AskDrAllen

Writings on Mental Wellness Issues related to relationships and individual development
Staying in a bad relationship, hoping it will get better?
Yes, so many people stay in bad relationships, hoping they will get better! You might say that some of these people are "optimists" and that can be true to a point. The point that people reach where they are doing all the work in a relationship and yet not feeling that the efforts are being reciprocated - is a time for change. For many, not getting what they want is much easier than making a change and so they continue to stay. Change, specifically getting out of dead end relationships, can be scary. Probably there was a period of loneliness before the relationship began, and the "company" of another person might feel better than the previous loneliness, at least for now. Since it's probably a temporary fix, unless you've decided you're destined to be in a half-hearted relationship, let's talk about ways to prepare for turning your sights outward into the world again. People and activities can mean forward motion for your life. They can both bring energy that a bad relationship has been taking away from you. Take stock of your current inventory of interpersonal relationships - your support system. Do you have a tight or even loose circle of friends? Are there people around you that have always seemed supportive? Are you using part of your time to nurture and foster good relationships with those individuals? If there are some you've neglected, take a few minutes a week to send a note, make a call, invite them to a lunch, send an email saying you were just remembering what a good friend they are! I think I always "push" physical activity (although like everyone, I have to keep reminding myself too) because it serves several functions. It can help us to get out and connect with others. Many friendships have been made in gyms. It also gets you to begin self care, a path to self love, and a starting place to give yourself time to think about how you can fill some of your own needs. Walking, working out, swimming at a local Y, renting a bike to ride or buying your own, joining an exercise class, signing up for a short stint of dance lessons, window shopping for a few hours - all of it can be energizing physically and emotionally. If you can find a friend to do activities with, all the better, but if not, they can get you out of the house to meet others who are trying to do the same thing. If you're interested in just seeing who else is out there looking for a good relationship, there are so many venues online, you would be amazed! I don't want to name a specific one, or to endorse one over another. Just go into Google.com, put in online dating, and take some time to do your own research. Three of my clients have made nice marriages this way, as well as countless friends. Other ways...church singles groups, parties, taking a class, joining a club to help with a project, and volunteer groups. Loneliness can be our worst enemy. It can distort our thinking, and make someone appeal to us who would not normally get our interest. But lonliness can also be our best friend, since it's an emotion that drives us to connect with others, seek out new interests, and actively take charge in making our own lives better. If you feel that you're stuck and would like to reverse that trend, you can always seek professional help to assist in your process. Counseling can be found in your community or online from a licensed practitioner. Both can be equally good to help you get back into life again. Keep moving forward...keep looking for "exactly" what you need! Judith L. Allen, Ph.D., State Board Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Clinical Member of American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy http://Ingenio.com/AskDrAllen Counseling and Therapy and Relationships Categories
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