Q & A Friday
Recently, I put a question to readers on my social media, asking what they wanted to know about relationships and/or personal growth. The two go hand-in-hand in my opinion.
If you’d like to contribute to this post for next week’s blog, click here: Your Burning Questions Answered
Are you growing apart or tightening your connection?
Reader Question #1
How do we know when to call it quits?
Every relationship has its ups and downs. It has to. For growth. You cannot grow in a stalemate standoff where conversation doesn’t enter that ‘difficult’ realm.
If you enter into a relationship with a growth mindset it is inevitable that you will come up against resistance in your endeavour to understand yourself, and your partner, better. Because stepping out of situations that are comfortable, makes us feel insecure and if your partner is unsure of stepping onto new territory with you, you will feel restricted in your growth and expansion.
So, to overcome this situation and help both you and your partner make progress, either together or as individuals within a relationship; or potentially apart, I have a few thoughts for you to consider:
- Can you have awkward conversations? Whether you are the one initiating them or the one being encouraged to participate. They’re uncomfortable, they make you feel icky but that is where the real growth is. Because you enter an undiscovered dimension to yourself and/or your partner, you uncover an entire realm of understanding previously untapped. Have the awkward conversation! You’ll be so glad you did.
- Realise that you simply cannot understand everything about someone else, otherwise you’d have to be them. For many years my mantra has been, “I don’t want an apology, I want to be understood.” Finally, I have been the one to understand that it is an impossibility to really know every facet of another human being. Be comfortable with not understanding or being understood, fully.
- Another mistake I overcame in my relationship was to expect my partner to be everything/everyone to me. Again, impossible. Humans are such varied creatures, we need different outlets for our myriad needs and interests. Release expectations of your partner being your whole world.
Now to get to the part where you know whether to call it quits or not:
I’ll get straight to the point:
- If you feel threatened, seek help immediately.
- If you are in an abusive situation, seek safety.
- If the bad times outweigh the good times, seek counseling.
- If you suspect your partner has narcissistic tendencies, seek help in overcoming your mental anguish.
- Remember that abuse is not only physical; there is emotional, verbal and neglectful abuse (and many more) as well – withholding love, finances, intimacy etc.
- None of us is perfect, so can you live with your partner’s shortfalls?
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical or counseling professional in any way. Please speak to your health care provider if you need help.
The shadows will always be there; you can either work through them and turn your life around to face the light, or turn your back on the shadows and walk away – but they will always follow you so my advice is to work through the shadows each time they appear.
Don’t let the shadows darken your view.
Reader Question #2
Imperfect Date Nights
And how they give space to work on the relationship – Adapted from: Synergy Couples
I have personal experience to share in regards to working through bad date nights. Bear in mind these experiences were with my husband and he and I have been married for decades, so there is already a firm foundation of trust in our relationship. If you are actually in the dating world as a single person, please ensure your safety at all times:
Safe Dating Tips – Credit: Law Enforcement and Safety
- Meet in Public During the Day. Meet in a public place with good lighting.
- Tell a Friend. Let at least one friend, or more if possible, know where you are going and who you are meeting.
- Have Your Own Transportation.
- Stay Sober.
Back to mine and my husband’s own Disaster Date Nights:
I have had a love/hate relationship with my career on and off for many years (now retired). On this particular date we were at a very quiet restaurant for dinner with a subdued atmosphere. The space was an intimate stand of tables and chairs with other patrons close by.
Our discussion led to my then-current work situation. I was between jobs and filling the gap with part-time work, which, of course, I hated. I wanted to leave that job but didn’t have a replacement elsewhere – our conversation became heated, albeit in hissing whispers!
Needless to say our date night was ruined and we couldn’t continue our discussion in a satisfactory manner. As our heading in this segment suggests, not all dates are going to be a romantic interlude but they give us space to work on the relationship.
Of course, we continued our discussion once home and worked through the various issues we both had about my work situation and we both gained a deeper acknowledgement of what the other was going through. So, although our evening felt ruined in the moment, it definitely turned into a memorable moment of growth for both of us.
Disaster Date #2
This one was a daytime date at a craft market. If you’ve read my dating diaries eBook, you’ll know this scene well. (Available here)
dragged cajoled James to this craft market with the promise of a seaside stroll and coffee. While browsing, I spotted an anchor door stopper that I fancied. In his ever so practical way, James offered to fit a spoke-style doorstop instead. How to react? Ungrateful/grateful? I would have preferred the anchor but didn’t want to refuse his offer of an alternative. We strolled silently around the market, coffees in hand. Not enjoying the ambience.
Eventually, we came to a decision and went back for the anchor doorstop. Lo and behold, the stall manager’s payment gadget wasn’t working for credit cards and we didn’t have cash on us. In the end, we both learnt to compromise.
So once again, our disaster date proved to be a space to work on our relationship.
Those were just two relatively lighthearted events that I could share with you to demonstrate the opportunity for growth in seemingly imperfect situations. I realise that there are far greater dating disasters out there and that some situations simply cannot be worked through. This is where I suggest you seek professional help to work through any struggles you might have.
Don’t let your relationship come to this!
Remember to add your questions in the comments. Whether they are relationship related or personal growth questions, I will do my best to provide helpful answers.