M.O.T For Your Romantic Relationship
Bewitched… Enraptured….. Giddy - Remember the Spring of your 1st flush of love, as it hits you?
Adoration…. Security…. Ardently Hopeful - Recollect, that lasting Summer of the deepening phase?
Agony…. Misery….. Heartache - Rings true, from the Winter months of your withering relationship?
Just like the seasonal cycles, so can love be resurrected or rejuvenated from the lessons learnt from before! Assuming you know WHAT to look for and HOW to see yourself from afar, if you are to enjoy the lasting bite of your happy slice of amorous apple, from the garden of Eden!
Before you delve in, what grants me the right to advice on the subject matter of love and relationship? Apart from life itself, my own deep, meaningful and significant romantic relationships – including the nine year marriage and four years spent as a Couple Counsellor and Sex Therapist – facilitating committed life partners to be able to see what they could not before; recognising the negative patterns people fall prey of and finally, providing them with relational skills to shift their current love paradigm for the better. Before any curious eyebrows are raised - let me reassure you that the vast majority of the sexual intimacy challenges such as low libido, impotency, vaginismus, premature ejaculation, anorgasmia and many other conditions, stems from the lack of emotional awareness in oneself and the appreciation for the depth of psychological needs we all have as emotional beings.
If you are looking for guidance on how to attract your partner, effective flirting tips, 1st date etiquettes, compatibility checklist or benefits of Karma Sutra positions ..then that’s another article in another edition of Gaian Times magazine! Although speaking of Compatibility help, DO grab Mani Navasothy – and hire him, when he is wearing his Astrologer hat on, to get your Birth Charts done and cross compare your Natal charts with that of your partner for Compatibility and love exclusives!
What Do We Know:
Borrowing words of Jerry Maguire “You Complete me” factor, may only be one reason why some enter in to any romantic relationship. Not everyone is walking around with gaping hole and looking for their missing jigsaw piece! We are but complex humans, striving for different motives most of the time. Generally though, most of us fall in to one of these categories : those of us looking to Belong, To be Loved , To feel Safe, To experience Security - where we can still go on thriving as individuals with our own identity , within that relationship. I have covered much of these human motives and drives in detail, in one of my earlier articles in Gaian Times, when exploring Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs.
When relationship hits an obstacle – be it a pebble, a little rock , a massive hill or worse still, a scary mountain that makes you dread, burn out and even give up trying – our perceptions that influence our attitude and personal resourcefulness (skills) plays major roles in how successfully we overcome that obstacles – not only in ourselves, but also as a couple TOGETHER.
Therein lays our challenge with relationships! You are not the only person with complex motives and needs. When you add the second partner, you have his or her own needs, wants, values and goals to deal with too. If both of you have some blind spots, key personality differences , past scars from your history or upbringing, including the way you formed attachment to your early Carer taker, successfully or unsuccessfully – you have more than enough combinations and permutations of challenges to get to grip with! They suddenly magnify all the problem areas of your relationship: Your mismatched value alignment starts to eat away at you! Age gap, further alienates you two. Growth away from each other drifts you in to different circles. Outside interferences and commitments start to irritate you. Time spent together becomes less and less, with quality drastically diminishing to stalemate status. Intimacy by now becomes none existent or few and far apart, in a monotonous drill – just a chore to get on with, taking very little pleasure beyond a short lived gratification. Sudden life changes: be it job, cash flow, illness, child birth- all starts to take a negative toll on what you once considered, the utmost precious and dear to you! Emotions run high and without any means of moderating or censoring. We become caught in the mundanity of the everyday existence as survival, but without truly recognising that the matters of the hearts need urgent and immediate resuscitation! So we may even delude ourselves thinking the problems will simply go away with time and burry our heads in the sand. Mute our emotions from feeling the pain. Or feel its intensity and be crippled by it! I can relate to this too!
According to couple researcher John Gottman, a troubled relationship, will have evidence of these 4 emotional behaviours: 1) Criticism 2) Contempt 3) Defensiveness 4) Stonewalling.
So STOP! Take The Relationship M.O.T Now!
What you have below are 3 broad brush questions to facilitate change. It will help 1st by spot lighting the problem in your love nest. 2nd by identifying the problem areas it falls under and the current impact of it, so specific interventions can be effective later. 3rdly, to motivate you to save that precious relationship before it ends in “We are just roommates” tragedy. This can help inject back, much needed tender loving care in nursing your love relationship back to good health.
1)Describe the area of your relationship where you are challenged the most?
2)What would be the cost, if you made no changes in this area?
3)How will your LIFE improve once you have made changes in this area?
Once you have done that, take a look at the chart called “Where Are We now?” below, to see how you might score in each of these six major areas of your life. These areas are like the barometer of any healthy relationship – they reveal poor percentage, when unresolved issues are one too many. High scoring percentage, reflect a well-rounded and currently thriving relationship. Which one describes you & your current or last love partnership?
Where Are We Now?
Exercise To Try:
Score this for yourself. Then, offer this (printed spare version) to your partner, and see if s/he also senses what your relationship is suffering from …and writes down, the same reasons you have come up with. Do not be disheartened, if her/his assessment of your relationship together, throws whole new areas that you did not view as problem area. Or their rating is vastly different from your rating! It happens.. so accept their reality as their truth now and respect it, the way you would want him/her to respect your reality. Then make a point to come together , ideally in a new setting , park, coffee shop etc. Taking one problem at a time, listen to each other taking turns and truly start to hear the issue in a different light. Try to unravel the situation, away from Blame Games and work on it, till you both resolve it harmoniously. Seek outside help, if you both cannot come to this agreement.
Rules : No curve balls please! Strictly one problem per day or even per week .. and stick with it till that issues gets resolved with mutual agreement, give and take- above all a Win-Win point both ways. Meet half-way by being willing to negotiate, is easier after you both put on your “empathy” hats on. You need to be able to walk a mile in each other’s shoes! Taking with you only your frames of reference, can be very unproductive in relationship problem solving. If you are a male-female heterosexual bond, do consider that we different genders, operate very differently to life, let alone problems solving and How we approach the challenges. Communication is however is key.
5 Pitfalls To Watch out For:
1) Holding out for our FANTASY partner. Too many people fail to re-adjust and re-align to some of the real traits our partners bring with them, with the ones they hold glorified and locked up in their heads. Result: disappointment and resentment with what they DO have. At times transferences starts to happen where we could be in danger of projections, and falling very short in meeting that gap from ideal to that of the real person in flesh in front of you.
2) Needless to say father-projection and mother-projection ideals also have little lasting power – unless you come gifted with your own flawed projection of yourself. Then things have a way of balancing and you may have a match that still works!!
3) Equally, going for the same type of person from your past history – doesn’t bode well for predicting long term success. Becoming a better pattern watcher is a required skill, if you are to spot warming signs of a Heart-breaker from a mile away!
4) If you currently suffer from lack of confidence, jumping in to deeper relationship is unadvisable – as you are more likely to come from a place of void or low Self Esteem. Best strategy, continually work on getting yourself in a strong, confident, self-resilient and assertive place. Date! By all means, after all fun and amour is everyone’s birth right. Just guard yourself from falling deep, untill you can be in a better position to know that it is for all the right reason and not out of wanting to “settle” or to vanquish that “lonely demon” in your empty house.
5) Remember to get out of a relationship that has run its course and toxically overdrawn. Remember you deserve better! And Sooner too!
Relationships matter! Romantic Relationship matter to us more at different stages of our lives, even more so than other platonic ones. What we all hope for is that the relationship you have with your partner is dynamic and unique. Hopefully bringing out the best in you both! The most important factor, before we all get lost in that romance of it all, is that every relationship begins with YOU.
To connect to your lover, to conquer the world together, to carve out your legacy, with that enriching love you may hope to have in your life partner - here’s a simple, yet effective equation to remember:
Relationship = Attitude + Emotions + Communication
Grow and harness your very best, into your positive Attitude + nurturing Emotions + effective Communication and you can almost guarantee getting the very best out of your loving relationship too!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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