You’ve been together for awhile and life has become a routine. The two of you are more like friends with benefits than actual lovers and even when you have sex, it seems habitual and lacks passion. You find yourself thinking that you’re lonely when you’re sitting right there next to each other. You begin to wonder if you wouldn’t be better off alone, after all, even roommates tend to have more engaging conversations than the two of you have been having lately… If any of this sounds familiar, it is probably time to step up and save your relationship!
Here are 7 signs that your relationship is in trouble:
- You no longer feel truly connected to the other person.
- You have reached the conclusion that you would be better off on your own.
- Your spouse is always blaming you for things and never seems to take responsibility for their own actions.
- You feel like you need to make an appointment just to talk.
- You either have no children, or they are all grown up, or you’ve decided that actually being divorced would be healthier for them than being exposed to the current situation.
- There is a pattern of betrayal, lying or infidelity.
- It seems that all you ever do is argue
So What Should You Do?
If you’ve invested your heart, emotions and time into a long term relationship, the last thing you probably want to do is throw it all away… but it seems like the spark extinguished a long, long time ago and you’ve been staying in the relationship out of obligation because it was once amazing and passionate… should you stay or should you go?
The answer truly depends on whether the relationship is worth saving… do you have children together? If so, then my first inclination as a Strategic Intervention Coach is always to try and help the couple save the relationship, unless physical or emotional abuse is involved. If the other person is abusive towards you or your children, I urge you to get immediate help from somewhere like The Hotline
I usually encourage couples with children to try and reignite the flames of passion in their relationship because divorce has significant consequences, both immediate and down the line, especially when children are involved. The reality is that if you are unhappy in your first marriage, you are more likely to be unhappy in your second and third marriages, if the underlying causes of the patterns of behavior are not addressed.
Decide Whether You Have a Case:
If you want to try and save the relationship, decide right here and now to commit to a fresh start. Draw a line in the sand and agree that the past is the past, what is important are your present and future actions! Psychologist Cloe Madanes suggests that couples implement a Statute of Limitations, just like the Statute of Limitations which exists for criminal actions, wrongful acts within the relationship must be forgiven if they occurred beyond a specific period of time. In terms of criminal acts, the general rule of thumb is seven years (with the exception of murder) but you may set whatever period of time seems reasonable to both of you. Before a criminal case goes to trial, the District Attorney must decide whether it is worth it to go to trial, in much the same way, you need to decide whether you want to prosecute your spouse for their actions, or just let it go and move on.
Identify Your Role in the Game:
World renown Strategic Interventionist Anthony Robbins teaches that there are three stages of love and relationships:
Baby Love – this is the hedonistic stage where each person wants the love that they want, when they want it and entirely on their terms… it is the selfish state of a young relationship.
The Exchange – where “I’ll do this for you, if you do this for me.” This second stage is the most common and where most couples find themselves for the entire life of their relationship. This is where people exchange love and favors for, well, love and favors… or sex, or money, or wait, this sounds a lot like prostitution! Hmmm, something to think about.
Unconditional Love – this is the Goal Line People!
This is the stage where you decide to love the other person, unconditionally, despite all their faults, because, well, you love them!That 90 year old couple you see walking through the park holding hands, they’ve probably figured out how to strive to maintain their relationship at Level 3, Unconditional Love, but in truth they probably drift back and forth between Level 2 – 3 and that’s okay because each person knows that ultimately they are trying to do everything from the perspective of unconditional love, but hey, we’re still human.
Technically, there is a 4th stage of love, but nobody expects you to be Jesus, Gandhi or Mother Teresa. We’re just trying to put the spark back in your relationship.
Take the 90 Day Challenge!
If you truly want to save your relationship and create passion and presence with your mate, you’re going to need to approach the next 90 days from the perspective of unconditional love. That means that you’re not going to set any conditions on your love for the other person, beyond some pretty standard relationship type stuff, like trust, honesty, commitment. This is easier said than done and there are probably some people who will try and take advantage of your good nature on this one, but then I’d say that those people don’t deserve you anyway, so you’ll probably want to cut them loose.
But if the other person in your relationship is even just a little bit committed to working it out, then the approach of loving them unconditionally, usually works really well. While both parties don’t need to be aware of each others commitment to making it work, it certainly helps! But many relationships have been turned around by one person’s decision to make it work… just start being the loving person you were born to be and eventually they will probably catch on. However on that note, don’t be surprised if your spouse is initially a little confused by your new behavior; begins to wonder why you’re trying to seduce them again; where your new found oral fixation came from; or why you’re all the sudden being so understanding and nice. Eventually they’ll stop wondering what you’re up to, or what you want, and they’ll most likely begin to return the love which you’re showering them with. And if not, at the end of the 90 Day Challenge, you can move on knowing that you gave it your all. Let me know how it works for you!