When you think of love stories, what comes to mind?
Romeo and Juliet is arguably the most famous.
The Notebook has got to be one of the most popular (I mean, it makes even the hardest boys cry).
And then there’s Bella and Edward from the Twilight trilogy – even if you haven’t seen the films I’m sure you’ve heard all about this couple’s complicated romance.
Despite the different eras, genres and story lines, the couples in these romantic tales all have one thing in common: they’re ‘star-crossed lovers’ but their love prevails in the end – ok, well maybe not for poor old Romeo and Juliet…but you see where I’m going with this…
We’ve grown up watching and listening to romantic love stories and have come to expect the happily ever after.
But the problem is this.
These stories, while entertaining to watch, give us very unrealistic expectations when it comes to the real world of love and relationships.
Now when we think of love, we have this romantic notion that our partner will love us unconditionally, that we will somehow become *whole* and *complete* once we’re with them.
We look for that one person who will spark a certain feeling inside of us that confirms how lucky and special we are. We want someone who *gets* us.
Life is going to be easier with them in it.
And in the beginning, it is. You’re both excited and eagerly anticipating everything the future holds.
Surely it’s more of the same and good things to come, right?!
But sooner or later all couples face the same dilemma: the end of romance.
Your partner’s cute little mannerisms and sweet character traits that you once adored have now turned into seriously annoying habits.
The different opinions and unpleasant moods start to become a lot more noticeable.
The once ‘perfect’ relationship starts to fall victim to… reality.
The truth is, we are all flawed and imperfect, welcome to the human race!
But it’s through our relationships that we can start to learn more about ourselves, and our flaws. We are encouraged – and sometimes pushed – to grow.
When we have compassion for ourselves (and our partner), and can accept that we’re all flawed, we are able to change the way we see the relationship.
We can let go of unrealistic expectations and the belief that our partner has to be a certain way before we can be happy.
If you’ve hit that end-of-romance point in your relationship here are some tips to help shift your mindset to a place of acceptance (and by that I don’t mean ‘settling’ it’s about accepting our loved ones exactly as they are, warts and all).
We are all vulnerable
Recognising that we are all vulnerable to the sting of rejection can help create empathy for our partner. They might be annoying you or acting defensive, but they’re still vulnerable to your rejection.
You may just have to accept that your partner is the loudest eater in the world! Or maybe they are someone who smokes. You can’t force change onto someone, but that doesn’t mean that you should resign to sit and inhale your partner’s second-hand smoke for the rest of your life. You get to decide if you want be with a smoker or not, but you can’t change it, you can only accept things as they are. ‘Acceptance’ is the key word here – not resignation.
Focusing on “what’s wrong” isn’t going to guarantee a successful future
Be mindful of falling into the trap of thinking ‘’xyz’ has to change in order for me to be happy with this person. As a guide, you should aim to have at least five positive interactions with your partner for every one negative interaction.
Live your life with integrity
Do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you’re going to work on something, do that! If you say you’re going to be somewhere at a certain time, be there! If you’re constantly making promises then not living up to those promises your loved ones will come to learn they can’t depend on you – and trust is key to any solid relationship.
Our relationships can help drive us to a whole new level of self-awareness. We grow and change as our relationship grows and changes.
Learning to manage our own expectations of what the relationship ‘should’ look like and how our partner ‘should’ behave helps us navigate through these transitions.
If you’re feeling like you don’t know where you end and your relationship begins here are some great ways to help you rediscover who you are outside of your relationship.
And if it’s more connection that you’re striving for why not grab yourself a pack of Couple Time Cards and bring the fun and intimacy back into your relationship.