You are going along, happy as clams in your relationship and then suddenly you hit a snag. Someone isn’t happy. Maybe it is a bad mood, unmet needs, conflict or dissatisfaction outside of the relationship, it could be almost anything but the net result is you do not feel good about your connection with your partner. Emotions get triggered and you start to get stressed. Maybe it looks like this:
- Your partner snaps at you.
- You ask why and they tell you nothing is wrong.
- You know that is not exactly true but know better than to push their buttons any further.
- You sit in anxiety until you can get to the bottom of what is going on.
- You cry, laugh, drink, try to text your way in, pick up the phone to call then hang up.
Maybe it lasts a day, maybe a week, maybe a month. So, what do you do to cope when your relationship is hard and often unclear.
First, ask your partner if they want to talk. What do they need in that moment? If it is not immediately resolvable then leave it alone. Let them know you are there when they are ready to discuss what is bothering them or when they are ready to work it out with you. This step can be the most difficult because for some, sitting in uncertainly is beyond scary.
Second, manage you.
In his book, “The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship,” Don Miguel Ruiz says, “Nothing that your partner does is personal. Your partner is dealing with (his/her) own garbage. If you don’t take it personally, it will be so easy for you to have a wonderful relationship with your partner.”
The wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz is an invaluable resource when it comes to self-management. Because you cannot control your partner or their feelings, all you can control is what YOU see, think, feel and do. It is hard not to feel afraid when your partner is distant or not present, but the key to making it through is creating your own safety net.
Some tips to keeping your sanity:
- Meditate. Natures best stress reducer also allows you to more clearly hear your intuition.
- Visit with friends or family.
- Explore your city. Go places and do things your partner does not enjoy but you do.
- See a movie you want to see. Try going by yourself.
- Take walks in nature, go to the gym, build your yoga practice. Do whatever you love and makes you feel good about yourself.
- Listen to upbeat music.
- Connect with your higher power through prayer, attending church, or reading a spiritual text.
- Read a book.
- Ensure you eat properly and avoid alcohol.
Approach the situation trusting that all will be well, even if there is some short-term pain involved. This attitude will help you be patient and let your partner process and practice self-care.
If your partner has been disrespectful or unkind, wait to address the situation until you can come together calmly and in the most productive frame of mind. Pushing each other to try to resolve issues before the time is right can result in enflaming the situation further and add to the problems at hand.
Practice patience. It is a great skill to learn and allows hot emotions to cool down and rational thinking and problem solving to come to the forefront.
Remember, one challenging point of time will not break your relationship and can allow it to grow. When your partner is ready to talk, they will, and will bring the best of themselves back to the conversation. It is not about you, it is about giving each other the opportunity to practice good self-management and care.