Do you end relationships prematurely?
Do you fear losing your independence if you commit to a long-term relationship?
Do you pick the wrong people in your life?
Are you attracted to people who are unavailable?
If you answered yes to any of these questions it may suggest that working on issues related to relationships may be valuable. Although people with commitment issues may consciously want a long-term relationship, fears about relationships may lead to unhelpful behaviours. People with commitment issues may also be hypercritical of others as a way to avoid intimacy and connection.
Relationships are a very personal thing. Understanding what type of relationship you want and your expectations are important. Also looking at who and why you are attracted to certain characteristics can useful for future happiness. Some people have few expectations, which can create years of an unhappy relationship. Learning what to accept and what is a “non-negotiable" is important for successful relationships. Learning to connect meaningfully to others is also another important skill to explore.
Relationships are about dealing with emotions for example happiness, connection, disappointment in the relationship. Learning to manage a range of emotions well is essential to a long-term happy relationship.
Negative or Abusive Relationships
Do many of your relationships lead to similar results?
Is it a coincidence or something more?
You may find that you seem to be in relationships with people who continually treat you in a negative fashion. Understanding and breaking this pattern can be helpful in finding more suitable partners. Sometimes low self esteem leads people to choose unsuitable partners who are emotionally or physically abusive. Identifying negative partners that you may be drawn to and improving self-image is important.
Do you find dating depressing or stressful?
Dating can be difficult for many reasons such as rejection and frustration about not finding a good fit. On dates you may feel anxiety about saying the right things or obsessing over making a perceived mistake. This anxiety or hyper self-consciousness may lead to acting awkwardly or be inconsistent with one’s sense of self. Skills to manage the awkwardness experienced as well as reducing your own judgment of self is important. Another skill is managing the rejection on dates. Being rejected and also being able to reject without hurting yours or their feelings is a valuable skill. Not everyone is for everyone and understanding that everyone is just trying to find a “right” match for them. Whilst it feels personal it may not be as personal as it feels, as there are many variables in play. Learning to not personalize everything is important to stay motivated why looking for your partner.
Relationship Loss & Abandonment
Did you just break up with someone you were dating or end your marriage?
Are you in a steady relationship but fear the person you are with will leave you?
Loss or feared loss of a relationship can impact self-esteem and lead to depression. Additionally, some individuals who are in a relationship may fear losing the relationship. This fear may actually push others away and activate the person’s worst fear.
The end of a relationship can feel awful. Even if it was for the best it is still a change and a potential loss that is experienced in some way. Once a relationship has ended there are some very protective aspects to explore to ensure growth and strength. Often a relationship breakup can make us feel weak and vulnerable in the world. Managing loss and abandonment fears are essential for life. We experience these concepts across a number of areas of our lives (school, work, friendships, family) and need to be able to deal with them to move forward.
Relationships change over time. Responsibilities and new challenges can change the dynamic between you and your partner. Conflicts over sex, money, affection, parenting and infidelity are common problems. These conflicts can lead you to feel emotionally disconnected from your partner, resentful, unappreciated or angry.
Some couples that are struggling may chronically feel tense as though they are walking on eggshells waiting for their next explosive conflict to occur. Other couples may feel withdrawn from each other as though they are living with a distant roommate. The fondness, admiration and enthusiastic anticipation of engaging with your partner may have disappeared. Dysfunction in marriages may not only contribute to psychological despair, but also physical health issues suppressing the effectiveness of one’s immune system.