Do you think of relationships as hard work? If so, you’re not alone. That’s a common idea among people of all genders and sexual orientations – and if anything, it’s even more common among lesbians. You know how there’s often an extra arm when you’re cuddling someone in bed? Many of us think that to be happy in love, you’ve got to metaphorically cut off that arm (in the form of endless negotiation, compromise and sacrifice.)
Yet the truth is, when you cut off parts of yourself to try to fit better in your relationship, the fun, joy, magic and passion drain out of that relationship, leaving you feeling hurt, confused and sometimes even hopeless. We at Conscious Girlfriend are not the only ones challenging the “relationships are hard work” paradigm. Our mentors Gay and Katie Hendricks, relationship coaches for 35+ years and authors of the bestseller Conscious Loving, just sent out an email with the same title as this one recently. And we couldn’t resist sharing their wisdom with you!
Here’s the deal. When you’re dreaming of love, you’re probably not thinking, “I want to find someone to sacrifice myself for. I want to have to negotiate and compromise around my most important needs.”
Rather, you’re probably thinking, “I want to deeply love and be loved. I want to find someone who can see me exactly as I am, and accept all of me. And I want the intimacy of seeing, knowing and accepting someone else that way, too.”
But then you get into a relationship, and the old sacrifice and conflict m.o. creeps up on you, unless you work very consciously to follow a different path. The vision of deeply loving and being loved – and celebrating each others’ differences rather than trying to change them or “compromise: them – is a beautiful vision. And it can be your relationship reality! But it probably requires shifting your paradigm and learning new skills.
As Gay and Katie say: The “it-takes-work” idea stems from the fact that two people coming together have differences. This is true. There’s no need to deny it. But where the idea goes off-kilter – and causes unhappiness for couples – is that these differences need to be ironed out, compromised with, sacrificed for, and generally worked very hard at if we want to be happy.
This is a big FALSE!
It is possible to work with your differences in a way that shifts relationships from feeling like hard work, to feeling like fun again. Remember when you first fell in love? You were probably drawn to the exact same things that are driving you crazy now! You can get back to loving and appreciating those things about each other again, rather than fighting, struggling or “working hard” on them.
We’ve witnessed many couples experience a complete turnaround in their relationships when they switched from the “working on it” approach to the “celebration” paradigm. And, we ourselves live this reality every day. Our relationship doesn’t feel like hard work to us – and it very rarely has in our 9+ years together. Mostly, we really enjoy our differences, and we adore each other. You can get there too! And we’d love to teach you how – whether you’re in a couple now, or currently single.
If you’re in a relationship, it’s ideal for both partners to learn these skills. But even if only one of you does, it can still make a huge difference. And if you’re single now, it’s a fantastic time to shift your paradigm – before your next relationship.
To learn more, consider a low-cost Love Breakthrough Consultation.