Do you ever feel dissatisfied in your relationship?
In today's episode, I am going to give you a whole new way of thinking about dissatisfaction.
Normally when we think about becoming dissatisfied in the relationship or you’ve had an experience of being dissatisfied in your relationship, we think of that like a bad thing, we think of that as though there's something wrong in the relationship.
A client I was talking to yesterday recently moved in with her boyfriend. After a few months of living together she says
“You know I'm feeling a little bit bored, I’m feeling a little bit restless, I'm imagining my whole life is going to feel like this and wondering if I made a mistake”.
This is one of the things that dissatisfaction does to us. It has as projected into our future as it will feel this way forever and it's that worry that anticipation of future dissatisfaction that actually causes the most anxiety and the most doubt.
So rather than going to work on what it is that were dissatisfied about, we start to ask ourselves do we even want to be in this relationship? Is this relationship even right? Am I with the right person?
Now, sometimes that might really be the thing you need to consider but most often dissatisfaction is actually playing a totally different purpose.
We become dissatisfied when we need to grow.
The restlessness or dissatisfaction that we feel in a relationship is actually a really normal and natural part of the relationship.
It's part of what keeps our relationship healthy if we know what to do with it.
Think about your breath: inhale, exhale.
We expand and we released. This is the natural movement of life.
The dissatisfaction that you feel in a relationship is a natural part of the releasing process. It's giving you the opportunity to let go or release something that isn't serving you anymore, something that you don't need or the dissatisfaction is there to serve as fuel for going out and expanding into something that you want.
When we feel this restlessness of dissatisfaction, it’s our souls way of calling us and saying, “It’s time to grow”.
When we feel this restlessness of dissatisfaction, it's our soul's way of calling us and saying, "it's time for you to grow". #LoveSmarter
Now if you listen to my podcast or you watch my videos then I know that you are someone who is interested in growth. And you probably have the experience of growing faster than some of the people around you. You might be what I call a “quick grower”.
Now as a quick grower you are going to feel a lot of dissatisfaction. You're going to feel restlessness often. It's part of what motivates you to grow to keep going and it's actually a huge gift. It's the drive that has you up level your life continuously.
And if what you want is a relationship that gets better and better and better overtime, then you're going to need to continue to grow and evolve and keep taking that next step. I've said it before, a relationship is a lot like a business, it's either growing or it's dying - there is no other direction.
Dissatisfaction and restlessness are the warning bell, the wake-up call saying, “it's time to grow”.
Now it's also common for women to feel dissatisfaction in their relationship more often than men. This is because we're highly sensitive to relational needs. We usually detect something being off in the relationship earlier than a man well.
This isn't always true, it's not true for everyone but it happens often enough because of the way we've been socialized differently as little girls and little boys.
Now especially if you're a woman and a fast grower, you want to actually learn how to make friends with this feeling of dissatisfaction or restlessness. Turn it into your ally.
I used to get really frustrated that in my relationships I felt like I was always the one who had to bring stuff up. I was always the one that had the point out issues and bring up a conversation about how we were going to improve something in our relationship. But when I made peace with this dissatisfaction, when I made peace with the fact that actually it's my role in the relationship as a quick grower to keep making sure that it gets better and better.
When I took that on with pride and took it on with courage, it became a lot easier to bring up these things and to have my relationship move consistently in a positive direction. I'm sure you've heard people say that relationships take work and I believe that's true.
You can either work on the front end or work on the back end.
Working on the front end is doing proactive things that keep the relationship great and healthy.
And this kind of work tends to be a little bit more enjoyable than the kind of work a relationship takes to repair it after people have already been hurt, after relationship has already been damaged.
So how do you use this dissatisfaction as fuel to work on your relationship in a proactive and positive way?
Three questions that I ask myself when I'm feeling dissatisfied:
1. What is it that you desire that you're not currently getting?
You feel this dissatisfaction because there's something that you want, something that is calling for you, that you don't have yet.
So the first step is to identify the desire.
An easy way to do this is to take a look at the opposite of the thing that's causing the dissatisfaction.
So, if you feel dissatisfied sitting on the couch alone together every night and maybe what you desire is more time out together or you desire your partner to plan a special date because really you want to feel special, you want to feel like he still has to earn you.
Try to get to that deeper level of desire, what is the emotional desire that you're really looking for.
2. What are you doing that is incongruent with getting it?
Often when we feel dissatisfied it is easiest to point a finger at something outside of ourselves.
But we get a lot more out of looking at those three fingers that are pointing back at you.
It's really easy for dissatisfaction to look like it's someone else's fault but what I found is usually the dissatisfaction actually comes from knowing there something else that we want and us not taking actions that are congruent with getting it.
We actually feel a disappointment or dissatisfaction in ourselves knowing that we're letting ourselves down in some way.
So, uncover what is it that you're doing that actually incongruent and inconsistent with getting that thing you desire.
So if you are feeling dissatisfied with sitting at home every night and what you desire is for your partner to make you feel special and take you out, but what you're doing is being the first one to change into your sweatpants after work, that might be inconsistent with what you desire.
3. What could you ask for?
What could you ask your partner for? What is it that you want and how can you ask for that in a way that is inspiring, not in a way that makes them wrong for not already doing it?
One of the traps we fall into is expecting our partner to know and anticipate our desires. And if they're not giving us what we want as soon as we want it, it’s their fault. That's kind of a silly way to relate to them. They're not mind-readers.
So what is it that you could ask them for? You want to go out on dates, can you ask them to take you out on Friday? Can you ask them to plan a special evening to make it a total surprise, to sweep you off your feet, take you to your favorite restaurant?
Getting comfortable using your dissatisfaction as fuel for growth will really improve the ease of what your relationship ebbs and flows.
It's natural for things to expand and contract just like our breath, it's the flow of life and it's the flow of love too.
So how well are you dealing with your dissatisfaction?
Are you letting yourself get distracted by the dissatisfaction and questioning the entire relationship or are you actually going to work on the area of dissatisfaction and using that to fuel positive growth in your relationship?
How can you be more courageous? How can you take a bigger step outside of the comfort zone to step into the direction that the dissatisfaction is guiding you?