Many people don’t speak their truth for fear of losing their partner. They have a misguided belief that they will no longer be loved if they don’t please others. So they put their needs and wants on the shelf and focus only on what the other person wants – and in doing so, they have lost their identity.
We all grow, evolve and change. We are not the exact same people we were when we first started our relationships. We need to have the self awareness of how we are growing and communicate that to our partner.
As we grow, our needs change. What we wanted and expected from our relationship in the beginning often changes with time. I have met so many people who are angry with their partner for not honoring their changes – but they failed to communicate them in the first place!
A good friend of mine is smart, outgoing, has her university degree and chose to stay home to care for her children. Her husband earned enough money to support them all. When her kids were in high school she wanted to go back to work and her husband didn’t want her to.
Over 2-3 years, she gave hints and subtle messages of wanting to do things differently. She felt there was more to life and wanted to get out there and rediscover herself. She was unable to properly articulate this to herself and to her husband. Resentment and bitterness set in and they eventually divorced. What she needed to do was to identify what her needs were, how being with her husband originally fulfilled them, then figure out how she changed and what her new needs were.
I find self awareness is essential. Be willing to look in the mirror at yourself. Take personal responsibility for your present and future state. Communicate first to yourself – who you are, who you want to be, want you want and need to get there. Then communicate that information to those you are closest to.
Help your partner understand how and why you are changing. It is important for them to understand that this is ‘your’ story and ‘your’ needs and not a reflection of them. Often, partners interpret the changes in a negative way and see them as a threat to the stability of the relationship. It is important for them to understand that you need this to grow and feel fulfilled which will help you to contribute more positively to your relationship.
Communication – honest, open and respectful will keep the sparks going in your relationship!