What do you do when you find yourself in a relationship difficulty where things were blissful and happy one moment, then all of a sudden, things are in crisis mode and you’re wondering WTF happened and how did things shift. This year, I’ve had the fortune to feel that very crisis at a number of levels and see myself get busted completely wide open as every flaw of my being was brought to the surface. It was a very trying time for a couple months.
What makes a relationship go bad?
A relationship generally starts to go bad when at least one person in the relationship wants something and is not getting it or is not having an expectation met that they’ve realized or have been thinking about for a while. Generally a relationship goes bad because someone says something that appears to be “out of the blue” when in reality, they’ve been thinking about it for a while, possibly several weeks, while the other person is going along their merry way oblivious to this internal thought.
Then the topic comes up and it sends everything into a downward spiral, especially for the person who has been thinking everything is fine. It’s like a rookie trying to fly a plane in a thunder storm with severe wind. More than likely, that rookie is going to take the plane and crash it into the ground. And that is to be expected if you are not prepared with what to do about it.
I was a rookie, even at 36 years of age here. I made every needy and insecure mistake a person can make, but the good thing is, I’ve done the research on where I went wrong and have built a framework for what to do right in the future. I believe a relationship goes bad when someone hears the other say something or do something that violates their zone of comfort or safety. I know I did that this year.
Can relationships be salvaged?
There’s this really nifty thing in life called time. If you are self aware enough to recognize your mistakes and to find good advice and a framework for where you went wrong and how you can improve then I believe a situation can absolutely be salvaged – especially if you are already a good person at heart and have a lot of attractive qualities to begin with.
As I talk with my wife Heidi about this, it makes a lot of sense in our situation where we both are working toward some big changes in our lives. I mentioned in my previous article that following the steps to be happy independently was paying off for us both as the energy we each give off is now stronger than ever. Let me share with you how a relationship situation can be salvaged and even improved upon.
1. Take time to reflect
Any time things ended up not working out too well in a relationship or you’ve found someone telling you they need distance, space, or don’t want to talk to you, then it is time for you to reflect inwardly. It is time to stop trying to contact or interact with the person requesting distance or space and look inwardly at yourself. You might be wondering what you did wrong. Chances are, there is something you did – or something about the situation that has made the other person not feel safe.
If you spend some time reflecting inwardly and remembering what the other person has said, you can put the relationship puzzle together and find out where the concerns lie – it’s not rocket science. Once you know where things are wrong, you can reflect and even accept what is wrong – even if the other person was not completely open and honest, you’ll have enough information to dig underneath the meaning of their words.
By taking time to reflect, you do several things: first, you give yourself time to grieve and calm down. This is good. You give yourself a chance to think without any contact with the person where the relationship difficulty happened. This is REALLY hard at first, but over time, you’ll learn to ‘harness’ your feelings and function just as you did before.
Second, you become much more self aware about yourself and you’ll find that it is you who needs to change for the things in the world to change for you. There’s a great quote, “For things to change, you must change.” You’ll realize that everything wrong in a relationship is in your head. Not always – certainly you can’t control some things people say and do, but for most cases, relationship difficulties can be solved with introspection and making inward changes.
2. Exercise and eat energizing foods
Eating right and exercising are two of the most important things you can do at anytime. And if you are facing a relationship difficulty, then they are vital. I remember a few months ago when I felt my heart beating faster than normal and my blood pressure higher than usual. Going for a run and lifting weights helped energize my body.
And you’ll also look and feel great too. There’s nothing quite so inspiring as having a healthy and fit body that can handle the demands life places on it. When you can run for a long time and lift weights such that you see yourself in the mirror and say, “Damn, I’m looking good” it makes a big difference in self esteem and ability to be confident and face life’s challenges. At least for me, that’s how it is.
3. Pick up or rekindle your creative spirit
When you’re facing a relationship difficulty, the temptation is to spend every hour thinking about it and what went wrong. Even months after the initial difficulty, it can be hard to stop thinking about it. One of the best things you can do is to awaken your creative spirit or hobbies. Do you like chess, biking, running, drawing, watching movies? Find those things which interest you and begin doing them.
Chances are, before you were in the relationship with the person where there is now difficulty you were probably doing those things anyway. By doing them again, you’ll find yourself back in a mode of creating and learning. For me, this means my website here, new website projects, watching learning videos of Michio Kaku, Ray Kurzweil, and brainstorming the future.
4. Learn to function as an independent human being
For the initial period after a relationship difficulty, the whole word can feel like it just crashed down. And the world will continue to be bleak until you start working on yourself and lifting up your own spirits from within.
Listen, I know how hard it can be. I howled in agony on the floor I was in such pain earlier in the year. I really thought I was going to die, the pain was that great. I would not have been surprised had I died. But then again, if I died, maybe I wouldn’t have realized it and thus would not have been surprised. Ah, talking about death. See, a good sense of humor about things is important :)
The point I’m getting at is that I know pain in this area – I am chief of relationship pain. But I’ve been able to learn the things to do to help alleviate that pain and even make things brighter for the future. I don’t care if you’ve met your soul mate. I don’t care if you think “they are the one.” I don’t care if you’ve met your Twin Flame and you feel a deep bond and soul connection that defies all description. The situation is irrelevant to the things you need to do for yourself.
5. Reach out again
When you’ve learned to function on your own and are living a life filled with your own creative pursuits, energy, and happy demeanor, then it comes time to reach out again to the person – if you even feel the need to do so. After all this time, you may find that you are simply content and happy with how you are now and don’t need to get back in touch with the person you were having a relationship difficulty with.
If you do feel like the person is still important, then by all means reach out, but don’t do it in a needy manner. Keep it short and casual, sharing just a few small things. You’ll get a feel if the person is being distant or cold still and you’ll be able to take it because you’ve followed these simple steps to empower yourself first. What I’m saying is that the reaction of the person will not phase you, even if you find yourself wanting to talk to them.
Your future interactions with people, so long as you continue to have a philosophy of life that is happy and focused inwardly will work out much more favorably. Wishing you love and care as the relationships with our fellow human beings are some of the most complex and surprising things we’ll face in our lives. If you reach out to someone and they don’t respond or don’t say much, don’t fret. It’s but one interaction and there will be many more interactions to come with that person, or other people.
Live with truth, love, and courage my friends!
- The Real Stages of Grief
- Your Confidence Comes Through Experience
- Why Is It So Hard To Find A Good Man Or Woman These Days?
- A Response to My Ex Was a Once In a Lifetime Kind of Love
- What Should I Write About In Regards To Relationships?