Can’t get past extracurricular activities by you or your partner? Having trouble closing doors to your past flings? Or just floating along in your love-life with no direction?
Here are some questions you should ask yourself…
EVALUATING WHAT YOU HAVE
Before rocking any boats, you need to know what you want.
What kind of partner do you want? What kind of relationship do you want?
Do you want monogamy? Do you want to be the center of your partner’s universe all the time? Or do you prefer a bit of independence?
Write down your ideal, fairy-tale relationship for the future.
Rather then get into evaluating your present pretenders, also make an abstract list of the “must haves”, “would likes” and “deal breakers” for your future partner. Spare no expense – write everything down.
Do this exercise over a few days. Let your mind run and be imaginative. If you’ve somehow believed you don’t “deserve” what you really want in love, it’ll take some serious, applied digging to come up with an ideal scenario!
Once this is done, take stock of your present relationship(s) to see how they measure up.
It’s not a big deal if some of your “would likes” aren’t met – you can live with that, right? Nobody’s perfect! But any big deal breakers or “must-haves” not met are a problem.
Be honest about whether your current deal measures up to your list. You wouldn’t settle for half way at work, why should you go for second best at home?
If, despite the right characteristics in your partner, your relationship dynamic isn’t what you’d like it to be (lack of communication, persisting guilt because of past mistakes, etc), you need to look at this too, seriously.
Some issues need to be moved past (i.e. cheating – see below), but lack of communication, for example, which can lead to cheating, is very serious. Systemic problems such as trouble solving problems together or lack of sexual interest will rot your love from the inside. Renovation or demolition may be needed.
LIFE AFTER CHEATING
You cheated? He cheated?
Are you having trouble moving on from there?
Look, if you cheated, take responsibility. If you’ve got enough in common to decide that you still want to be together today – okay – now get on with your life. Fess up if you think it’s productive, or if you think it’ll get out.
Otherwise, mum’s the word. You did the crime – no excuses for lightening your load by dropping it into your partner’s lap.
But figure out WHY you did what you did.
If there’s something you still need to deal with regarding the incident (i.e. telling your partner how mad it made you), do it. You might be lacking emotional closure that is necessary to moving on. Do what you need to get this closure.
But once you’ve said your piece, it’s time to be an adult. You’re still together with your partner because your feelings for each other are stronger than those for the people you slept with. There you go – get on with your lives now.
It’s not because your kid brother once swallowed your pet goldfish out of spite that you’re going to avoid having a productive relationship with him.
Your future is what you make it. Leave the past where it belongs – in the past.
If, however, the cheating experience brings up doubts in your mind about the suitability of your partner, see above, and take the results seriously. Cheating (mental or physical) can be the result of a bunch of things – unsuitability of partners, unfulfilled curiosity, unrequited need for attention.
Bear in mind also that people very often avoid seriously evaluating their relationships because they are afraid of the emotional repercussions of negative answers.
The reality is, though, that if you really want fulfillment in your love life, you have to be ready to ask hard questions and then, maybe, to go through some emotional unpleasantness.
This is just part of the ride though – Bill Gates wasn’t born president of Microsoft. He had to spend years pulling all-nighters at the computer first. Sadly, a happy love life also takes work.
Roll up your sleeves kiddo!