Lately I’ve found myself talking about relationships a lot. And it’s not because Papa Bear and I have hit a personal milestone. It’s more to do with the fact that being a family of bears takes its toll on even the most stable of relationships. It’s hard. We know that. We’re up against quite a lot when kids come along. Intimacy, conversation, time for each other stalls. And Hollywood doesn’t help. The Hollywood Ideal lures us into a false sense of security, almost as though it’s not necessary to work on our relationships daily. But we do, oh we really, really do.
There are a lot of things that make us anxious, worried and stressed in life. Social media, movies, the Hollywood ideal, don’t help to keep us focused on reality. I saw a post on Facebook (or it could be Twitter. I genuinely can’t remember. They all blur into one) that said (and I’m paraphrasing because, again, memory!) we use social media to run away from our real lives and also, paradoxically, real life to run away from our online lives. We are, in some ways, living between two realities. The lines get blurred and the ideal becomes skewed.
Our online lives easily saturate just about every aspect of our real world delights. And we can’t ignore how that can easily end up having a negative impact on our lives without us even realising. So back to Hollywood, which is spread under our noses even more now that social media is pinned to our hands with our phones. The way the media portrays love and relationships is simply not real. Its the ideal, which if we attempt to replicate it, we will fail, and miserably so.
If you watch any romantic comedy or read any love story, its probable that the story ends pretty close to the beginning of the relationships. And aren’t the beginnings of almost anything the most exhilarating and exciting times of any journey? The way movies, TV, and books present love and relationships is all fireworks and passions. Ooo la la and wahey.
How easy does that make it to fall into the trap of the Hollywood Ideal and get shook to the core when real life takes over? How do you deal with the reality of relationships, the reality of being in a relationship when kids come along when Hollywood plays happy families?
Remember I wrote, last year, about the Loneliness of Parenthood? The loneliness that creeps into your relationship when exhaustion, frustration and stress take over? And how hard it can be to overcome the difficulties of being a new parent and focusing on your relationship at the same time? Well, things don’t change. The quiet, the hardships, the stress, the arguments, it can make you feel as though something has gone wrong in some way. It can happen at any time, not only when a newborn is brought home.
The truth is, that Hollywood has sold us a bogey. Those things are just natural parts of any relationship and after having a baby, you’ll slowly remember that you’ve probably come through these kinds of stresses before. It’s coping with them again that brings your relationship back on track. It’s not as though we are going to automatically do the Hollywood thing and reach for the phone and call Austin Kemp divorce solicitors to run away from our issues when the first sign of difficulties arise.
Relationships aren’t always going to be pretty, and that’s just something that many of us need to come to terms with. With that in mind, there are things we can do when our relationship stops feeling like something out of a movie. It’s fairly common sense but a reminder here and there won’t hurt.
Working together through the stress
Life can be stressful. That’s probably not going to be particularly shocking. Between work, finances, friends, family, and everything else that we all have to deal with on a day to day basis, just getting through the day can be incredibly stressful and difficult. The problem is when you both start to bring that stress into your relationship. When that happens, you’re going to start being irritable with each other, getting into fights, and making life much more difficult than it needs to be. Instead, you should lean on each other for support during these times of stress. Offer to help your partner if it feels like they’re struggling, and if you feel like you’re the one who needs help then don’t be afraid to ask for it.
Focus on the little things
Movies have trained us to think that the purest expressions of love are the big gestures and the sweeping romantic moments. However, the truth is that the building blocks of most relationships are the smaller moments that would never end up in any romance novel. Don’t let those kinds of things go unignored. They are incredibly important and are going to bring you and your partner much closer together. Cherish those little moments, the private jokes, the quiet intimacy, the stuff that people on the outside might consider boring. When you’re with someone, you love, even just sitting on the couch watching TV can be a wonderfully intimate moment.
Make time for each other
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take the time to do some more romantic things together. Life can be so incredibly busy that being able to really take the time to be with each other can be something of a challenge. However, you’re never going to be in a position where doing something romantic as a couple is impossible. Get a babysitter for the kids and head out for an intimate meal, or many go see a show. Even just spending a couple of days away on your own to remind yourselves of what you were like before work, kids, and all of the other aspects of life got in the way.
Talk to each other!
This is the big one. For some strange reason, we all seem to think that relationships should be able to work without putting in any effort. If you’re not going to talk to your partner then your relationship is sure to suffer. If your partner has done something that bothers you or makes you feel undervalued, talk to them about it. And if your partner has told you something that you’ve done that upset them, listen to what they have to say and respect their feelings. If neither of you is willing to actually talk to the other, then you’re just going to end up making life far more difficult than it needs to be. A lot of the time you’ll probably find that you were both far angrier or more upset than you needed to be and the whole thing was just some kind of misunderstanding. You really would be amazed at just how much easier your life will become if you just learn to communicate with each other better.
And if you find none of this is working then perhaps couples counselling will help.