Discomfort in a relationship is something we all experience at one time or another.
Remember the beginning of your relationship? You know, when you were falling in love with your special one. Remember when everything was perfect, the most wonderful perfect you could have ever imagined? This is what most of us as humans dream of, a perfect time and space with the one we love.
Everyone and every couple starts out this way. And most of the people I meet in my practice are desperate to get back to this wonderful, terrific space where both people understood everything about the other and there was peace and harmony and everything.
Discomfort in a Relationship Stems From Change
This place where everyone starts is so sacred. It’s almost like it was too good to be true. And yet, it is very true. Unfortunately, what happens to most of us is that we can’t stand the slightest wrinkle when this wonderful space begins to change. The change might start off really slowly. We might just bristle at what our partner does and say to ourselves, “Why did they do it that way?”
We might notice another behavior and say to ourselves, “What is that about?” These subtle changes are normal. They are the realization that there are two separate people in the relationship where before it felt as if there was only one love, one thought—not two people, but one source of pleasure that the two of you shared.
People Resist Change, and Change Can Leave Us Unhappy
When the relationship changes, and it always does, people react in different ways. Some of us resist anything that doesn’t feel like it did, and we try and get our person to go back and be the way they were. We notice when we feel things differently and we want to get them back to the comfort and the goodness that we felt. We might even become worried that the goodness is slipping away.
So as we work to get them to be who they were, they are probably feeling that we are unhappy, and that will make them unhappy. This is when the relationship really starts to change. Little shifts in attitude begin and then the relationship becomes compartmentalized; part of it is still that wonderful part, but part of it is not.
Blaming Our Partner for Our Discomfort Makes Things Worse
We grow used to this disparity and accept that this is as good as it will be. But we don’t really accept the disappointing parts. We begin to wonder if we are loved enough. We might tell ourselves, “If our partner really loved me they would change and do the things I need them to do to be happy.”
We might even tell ourselves that if they don’t do these things, maybe they don’t love us enough. We might think that if they loved us, truly loved us, they would do whatever we needed to feel that love again, you know the one from the beginning. Clearly, we might think, they are not doing their part.
When we suffer in a relationship we often blame our partner. This is common even though it isn’t helpful. Here’s why. Your partner has similar feelings to you. Your partner is probably feeling the distance and the loss of comfort and the wish that you would be different, just like you are thinking. This is the part that can join a couple or tear them apart.
Accepting Your Discomfort is the First Step to Working Through It With Your Partner
Notice that you have a right to your feelings of discomfort. But also notice that your partner might have discomfort too. You can blame your partner. But ask yourself, are you willing to accept your partner’s blame towards you as well?
I know this is sticky, but if the two of you can come to an understanding in the early stages that you both want to feel something else. If you can hear your partner and your partner can hear you, you have solved one of the hardest dilemma’s in a relationship. Take a walk not only in your shoes, but the shoes of the one you love. It will make for a deep, fulfilling journey, and it’s one you can take together.
Reduce Discomfort in Your Relationship
Read a Book About Relationships
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn about how to address discomfort in a relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you communicate better and blame one another less, helping you get the most out of your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.