Sweet and sour relationships


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My topic every day this month is “stressful relationships”— Please go to askevelynbrooks.com and type in the box what your biggest stress is right now, especially if it’s related to a relationship. I’ll answer your questions here in a blog post! (And don’t worry, it’s confidential, so I won’t use your name or email address.)

If you had to describe your relationship as a dessert, what flavor would it be?

Mostly yummy? Sweet with only a tart cherry or two?

Or has something gone so wrong that an accidental gulp makes you want to spit it out, wondering how come it’s so sour … stale … rancid… or even bitter?

It’s nice to pause for a moment and think how pleasant it would be if “Life” allowed us to simply send back our order and ask them to make it over again! We’d say, “I thought this was what I wanted, but it’s not that great after all.”  Or, “I knew this would be kind of sour, but I thought I could handle it —  I don’t want to start over, so could you fix it up and get it back to me ASAP?”

But instead, we are faced with the reality that something about the relationship is not to our liking and so now what do we do about it!  Here are the choices as I see it:

  • Keep on fighting and squabbling all the time (and everyone is miserable)
  • Stuff it all inside, claim that everything is “fine” (and watch your stress skyrocket)
  • Pretend “something” will happen to magically make things better if you just keep ignoring the sour events
  • Throw in the towel — break up and move on to someone else (although you’ll pick the same type of person if you haven’t resolved the underlying issues)
  • Look at it from a new angle and try something dramatically different

If you feel this relationship still has enough “sweet” aspects going for it, it’s worth trying to get past the “sour,” isn’t it? I’ll give you some ideas tomorrow on exactly how you can do that.

Meanwhile, please share and comment — What do you do with a relationship or friendship that’s too good to dump but too stressful to accept “as is”?

your happiness guru,

Evelyn

Comments (10)

Linda

June 9, 2010

Hi Evelyn,
my relationship now at the moment is really sweet. But that used to be diffrent. A few years ago I did throw in the towel, as there was nothing else left to try. We were apart for a few months, but we kept in touch one way or another. Me being on my own again with my children, was a good lesson: I will always be able to go on alone and that was important for me to realise. Him being confronted with my very firm decision, started a process of growth and learning. So after a few months, we were ready to give it another try and it worked! Now we have a daughter together and life is good!

I look forward to what you have to tell us tomorrow!

Good luck with the challenge, one week done, 3 weeks to go!

Linda

Linda

June 9, 2010

Hi Evelyn,
my relationship now at the moment is really sweet. But that used to be diffrent. A few years ago I did throw in the towel, as there was nothing else left to try. We were apart for a few months, but we kept in touch one way or another. Me being on my own again with my children, was a good lesson: I will always be able to go on alone and that was important for me to realise. Him being confronted with my very firm decision, started a process of growth and learning. So after a few months, we were ready to give it another try and it worked! Now we have a daughter together and life is good!

I look forward to what you have to tell us tomorrow!

Good luck with the challenge, one week done, 3 weeks to go!

Linda

Nancy Boyd

June 9, 2010

Great post! One of the best metrics I have found for knowing when to take action on less-than-ideal relationships is the boundary test. I set a new boundary standard and communicate that very clearly to the person. I let them know the consequences. To my way of thinking, that action is "keeping my side of the street swept clean." Their side of the street is their own business; if they choose to respect the boundary and continue with the relationship, they know what they have to do.

When I observe how the are with the new boundary, I can make my choices about whether it's worth my continued investment in it. I don't keep people in my life who don't know how to be respectful and mutual; they can have other friends who better match their energy levels.

One other thought here. Often when I'm tempted to linger in a relationship that is losing steam, I have to look at my own motives. It's sometimes tempting to stay out of a mistaken idea that something I can do or be might "change them" (HA!!) -- or out of fear that I will lose whatever was attractive about the person in the first place (in which case I need to remind myself that The Universe abundantly provides everyone and everything I need -- which is not dependent upon any one person.)

Hope this contributes to the conversation a bit :-)

Nancy

Nancy Boyd

June 9, 2010

Great post! One of the best metrics I have found for knowing when to take action on less-than-ideal relationships is the boundary test. I set a new boundary standard and communicate that very clearly to the person. I let them know the consequences. To my way of thinking, that action is "keeping my side of the street swept clean." Their side of the street is their own business; if they choose to respect the boundary and continue with the relationship, they know what they have to do.

When I observe how the are with the new boundary, I can make my choices about whether it's worth my continued investment in it. I don't keep people in my life who don't know how to be respectful and mutual; they can have other friends who better match their energy levels.

One other thought here. Often when I'm tempted to linger in a relationship that is losing steam, I have to look at my own motives. It's sometimes tempting to stay out of a mistaken idea that something I can do or be might "change them" (HA!!) -- or out of fear that I will lose whatever was attractive about the person in the first place (in which case I need to remind myself that The Universe abundantly provides everyone and everything I need -- which is not dependent upon any one person.)

Hope this contributes to the conversation a bit :-)

Nancy

Deb

June 9, 2010

Wish I knew! I'm a hold it inside as long as I can person - and yes, with loads of stress.

Deb

June 9, 2010

Wish I knew! I'm a hold it inside as long as I can person - and yes, with loads of stress.

Lisa

June 9, 2010

I agree with Deb...I wish I had known better...I hold in all of my stress too. Sometimes things fall apart so something better can fall together. I stayed in a relationship that just didn't serve me because I was afraid to go it alone. Sometimes its just best to part ways. Love the work that you do here.

Lisa

June 9, 2010

I agree with Deb...I wish I had known better...I hold in all of my stress too. Sometimes things fall apart so something better can fall together. I stayed in a relationship that just didn't serve me because I was afraid to go it alone. Sometimes its just best to part ways. Love the work that you do here.

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