Want to sign your relationship’s death certificate? Then keep trying to “get back to the way things were.”
I hear people say “I wish we could just get back to the way we were” all the time, I’ve been guilty of it myself—a long time ago. It’s dangerous and it’s sentencing your relationship to failure; or at best a boring and emotionally and physically unsatisfying relationship.
Maybe in your relationship you’re trying to decide if you should stay or go, or save your marriage? If you’re wanting to stay and truly build a strong and lasting relationship, you need to start asking the right questions.
But if you’re hell bent on sabotaging it… just read in.
The top 6 reasons why this thinking will lead to the end of your relationship
6. It’s Impossible
So quit trying. The way things were are the way things were, not the way things are. Concentrate on what you can do today to improve your relationship; not what your partner did or didn’t do in the past or may or may not do in the future. The only thing you can control is right now; so go do something nice for your loved one this moment to increase the chance of a better tomorrow.
“Today’s expectations are tomorrow resentments” or “expectations are resentments in training.” Having unreasonable expectations set upon ourselves and others is the quickest way to resentments. Expecting someone to be the same person they were years or even a few months ago is unreasonable. As far as I’m concerned, resentment should be considered stealing as it robs us of the precious time we have on earth which could be spent loving.
I could write an entire book on why expectations are so damaging. For one, watch any Hollywood love story. I’m laughing as I’m writing this because I’m thinking back of old relationships… when my girlfriend and I would be watching a romantic movie and thinking to ourselves “I wish she/he would touch me or talk to me like that.” Or “ah, he carved a heart into that rock with his teeth then built her a mansion out of Twinkies, how romantic… why don’t you ever do that for me?” Nuff said.
One mistake I made in previous relationships was having expectations yet never sharing them with my partner. That’s just not fair, and if you’re wondering how to sabotage a relationship, that’s certainly one way. How can someone ever live up to expectations they aren’t even aware of?
4. Lack of Growth
As the saying goes in business, “if you’re not growing you’re dying.” If you experience something the same way it was “back then,” then you’re not growing and actually loosing ground (or you’re Han Solo and just became unfrozen). As human beings we are constantly growing emotionally, physically, and spiritually. To truly experience a fulfilling life, we must find someone we can continually grow with. If you’re both stuck in the past you’re stunting your chance to grow.
When you start dating, generally you just want someone to share your time with because you’re lonely. When a relationship is new, you feel all fuzzy inside all the time and just hanging out doing nothing with that person makes you happy. As your relationship changes, so does your perspective on what he/she is in the relationship for. Maybe you start thinking they’re here to make you happy or provide you with everything you need.
Maybe the way things were weren’t really the way things were. We’ve all experienced how emotionally stimulating and charged we are in the beginning of relationships; how the other person can seemingly do no wrong. Was he/she not putting their socks in the hamper from day one and you just didn’t notice or didn’t care because you were blinded by love?
2. Lack of Gratitude
If you’re wanting things to be different, then you’re certainly not grateful for the way things are. If you can’t find something to be grateful for in your relationship and where it is today, get out. Or at least discuss it with them and let them in on it. Then you can both work towards finding gratitude for yourselves and each other.
1. And the #1 reason to avoid getting back to the way things were:
It limits you to something you’ve already experienced and lessons the chance you’ll discover something truly unique and amazing!
Why on earth would anyone limit themselves to something they’ve already experienced? OK, I can think of one reason, security. If you’re not feeling secure in your relationship, start looking at yourself first. Are you secure with yourself? If not, no one else is going to be able to give that to you. And you certainly will not find it by constantly requesting your partner become who they were “back when.” No one should be asked to live up, or down, to that.
My wife and I realize our relationship is different now then the first few weeks, months, or years after we met. We actually still have our old emails and read through them every now and then. We laugh at how cheesy we were then and how that first week we only slept about 10 hours because we were up every night talking. I first met my wife at a Starbucks three years ago today; Feb. 25th 2007 at 2:05 pm CST. I appreciate those first few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years for what they were; special, because I’ll never get to live them again. But I’m also grateful for the time we share now and how our relationship has changed into something different then it was then; not worse or better, just different. OK, truth is, better, better, better; but in a different better way… if that makes sense. I look forward to what it will be tomorrow and the day after that and the year after that. I’m not sure where life will take us together but one thing I do know, it will never be the way it used to be; thank God.
So quit trying to get back to the way things were; was it really that great?
What are some ways you cultivate newness in your relationships?
Do you disagree with the idea that “getting back to the way things were” is dooming a relationship to failure?
photo credit: alicepopkorn