How do u define RELATIONSHIP -SUCCESS –what does it mean to you??
What is success? It’s a question we often think about when it comes to our profession. But we rarely ask it about our relationships. Knowing the answer could open up so many new opportunities for us. All Relationships have one law. Never make the one you love feel alone, especially when you are there !
To be happy in any area of our lives, we need to start with defining what success means for us in that area. One of the main reasons ,particularly women around the age of 30 and 40 – get to counselling is for support with their relationships. Of all the challenges that they encounter in all shapes and forms, the challenges of leading life as a single is one. If you’re not in a relationship, you may feel a lot of social pressure to find a partner. This is especially true for women, who can feel anxious in this life stage to have children before their body’s “deadline” kicks in. Alternatively, if you’re not sure you want kids at all, you may feel like you have to constantly justify your choices to others.
When our relationship status is different to what society tells us is “normal” we also feel that we don’t quite belong. Both men and women who are single and/or without kids – whether by circumstance or choice – report sometimes feeling at a loss, especially if their social circle includes mostly married couples with kids. This change in the dynamics of your social group can be confusing! Old friendships may not resonate anymore, for example, and time with friends may become more scarce or structured, as friends prioritise their partners and/or children.
It can feel like everyone but you has hooked up and that your choices are limited. If you’re older, you may feel that there are fewer options than when you were young, or that the people you like are already in relationships. You might find yourself saying (or thinking) things like, “All the good men/women are taken” or “I’ll wait for him/her to come out of that relationship – after all, many relationships do come to an end)”.
The challenges of being in a relationship…
Every couple has to overcome obstacles at some point in their journey. Some will work to deepen their relationship and create a meaningful partnership. Others, however, stay together out of a sense of duty or because they have fulfilled “society’s standards” – achieving a home, a partner, a family. There are many people who are miserable in their relationships, but feel pressured to maintain “the perfect image”.
Unhappy couples abroad might also stay together for their children, because their kids have little support or family nearby. In cross-cultural relationships where one is local and the other feels like the ‘weaker’ part of the relationship, many responsibilities may lie with the former partner and this can start to feel unbearable for both partners.
Why defining your relationship success is important for your happiness
Here is an example… which of these do you think is successful?
Two people who have been crazy in love with a passionate, dynamic, beautiful relationship, only to realise they cannot move on to the next level together?
Two people who have spent years and years together but have outgrown each other and continue to stay together?
Actually, either is okay… as long as the people involved are happy and aligned with their definition of success.
For some, being in a beautiful relationship that won’t become long-term is still successful. Someone else may consider, not being in a relationship as a failure. The point is: how do you define success in your own life?
The story you tell yourself about “success” or “failure” affects how you think about yourself and your relationship status.
What you tell yourself affects how you think…
what you think affects how you feel…
how you feel effects what you do…
and what you do, of course, has consequences.
So how can you tell a new and more helpful story?
Let’s take another example: a single woman of 40 who considers herself a “failure” for not having found a life partner. How can we reframe this?
We start with the stories you are telling yourself. Instead of saying “I’m miserable, 40 years old and I’ll be alone for the rest of my life”, we can look at is this way: “I’m 40 years old and I now have the criteria and the ability to choose the right guy for me. I’m going to now take actions based my criteria towards what I really want” (whether that’s a relationship or to become a mother, for example).
If you’re in a relationship and don’t feel it is successful – for example, you sense something is missing – you can re-frame too. Again, what are your options, based on your criteria for relationship success?
There are always options… and seeing them depends on the story you are telling yourself.
Once you have answered the question – what does success mean to me? – the rest will come as you take actions in alignment with your values and feelings. The process may involve constant evaluation of what success means to you, reflecting your growth as a person.You don’t need someone to complete you in any relation. YOU Only need someone to accept you COMPLETELY!