Wright Foundation | October 14, 2015

What To Do About
The Relationship “Mehs”

Oftentimes relationships decline with a whimper, rather than a bang. Things are going along routinely, but then comes this growing feeling the love might be disappearing…

and suddenly you find yourself with a case of the “mehs.”

Unfortunately, some of us are strangling our relationship—slowly murdering it a little bit at time. Withdrawal, frustration, disengagement and stonewalling can inadvertently suck the love and life out of our relationships and this slow erosion has us waking up one day wondering, “Where has the love gone?”

Rather than giving up on a relationship veering towards life support, it’s time to re-engage. Take 100% responsibility and enliven your relationship. Raise your expectations and stop settling for a less than ideal connection.

Think about it: if your television connection were fading in and out, you’d get up, adjust the antenna, change the channel, check the connection and do something about it. You wouldn’t scream, whine and yell at the television and expect it to just get “fixed.” If your relationship signals are coming in static, it’s time to examine the cause. Get proactive!

An engaged, transformational and growth-focused relationship is going to experience conflict. The more engaged, the more conflict. Stop looking at it as a bad thing. Conflict brings out our yearnings and we can express those, rather than hiding or suppressing them. Conflict means you’re moving forward, rather than being stuck.

Let go of the idea of “perfection” in relationships. There’s no such thing as a perfect relationship and love doesn’t solve problems and make everything okay. Limiting beliefs (like, ‘I don’t deserve an engaged partner’) can cause us to cycle through drama and create self-fulfilling prophesies—a vicious pattern. We feel we aren’t getting attention, so we push buttons to get attention, then we receive a negative reaction, reinforcing our belief our relationship isn’t giving us the attention we deserve. We then ignore our partner or give them the silent treatment, withdraw and stew about things.

Check Yourself First

We’re products of our upbringing: our relationships with our parents and our siblings formed our belief system before we were even aware (usually before we’re seven years old). We have to know ourselves well enough to understand where our feelings come from. What behaviors are we avoiding and what self-fulfilling prophecies are we carrying out?

If your parents were controlling, you might feel you have to rebel or lash out to get what you want. If your parents withheld affection, you may feel you aren’t worthy of affection or you have to prove yourself. Maybe your parents had a mythical “perfect” relationship in your eyes. Step back and consider what you might be ignoring or what sort of standard you’re holding your relationship to. Did your family just ignore problems? Did one parent dominate the other?

Speak Up and Get What You Want

Break the pattern. Express your yearnings to your partner. Don’t shy away from confrontation and conflict. Instead, tell them what you want. Oftentimes we fail to express our wants and then resent our partner for their lack of psychic ability or mind-reading powers. We hold unexpressed expectations and then feel disappointment they aren’t met.

Take responsibility for your role and focus on the areas where you need to improve. Remember in the rules of engagement: we must take 100% responsibility and no one gets more than 50% of the blame. That means we have to own our desires and yearnings. We can’t hold our partner responsible for things they don’t know they’re doing. We have control over our actions and the way we react to our partner.

Learn how to accentuate the positive in your relationship. Assume your partner has positive intentions towards you. One of the biggest problems I see in relationships is when one member of the couple literally feels like their partner is “out to get them.” In almost all cases, our partner wants the relationship to be a success as much as we do.

Yet we still focus on the negative, accusing them of “never” or “always” doing something, instead of noticing the moments things happen as we hope, and reinforcing that behavior with positive acknowledgement. It’s just like training: learning and growing together means we’re training each other.

Does this mean giving our partner a list of demands or requesting they do things exactly as we want? No, of course not! However, we do have to repeat the things we want and our important yearnings. Our yearnings should be crystal clear to our partner, to avoid withdrawal and the slow strangulation of our relationship.

Our history forms the fabric of our personality and affects the future of our relationships. We must express our yearnings and speak up to our partner before the “mehs” take over. We must reengage, roll up our sleeves, work on ourselves and get our relationship back to a place where we’re stimulated, learning and growing together. It takes practice and work, but it’s worth it!

If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can pre-order our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, coming out next February.


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Blog post image courtesy: Flickr user jessicarone.