You Can’t Solve What You Can’t See!
By: Hailey Patry
An adaptation from my book:
HAPPY LOVE – 5 Essential Steps To Help Frustrated Couples Fall in Love Again
In my 5-Step I.D.E.A.L. Love Method…
E = Eliminate Roadblocks & Discover What’s Holding You Back
“True Love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.” – Jennifer Aniston
Pause. Take a few deep breaths. This post is one that you will want to read, without distractions, and with your journal or notepad handy. I want you to take a break from the chaos of your life, and read this slowly, really considering at each point, what might be in the way of your happiness as a couple. Despite all your best efforts, what seems to be allowing the challenges to win, rather than your efforts to overcome them?
Please read this whole post fully, before answering the questions as part of your L.O.V.E. Work.
Warning: This post opens up heavy subject matter and I want you to consider, before you dive into these questions for homework, if you are feeling stable in your state of mental health, to do this work alone, or if you would be best to work with a professional. I can always be reached by text at 416-797-5856.
I want you to imagine the chronological timeline of your life, from birth until just before you met your partner, and then at every stage in your relationship together….
Think about any past relationships, key events, traumatic experiences, decisions of how you would be as a partner?
If It relates for you, what did your religion or spiritual upbringing teach you about how relationships should be and how you should be in them?
Do you have a role-model couple in mind, that is as happy in love as you dream of being?
How did your parental role models show love, fight, divide labour or power, and operate on a daily basis?
What kind of role models were they?
What have you become that you never wanted to, from your parental role models? Or, what are you afraid of becoming that is like your parents?
How does your spouse or partner remind you of your mother, father, grandparents?
Picture any previous breakups, heartbreaks, broken trust. Did anything change in you as a result?
What was happening just before you met your partner? And right after you met?
What was going on when you were first dating? Any unresolved or uncommunicated issues?
When was the first time, you felt disappointed in the relationship, or perhaps, like it wasn’t what you signed up for?
What was your first argument? Your first big fight?
What have become, or what used to be, your repetitive fights?
How do each of you behave when you disagree?
Do you gain closure from disagreement? How?
Do either of you sweep things under the rug and pretend everything is fine, until it’s not?
How well do you each take ownership? Apologize? Make Amends?
How well do each of you follow through with your new commitments to do things differently after you’ve upset each other?
How well do you listen to each other? Any silent treatment? Running away? Distracted or interruptive listening?
Do either of you have blocks to physical intimacy? Why might that be
Do either of you behave like or feel like, the parent or child in this relationship?
Do either of you like to be right?
Do you fight clean or dirty?
Is one of you, the judge and juror, and the other always on trial?
How is your personal integrity and character, and that of your partner?
What do each of you think about substance use?
How do both of you manage tempers, anger, the use of hurtful words?
Is any testing going on in the relationship? Do you feel like either of you are pushing or trampling over boundaries just to see how much can be gotten away with?
Is one of you more clingy or needy and one needs more space?
What have you shut down because you feel hopeless or helpless about it?
Are there any parts of you or the relationship that have become numb?
Do you do things together or feel more like you lead separate lives? Have you grown closer together or further apart?
If you were your own therapist, what would you say the problems are? What would you ask yourself to do about it?
What are your bad habits?
If you were your partner’s therapist, what would you say is their part for the way things are in the relationship? What would you ask them to do about it?
What are your partner’s bad habits?
Are each of you more likely to take personal responsibility for challenges, or at least see your part in things? Or do you blame everything on each other?
How is your attitude? Do you have ‘stinking thinking’, meaning, do you have a negative view on life, the relationship, yourself or your partner? Or are you positive, optimistic, willing to see the possibilities?
What are your thoughts around your partner’s and your own self esteem, self respect, self worth?
What is the last good memory you have with your partner?
What is the most painful memory you have with your partner?
What is the most recent painful memory?
How well do each of you forgive? Or how likely are you to hold grudges?
Do either of you act vindictively, with spite, out of jealousy, fear, anger?
How often do you each rehash the past?
Is what you fight about current, or do past fights get roped in as well?
How well do you each regulate your mood, hormones, blood sugar, energy levels?
How well do each of you sleep?
What are your fundamental beliefs about life, ethics, morals, marriage, relationships, gender roles, division of labour, balance of power, money, family, love, your role in this relationship at this time and your expected role of your partner?
What type of stories float around in your head? More often visualizing positive outcomes for your relationship, or picturing the worst?
How are your communication skills?
Do either of you have someone in your life, that you share more with than you do with your partner?
How much quality time do you spend as a couple?
How much technology-free time, do you spend together?
How well or poorly do your schedules align?
What are your beliefs on time alone without your partner and vice versa?
What are your key drivers and motives in life?
What do you most need, to be happy? And what does your partner most need?
What kills your mojo (drive) and makes you want to retreat?
What makes you feel alive, smile, feel on purpose in your life? What makes you feel confident, safe, supported? Do you know the answers for your partner as well? Ask them.
What makes you feel dead inside, sad, angry, lost, hurt, frustrated? What makes you feel small, scared, betrayed? What about for your partner? Ask them if you don’t know or think you might not know fully.
In chapter 17 of my book, we explore the 12 areas that help comprise your personal happiness, separate from the relationship. But consider, that your individual issues such as depression, addiction, health matters and life purpose fulfilment, play a big role in your relationship. Your own self-worth, speaks volumes about how you treat others. If your life and childhood provided no role model of happy love, or trauma surrounding love, this affects your relationship. Also, when it comes to becoming good at love, learning what to do to be a great partner, you simply were never taught this in school. And most of all, both of you came into the relationship, with a mountain of silent assumptions and expectations about how the relationship would be and what roles you would each assume. Trouble is, those expectations and assumptions were likely not entirely verbalized or agreed upon.
I know that a lot of questions were listed above, and some of the answers are painful to consider. As you can imagine, repairing broken, strained and frustrated relationships, is a very sensitive subject and requires a lot of love, patience, kindness and support. The process is extremely safe, when you work with a professional to guide you though it. It’s why I love my job so much, because I feel tremendously honored when I’m working with my private clients, to provide a safe space for them to do this work. I get to mediate any conflicts that arise, and gently, but quickly help them find their way back to one another. This post opens up heavy subject matter and I want you to consider, before you dive into these questions for homework, if you are feeling stable in your state of mental health, to do this work alone, or if you would be best to work with a professional. It’s crucial to work with a top-rated couple’s counsellor or coach, one who can also guide you through the individual challenges mentioned above. Always, ask for references so you can speak to actual clients who have graduated from their practice, with a happy thriving relationship. My clients love receiving those calls from new couples, who are nervous and want to know if my coaching works, and if there really is hope for their relationship.
I would love to support you and your partner on your journey to happy love. If I am not the person you choose to work with, I would be happy to point you in the direction of another practitioner, who may be a fit for what you’re looking for. And, if one of you wants help, but the other is skeptical, resistant, or even completely unwilling, this is something I deal with every week. Here’s some good news though: while the calls I receive typically come from upset women, often, women who have been cheated on, it turns out that their partners fall in love with the process and our time together, because they finally get to be heard, validated and understood. I offer a non-judgemental experience of balance and equality, always honouring both sides of the relationship, so no one is the good guy/gal or the bad guy/gal. Everyone played a part in getting things to where they are, and everyone will play a part in repairing the relationship. So, if you have a resistant partner, I would really love to have a quick chat with them, or better yet, let them chat with one of my graduated clients, who once was a resistant partner in an unhappy relationship, and today they are forever grateful and happy in love.
Remember, you can always go to www.HyourLife.com and schedule a complimentary consultation. I am here for you, and you matter!
Now for homework, please answer each of the questions above, if you feel safe to go there emotionally. Take notes in your journal for your answers, and then highlight anything that jumps out at you, as a possible roadblock to the happy relationship you crave. When you’re feeling brave and open, choose a calm time, with no cell phones or technology, no kids around, and share with your partner. Take turns sharing about each of the questions and reveal your answers. Be kind, be gentle, be loving. This is an exercise to open up awareness and help you heal. It is not a time to blame everything on your partner. Choose words that help you both feel safe to continue the conversation.
Sending so much love your way…