We’ve all heard the phrase that relationships are hard work. We often confuse this phrase with meaning that the hard work references resolving arguments and disagreements. Yes, that is part of finding the compromise in a relationship, but that’s not the true meaning of hard work that is referenced. Often we don’t realize that our bachelor version of self is causing extreme discord and strife in our relationship.
I’ve worked with many couples who struggle with finding common ground in relationships. They often complain about matters that are not pertinent to their relationship. I typically ask them to describe their bachelor version of self in comparison to their relationship version of self. Often, they struggle with this because they have not fully transitioned into their relationship version of self. The mindset, behaviors, and accountability factors of your bachelor self will not survive in a healthy relationship. Often, you will find that many of your relationship struggles are due to one of your reverting to the bachelor self and not realizing this will doom your relationship.
Have you ever seen people play with a beach ball? The goal is to keep the ball afloat and not let it touch the ground. Think of your relationship like a beach ball. Everything you do, in your relationship version of self, must be to keep the ball afloat. When you are in your bachelor version of self, you only engage in self-serving behaviors. The minute you revert to that version of self, you will quickly drop the ball and turmoil and discord will quickly ensue.
Every thought, behavior, and spoken word that transpires in your relationship should always be filtered through the simple question of, “is this going to help or hinder my relationship?” If there is any possibility that it will hinder your relationship (or drop the beach ball) then don’t do it. When you are vigilant that a simple comment could hinder your relationship you avoid unnecessary hurts or arguments. Just because you have a thought doesn’t mean you should share it.
I would challenge you to create a list of your bachelor and relationship versions of self. What were the attributes, behaviors, schedules, and overall lifestyle you lived when you were single? Compare that with your version of self in your relationship. Are they similar? If they are similar, then notice when you have struggles in your relationship. Do the struggles happen when you are in your bachelor mode? I can guarantee that you are reverting back to your previous version of self and that is one reason you are experiencing discord.
Of course, it is healthy for both parties to have their own hobbies, friends and interests. The difference between a bachelor version of self and a committed relationship version of self is the relationship will always come first. If engaging in those behaviors is in any way impeding the relationship or taking away from quality time with your partner, then your rationale for engaging in these behaviors is flawed and you will end up “dropping the beach ball.”
As much as you’d like to have a successful relationship and still live in your bachelor “glory days,” you will not be able to maintain a healthy relationship. As we’ve all heard, “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” If you want a healthy relationship, you cannot have any bachelor mentality behaviors enter into your relationship. Keep the beach ball afloat.
James Miller is a licensed psychotherapist and a piano composer who is known for his weekly podcast, YouTube channel, and his Academy where he teaches successful people to simplify and transform their lives. James’ latest album, Restoration, is available for purchase on all digital music stores. www.