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What to Do When Your Partner Won’t Work on Your Relationship

Posted by on January 15, 2020 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex, Thrive with 0 Comments

worried couple-compressed

By Sandra Cooper | Tiny Buddha

It takes two to manage the relationship, but it takes one to begin the change.” ~Sheri E. Ragland

So, your significant other doesn’t understand you. In fact, you’re not even sure if they hear you. Despite trying to talk about things or take a break from each other, you end up arguing about the same thing over and over again.

You try this and you try that. You back away, you move in. You break up, you get back together. You try everything you can think of, and nothing is working, but you don’t want to end the relationship.

You finally realize that no matter what you two do, you eventually find your way back to the same conflict, repeating the same dance again and again and again. Nothing seems to ever change.

So, you get excited when you finally figure out what you need to do—couples counseling! Relief floods you, confident now that couples counseling will save this relationship! And so, you announce to your other half, “We need couples counseling.”

But alas, like a punch to your gut, your partner has no interest in couples counseling and refuses to go. Barely able to breathe, you know your relationship is really at an impasse and you are hopeless to know how to fix it. It is certainly doomed if you don’t get the counseling you both need.

I know the feeling. In fact, my car was packed at least once, and I was sure I was finally going to leave.

Thank goodness I didn’t.

Did you ever hear the old adage, “I married my mother” or “I married my father”? There is truth to this statement. Despite our inability to recognize it, we do often marry or partner with someone like our mother or our father.

And I am going to tell you why.

First and foremost, it’s familiar. We’re attracted to what we know. Secondly and most importantly, we marry or partner with someone like our mother or our father in an unconscious attempt at resolving old conflicts and feelings left over from those original and significant early relationships.

Read that again: We marry or partner with someone like our mother or our father in an unconscious attempt at resolving old conflicts and feelings left over from those original and significant early relationships.

That’s a lot to mull over, for sure.

Never underestimate the impact your childhood experience had on your life. Never underestimate the impact your relationship or lack thereof, with your mother and father had on your life. Even absent parents can have an immeasurable impact.

They were the mirror through which you learned to see yourself. If more often than not, you had a positive, encouraging, supportive mirror, you likely grew up with healthy self-esteem. If that mirror was more often than not, judgmental, critical, unsupportive, or disinterested, then your self-worth is likely at the lower end of healthy.

Think about it. Those relationships, or lack of, sent you multitudes of unspoken messages.

The question is: What are the messages you took in and how are they affecting your current relationship?

I grew up in a male-dominated household and religion. It was not until I was an adult that I recognized that I believed men were more important than women. No one ever said that to me, but that was how I interpreted the male-dominated environments that gave little to no voice to women.

As a result, I rarely spoke up, remaining hidden. I found myself in unhealthy and unsatisfying relationships where I allowed men to dominate me. I never fully showed up as a valuable and integral part of the relationship I was in.

This is one of the ways that our past follows us into the present, inviting us to grow and learn beyond what childhood taught us. Figuring out how to navigate our emotional world and our relationships is paramount to this process. Hence, a not so peaceful, sometimes antagonizing relationship with the one you love can be the invitation you need.


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