led us to a breaking point that couldn’t be saved.
What I learned through the end of both of those relationships was that the warning signs were the same, and if you’re feeling like I felt then- here’s what hitting my breaking point looked like for me:
I over controlled what I could control.
When I started to feel like happiness in my relationship was becoming something I couldn’t control anymore, I would obsess over what I could control. For example: the house had to be spotless all the time, I started to be OCD about everything I ate and the way I looked in the mirror, or I had to be the one who made the plans because I needed to be in control of every detail. My insecurities were spewing out of my pores and I was in desperation mode to cover them up which led to an increased effort of “putting on a show” for everyone around us.
The truth was that the harder I tried to cover up the unhappiness between us, the more our friends and family could sense the downward spiral we were on.
I was extra sensitive and over-reacted about the small things.
This is the point where it seems like no one in my life could do the right thing. To be honest, they probably feel the same. Especially my partner. I picked at everything. The dishes weren’t dried enough, the laundry wasn’t put away in the right spot, on and on… Nothing made me happy, nothing fulfilled me, and all of my relationships suffered because of it. My irritation level was at an all-time high and I had no idea how to fix it.
It was easier to walk away or to not say anything than to have a conversation at all.
What was the point in arguing? Time and time again I had shared my feelings about the things I felt needed to be worked on in our relationship and it has gotten me nowhere, so why even bring it up anymore? I started to become numb to not being heard. A woman will express her feelings over and over again and accept not being heard for only so long. Once you reach that point, you will just stop talking. It’s really hard to come back once you stop talking.
I tell my husband now- the day I stop talking is that day our marriage is in jeopardy- so listen up!
How long do I continue to jump start the same battery until it was just time to get a new one?
I didn’t really care anymore.
Emotionally, I was no longer connected to my partner. I had said my peace over and over. I put in what I felt like had been more than enough effort, and nothing has really changed. How long did I continue to jump start the same battery until it was just time to get a new one? The longer I kept putting the energy into something that wasn’t working anymore, the more time I was just stealing from myself.
Ending a relationship is never easy- even if it hasn’t been working for a long time. Studies show that your satisfaction with your relationship with your partner determines your overall satisfaction with everything in your life. You owe it to yourself and your partner to recognize these signs and do something about it instead of ignoring the ticking time bomb. You may find that your priorities, needs, and expectations are too different at this point to continue this relationship as two equally happy partners. And that is ok, you both deserve happiness.
But, you may find that when you put in the work together, the outcome is compromise and respect for each other’s differences and you learn to meet in the middle so that both parties are fulfilled.
The good news is you never have to go through something like this alone. I’m here for you my Warrior Sister!