9. What escape-hatches do I engage in, and how can I seal them off further?
Here’s something that doesn’t get talked about enough…
There are these things that people engage in, that are ultimately just sneaky ways of leaking their relationship energy outside of their relationship. I call these things escape-hatches. Not because they are things that people necessarily use before they end their relationship… but because they are things that people use to not be as in their relationship as they could be.
Here are some examples.
– Numbing the pain of a stagnant sex life by watching porn on a daily basis.
– Flirting with someone at work because you feel undesired in your relationship.
– Spending too much time at work so as to avoid the tension you’ve been experiencing with your partner.
– Complaining about your partner to your friends/family/coworkers instead of talking to your partner about those things that you are bringing to others.
The theme here is avoidance. Engaging in escape-hatch behaviors are all ways that you get to avoid doing difficult things, and instead, off-gas some of the tension that you feel with a short-term, band-aid fix that ultimately doesn’t serve you or the relationship.
So, getting painfully honest with yourself, are there any ways in which you leak your relationship energy to people or things outside of your relationship?
Do you complain about your partner to other people, instead of having a potentially challenging and decidedly adult conversation with your partner directly?
Do you leak your sexual energy elsewhere (via porn, flirting, making extended eye contact with strangers, etc.) because you are too afraid to calmly, lovingly sit your partner down and tell them, “It is hard for me to bring this to you, but I wish we engaged sexually more often, and I want to figure out a way that we both feel good about that brings our physical connection back”?
“A relationship is like a house. When a lightbulb burns out you do not go and buy a new house, you fix the light bulb”
If there are ways that you leak your relationship energy into unproductive habits, then there’s no better time than now to stop, cold turkey, and get into a greater sense of alignment. If you want a world-class, highly functioning relationship, it requires you to have difficult conversations. Both with yourself and with your partner.
10. What specific thing can I apologize for quicker, when it comes up in the coming weeks?
On the topic of ego-led rigidity… what are the most consistent arguments that you and your partner have? And could a good percentage of those fights be completely alleviated by you simply owning your part in them and apologizing quicker than you historically have? If so, it could cumulatively save you from months of tension and stress throughout the course of your lifetime.
Now, it’s important to remember that old habits die hard. If this is something that you have been digging your heels in around for years (or decades), then this proclivity isn’t just going to roll over and die overnight. This is why I added the “when it comes up in the coming weeks” part.
If there is something that you can be especially stubborn around, then it’s all the more important that you hold that theme in the front of your mind in the near, short-term future… so that when the situation presents itself again, you can try deploying the opposite strategy (apologizing, letting go, acquiescing, seeing the bigger picture, choosing harmony over needing to feel correct) than the one you generally have (digging in your heels, needing to be seen and validated as correct, etc.).
Want to know more about how you can strengthen your relationship? Check this video out below!