Still feel like the first time?
At some point everyone desires change. How much change varies, but the need for change does not. Maybe it’s something as simple as a new outfit or something as serious as divorce. The beginning of the year is when most people want to implement change in their lives, and relationships are no exception. Does this sound like you?
Sometimes people feel lost in their relationships. Close friendships and romantic relationships are the most difficult relationships to navigate. Maybe you are growing closer, or further apart. Good or bad, it is worth examining. When you encounter continual challenges in your relationship it can feel like you are doing something wrong. These feelings could signify a couple of things.
Perhaps you are dealing with change, new experiences, new emotions, new expectations, or even a new reality. You may even feel like you are creating these situations. You may be, but that does not mean that you shouldn’t be. Be strong, each challenge will teach you something new. As you experience change, it makes sense for you to be increasingly dissatisfied with your reality. Once you recognize your source of dissatisfaction, start implementing micro-changes or small adjustments to ease feelings of stress, and allow feelings of peace in your relationships.
I didn’t sign up for this
Remember this familiar phrase? “He just isn’t the man I married anymore” or “They used to be cool but now they are just so negative”. Both statements are true, but not in the way you think. Look at it this way.
- If either of you is exactly the same after many years, the problem is bigger than the relationship, get help.
- If you still want exactly what you wanted when you started being friends or when you started to date (in the case of romantic relationships), the problem is bigger than the relationship, get help.
Notice both scenarios end in the same place? They end the same because both ideas center on irrational expectations.
This next bit is crucial specifically for romantic partners. If your relationship is rock-solid and both of you are on board with your relationship remodel, awesome, you guys plan to grow together. If not, you should speak with a certified counselor before you prematurely burn it down. Altering your life drastically is very difficult. Make sure that you are completely clear about what you want.
Still hanging on
It is common for people to not like change. It’s strange how familiarity is comforting, despite the familiarity being unsatisfying or even dangerous. A bad situation will sometimes feel better than doing the work to change it. You will want to quit but don’t. When life gets hard or complex, those are the times you must follow through with evacuating the B.S. from your life.
It is normal to dread the future. You remixed everything you do normally. You feel like you don’t know what to do next, and that is scary, but that does not mean that it is OK to stand still. So far, you’ve questioned your life and circumstances. The people in our lives are either our support system or our hurdle. Your job is to find out who is which, and permanently bench the bad and keep the good.
This is quite a bit easier to accomplish with friends than with romantic relationships. There is a different type of desire driving your decision-making. Although the dynamic is different, the principles are the same. Most people expect a similar level of commitment from their partners as they do from their close friends, specifically when it comes to emotional support. If you are the only one growing, they will not understand your journey, and that is OK.
You don’t need a dramatic exit, just lose touch with them or let them know you have gone as far as you can together. Keep it simple. Basic folks only understand basic shit.
Being alone is OK and necessary
Changing your situation is hard, and a lot of work. It will take a toll on you emotionally and physically. During this time, it is important to have some sort of exercise routine, a healthier diet, or some form of practical and positive alternative. Take time to enjoy your own company. Odds are, you are not going to be fun to be around right now. If you schedule some time to be alone on purpose, you will minimize the impact on those relationships you intend to salvage.
You cannot change your life in a significant way without experiencing loss. Your changes may be minimal, or great like quitting smoking or, trading in a car you can’t afford. You will feel the loss, and that’s OK. The important part of this change is to get what you came for. Don’t mourn the loss of things that were not good for you. Letting go is hard, not impossible.