You have met the man or woman of your dreams. You are totally smitten by this individual, and it appears that all of your dreams have finally been answered. After the excruciating process of dating, you think you may have finally found “the one.” Besides, they meet all of your personal criteria, so it’s safe to say that you have a keeper. You begin choosing bridesmaids, subscribing to bridal magazines and shopping for china patterns. During the honeymoon stage of a relationship, the two people involved in a relationship put their best feet forward; late night conversations become the highlight of each day. You are eager to discuss your day to day activities, and you discuss dreams and aspirations with each other. What happens after the honeymoon stage has come and gone and you begin to feel that the relationship has become stagnant? When two people decide to date exclusively, there should be stages of progress and the relationship should grow. This progress may occur at a steady pace, but there should be growth. What happens when the relationship is no longer progressing and you are faced with the dilemma of leaving or staying? Through effective communication, couples can discuss where the relationship is headed.
All relationships go through seasons, which can be uncomfortable if uneasy feelings are unfamiliar. If this “stump” does not improve within a reasonable amount of time or if you are unhappy and feeling unfulfilled in the relationship, assessing the situation is vital. During this phase, it helps if a couple can mutually decide how the situation can improve. When this conversation occurs, avoid using criticism or other sabotaging tactics that could put your partner on the defensive. Discuss your feelings, as well as your desires and expectations, in an open and sincere manner.
One of the top three reasons contributing to the demise of relationships both platonic and romantic is the lack of communication. Therefore, being on the same page is the first step in a flourishing relationship. How couples can communicate to resolve ruts in relationships?
Ask appropriate questions. The breakdown in communication often stems from misunderstandings; therefore, asking clear and concise questions will assure that both parties are in sync and will help avoid speculations. Utilizing dialogue such as, “When you said…I took it as…could you please help me better understand?” is useful.
Listen. It is imperative to give the other party your full, undivided attention with as few distractions as possible. The priority at this time – if the desire is to move forward – should be the relationship. Reflective Listening versus Active Listening is better during this time because it allows the person receiving the information to paraphrase, in their words, what they hear, thus helping to avoid assumptions.
Compromise. Be willing to discuss a workable solution that will please both individuals. Relationships require a balance that incorporates give and take on behalf of all parties involved, so compromise and negotiation are essential.
Remember, the burden of our happiness does not lie with our partners. While it’s true that we ultimately are responsible for our own happiness, our relationships are supposed to enhance our happiness and should never make us feel unhappy or unworthy. Sometimes we hold onto things out of fear of failure. If we self-reflect, analyze the situation, and conclude that we have done everything possible to sustain the relationship, then have we truly failed? We should feel empowered in knowing that we gave our best efforts. If releasing those relationships is our desire, we can do so with peace in our minds and soul.
© 2012, LaLaina M. Knowles. All rights reserved.