By Guest Blogger, Rachel Moheban
You’re driving along a seemingly smooth road, no unexpected turns or bumps. All of the sudden, you hit a pothole in the road. Didn’t see that coming…
No matter how hard you rev the engine, you just can’t get out of it. The wheels keep spinning but you’re going nowhere. You’re stuck in a rut!
How do you get out of it? Carrying on revving is not going to work, but maybe this isn’t obvious at first. You get more and more frustrated until eventually you get to that ‘aha’ moment – it suddenly dawns on you that you need to change your plan of action, stop revving and try something different.
Problem is what to try? You could try any number of things or call for help, but it just seems so much easier to keep on revving. Surely, eventually it should sort itself out? Right?
Ok, so this isn’t Driving 101 but I think the metaphor gets the point across…
When your relationship seems to be stuck in a rut, don’t simply sit on the fence hoping it will eventually start moving forward. It won’t. You and your partner need to take decisive action to set your relationship on a course to success!
What does it mean to be in a relationship rut? Simplistically, it means that you are neither particularly unhappy with your partner but you also not particularly happy. It’s like being in a comfortable place of indifference and acceptance that you can’t seem to get out of.
Why? Simply because it’s what you’ve both become accustomed to and you don’t know how to change it. But, it doesn’t have to be this way! And it shouldn’t.
We all sometimes need a wake-up call, what I like to call our ‘aha’ moment, to rouse us out of mediocrity and into the life and relationship of our dreams.
There is a way to do this in your relationship and I’m going to give you some tips on how to get there.
- Make a checklist – how are you supposed to make changes if you don’t know what needs to be changed? The best thing to do is to start your checklist with all the general relationship success givens (e.g. trust, love, respect, etc) and then to customize this list with all the things that have always been key to you and your partner (e.g. having fun together, independence, etc). Make sure that you do this together so that both of you are contributing.
- Highlight the items on your list that you both feel need the most work, the most improvement. For example, you have both become too caught up in your careers and can’t remember the last time that you had fun together.
- Set time aside to discuss each item and why you feel why each one is crucial to work on – as an example, perhaps your partner is always checking your text messages, which you feel is an invasion of your privacy. This boils down to a trust issue. You and your partner should each take a turn to discuss your point of view on this issue and listen to each other’s perspective.
- Act to resolve these issues together– actively work to resolve these issues. Make time to spend together, just the two of you. Even put it your respective agendas, that this Tuesday night, for example, will be your evening to discuss your issues. Resolve any trust issues as much as possible (with or without counseling, depending on the depth of the issue). See how you can work through it TOGETHER, with each partner pulling their own weight– example, make an effort to split the household chores more, share in the cooking, take turns initiating relations in the bedroom. Realize that your relationship really is the ultimate partnership… key word here being PARTNERSHIP.
- Keep at it – remember that this is not an overnight process – both partners need to work on this on an ongoing basis. Relationships take WORK. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just part of the routine. Also, if any other issues crop up at any point, add them to your list and follow steps 1-4 again
Take a moment to stop revving your way through life and your relationship. Put on the brakes, assess your situation and then chart your course of action…together. Why not look at this person you’ve committed yourself to, and decide today, that the past is the past, and there is nowhere to move but forward, together, and happy.
To Greater Intimacy,
Rachel Moheban is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a private practice in New York City. She specializes in couple’s therapy and is the founder of The Relationship Suite. She is also the creator of The Ultimate Relationship Resolution Program.
Ladies, what do you think? Is your relationship stuck in a rut? How long has it been? Are you charting your own course of action or have you just accepted that this is your life? Share your thoughts with our readers. And if you have any tips that have kept your relationship out of a rut, please share them!