Do this when things are tough in your relationship:
Everything has a pace—especially relationships.
By now, you’ve probably heard the phrase “don’t force it,” or something to that effect.
It may not feel as if this is true, but everything arrives on time. You can be stuck in the wrong place with the right person at the wrong time, or some twisted version of a bad fit at a good time.
There are moments in your life when you are in the thick of it and are still too busy planning for the happening to realize your plans are the happening. In other words, your perception is not in alignment with your reality. Your expectations are out of whack.
Let’s talk about expectations for a moment. It can be liberating knowing what you want and having clarity on how to get it. There is an element of knowing in expecting. However, there are also elements of presumption, assumption and projection. Let’s assume for a moment that all relationships are subject to both sides of expectation.
In fact, most relationships are laden with expectations. These first show up as romantic fantasy and can often turn into a hostile hostage situation because expectations have the ability to squelch freedom. Further, romance can actually put a relationship in a chokehold until it taps out.
Conversely, romance can also catalyze the beginning of a life-long partnership. A relationship can begin with just a spark, and it can die with an explosion.
Get in your bunkers kids, because I am about to outline the set list on 10 things that tank any relationship.
1. Financial: If I may be as bold to speak for the gentlemen out there, I’m not really sure that ladies realize what a big deal finances are. I mean, we get that it provides security and resources level. But, I don’t think we have quite assimilated how much of your masculine identity is coupled with your ability to earn.
Males are hardwired to gather resources. Maybe you have heard the term, hunter-gatherer. I want to say, “You gather the shit out of whatever you need to gather until you feel the call of the wild pulse in your veins.”
It would be great if we could just end there. But, it is not that simple. You see, as a female, I want your attention. I want your reassurance. I want you to validate me. And I don’t want your job to distract you from what is most important—the relationship.
Mix together your instinct to hunt and gather with my need for your attention and it is going to be like a James Bond cocktail—shaken, not stirred. Conflict is sure to ensue.
I might sound something like, “Fuck, she wants to go out on another date and I just paid for the last three. I am broke.” Or, “I have worked for fifteen years to support my family with little to no appreciation and my wife takes half of what I earn to put into her savings!” Better yet, “He doesn’t pay for shit.” Let the phrases continue!
Bottom line: finances can tank a relationship because not only do they buy and support joint dreams, fuel fantasy, and cultivate basic needs being met, but money is also what makes the world go round (Stop arguing with that fact, all you all-we-need-is-love-commune-living-new-age-bartering-elf-pixie people). I am going to say it again, money is what makes the world go round.
In simple-psych terms, your relationship to money will play out in your intimate relationships like the words of an actor reading a script. If you read it like a comedy and your partner reads it like a drama, boom, down goes the relationship.
Call 1-900-Tanked: For more information on how money can tank a relationship, see your wallet, reference how you feel with money in it or out of it, and then compare that to how you view your behavior in relationship to your partner’s behaviors. The similarities may surprise you
2. Expectations: The most asinine and the most applied expectation goes something like, “If you loved me, you would just know.”
Expecting that the amount of love your partner has for you is contingent on how well he/she can read your mind is like saying you are going to play a friendly game of paintball and then bring an AK47 filled with live ammunition.
Someone is going down. That someone is you if you are in relationship with “Love me like this, not that.” That being said, everyone has their own Love Language*. For some people, it is being touched while others show love by giving gifts. Suffice to say, there are several ways to express love and to receive it.
In other terms, contracts are not signed with telepathy. Agreements are not arrived at through staring contests. You have to use your words.
When you go mute and when you go all psychic-hotline on your partner (as in you wish you could just call in, not say anything, and get what you need), your relationship is going to tank.
How about this: If you love someone, you tell them what is going on with you, apply honesty to all situations, and expect the unexpected.
3. Loss of passion: In old school terms, as in early-century Greek, the word passion would be expressed as pathos. Translate that into new school terms, and we are talking about suffering. In that sense, how could loss of passion be a bad thing? I will tell you.
How hot is desire? Lust has a rage to it. Sexual drive has a hunger to it. Even orgasm means “small death” which is expressed by the French as “la petite mort”. Simply, suffering is sexy.
There is nothing like predictability and routine to quell suffering and put a damper on passion. I’m sure there is a bundle of relationship experts and self-helpers out there that are primed and ready to tell you how to keep passion alive. I am going to let you in on a secret, though: passion dies.
Everything dies. Then it comes back to life again. Your relationship is headed for certain death if you hold onto passion like parents who are about to send their last born off to college. It’s going to go. Let it. Or tank your relationship instead.
Try this on for size: Feel your pulse. That is the rhythm of life. It expands and contracts. It ends and begins. You set the rate concurrent with your activity level and participation.
4. Judgment: Oh love with your promises and endless supply of inspiration to poets and country musicians alike, thanks for giving judgment a bad name. Love’s promise to be unconditional is bullshit. It is a nice place to visit, but no one lives there. We all judge each other.
Here’s the kicker—being judged by the one you love can feel like betrayal. It is a violation of the contract in which you clearly stated in clause four, paragraph thirteen, “You will love me and accept me no matter what.”
However, the fine print reads, “Yes, but I don’t have to like it.”
The wisest response to being judged comes from the mouth of babes, “You’re not the boss of me!” Judgment’s ability to tank a relationship is dependent on how willing you are to swallow it whole. Spitting it out is usually the better option.
Reflect on this: When it comes to judgments it is better to spit than to swallow.
5. Big triggers from past traumas: It is high-noon and your partner is trigger happy. Trigger is a colloquialism used in the psychology community to summarize the process where external stimuli evoke strong emotional arousal that is often correlated with an event that preceded the current provocation. In layman’s terms it might sound like, “I fucking hate your face so much right now, fuck you, fuck your mother, and I’m out of here!”
Triggers have a way of rousing defensiveness. If your relationship is playing out like a football game where your quarterback never touches the field, it is going to tank.
Read the writing on the wall: In the lyrics of the rap group Hieroglyphics, “Handle your business or it will handle you.” In psych terms, work through your triggers with a therapist as well as your partner.
6. Pressure: “Under pressure…” and I don’t know the rest of the lyrics to that song. What I do know is that the moment neediness shows up to camp out in your relationship, a pressure valve gets tightened. The oxygen gets sucked out of the room. One partner gets stuck in the gas-chamber called, “my way or the highway.”
We all want our own way because that is what is most familiar. And if the demand is to get it your way all the way, little room is left to receive. Further, it is near impossible to be in relationship with your partner.
Instead, you are in relationship with a check-list of ultimatums.
Even if one person comes up with rules of engagement the other person has to participate in order for it to be more than a plan. Nothing says, tank it like playing house with your imaginary friend rigidity, instead of actually interacting with your living and breathing partner.
Sing along with me: “Why can we give love that one more chance….” Either you hold your relationship hostage to an ideal or you release the pressure by surrendering to what is.
7. Communication: I don’t want to say much about this. It has already been talked about a million times over. Good communication leads to healthy relationships.
Apply this old playground phrase to how you communicate, “Say it; don’t spray it.” In other words, call it like it is without using verbal shrapnel—also known as being passive aggressive. State your needs clearly and directly or you will be spelling out the end of your relationship with T.A.N.K.E.D I.T.
Take a lap around the gym a few million times: Communication is a marathon not a sprint.
8. Excuses: Excuses are the misappropriation of factual evidence that is then used to pardon or deviate from assuming responsibility. If you are someone who can’t take a punch and spends life bobbing and weaving, excuses rule. You also happen to be frustrating and near impossible connect with.
Truth creates connection. Lies breed mistrust and certain destruction. Excuses are just fancy lies. That whiskey might taste good going down, but you are going to wake up with a hangover. The same is true for making excuses. It might feel good coming out, but ultimately your life will be a lie.
To tell ya the truth, if you keep making excuses and keep lying, your relationship is going to tank.
Raise your right hand: Swear to own up and grow up.
9. Cheating: If someone copies your answers off your test that took you weeks to study for, you were put in a position to involuntarily share. You put the effort it. You learned the material. You passed the test. The other guy, well, he got a little further in life from your hard work.
Cheating is a bum deal, even if you are the one doing it.
But, people sign up for the cheating program all the time because cheating doesn’t suck. Getting caught does. If you have a conscience, you will get caught every time. This being said, if you cheat you will always get caught and have to spend hard time in the tank.
Study for your own test: Telling the truth with integrity is always the right answer.
10. Trust: Either you have it or you don’t; end of story.
Apply liberally and all over the body: Let trust soak in over time.
Take what you’ve learned from your life experience and transform it from tanked to thanks by shifting your perspective and examining your objectives. To sum this up using the lyrics of R.E.M., “Stand in the place you live”.
Author: Rebekah McClaskey
Editor: Lori Lothian