Welcome to the blog

Are you in a difficult Marriage?, Blog, Life Balance

January 19, 2020

To The Woman In A Difficult Relationship

‘I think I’ll marry a difficult guy and have a difficult relationship…’ said no one ever. And yet, several women in my practice, my friends, and acquaintances find themselves in difficult relationships. 

There’s this book by Mira Kirshenbaum- “Too Good To Leave, Too Bad To Stay.” It’s supposed to help a woman make a decision about staying in or leaving a difficult relationship. If only it were as easy as reading a book! 

But it’s not that easy. And on top of that, not every woman is trying to decide if she should leave or stay. Sometimes the reality is that the relationship you’ve chosen is a little difficult. Your guy is a little difficult. It’s not necessarily a matter of if you’re going to stay in the relationship, it’s a matter of how you’re going to stay in the relationship in a healthy way.

To the woman in a difficult relationship…

Set limits

I’m sure it’s easier said than done, and it might sound like it’s a no-brainer. But when you’re in a relationship with a man who tends to be difficult, or maybe tends to be a time sucker, you have to learn to set limits. Setting limits might sound restrictive and unloving, but they are actually freeing and life giving. You’re giving to yourself by setting a healthy limit. 

If you find that this is difficult for you, try listening to my podcast episode ‘Strong Women Give Ultimatums’. That will give you some tips on how and why you should set limits in your relationships. 

But sometimes the issue isn’t even setting limits. Sometimes the issue is being able to acknowledge there’s something going on to begin with; being able to acknowledge what’s really hurting you and what’s unhealthy in your relationship right now. 

It’s common for men and women in relationships to not want to talk about the difficult stuff. Especially when things might be going great. Why address something that’s just going to make you feel bad? When you ignore the issues, you may think you’re making things better, you hope things are smooth sailing. But when we ignore those little bumps, they build up into huge mountains. 

As soon as an issue is so big that you can’t ignore it, you’re going to bring that and everything else up. No healthy conversation or resolution can occur when you’re not sticking to the topic and your brain is grasping at all the old transgressions. So you’ve got to work on not ignoring the little issues and getting comfortable talking about things that are uncomfortable. 

Stay open, not closed

It’s so important to stay open, and not closed. Being closed causes bitterness. Try Being open that you could be wrong, being open to where the relationship is leading, being open to possibilities and different opportunities to change your behavior. 

This is the hardest one, because when we’re in difficult relationships, we tend to do the opposite. We tend to close ourselves up, because we’re trying to protect ourselves. We don’t want to be open and vulnerable! That sounds scary. But when you close yourself up, you close yourself to everything. If you’re going to stay, and if you’re going to work on this relationship, you got to be open. 

Get honest with yourself

Get honest with yourself about where you are and what you’re feeling. Asking yourself questions like; what attracted me to him in the first place? It’s easy to forget when things are not going so well. 

You’ve got to ask yourself ‘what is my why?’. Why do I want this to work? What am I continuing and contributing in this relationship for better or worse? How does this relationship benefit me? 

Most women in difficult relationships will say their relationship is not benefiting them. But yes it is! If you’re staying, there’s something about the relationship that’s benefiting you. Maybe the relationship aligns with your view of how you see yourself, and the lack of a relationship wouldn’t. Maybe there’s something really comforting in some of the dysfunction in your relationship. There are reasons why you’re staying and there are reasons why you have been content to this point to leave it as it is. Figure it out.  

Get deep and honest with yourself about what attracted you to your spouse in the first place? What stories am I telling myself about this relationship and how do they benefit me?

Acknowledge that this is your choice

This one, I think, is the hardest. You have to acknowledge that this relationship, the way it is, the status, and the experience, is your choice. Every single day. Every day you wake up and you actively make the choice to interact in the way that you do with your husband. These are all choices that we make. 

When I talk about choices, women often tell me ‘I’m stuck’. But you’re not stuck, you’re making choices every day. So you’ve got to take responsibility for the relationship and you’ve got to recognize that every day, you choose this relationship. Over and over again. And that’s okay! But you’ve got to own it. Because when you own it, it’s easier for you to make changes. It’s hard to change things that you don’t even acknowledge are there. 

I think this is the single best marker of maturity in relationships and in life. When you start to acknowledge all your choices as your own, when you stop the martyrdom. There’s nothing beneficial about the martyrdom. You have matured substantially when you stop being the victim, and you acknowledge that you’re making the choice every day to do this.

You will no longer feel stuck when you recognize that you are making that choice. Every day.

To the woman in a difficult relationship… Being in a difficult relationship can definitely take its toll on your emotion, on your psyche. So your job is self care, your job is showing up; authentic, real, acknowledging, being brave and honest. Speaking your truth, even when it’s scary. 

To the woman in a difficult relationship… you’ve got this!

Would you like to listen to this post? Click here to listen to the podcast version! Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *