Rewriting Your Relationship Story...

As a Couples Therapist and Relationship Coach, I hear many stories about things that partners did wrong. When I ask what brings them in, most people are quick to bring up the issues that provoked their call to action: an affair, too much drinking, spending too much money, or more everyday issues such as “I don’t like the way he talks to me”, “She always wants to talk about the relationship”, or “He makes everything more important than me”. After giving them ample room to explain their discomfort with each other and their reasons for coming in, I then ask what they liked about each other when they first met. Most couples hesitate because they have forgotten, or because the idea of letting go of their current “story of hurts” is something they are afraid to do.

Most arguments are circular. An argument will repeat itself over and over again hoping for a different outcome, or a sense of settlement so that we can put it away somewhere in our brains and not bring it up again. But in most cases, we allow old feelings from the past to invade a new problem and before we know it, we are arguing about things that happened years ago, but feels as if they’re happening now.

Why do we do that?

In cases of affairs or where trust needs to be built up again, fear of being blindsided keeps us from dealing with present issues. If we were surprised and hurt by our partners’ indiscretion, we often become fearful of being hurt or knocked off our feet again--- assuming of course, that if it happened once, it will happen again. Yet, when another unrelated incident produces that same uncomfortable feeling, we treat it as if it were the same problem because it “feels” as if it is. This becomes a battle between our hearts and our heads.

In all of these cases we play a victim, not because we want to but because we never entertained that our partners were capable of hurting us and now that they have, we believe they will continue to do so.

What would happen if you “let go” of any memory from the past and listened to what your partner is saying now? What would happen if you started to believe that your partner would do the right thing rather than wrong thing?  What might happen if we detached ourselves from the old stories and rewrote our lives and relationships the way we would like them to be? When I ask that, what do you feel?  Scared, uncomfortable, sick to your stomach? Or do you feel empowered, excited and alive?

We are all human. We might hurt people unintentionally but we should be forgiving and move on. Allowing old feelings to color our current problems is an old story. As long as we do that, our partners can never do right by us and we can never move on.

 Rewrite your story, rewrite your life!

~Wendy Pegan, Relationship Builder

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