Are You Wondering, “Am I with the wrong guy?”

by CrisMarie on January 13, 2016

Are You Wondering, “Am I with the wrong guy?” Three Weeks To Revive Your Spark!, Reprinted from 406 Women Magazine

You want to feel connected, sexy, and alive in your relationship, like you’re both in this together. You remember when you’d talk and/or make love for hours, just soaking up each other’s company. You couldn’t get enough. You’re longing for that electric aliveness that shoots through your body with just a look from him.

It’s been several years now and maybe you have kids and your lives are busy and full, but you’re starting to feel like…

  • you’re just roommates,
  • sex seems like an obligatory service,
  • it doesn’t seem to matter if you dress up,
  • the magic is gone and you don’t feel special anymore,
  • whenever you want to talk he’s not interested,

And so you start wondering, “Am I with the wrong person?” Your only solace is complaining about him to your girlfriends, who really get you and understand.

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You Are Not Alone

If you resonate with any of this, you are not alone. So many women I coach seem to think:

  • “Wow, I must have married the wrong guy.”
  • “We’ve grown too far apart.”
  • “I think we need to separate.”
  • “He just doesn’t get me.”

When I ask, “Have you tried talking to your spouse about how you feel?” I get answers like, “Yes! And he thinks I’m blaming him. It ends in an argument. Then we don’t talk for a few days, until I decide to let it go and accept that I can’t do anything to change him. I feel like giving up.”

What You May Not Realize

There is a myth that if our relationship is good, we will (and should) always feel close to our significant other. Well, that is a flat-out lie. That isn’t natural. We are constantly either moving closer to the people in our lives or moving away from them. This is a natural physiological process, like breathing.

When a relationship has “gone stale,” it feels like we’ve deadened our response to our partner, or gotten stuck in a push-away response. If you’re unsatisfied in your relationship, it’s likely that you’re the one who has pushed away, or distanced, from your partner. Maybe your interpretation of the situation is that he has, but we don’t necessarily know what’s happening over there. He may not have gone anywhere, but you may have distanced because you think he doesn’t care anymore.

Fall in Love with Your Partner All Over Again

You connected with this person for good reasons. If you want to feel more connected to your partner again and create more aliveness in your relationship now, here are some things you can try.

Week One: Track Your Distance

Become an investigator. In Week One, notice how distant you feel relative to your partner in various circumstances. The distance between you may feel like a chasm or a sliver. Don’t judge, just notice and track. What is your location relative to your partner?

Capture specific data about what’s going on when you’re distant, using the chart below to record your data about specific occasions.

track_your_distance_USE

Then, after collecting data for one week, see if you notice any patterns around when you feel distant. Is it around a certain situation, a certain behavior of his or yours, your context, or a recurring thought that you have?

Recognizing the patterns may give you clues about what you need to address. You may have more control than you realize about your own “location” relative to your partner.

For instance, a client of mine, Mary, realized that the number one time she felt distant from her husband, Mark, was when he came home and sat right in front of the TV without saying hello. Her belief was: “He doesn’t care about me.”

First, I asked Mary if this belief was true, that Mark actually didn’t care about her, and how that made her feel when she believed it. “Crummy!” she responded. We worked to loosen this belief’s hold on Mary.

Second, we looked at strategies for Mary so she could take charge of the situation more. Initially, she spoke up and told Mark how important it was to her that they say hello to each other when he arrived home. Amazingly, Mark did start making an effort to say hello when he came home.

However, Mark still had a tendency to go right for the TV. So we worked with what else Mary could do. Now, when he does go sit in front of the TV, Mary plops onto his lap to get the greeting she wants. She is much happier. It also seems Mark enjoys that surprise approach as well!

Week Two: Notice the “Bright Spots”

This is a strategy taken from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, by brothers Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The book is primarily about implementing change in organizations, but I apply it to both professional and personal relationships.

In your relationship, you may have gotten stuck in the trap of seeing only the problems with your partner. Looking through that lens, you reinforce your initial perceptions. Although your partner may not be showing caring and concern the way you want him to, maybe there are still some small things that are going rather well.

In Week Two, notice and write down what your partner does that you like, or even love. What are the things he does that make you feel connected, cared for, or close. Record even the simplest moments: a look, a touch, or even a funny text received.

Notice The Bright Spots

Notice_the_Bright_Spots

At week’s end, notice the patterns of behavior that are making a difference to you.

Another client, Tea, did this for a week and realized that she loved how her husband, Jack, would joke around with her youngest in such a playful manner. After finding that one bright spot, she soon found another. She noticed that she really appreciated that Jack made sure the trash was taken out without asking.

As is often the case, once we start seeing with fresh eyes, things we may have been missing show up. So don’t be discouraged if awareness of the bright spots starts slowly. Start with something, and focus on really noticing.

Bonus Points Round: Start acknowledging your partner out loud when you see or hear him doing something you consider to be a bright spot.

Week Three: Remember Why

You fell in love with this person for a good reason. What was it? In Week Three, recall how you felt when you first met. What did you love about him? You used to spend time together enjoying each other. Fill in the chart below, adding prompts of your own once your juices get flowing.

remembering_whyMy client, Anna, tried this with her longtime boyfriend Sam. She had a hard time getting his attention until she said, “Hey, I want to play a game with you. I bet you a steak dinner that you don’t remember when and where we first kissed.” She was surprised when Sam recalled quite accurately and passionately when they first kissed. They wound up kissing again, and more, after she took him out to that steak dinner over the weekend!Bonus Points Round: Ask your partner to do the same and compare notes, or, simply, over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee together, see if you can recall some special memories.

In Summary

I’m writing about men and women here, but these same tools of Tracking Your Distance, Noticing the Bright Spots, and Remembering Why can be used in any significant relationship to revive the spark and connection.

We regularly work with women to help them take charge of their relationships and find the courage and skill to speak up while hanging on to what’s important to them, which increases their influence, happiness, and fulfillment.

CrisMarie Campbell is a Coach, Consultant and Speaker at thrive! inc. Clients refer to CrisMarie and her partner, Susan Clarke, as “The Team Doctors” because they focus on the health of the team in order to get the team to smart business results. They recently released their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It!, where they spoke on Conflict is an Energy Source for Innovation, Creativity, and Transformation. You can contact CrisMarie at thrive@thriveinc.com.

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