Stuck in a rut?

If your relationship feels like an uphill climb, approach it from a new viewpoint

Partners. You can’t live with them but you can’t live without them, right? Of course, we are all different but there are factors and points in most relationship where one or both parties think: “Get me out of here!” Everyone has a different story to tell, from the new couple to the 30-year marriage. When alarm bells ring in your relationship take a step back and get to the root of the problem, as chances are it’s a slight glitch that can be overcome.

Excess baggage
Come to terms with the fact that everyone has baggage – however big or small. Children, ex-partners or over-bearing in-laws, the ‘excess baggage’ in a relationship can cause you stress, especially early on in a relationship when you’ve enjoyed your partner’s company but are now finding out they come with a whole past. And then there’s the ex: jealousy is normal; how you handle it is key. Remember there is a reason why they are now an ex and that your partner chooses to be with you.

With smartphones making texting and social media sites easily accessible, you may feel like your partner has far more interest in a ‘virtual world’ than having a conversation with you – and checking up on their ex to see their status or photos is oh so tempting for them. We’re only human, after all, and inquisitive by nature. It’s when this behaviour becomes obsessive and destructive that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. Listen to each other and work at the relationship ­– or, if you are happier out drinking with friends or chatting to your ex on Facebook, then it seems like you’re already chosen this lifestyle.

If a past relationship where a partner cheated has left you with trust issues, a relationship counsellor can help you bring about positive change. “Sometimes it can be difficult to talk to family and friends about relationship problems,” says Jonathan Conway, NLP practitioner and life coach. “It can help to have a different perspective from someone who is outside of the relationship to explore patterns of thinking that are both helping and hindering the relationship.”

The seven-year itch; the ten-year itch… However many years, there are times when all couples can be swept up in everyday life and forget how to enjoy being in one another’s company. Counselling can be useful at any point in a relationship. “The best time to seek help is before the problems become too insurmountable,” says Jonathan. “Sometimes it can be good to take stock of how well the relationship is going rather just focusing on the negatives too.

“Many people are expecting perfection which does not exist in the real world,” Jonathan continues. “Each party in a relationship may have different ways of seeing things based upon their own history and belief systems; the key is to accept and respect the other in the relationship.”

Create a work-life balance. We spend more time in our day at work than at home, so make the most of family/couple time when it does arise. Tiredness from work stress can strain your relationship as you take the bad attitude home (most couples argue after a day at work, fact). Money is also a high stress factor, especially if one person is the sole bread winner or earns more than the partner. Which leads us to the biggest expense and most challenging role: parenthood. Don’t enter it lightly. Talk to your partner and make sure you both want the same thing and have worked out a way to make it work.

If you’re comfortable in a relationship, you may not make as much of an effort on your appearance. Think back to the early days and put in some of the effort you did back then. Weight increase can decrease your confidence and leave you wondering if your partner still finds you attractive, so take up exercise. And if sexual intimacy has been non-existent of late, getting into shape will help, along with scheduling time and trying something new.

Whatever’s happening in your relationship, address the problems, big or small, communicate, apologise and change, so you can move forward.

Jonathan Conway, Hypnotherapist, NLP Master Practitioner and Coach,
01273 540425/07956 855 027,

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