Taran and Shefali’s Story
We live in a world that obsesses over relationships. We love the idea of romance, because it instills a sense of belongingness and fulfillment within us. The thought of having a constant support system in place, or having your very own go-to person, as well as the other exciting adventures romance exposes us to get us to fall in love with the concept of being in love.
That said, while romantic relationships can bring us to explore experiences we have never had before, some times it also paves way for misunderstandings and arguments, broadly referred to as : love problems.
One such relationship undergoing a hard time was that of Taran and Shefali’s. They had been together for a little over a year, and had good things to say about one another, as well as their time together. However, they were fighting much more frequently than usual, they felt. While some times, it would result in a temporary breakup, many other times it would just mean that they would not speak for a day or two, and then reconnect with each other like nothing ever happened.
This is what Shefali had to say:
“It’s not like I don’t love him or don’t want this relationship anymore, but we’ve been arguing so much off late that it really puts me off. Anybody in my place would reconsider their relationship if they were to keep fighting with their partner every now and then. Everything is alright for a day or two, and then it’s back to square one. My main concern is time. We both have our personal stuff to do, but if you’re always going to make excuses for not calling or meeting your partner, they are bound to feel hurt after a point of time.”
How Online Therapy Helped
Alongside her Life Coach, Shefali explored many thoughts, concepts, and ideas which not only provided her with a sense of direction, but also helped us gain more perspective into her relationship.
Person vs Problem
Simply put – you can either choose the problem over the person, or prioritise your relationship and stand with the person against the problem. While the former would lead to further disagreements, fights, or/and even a breakup, the latter is a healthy way of conflict resolution by means of working as a team to deal with what is bothering either or both parties.
Shefali’s major concern revolved around time, and so she was asked to describe the pro’s and con’s of her relationship. After doing so, she realised that the number of positives about her relationship exceeded and were much more in number than this one negative aspect of Taran’s poor time management skills. This was when she knew that it was not her relationship she had to break, but this monotony that had crept its way into their romance.
At times when stressful tides strike relationships, some of us tend to go into self-blame mode. Instead of amplifying the problems by taking them all on yourself, it is always better to practise self-love – whether it is by being around loved ones, binge-watching your favorite shows/movies, having that cuisine you always wanted to try, or beginning to pursue an interest as a hobby. Self-care and compassion not only makes us more comfortable with spending quality time with ourselves, but also results in a person demanding their partner’s attention in a rational manner rather than an unusual way.
With a less tedious schedule in comparison to her partner, Shefali would often find herself demanding too much of Taran’s affection and time – something which she herself acknowledged and owned up to. With encouragement from her Life Coach, Shefali then decided to start doing two things on a regular basis: gymming, as well as playing her Sitar which she had lost touch with but loved doing. This helped her channelise her time in a better manner, as well as cut down on her irrational demands out of her relationship. 🙂
Thumb rule of 2:1
If we were to get retrospective, we would come to the realisation that many of our negative interactions stem from saying unmeaningful, annoying, and hurtful things while paying less or no attention to what the other person has to say the the process. Sometimes, the things we say may even hold little to no relevance to the present concern. For example: bringing in an argument that might have taken place a few weeks/months ago into the current scenario.
Shefali realised the importance of the 2:1 concept, wherein we listen more because we have two ears, and speak relatively less but meaningful things since we have been endowed with one mouth. Doing this exercise not only created a deeper understanding between Taran and herself by making him feel more heard and understood, but also helped her steer clear of frequent arguments due to her verbal outbreaks. A trick that her Life Coach suggested to her was – each time she would be required to listen rather than speak, she could either chew gum or a sweet, or drink water very slowly. It was a way to keep her mind occupied with asking her mouth to chew or drink over speaking.
Plan your bonding time
When both partners run on different schedules and have varying demands out of one another, it could lead to misunderstandings between them. A way to avoid this is to set a particular time of the day based on mutual consent whereby both partners would spend time with each other – be it over audio or video call, or in person. This way, not only will our expectations be kept under check, but we will also not have our significant other choking on the relationship due to our demands.
Being open to experimenting with this idea, Shefali and Taran amicably decided to speak to each other religiously over call for 15-20 minutes prior to sleeping and share their experiences of the day. If either party called or met the other at a time other than this, it would be out of their sole willingness. So, irrespective of the conversations they would have during other times of the day, their ‘pre-sleep we-time’ would take place.
Take up activities together
Research says, many men are able to bond better with their partner through activities over communication, which is preferred by women on the whole. Be it cooking a meal, planning an event, or taking up a dance class together, a couple if willing to take up a hobby or activities together, will find themselves more connected by means of working as a team through these experiences.
Shefali and Taran both shared certain mutual interests such as cooking, driving, and reading. As a result, they were recommended to engage in preparing something new that they learnt off YouTube or recipe books as a team, look into taking up go-carting or long drives together, or even consider joining a book club. They were also suggested other ideas like: going around the city exploring new food joints, taking up gaming activities such as paintball, or even deciding to learn something new such as a new dance form together.
Keep your relationship independent of other’s opinions
More often than not, when we experience dissatisfaction with our relationship, we tend to seek advice from our friends, as well as engage in social comparison by looking at the positives of other people’s relationships. However, in order to keep things simple and avoid complications, it is best to keep your romance free from third party opinions and recommendations. An outsider is never fully able to understand the a-b-c’s of a person’s relationship with their significant other. Believe it or not, but we ourselves are the best judges of our situations, hence one’s thoughts and decisions should primarily comprise of the understanding between them and their partner.
While seeking online relationship counseling in USA, Shefali talked about how she observed her sadness increase after her best friend supported her concerns by means of further critiquing Taran’s careless attitude towards her friend. As worried as her friend might have been, her support was unable to offer Shefali some much needed relief. Shefali expressed how happy she was to have found an unbiased and neutral helper in her lifecoach. Both she and Taran mutually decided to discuss their concerns with each other, rather than choosing to converse with family and friends, which in turn made it easier for them to be with one another! 🙂
Remember, nobody chooses problems or asks for their romance to be jeopardized, but one can always decide to work through ways of overcoming them. This is the solution-focused thought that our Life Coaches strive to motivate people with. 🙂