Once upon a time I was dating a man who broke my heart. Granted we have all been through some sort of heartbreak of some sort, and these events can certainly play with one’s self-esteem and confidence. Lately I have been working with a slew of individuals around the world who are going through just this event, break-up and loss. ’Tis the season for break-ups and easy hook-ups. Every holiday season holds these two events in them for all too many. Today I want to discuss the topic of claiming the relationship that you are in and six seemingly “little” things that lead to destruction and failure in any serious, committed relationship that the majority of people can get trapped in doing.
Our intimate union with another person is to be something special, it holds with it on the front side (the newlywed phase which lasts 6 months — 3 years) passion, excitement, curiosity, deep love and affection, as well as appreciation and a desire to be with this other being to the maximum level. During this time, we are getting to know each other, we are bonding and all the connective chemicals that support this event are in full flow. Then comes the “you’re familiar” phase, where we start to allow outside events and people to influence our relationship more and we start to feel like we do not have to work so hard to keep what we got. We start to trust that the other person is just going to be there and that we “should” not have to put in all the effort like we did in the courting/newlywed phases. Unfortunately, relationships are truly living breathing entities of their own and the deeper the relationship, the more commitment that has been agreed upon the more we actually need to put in all the efforts of showing, maintaining and keeping it alive.
Both sexes are horribly guilty of putting what they deem their “primary relationship” into a constant state of autopilot. This state of autopilot comes with a host of hidden and non-hidden expectations for our mates. The phase of “you’re familiar” typically leads to the phase of “roommate’s,” which can be the death of many fantastic relationships, good sex, desire, commitment, connection and bonding. You may find in this state of “you’re familiar” that you just assume things, believing that you “know” your partner and they you, it also brings with it just enough crap that you have worked through together that there are also issues spoken and unspoken that are laying, in the moment, dormant but will certainly make themselves known in a short period of time.
People get focused on work, children, stressors that seem like they should not have an impact on the relationship but do. When we are in the state of “you’re familiar” or the roommate phase, we literally put our primary relationship on the back burner with the belief or hope that all will remain as we left it in the “newlywed phase.” However, nothing could remain further from the truth.
The reality is such, relationships are high maintenance.
Anyone in a relationship, may wonder why this is? Why do I have to keep up the mystery. The courting. The romance. The inquiry and playfulness. And back to the fact that relationships are living, breathing entities of their own…. like a pet.
If you have ever owned a pet, say a dog, which is very much like your primary relationship, then you know that in order to have a healthy, happy dog as a pet that is not nipping at you, pissing everywhere, and depressed in the corner somewhere that you must feed, water, walk, play and pet the damn dog. Plus tend to its medical needs. And what do you gain from your pet relationship? Companionship, unconditional love, a calming state, joy and laughter and a connection. Most importantly a connection. That’s why we have pets and relationships. Otherwise, we would all be just fine going about our days and lives without anyone. When we get into a primary relationship, we have certain needs that we are wanting met and we know that we need someone else to accomplish them.
If we want our mate to stay loyal, to want us, desire us and that union to remain strong then we have to know the pitfalls that happen all too often in committed relationships and how to not let these happen. We also have to have a desire and willingness to take responsibility and do something about them.
Before I share the six things here, I want to say a couple things. First being, these items are directed at both sexes, with that said, I want to make clear that unfortunately men are more guilty than women on some of these items. Women’s response which is normally seen through sexual, or intimate shut down, lack of orgasmic response, and lack of transparency normally stem from an emotional shut down based on a reaction to the consistent lack of showing from the man.
6 Things That Show You Are Not Owning Your Relationship, and It Will Contribute to Its Destruction
- Publicly Claiming Your Relationship — This may not seem like an important thing; however, I assure you that it is. When we step into a committed, exclusive relationship or any relationship where we are proclaiming to our mate that we are with them then we need to be prepared to share that status with others. It used to be that a woman would wear a promissory ring, or she would happily wear a guy’s jacket, these would represent that she was “taken” or with someone seriously. Today, we claim our relationship on social media in the linking of accounts and making our profile picture that of us coupled instead of an individual. These things can lead to the natural biproduct of engagement and marriage, however they do not always. It is a symbol of your bond and a public display of such. Just like our actual marriages are. So why is it so vital to make the list you may wonder? How can a profile picture, a linking account on social media and relationship status be so important? It’s pretty simple, when we ask someone to be committed to us and us to them, it is not only a showing of the relationship, it also is a statement that we are shutting other doorways to others and that we are not available, or off the market. It is also saying to our mate that we are firmly with them and more importantly that we are proud to show that to our community, friends and family. When we do not do this, over time it builds a questioning by our mate as to how our mates truly feel about us and the relationship. It can create relationship anxiety and support jealousy and fear if the person has ever been cheated on or abandoned in any past relationships. The majority of people have abandonment issues and do not feel worthy of love. The seemingly small jester of publicly claiming your relationship can go a long way to instilling faith and pride in your partner and relationship. I can tell you that when working with a couple and one person refuses to update their social media accounts to show photos of couple hood, their profile image never shows couple hood and they keep it focused on just them and then they do not even make mention in any relationship that it shows a disconnect of the heart to their mate and a lack of long-term commitment or certainty in the relationship. I have seen this many times being the preface to a multitude of other intimacy issues within the relationship. What’s worse? When one mate goes from couple focus in their public display to individual focus. This is one of the very first signs of a massive disconnect, a feeling of being undervalued and a questioning about what they have.
- Giving Up on Sexual Intimacy & Playfulness — None of us enter relationship with the desire to sacrifice our sexual lives, our pleasure or the playfulness that we enjoyed and ignited us during the newlywed phase or courting phase, however it has long been said that if you want to never have sex again, get married. As sad and funny as this statement it is, it is a reality in about 50% of marriages or domestic unions today. The majority of couples, together for 3–5 years have sex on average 54 times a year. I will leave the math to you. I will also tell you that a sexless marriage is considered anything less than ten times a year. There is a ton that goes into a healthy sex life for a couple, stress with work, family, health conditions, age, how healthy a person is, if they exercise or not, etc. However, when we do not have a consistent, happy, and mutually satisfying sexual life with our mate, for whatever the reason then we will have more issues and stressors than not.
Thats’ because a healthy sex life which requires:
- good communication
- and consistency
Provides individuals with:
- physical fitness and overall life stamina
- they are happier
- have a higher level of confidence and self-esteem
- have better cognitive function
- have an increased life expectancy
- look younger
- are more creative
- have a more robust immune system
- have healthier heart rates and blood pressure
- experience less stress
Because when we have sex that leads to orgasm and orgasm is key to this, sex without orgasm can do the reverse for women for sure and can contribute to higher levels of anxiety, depression, heart issues, and can lead to a feeling of lostness. Orgasm in sex releases positive bonding chemicals which also reduce and block cortisol the stress hormone as well as creating a long lasting deep bonding feeling. Bonding means connection and commitment. All too often, our newlywed phase has healthy, connective sex and playfulness in it, then we get familiar and start to get stuck in a pattern in our sexing, attempting it when we do not have the energy or ability to focus and be connected mentally, emotionally and physically — making our partner a living masturbation tool instead of the person we love and want to enjoy pleasure with. With enough orgasmless, empty sexual unions partners drift away and no longer desire each other, they may still count each other as best friends and love each other deeply, however the bond that keep them together and prevents doorways to others from opening are no longer there and once desire diminishes respect, vulnerability and commitment are sure to dwindle as well.
3. Secret Keeping & Lack of Transparency — Never good as we all want for truth, honesty and trust in our relationships. Secret keeping outside of the secrets of your mate’s birthday present or Christmas gift or a surprise are never healthy and most certainly are a big tell as to the state of the relationship. Communication is vital to a healthy, strong relationship foundation and when we are no longer communicating, we are closing the door to our mate to know where we are at or to be hear where they may be at. This one always starts out so small with a thought or comment like, “I am just not going to tell you my feelings anymore on this subject because I am not comfortable with your reaction or feelings about my thoughts and feelings.” Next, we start to not discuss what seems like little things and we hold onto quiet expectations that our mate will just figure it out. We somehow gain over the course of time the belief that we simply cannot or should not tell our mate certain intimacies, often because we are fearful of confrontation or hurting their feelings or ego. I see this many times around the conversation of sexual satisfaction in a relationship, typically women are most guilty of not talking to their mate about how unsatisfied they really are because they do not want to damage their partners ego. The reality is that if your needs are not being met and you keep it a secret, you prevent your mate from fixing their part in it. If your mate cannot hold their temper or feelings on such a vital relationship issue as joint sexual satisfaction, then they are an immature person that should not be in a relationship to begin with.
4. Suffocation & Too Much Distance — Some couples do one while others do the opposite. Neither are healthy or wise in intimate relationships. When we won’t let our spouse out of our sight or have a life experience without us in every second of it, it only shows our own fears, jealousy and immaturity in a relationship. It used to be that we had more community around us, we understood that it took a village to be healthy and stable in life and that we needed multiple people to have a true support system. We understood that putting all of our needs onto our partner was too much of a burden, however in today’s world we believe that our mates should and need to be the village. So often in relationships, we shut out friends, family and community. We get attached at the hip and do nothing apart outside of going to work. This creates suffocation in the relationship which kills the flames of desire and passion. The reverse is where couples refuse to do things together, they want to remain individuals and have their own lives. Some separation is healthy, however for the couples who refuse to unite too much they send the message to their mate that they do not value the relationship and do not enjoy their mate. A massive part of domestic union is about friendship and companionship, not much of either happening when you are ships passing in the night all with the focus on not losing yourself in a relationship. Romantic relationship, marriage is about coming together but still being individuals. You should make each other better and be supportive, encouraging of each other’s skills and hobbies, not putting out the flames of your mates life without you as well as not hanging out a “do not enter this part of my world” sign to your mate. I have seen over and over again that when couples start to have intimacy issues and the bond starts to break down that they will start to not do as much together, they will pick up more time at work, busy themselves outside of the house and relationship more.
5. Putting Everything Else Before Your Relationship — It’s your primary relationship yet you are not making it a primary focus? Yes, this should have been number one in truth as it is perhaps the most common issue I see again and again. This one however is often falling in the court of the men out there as they get done with the courting phase where they were hunting their faire maiden, then they captured her and enjoyed the newlywed fun and sexing, then they got familiar and lost some of their desire, passion or purpose in courting her believing that once captured she would not go anywhere and would not require as much work, so now they can put her and the relationship on the back burner of life, keep her safe and focus on all the things that life has to offer. Not saying that anyone, male or female should ever let their work, family, health or spiritual lives go astray and become ill due to their primary relationship. All of these things need to be tended too and kept healthy or the issues and stressors will seep into the relationship and cause big issues. With that said, its vitally important for anyone in a relationship to realize that relationships by their very nature are hard AF and high-maintenance. When we allow everything and everyone else to take center stage to our primary relationship and partner we are undervaluing our mate and setting forth unhealthy assumptions and expectations on our mate to just remain. This is a form of neglect that severs emotional bonds and will surely lead to the end of the relationship.
6. Not Owning Your Own Responsibility in The Discord — Part of claiming your relationship with your partner is understanding that everything, and I mean everything, including an affair is a two-way street in a relationship. We play our part in the discord, the disconnect and issues in our relationship with our partner. It is never just one partner. Often, we want to make it the other’s issues, they are the ones who have the “problems” and need the fixing. They are the ones who are the wrongdoer or should have just had more patience, understanding, been more committed, etc. When we approach relationships with this sort of mindset we instantly set ourselves up for struggle and challenges. We are creating separation within the relationship by making it about our partner and their issues instead of asking ourselves what part we have played. It’s important to note here that if you get to this point where you are finger pointing, feeling like the victim in some fashion, believing that your mate does not love you or has piss poor morals then more than likely “your part” in the problem is listed in one of the above five topics or perhaps multiples. By owning our part, we also claim our power and become a supportive stabilizer to the health of the relationship. No matter how big or small any issue may appear on the front side, if it goes without talking about it, or is made to be only one partner’s issue then you will find yourself in unhappy times soon enough.
What have you learned from this?
If you got anything, I hope it is that:
- Intimate committed relationship by its very nature is high-maintenance and requires us to always work at being our best.
- We cannot drop the courting and romance ball with our mate.
- We cannot expect that they will just sit on the side lines and wait for us.
- We certainly cannot assume that they will go without sexual satisfaction and remain mentally, emotionally and physically healthy and bonded to us.
- Lack of quality time and communication will not build a ground for trust and connection either.
- And above all else, you must accept that relationships are living breathing entities of their own. You are not in a relationship with a robot but another human being, who has needs, wants and feelings. So, stop treating them like a piece of furniture.
- If you want to ensure a healthy, long lasting and joyous relationship where passion, intimacy, commitment and love all thrive for many decades to come — then you absolutely must understand and actively engage in working on these six items to claim your most important person and status.
Loving You from Here Always.
Stop Existing & Start Living
‘Coaching for Grown A*s Believers”
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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