ERP 091: Is “trying harder” the best option in relationship?
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First Listener’s Question:
“I often listen to your podcast and try to learn from it as much as possible. Your podcast has provided me an ample amount of knowledge and made me flexible to various aspects of being in a relationship. Thank you.
I came across a girl on a matrimony website and we have seen each other only 3 times in past 9 months of knowing each other as we stay in different states. The last meet we had was to talk about our trust issues by building our communication skills and whether she still wanted to continue seeing me. It was good for a week after our talk but then she went back to ignoring my texts and phone calls. I understand that she is busy with 3 jobs (1 full-time and 2 part-time including her accounting business) but without getting acknowledged for my texts or calls for days, sometimes weeks or none reply at all; I feel agitated building tension between us. I don’t know how to tackle this situation as I want to give her space but feel that I might lose her if not in frequent touch. Your help is highly appreciated.”
Second Listener’s Question:
“I’m pretty new to your podcasts, but they’re currently helping me through a pretty confusing and difficult time.
I’m in a wonderful relationship with a man whom is everything I would want on paper. I actually wrote out a list of all the character traits I would want in a man a few months before we started dating– he checks off all of them!
The problem is that lately we’ve grown into this odd dynamic that I don’t really know how to explain. This relationship started as the most supportive, loving, healthy relationship that I’ve ever been in. However, lately it feels forced and inauthentic.
We have had a few hiccups with some health problems. We’ve also had some “discussions” (never really arguments) about his friends, who were initially not welcoming to me at all and still make me feel very uncomfortable on most occasions with crass behavior and crude comments about pretty much everything. However, my boyfriend has never engaged in or encouraged this behavior– at least not around me or to my knowledge!
Although we interact very healthily– and if anyone saw us from the outside they would likely say we are the “perfect couple”– there’s this unnameable tension that exists and makes me feel more and more disconnected with him every day.
I’m worried that maybe I chose to be in a relationship with him for the wrong reasons (the logical side of my brain tends to rule my decisions), and now am paying the price.
Before I go , I just want to say thanks for providing a wonderful show that’s helping me to get more in touch with my own feelings and take control of my desires and needs in my relationship.”
(Please listen to the podcast episode or read the transcript to hear my stories and examples to describe these points.)
6 Ways To Deal the Tendency to “try Harder”in relationship
1. Be aware of compromising yourself and your values.
- It can be easy to justify and rationalize behaviors that don’t work for you (i.e. you are doing or that your partner is doing).
- Think about what is most important to you, and then try to prioritize that value.
- If you undermine yourself or your values, you will likely feel bad about yourself and/or your situation.
- Your integrity is important for the health of your relationship long-term.
- “I love myself more.”
2. Find balance.
- Be careful to not reach too far beyond yourself. You want your partner to meet you.
- You don’t want to convince, persuade, or manipulate them into being with you.
- You want to strive for mutual giving and receiving, as well as reciprocal effort.
- When the balance is off-center, it can lead to weird dynamics and games (i.e. power issues, commitment issues, resentment and hurt feelings).
3. Allow space for your partner to be in.
- Allow your partner to choose you.
- Give your partner room to step towards you.
- You want your partner to want to be with you… to be engaged and invested.
- If you consistently do more of the work, you might not really trust they are with you. You might not believe they will have your back, when you need them.
4. Honor your cues.
- Listen to your inner signs and signals; don’t ignore them.
- You may hear your intuition speak to you. You may notice physical symptoms (i.e. tightness in the throat, clenched stomach, etc.)
- Slow down. Breathe.
- Own your experience.
- If you are not honest, it can lead to withholding and resentment, as well as unhelpful expectations and projections.
- It may be helpful to wonder:
- What do you feel when you are around your partner?
- Are you scared? Feeling pressure? Feeling anxious?
- Are you afraid of getting rejected? Not being good enough?
- What do you do when these feelings come up for you?
- Acknowledging your experience will help you see more clearly.
5. Be honest about what your partner is showing you and telling you.
- Yes, we project on our partners. We have a story about them. Be careful to not hold to your story more than being open to what your partner is showing you.
- What does your partner show you over and over again?
- It is easy to want to believe in potential, but be sure to reality check with what you are actually experiencing.
- Listen to what they tell you.
- Mixed messages. “He is just not that into you.”
6. Trust in yourself, trust in life.
- Believe in your worthiness and goodness.
- Know that you are capable of love.
- Believe in the possibility of relationship and that it is available for you.
- Listen to the inner wisdom that tells you “You are more than your current circumstance.”
- Yes, your fear will come up. Your patterns will come up, but turn your focus and attention to your belief in yourself and in life. You have an inner knowing and inner guidance.
- You are worthy.
“So now I know what I have to do. I have to keep breathing. And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.” – William Broyles Jr., Cast Away
If you are caught in a pattern of “trying too hard,” can you practice one of these tips? Which one will it be? Please let me a comment below. I would love to hear about it.
Click on this link to access the transcript for this episode: ERP 091: Is “trying harder” the best option in relationship? [Transcript]
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