When it comes to our love life and there’s trouble on the horizon, we tend to look outside ourselves to place blame, don’t we?
Another person. Our partner. Money. Our job. Their job.
We believe everyone and everything else is responsible for the bad place we find ourselves in.
And that’s the problem.
When we treat love like an external energy, or something that happens to us, we turn our focus outwards when the going gets tough. Of course relationships are full of ups and downs that are at times caused by what’s going on around us, but it’s important to understand the enemy is often in our own heads and hearts.
We aren’t always victims of our romantic fate and we aren’t simply “attracted to the wrong people” or “unlucky in love.”
The harsh truth is that our own nasty ego is often responsible for playing saboteur.
In other words, we are getting in our own way when it comes to finding and nourishing a rich and gratifying relationship.
Next time you feel like things are a little shaky in the lurve department, before you point the finger, turn inward and take stock.
Here are some of the ways you may find you have added fuel to the fire:
You focus more on what’s wrong, than what’s right
If you constantly nit-pick all your partner’s perceived ‘flaws’ and stew over even the tiniest of arguments, of course your unhappiness will be magnified.
In focusing on the bad aspects of your relationship, all of the time, what you fail to see is all of the more plentiful, wonderful aspects of your partner. It’s true — for everything you despise about your lover, there’s likely to be dozens of traits you wouldn’t want to live without.
So, focus more on what lights you up and learn to let go of the trivial stuff.
You don’t speak up
Consistently bottling up what bothers you is a damaging pattern to follow.
Usually, when our needs aren’t met, we blame our partner for our lack of fulfilment, which in turn leads to resentment. But how are they meant to know if we don’t tell them?
At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness — even if we need a little help from our lovers to cultivate it. So open up about your deepest needs and desires so your partner can actually recognise and meet them. Encourage them to do the same.
You always need to be right
For sure, honest and open communication is important in a relationship. It helps you lay your cards on the table. But when a discussion escalates into a confrontation or argument, we tend to get our defence on, make it about us and move heaven and earth to prove ourselves right.
Even if we know we’re not.
Refusing to back down, understand, admit our failings and apologise in a relationship always comes at the expense of peace. So, next time you come head to head, acknowledge your partner has an opinion and needs that might need to be met, strive to see things from their perspective, look for common ground and compromise on an outcome that satisfies you both.
Your relationship doesn’t take priority
Of course, self-love and looking after Number One is crucial, but ensure other areas of your life don’t take precedent over your relationship.
While you’re being pushed and pulled by the busy-ness of responsibility and expectation, it’s easy to neglect the importance of the ongoing nourishment required for a relationship to thrive.
Nurture your love life over your social life, your work life — and your phone —and commit to always being present when you are with your partner.
You don’t appreciate your partner as they are
You want to be seen, heard, acknowledged and accepted just as you are, right?
Your partner does too.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Release the judgement and desire to ‘change’ them. It’s unfair to expect them to drastically change or adapt something about themselves to suit you. And the truth is, there’s a good chance that the perceived ‘flaws’ you point out in them are more than likely the very things you actually want to change in yourself!
Accepting people where they are and showing them unconditional love is one of the secrets to a successful partnership.
And remember, everything they are, is what you fell for in the first place.
You don’t believe you deserve love
For many of us, the deep-rooted belief that we don’t deserve good things makes us resistant to happiness. We believe we’re instead supposed to suffer.
If we don’t feel deserving, we find a way not to allow ourselves to have something.
So in the case of an intimate relationship, if we feel unworthy of love we tend to push our partner away.
Self-sabotage to a tee.
In reality, we all deserve to love — and be loved — regardless of our past mistakes and experiences. But in order to open yourself up to giving and receiving love, you must first be able to wholeheartedly love yourself. So work hard on that.
And if your lover wants to love you, let them.