Who said love was easy? Whether you are in a relationship, single, or its complicated, we can all agree love doesn’t come easy, especially when problems concern not only ourselves but our partner. When we go through a rough patch, we often look back at our previous relationships and try not to make the same mistakes. But we’ve all heard too many times before love isn’t a mathematical equation and not all relationships are the same – its sporadic, passionate and sometimes even discouraging. Just when you feel as though you’re about to give up, we talk with relationship coach Valentina Tudose for advice on common relationship problems and how to solve them.
Scenario #1 Feeling trapped in a relationship
Identity loss is a potential to rediscover
This is a story of vision. We often go into a relationship based on superficial things you have in common, but as the relationship progresses you realize you didn’t know yourself or your partner. In a relationship we get too close and try to identify as a couple, there is a transition from ‘me’ – an independent person, to ‘us’. We all know the very annoying thing couples say like ‘we went there, we did this’ and my favorite ‘we’re pregnant’. It becomes a merged identity where everything you do, you do together so you lose a sense of identity.
There is a lesson in learning, in a relationship we see parts of ourselves that we could not see alone. You need to establish what you want and reflect who you are within and outside the relationship. Entering a relationship without a clear plan can make you feel trapped, especially when your expectations are not met. So it is important to communicate to your partner and seek their perspective in creating a more conscious version of the relationship. If they say no or the relationship does not meet your standards because you didn’t know you had this standard before, then you’ll know when something just isn’t working.
Scenario #2 Long distance relationship
Make it or break it
Long distance relationship is like a training ground. It gives an opportunity to talk, to explore, to establish standards, to discuss expectations and most importantly to align with each other and what you are working towards. LDRs can be blessing in disguise, you can deepen the connection, develop emotional and intellectual intimacy – helping you balance the physical and the emotional.
When going into a LDR, the imaginationship is multiplied tenfold. You only see what your partner want you to see and you only see what you want to believe so it is important to plan a clear end of the tunnel. Learning to manage a long distance relationship is about balance. Not putting too much or too little energy into it. It will also depend on how secure you are, if you’re in this relationship because you need validation and appreciation you may need to reconsider what it is that you want from this relationship (Refer to Scenario #1).
Scenario #3 Moving on
Denial, depression, anger, bargaining, more anger, more bargaining and finally acceptance
When we lose someone we go through five stages: denial, depression, anger, bargaining (trying to make things work) and acceptance – as technical as this sounds, its true even when you lose your phone. The trouble is sometimes we get caught before acceptance and we revert back to earlier stages. It becomes a constant loop. We keep doing the same things over and over again because we choose not to move on. The goal is to reframe the whole relationship as someone who taught you something and who you used to know at some point in your past, like a stepping stone, in building who you are today.
If you want to truly move on, you need to block contact in any way shape or form. If the relationship was a cut in your arm, every time you see that person you are scratching that cut and it will bleed every time. Making the healing process that much longer. If you want the wound to heal you need to keep that band aid on. The ultimate test to know if you moved on is indifference. When you wake up in the morning and you don’t think of them anymore or you receive a text or information about them and you’re just meh.
Scenario #4 Balancing love and work
Can we really have it all?
We always make time for the things and people we love. A lot of times misbalance happens because women have made the decision (conscious or unconsciously) that love is not going to work out so they might as well put their energy into work because that’s what they’re good at. They’re successful, competent, and have control versus risk getting hurt and rejected which previous relationship experience has proven.
In the end you have to make a choice. If you want a relationship you need to decide that having a relationship is just as important as work. I use a coaching tool called Wheel of Life where you rate satisfaction based on different intersects of life to assess which areas you are flourishing and which ones need the work. You notice with these ladies they rate job satisfaction an 8 or even a 10 but 0 to 2 for relationship. Then you start to realize if you put zero energy into your personal life, you’re not going to get anything. So the balance is how much energy are you willing to put in to developing a relationship – not just with a partner but also to find new friends.
Scenario #5 Communicating about sex
Let’s talk about you and me
We are programmed by society that being sexual and enjoying sex is not right for women. It is something that men enjoy and women endure, a tool to get the man. Because women may not believe sex is about enjoyment it becomes very goal oriented. For me, sex is relationship glue – it keeps the relationship together. In our world we are educated to see sex as a performance, an achievement, it’s about orgasm and the finish line. All of these scenario that scare us about the experience is true for men as well.
What women can do is give herself permission to enjoy sex for her own sake – knowing yourself and what makes you feel good and allowing yourself to feel good. With a partner know that sex only get better if you talk about it. Sex is not about penetration, orgasm or achievement, it’s about connection. Everyone is wondering how to perform but if we’re constantly worrying in bed, we are not emotionally present. So tell your partner what feels good, guide them and experiment – even we don’t know most of the time what works for us!