Why isn’t your relationship working?

[Continuing the Your life back on track article series from Jessica Kasevich of JK Therapy…]

The Honeymoon is Over! Why isn’t this relationship working?

By Jessica Kasevich

JK Therapy Relationships Hoboken NJ Your Life Back on Track Jessica KasevichIt seemed like the best three months of your dating life. You would see each other almost every day. You felt comfortable with her. You could tell him anything. You thought she was the female version of you. He made you laugh more than you had ever laughed before. Never had you shared the same views on religion, politics, and family with another. For the first time you felt HAPPY.

You thought… had all this dating finally paid off? Could this person be the one you would spend the rest of your life with? And then… the three month mark hits.

The person you thought was “perfect” and “ideal” CHANGED or, did you begin to see who they are, and the real issues they carry with them ?

The Honeymoon is over

Why does the drama free honeymoon stage of great dinners at Balthazar’s, Broadway shows and weekend getaways end? The Honeymoon ends when trust builds and we start to let the other person see our everyday struggles. They begin to see that our boss never lets us have a day off, or our boiling family conflicts over grandma: Should she go into a nursing home or have 24 hour care at home? And then the typical dilemma one may go through in a new relationship: How can I trust again after being so deeply hurt in the last relationship? Suddenly keeping up the pristine appearance of having it all together for your new guy or gal, seems impossible and it is. This is when the Honeymoon is over.

Why Does the Honeymoon End?

When we allow someone to get to know us and the stressors we are dealing with, they learn how we positively or negatively handle conflicts. They also learn what our unresolved issues are from childhood. These issues impact the present relationship. If we do not allow our girlfriend or boyfriend to see and understand our issues, assumptions will be made about how the relationship is going, leaving both parties on different pages.

The Honeymoon is over - couples misunderstanding lack of communicationFor example:

  • The stressed out business man comes home from work and goes out to dinner with his girlfriend. Whenever he had a stressful day as a single man he would stay in and keep to himself, as he does not like to socialize when he feels this way. This time he pushed himself to go out because he is fond of this girl, and wanted to spend time with her. On the date, as much as he tries not to let the stress of work inhibit him, he is quiet. He is not as active as he usually is.
  • The girlfriend perceives his quietness as him not being interested in her any more. Mr. Boyfriend is not aware that she has learned to associate quiet people with people who are not really interested in spending time with her, due to the way she grew up. He thought the date went well at that he interacted enough. What he did not know was that she grew up as an only child with parents who worked 70 hours plus a week, not providing her adequate attention. She spent most of her time alone from the age of 13 until 23 when she moved out, in silence, wishing her parents would ask about her daily activities.
  • The silence at the dinner brought her back to her childhood, remembering what it felt like to desire interaction. She began to think, this is not the dynamic I want to repeat in my adult relationship. “I don’t want to fight for his attention. I did that my whole childhood and I didn’t get anywhere.” She leaves the date thinking that this will be the last, as she wants a man who is more talkative and attentive.

In this example we can see that they are both on different pages because they never communicated their feelings and needs. They both were trying to keep up the pristine image that all of their needs were being met in the relationship, when in fact they weren’t. Who is the one suffering for not advocating for their needs, each one? If you don’t ask for what you want in a relationship you will never get it. Why self your self short?

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How could this night have been different?

The boyfriend could have said, “You know I really have had a bad day. I usually keep to myself when I am upset with works, so if I am quiet please do not take this personally” The girl could have said I notice that you’re quieter tonight, is everything ok?” By asking these questions she gets the questioned answered she was mulling over all night, is he really interested in me. By him making the statement he may have not had to try so hard to engage in conversation. WIN WIN for Both!

Why didn’t this night go that way???

Because we fear being judged for what is in our “mochila.” Mochila is the Spanish word for backpack. We all carry our own mochilas with us.

Mochila baggageIn our mochilas are the difficulties we struggle with: low self esteem, shyness, commitment issues as well as the tools we have developed to manage these stressors. The tools may not always be positive: dialogue verses binge drinking? When you are in a relationship your partner’s mochila becomes yours.

When the honeymoon stage is over and you learn what is in their mochila, you have to decide:

Do I stay and work my issues plus take on theirs or, do I walk away from the relationship because the issues in their mochila: substance abuse, divorce or commitment are too much for me to handle?

The challenge of any relationship is to recognize our individual deficits, how they affect the relationship and how to change for the better of the relationship. How do we do this? We make these changes through therapy: engaging in self-reflection and taking the challenge to change the behaviors that we learned are negatively affecting our relationship.

We all deserve to be in blissful relationships where there are more honeymoons.

Couple: Quiet Man, Questioning Woman

So what happened to our couple?

Maybe he called two days later wanting to ask her out after taking some time for himself. Maybe she decided that she was not going to put herself in a relationship where she thought she was not going to be his priority when in reality, they both want the same thing, to be together.

Mr. Boyfriend was left thinking “what the hell did I do wrong?” She was left thinking “I deserve better.”

It’s not wrong to say what you feel or want in a relationship. Being insightful to your emotions, needs and expressing them may actually prevent a missed opportunity for lasting happiness and from the honeymoon being over.

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Angry Bird
Angry Bird

Interesting. And I dig the mochilla backpack graphic.