5 Secrets That No One Tells You Why Relationships Are “Hard” And How To Prevent A Disaster
I will explain the five things that are so important to know when you’re in a relationship or before you get back into another relationship. After years of working with singles and couples, these five secrets are the ones that I constantly go over in most of my sessions. Having this insight can save you pain and a big mistake when you run into struggles with your partner. They say, “relationships aren’t easy”… we all hear this all the time but no one goes into detail as why they get hard. Read below and you’ll prevent a lot of confusion down the road.
There is a dopamine phase or otherwise known as the “honeymoon phase”. There are also other chemicals released in the beginning of many relationships. This happens when you first meet someone and there are fireworks inside you. Your feelings inflate you have a rush inside of you that feels sooooo good and you’re possibly feeling complete for the first time ever with your partner. Research says this phase lasts anywhere from two days to two years. What you might know is this is backed up evidence that we do actually release dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin when start dating someone. All three of these chemicals have a feel good feeling when released. Often we refer to the early parts of a relationship as the “dopamine phase”.
The dopamine wears off. What people don’t know is often they find they are upset with their partner right when the dopamine wears off. The domaine phase is supposed to wear off so we can enter the next phases of the relationship which is more of a power struggle . Some think the relationship is no longer good when this happens. Mainly because on a biochemical level their brain stops the feel good feelings it was once releases. Often we mistake or blame our partner for this by placing blame on our partner failing to see this is neurochemistry messing with our heads. We are supposed to leave the feel good phase and learn how to work through conflict combined with less chemicals in the brain. This can feel like a fall from the dopamine induced pink cloud we have been chilling out in. Boom! We hit reality and we have to start working on the less the glamorous parts the partnership.
Take ownership. If you don’t know how to take ownership for your mistakes, you’ll never be really successful. Same goes with your partner. If you pick someone who can never say they're sorry, own their own behaviors. and blames you. You’re in trouble. Jumping to blame game is problematic, but a sign that you’re in a healthy relationship, is when you can step out and own your own flaws and vise versa. Taking ownership requires you to step into feelings like shame or guilt and other feelings so that you can work through that and change your behavior. Often I seen couples get defensive because they struggle with the feelings that come up. When we are brave and willing to take a deeper look within and be honest, we can step into responsibility and that is the catalyst for change and connection.
Conflict is good! In order for a relationship to work, both parties have to openly speak their truth which can lead to conflict. Avoiding conflict is not healthy but learning effective conflict resolution skills is. In fact, the best relationships is when you can be yourself without overcompensating your voice. Having a strong voice and speaking your truth will make you appealing to your partner. If you lose your voice and overcompensate all the time, you lose your healthy autotomy and could possibly build resentment down the road.
Your core fears will come up in your most romantic relationship. It’s part of you, and the person who gets close to you will activate old wounds. For example if you have a fear of abandonment, that will come up. Or if you felt not good enough as a child, your partner will indirectly hit that nerve with you. This is because the wound is inside you and the people we let in will somehow recreate similar feelings and you’ll associate those with your deep core issues. So what is left unresolved will show up. This is an important concept because what often happens is we blame our partner for all our pain when in reality that pain is back logged. In psychology we use this concept that what is happening in the moment is the 10 percent and if it feels overwhelming it often is an issue that links back to your 90 percent. That’s right, it’s deeper and older than you think. So try and be aware of what your partner is activating inside of you and if those feelings are in fact older feeling… Chances are both are true. Your partner is causing you pain, but the pain is extra intense because you have felt that way before. Stay aware and stay open about exploring where the “feeling” started so you can take some blame off your partner.
The good news is all of these are normal. When you fall off your dopamine high, if you can be aware and not do a 180 with your feelings, you can work through the next phase of the relationship. If you effectively learn to communicate and own your parts you have an even better chance and successful partnership. Lastly, if you find yourself feeling old feelings of “I’m not good enough” or “she/he is going to leave me” then that’s a sign that you just have a little more internal work to do. Instead of projecting our fears onto our partner, it’s actually the perfect time to heal them within and thank our partner for bringing them to our awareness. In understanding these 5 secrets, you should not be blind sighted when they arrive in your relationship. Remember relationships have cycles and stages. They are forever evolving into something else if you can move through the harder things with grace, curiosity and empathy, you cultivate the deeper more substantial love in the last stage.