Thursday, 23 February 2017

Becoming a Power Couple

Two months into 2017 and I don't think I've stopped raving about how important communication is within relationships. But forgive me because it's kinda one of my New Year's Resolutions (that I haven't given up on yet). A big goal of mine is to build on and strengthen my relationships with those around me, namely my relationship with Chris.

2017 is the year we become parents. (OH my god.) And while we already have a strong relationship, which naturally grows daily because of our shared loved for this little human we have created (that we haven't even met yet), I feel like relationships always require you both to work on it. If only to increase each other's happiness. And ya know, be #PowerCouple. (I'm kidding).

Over the time we have been in this relationship, we've had our fair share of ups and downs (as I'm sure a lot you and your partners have had). I'm not going to go into detail of these, but quite a big chunk of them were due to poor communication, mental health issues, misunderstandings and a lack of compromise. So, New Years Day, we went out to our local coffee shop, grabbed a coffee (decaf) and a cake and got to talking. And haven't stopped talking about this day since.

We talked about everything that had gone wrong in 2016, and what can been great. For starters, we went on our first holiday aboard together and he met my family in Turkey (who obviously loved him). We've hit some great milestones (you know, making a baby is a biggie). But we've also hit some great lows. Like breaking up.

Yeah, we broke up for a brief period in 2016. And it was awful.

We discussed all those bad times and tried to come up with answers as to why they happened (because a lack of love for one another was not one of them). And guess what? The majority of them came to the same conclusion: A lack of communication.

It made me feel a little mad inside. How could we have let things get to the point of breaking up? Or the point of feeling distant from one another due to POOR COMMUNICATION. It was mind boggling. We let our emotions build up inside until we erupted and splurted out things we didn't mean.

This led to a lack of compromise and sensitivity. A lack of respect for one another. But most importantly, we felt a huge distance between us. There was so much love there and so much to fight for, we knew we couldn't give in.

Whilst we felt like we had failed our relationship because we didn't realise this sooner, we knew it could never be too late. And together, we could work on this as a team. And learn to communicate a bit better.

Don't get me wrong, communication is not easy. Especially when you suffer from a mental illness. When you're feeling so low you want everyone and everything to get away from you. You want to be alone with yourself and your thoughts. But that's the thing. How hard is it to say to your partner "I just want to be alone right now. I need to some time to myself. I'm having some bad thoughts and I'll contact you if I need you." 

It's not hard. If you can recognise your feelings and emotions like this, you need to share it. Some days, I wake up and say "Chris, I've woken up and I'm feeling really down." And because we've communicated with each other what to do when things like this happen (i.e. give me some space for a while, encourage me to get up and have a shower, put some make up on, do my hair, have some food, go out for a walk, read a book, play the AZ game, watch a film together and so on), it's much easier for the both of us to deal with.

But I dangerously got to the point of no longer communicating this with him because my bad days were becoming more frequent and I didn't want him to become worried about me (any more than he already is) or upset with me for feeling this way, even angry with me. The truth is, what's more upsetting for him is when I don't communicate with him. When I don't share my life with him. When I eventually erupt with all kinds of emotions firing at him.

Your partner isn't a mind reader. They don't just know when you are feeling a certain way. Is it fair for all kinds of things to be flying around in their head as to why you may be being distant with them? Without being open and honest, you're potentially causing them to feel low themselves and that isn't fair at all.

It had even got to the point that I felt distant from him. God knows how he felt. I wasn't sharing my life, thoughts and feeling with him. He ended up doing the same. This had build a brick wall between us. I felt scared to be loving around him. Giving him a cuddle felt weird. Giving him a kiss even weirder. I rarely told him how much I loved him. But all I felt inside was a deep love for him. I mean, my heart still races every time he smiles at me, or I catch his eye from across the room. I get butterflies every time he kisses my forehead. So why was it so hard to show this?

In all honesty I was scared at how distant I had come to feel from him that I didn't know what to do anymore. I felt lost in our relationship. And it wasn't until New Years Day when we literally threw everything on the table, that I felt that closeness come back.
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