When we are in a relationship we invest ourselves and our time into another person, with the expectation that our partner will also invest time in us.
Our lives become intimately interconnected as we immerse ourselves said relationship. But, what happens when we aren’t truly invested because we are unconscious of ourselves and therefore sabotage our relationships?
Maybe you can relate to my story.
A few years back I met a man who I believed was my other half- “the one” who was sent to complete me.
He was kind, handsome, successful and fun. He was also the perfect father; he had a child from a previous relationship and put fatherhood above everything else.
Early on, I fantasied about having children with him, and the incredible connection we would have as parents. I imagined him dotting on our future children and me, something my childhood lacked.
As the weeks passed, I got so sucked into our relationship that I turned down countless opportunities to spend time with friends and family in an effort to accommodate his busy schedule. Since he worked full-time and was balancing fatherhood, I was constantly doing backflips to see him.
After a few months of putting myself last I began to resent his schedule and him.
I felt like his last priority while he was the first thing on my list. My friends and family missed me, and were upset I was not spending any time with them. I felt that he worked too much, and I was desperate to spend time with him and get to know his daughter. He was not yet ready to introduce us and while I understood, I felt disconnected from an important part of his life.
I convinced myself that our entire relationship was based on convenience for him.
Once this thought grew into a belief I shut down entirely. When we were together I was always thinking about how he never spent enough time with me, rather than being grateful and present for the time he did make for us. I opted out of being present by watching TV, reading a book, writing or endlessly scrolling through social media even while he was right in front of me.
What I should have been doing during that time was working towards building a happier, more open and healthier relationship, but I was too busy building a wall.
Once that wall was up, we were vibrationally disconnected. When he attempted to talk to me about the distance or ask what was wrong I simply said, “nothing” when the reality was I was screaming “everything” inside.
It wasn’t long before he had enough and ended things (much to his relief I’m sure).
I blamed him for everything, and when re-telling our story to my family and friends, I depicted him as a cold-hearted asshole who was selfish and dis-attached, the one who did everything wrong.
The reality was I was the one who was dis-attached and acting like an asshole. I was an unconscious participant in my relationship because I was expecting a body with no oxygen to breathe.
Ultimately, my inability to take responsibility for my thoughts, actions and behaviors led to the demise of our relationship and a powerful life lesson for me.
So how do you identify patterns of unconscious behavior, and how can you change them?
1. You try to change your partner.
When you first started dating your significant other you probably went into the relationship in full-fledged infatuation mode. Maybe you knew about your partner’s bad habits and quirky traits, but the honeymoon stage had you feeling like you were floating on sunshine and those seemingly ‘small details’ were easily overlooked.
Now those once ‘unimportant’ traits are overwhelming your relationship with a vengeance. You think to yourself, I really don’t like ________ about my significant other. How do I change him/her? Or, If ________ would just stop _______ our relationship would be perfect.
Perfection is a myth. We are all imperfect creatures living in an imperfect world. If your current relationship does not suit you, then focus on a building a relationship and person who does, quirks and all. Stop trying to change people and start accepting them as they are.
2. You frequently waste your own time.
Do you find yourself aimlessly scrolling through social media and/or spending your free time watching TV rather than bonding with your partner or working towards completing specific goal(s)?
If you are spending an hour or more per day on social media sites and/or watching TV then chances are you are unconscious of how valuable your time is.
Spend your time wisely, it is your most precious and depleting resource. You can never get back that which has already passed, so make the most of every moment. Dedicate the hour (or more) per day you would usually utilize being unproductive to improve yourself and/or your relationship.
Perhaps you and your partner can take a walk together or enjoy some much needed alone time. Maybe you dedicate that time to mediating, working out or finishing a project you started. Whatever you do with your time, do it fully and invest yourself entirely. This is your life, and your masterpiece. Create the life you want.
3. You play the blame game.
Do you find yourself playing the blame game often?
Maybe she didn’t wash her dishes after dinner. Maybe he didn’t put in dirty clothes in the laundry basket. It’s easy to assume a lack of concern and/or laziness on your partner’s part and feel upset, angry, annoyed, unappreciated, etc. If you vocalize the blame, it leads to fighting. If you internalize it, you’re stuck with negative inner dialogue and resentment.
Guess what? Blaming someone else will not help your relationship. It also will not inspire your significant other to magically, graciously take responsibility for his or her annoying behaviors or actions.
At it’s root, blame is a victim mindset, and it will get you no where in your relationship OR in your life. Empower yourself by taking 100% of responsibility for that which you can control, recognize how you are feeling, communicate openly with your partner and change your own behaviors, thoughts and reactions.
4. You fight a lot.
Arguing once in a while is normal; arguing constantly is not.
If you find yourself in a daily or weekly battle with your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse (I am talking verbal battles here– if you are dealing with physical abuse, GET OUT NOW) then it’s time to sit down and dissect the issues.
Perhaps one or both of you are jealous, insecure, bored or generally miserable. This kind of behavior is a death sentence for happiness and sustainability in relationships. In fact, in one study, 56% of divorcing couples stated that “too much arguing” was the reason for their split.
Do your best to end the negative cycles of fighting by becoming aware of the real issues, addressing them and working through them proactively.
When you get the urge to fight or respond negatively to your partner, stop and think to yourself, “What’s the real issue here?” Once the answer comes to your mind, take a deep breath (or a nice walk) and then once you are calmer sit down and discuss your feelings calmly and openly.
Perhaps your relationship will flop because you realize the issues are too intense and too troublesome to work through, or maybe your relationship flip and become a source of great joy, happiness and inspiration for you. Regardless of what happens, you will walk away a more aware, conscious person.
5. You are negative more than you are positive.
Do you always see your glass as half empty rather than half full?
The stakes are high. Constant negativity will ruin your life. If you find yourself complaining, angry and/or upset more often than you find yourself giving thanks, being grateful and happy then you need to stop and give yourself a reality check.
Have you heard the phrase, like attracts like? Well it’s true. Negative people emit negative vibrations and those vibrations are met with equal levels of negative energy thereby creating a negative cycle of events, emotions and outcomes.
If you are constantly negative, your partner is going to respond in one of two ways:
They will end the relationship.
They will match your negative energy with their own negative energy.
Most likely, neither is what you’re aiming for.
6. You aren’t living in the present.
Do you constantly dwell on the past and things your partner did/didn’t do? Or do you find yourself daydreaming about the future and where you and your partner will go, what you will do, who you will see?
If you are projecting yourself into the past or the future, you are not fully conscious in your relationship or your life.
To bring yourself back into the present, focus on this moment, right here and right now. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? Take hold of your thoughts and feelings and use them to bring you into the now.
Let go of the past— it is gone. Do not worry or fantasize about the future– it is not yet here. Learn to be accept the present moment for all that it is and remember, this moment is the only one that matters.
When you go through life and relationships unconsciously, you are unaware of who you are and ultimately you are unconscious of your impact on others and yourself. This mindset will lead you to sabotaging your relationship
Begin each day by asking yourself, “What am I doing with this life I have been given?” If the answer is negative or unsettling, the time to change is now. Each day is a new opportunity and a new beginning.
If you’re withholding this single, most important emotion from your man (and it’s NOT love), you’re guaranteed to be sabotaging your relationship with him.