Keep love simple and go with your ‘gut feeling’, what can possibly go wrong?

To a certain extent, this is exactly what we’ve been doing. And how’s that working out for us I hear you ask? Well let’s look at some facts. We have a 50% divorce rate, 4 out of 5 relationships end up loveless and we’ve increased the UK’s annual family breakdown support budget from £1 bn in 2005 to £50 bn in 2016. Perhaps our ‘gut feeling’ compass may need a little help.

You often hear people claim that love is not a science, they say that when you’re in love, you know it and complicating things by measuring or over analysing is dangerous and pointless. I agree that spending hours every week over analysing every thought and interaction with your partner is not fun, in fact, it’s probably a sign that you’re with the wrong partner.

I guess you can apply this to any aspect of our wellbeing. Showing up at your doctor’s door every week asking him or her to examine and reassure you that all is well may be a tad excessive. However, the opposite end of the scale can be just as harmful. And this is the point, because when it comes to relationships, we do sit at the other end of the scale. Crossing our fingers and hoping it works out is our default policy. We don’t really check on things unless the proverbial hits the fan.

There are no avenues to check on our relationships while things are good. Who can tell their partner “hey sweetheart, feel like going to this place where they check if all is well in our relationship?” The overwhelming reaction to this will be fear. One thing is for sure, no one is going to say, “what a wonderful idea, the fact that you want to do this means you really love what we have and you want to make sure we don’t end up like the 80% of miserable couples out there who all thought they had it sussed, gosh what a romantic you are”. The reaction will probably be more along the lines “so you think we have issues? Are you telling me you’re not happy? Where did this come from? I really thought we were doing well? I’m now feeling unhappy and worried.”

Our fear of finding out how we’re doing when things are good is exactly what keeps the earlier statistics of separation and unhappiness so high. This is mainly because there are no positive avenues out there for us to ask. It would be the same with health if all we had were hospitals. If you tell someone, “why don’t you go to a hospital to check if all is good or if you need to do something?”, the reaction will be “but I’m fine, I don’t need to go to a hospital”. However, if you tell that same person, “why don’t you go to a gym and check your fitness, perhaps you can do some exercises?”, the reaction will be far more receptive.

Therefore, if we want to truly improve the negative statistics, we need three things; firstly, we need to provide better avenues for couples to visit where visiting is seen as a positive step rather a last resort to rescue a troublesome partnership. When it comes to relationships, counselling and therapy are the equivalent to hospitals. We need gyms not hospitals. Secondly, we need these gyms to be available in a way that is compatible with our modern way of living, and that means only one thing, online access. And thirdly, even though you can visit the gym anytime to ask about relationships in general, specifically checking on your relationship is something that only needs to be done once a year.

It is time we embrace the concept of introducing avenues where couples can do annual checkups on their relationships as soon as they turn from casual to serious. During such checkups, couples can be made aware of what habits and understandings still apply, what are some new ones and what are the ones that perhaps the general wisdom claims to be good but no longer apply, in fact, they cause harm instead of good. During such checkups, couples can hear about the benefits of, for example, holding off on having children until they’ve had at least three successful checkups. A checkup is successful if:

  1. your partner is still truly your no1 laughter and fun partner first and foremost,
  2. your partner was, or has become, and still is part of your close circle of friends and your true feeling is that your partner’s presence when socializing with your friends does not reduce the fun, if anything it increases it,
  3. when you’re with your partner, you never ever need to edit a thought that comes into your head,
  4. your partner makes you so happy to be you and this partner does this simply by being themselves.

If these 4 points do not apply to you and you still decide to persevere in blind hope regardless, you will become just another couple who followed their ‘gut feeling’ and now they’re ‘getting on with it’ as best they can to minimise friction. This sets a very dangerous precedence to your kids. They will learn that it’s ok to be a little fake in a relationship, a little unhappy, and it’s ok to be more relaxed outside the relationship with friends. Going with your ‘gut feeling’ is as logical as eating and drinking whatever your gut feels like and never listening to healthy living advice until you become obese and are about to have a heart attack.

The funny thing is that this is exactly what we do with relationships. We ‘go with our gut’, live together, ignore minor issues, have kids, ignore more minor issues and justify having less fun by saying that this is real life. Then when we get too unhappy, we decide to finally listen to healthy advice by going to counselling. The likelihood is that by then it is too late and statistics are screaming and begging for us to wake up.

Many good relationships turn bad because of damaging patterns learned from childhood. Furthermore, bad relationships are tolerated if either or both partners suffer from a lack of self worth. Both these scenarios hurt us, and eventually hurt our children.

We need awareness to either help us change our damaging childhood patterns so that we don’t ruin good relationships. We also need awareness to help us gain enough self worth to stop ignoring the early signs that tell us we are not in a loving relationship. We need to get this awareness while we’re still friends who trust one another, not after many wasted years, children and a mortgage when our alternatives become far more complicated.

The answer is annual relationship checkups from the moment we feel we are with a partner that could be ‘the one’.

No Comments

Post A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Messenger icon
Send message via your Messenger App