More so than many of the spheres, these three allow you to do a lot of good work on your own, and I’ll suggest some ways in which you can improve your relationships in all these areas. First, though, let’s look at love.
Should you remain single or get married? Do you want to hone your dating skills? Why can’t you sustain a committed relationship? Do you need to recharge your relationship? If you’ve been divorced, how do you overcome your fear of making the same mistakes twice? Is your marriage or relationship one of great emotional and sexual intimacy, or is there something lacking? The questions in this sphere are numerous and complex. Here, too, the sphere cannot be looked at in isolation from the other spheres. For instance, you may have work you value greatly, but it demands an enormous time commitment that precludes any type of meaningful relationship. Is this sacrifice worth it? If so, for how long?
Sylvie married her high school sweetheart during her first year of college. Her husband, Bobby, worked in a steel mill and grew increasingly insecure and hostile toward Sylvie as she excelled in her classes. One night he drank too much and hit her during a temper tantrum. Sylvie felt devastated and ashamed and went to stay at her parents’ with their newborn daughter. She quickly divorced Bobby and then went into a deep depression missing Bobby, and realizing she was single, had a new baby, and was struggling to pay college tuition.
Sylvie hired a coach to help her develop the discipline to excel in school, pay college tuition, and learn to date well. Dating was frightening for Sylvie; she had been certain that she would never have to date again, except now she was fully aware that she needed to learn how if she was going to meet someone new.
Sylvie met Sven at a speed-dating workshop. She felt instant chemistry, usually a bad sign, but this time it was a good one. Sven was kind, a mathematics professor, single, passionate, and crazy about Sylvie! One year later, Sylvie and Sven were married. They have now been married for five years, and they both believe their marriage keeps getting better with the passage of time. The reality is that they are very compatible in terms of interests, values, and intimacy needs. There is very little conflict between them.
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As you no doubt know, Love is a sphere with an almost infinite variety of issues. Sylvie’s problems, though common, describe just one of many areas where you can introduce positive changes in your life. Though Sylvie had a coach’s help, she also did a lot of work on her own. Here are four common romantic relationship issues that people can confront; see which one applies to you:
1. Obsessiveness. For instance, John is smitten with Joan. Joan eventually rejects him, but John isn’t interested in seeing anyone else because he still believes Joan is the only person for him. There is no chance of getting back together with Joan, but she is all he can think about. John needs assistance in coming to terms with the end of the relationship with Joan and learning how to move on.
2. Loneliness – Both single and partnered individuals feel isolated. Singles need to work on dating skills and “getting out there.” Partnered people need to examine why they feel such loneliness and come up with a plan with their coach to decrease the sad feelings and reestablish connection to their mate. When the loneliness is secondary to an “sncurable” relationship incompatibility, separation or another plan of action needs to be contemplated as well as discussed.
3. Infidelity- Some individuals seem incapable ofbeing faithful to one partner, even though they love that partner and don’t want the relationship to end. Yet, that is exactly what will happen in most relationships unless they get help; they need to be coached on whether they will work toward a shared value of monogamy, create an alternative form of a relationship, or split up and then create a plan with that goal in mind.
4. Renewal- Some good relationships go stale, often because one partner has dropped the ball. She has lost interest in her partner because of the onset of middle age, health problems, or because her career problems are impacting her love life; she needs to figure out if the relationship is worth sustaining and, if so, what she needs to do to help sustain it. Often, one partner’s constant judgment of the other precipitates failure of the relationship; he needs to stop criticizing her or she will leave.
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