Many of the lesbian clients I talk to are desperate to save their relationship. But their partner wants nothing to do with getting help, or even changing what she’s doing that’s contributing to the problems. Sometimes their wife has just said, I’m not in love with you anymore.
I tell those women (and I’m telling you) it doesn’t matter. You can save your marriage alone!
Breathe that in for a second.
I guarantee that you can change your relationship if you’re the only one trying. Even if your wife is disconnected, angry, complacent, or threatening to leave.
It’s true. One person can change a marriage, alone.
How good does it feel to find out that you can turn your relationship around, even if your partner is being stubborn and withdrawn? What will it mean to you to save your relationship and make it thrive?
Hold onto that feeling. It will help you make the shifts within yourself that can save your marriage.
Let me be clear — I’m not suggesting that everything wrong with your relationship is your fault. Or that you’re the only one that needs to change in order to have a great marriage.
Ultimately, you’ll both have to do some things differently in order to create an awesome, secure and happy relationship.
But here’s the thing…
Someone has to start! If you’re in pain about the state of your relationship, put on your big girl panties and become the leader of change. Don’t wait for your wife or partner to make changes first.
Do you really want to save your relationship?
Then start a positive feedback-loop by being brave and doing a few things differently. The key is to make a few simple shifts in order to disrupt the vicious cycle you two are stuck in.
You know the saying…you can’t keep doing the same things over and over and expect to get different results.
To get out of the pain of a disconnected or hostile relationship, you’ll have to change some of the ways you typically react. You may have to get uncomfortable, shake up your habits, and take a risk.
Three inner shifts that can save your relationship:
1. Tap into your WHY
This is an important first step which starts in your head and heart. I invite you to take a few minutes to thoroughly answer this question: Why do I want to save my relationship?
Getting super clear on WHY you want to stay together will help you hang onto the motivation to make the necessary changes moving forward.
So ask yourself…Why do I want to remain in this relationship? How will it benefit me?
Is it because you made a promise? Because it’s too expensive to break up? Because you’re better together than alone? Or is it that you want to become the happiest couple you know?
How will it benefit you to be in this relationship when it’s thriving?
Will you feel joy, have more fun, feel safe, enjoy growing old together?
Now, grab a piece of paper and a pen. At the top of the page, write this question: Why do I want to save my relationship and how will it benefit me?
Then write down all of the reasons that pop into your head. Make an exhaustive list.
Once you’ve written out all aspects of your WHY, put the paper in a safe place. Next time you feel discouraged about putting effort into your relationship, pull out the paper and remind yourself of your WHY.
And for now, I want you to stay focused on your WHY as you move into the next couple of inner shifts.
2. Stop focusing on your relationship problems
This might seem backwards to you. But trust me, it isn’t. In order to save your marriage, it’s important that you take the focus off of the problems, off your relationship troubles.
In order to fix the recurring issues, you’ve got to stop fussing about them. And yo must stop talking to your partner about all the things that are wrong.
Here’s how I suggest you make this shift:
- Stop talking to your wife about your marriage problems
- Do not tell her anything she’s doing wrong
- Avoid blaming your partner
- Don’t nag her about what she should do differently
- Quit complaining to your friends every time you have a fight
Looping on the problems, endlessly analyzing the unhealthy patterns, rehashing the arguments, blaming your wife for everything that’s wrong, and focusing on the negative — these are actually keeping you stuck.
Take a break from those habits and see what happens. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
When you start to worry about and focus on your marital problems, redirect your thinking instead. Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Write out 3 things that you appreciate about your partner today
- Sing a song loudly
- Go for a walk
- Crank up your favorite tunes and dance your heart out
- Call a fiend (but don’t talk about your problems)
- Take 10 slow, deep breaths
These types of self-care actions are simple to do. And they will help you relax, be more creative, see what’s going right, discover hidden solutions, and get clarity on what you really desire.
3. Do the opposite of what you’ve been doing
It’s time to do a 180! You need to stop engaging in the same old reaction to being worried about your marriage.
Most of the time, when couples are distressed, they each respond in one of two ways. Some people tend get more clingy to their partner, and others become distant and withdrawn.
Which do you do?
Are you constantly pursuing your partner or are you trying to get time and space away from her?
In either case, it will be most helpful to shift into doing the opposite of what you normally do.
If your reflex is to cling to your wife when there’s trouble brewing, I want you to have the courage to take a giant step back. You’ll know that you’re a pursuer if in times of trouble you try to get your partner to talk, seek affection, want to spend more time together, feel anxious when she’s upset with you, or always insisting on date night.
Now, I’m not saying to leave the relationship or go stay at a hotel.
In fact all I want you to do right now is take a deep breath and focus on yourself without doing anything.
Tell the part of you that feels little and is scared of being abandoned that she’s going to be ok. Let that part of you know that by taking a step back, you’ll end up getting more of what you want.
If you’ve been in the clingy, pursuer roll, just loosen the grip. You don’t have to let go. Some ways to do that are to take yourself on a mini adventure such as:
- get a new book to read
- go to lunch with a safe friend
- take a yoga class
- go for a walk
- enjoy a bubble bath
- call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time
- write in your journal
- resume a hobby
The most important thing is that you loosen the death grip that you have on your partner. I promise, it’s driving her bananas!
On the other hand, if you’re the partner that’s been distancing and withdrawing from your honey, I want you to step in and move back towards her. I get that you’re afraid she’s going to make you feel like everything you do is wrong. But staying isolated and detached isn’t helping resolve your problems.
Start by taking a deep breath and having a little chat with the part of yourself that’s afraid of being overwhelmed, smothered, or judged by your partner. Tell that protective part of yourself that you can still get alone-time when you need it.
Now that you’ve soothed that part of yourself, lean into your courage and move toward your wife. Seriously!
It’s time to start reconnecting and engaging with your partner again. You don’t have to be connected every minute of the day. But find one thing to do every day that will move you in the direction of you wife.
Some ways you can move toward her are:
- hold hands on a walk
- take her on a date offer to cook dinner together
- send her a couple of out-of-the-blue texts when you’re at work
- talk about your days
- surprise her by playing “your song” and dancing in the living room
- give her a long welcome home hug
- tell her you miss her
- cuddle on the couch
- exchange shoulder or foot massages
Now that you know how to save your marriage alone with 3 simple shifts, I encourage you to get started right away.
If you’re relationship is too entrenched in unhealthy patterns, you may need some expert help to get unstuck. We’re here to help. Our lesbian relationship coaching program may be the perfect fit for you.