What if Your Relationships are Complex…?

Do you sometimes spend hours thinking about how your partner might react before you do something? Or do you create scenarios in your mind about what your partner might think or feel?

Just a while ago, I sat in a lovely restaurant with my friend who had recently fallen in love. I listened to her discourse about how her partner might react if she’d would do this or that. Her explanation about his world was full of doubts and worries, possibilities, twists and turns. Silently, I wondered how she could know his feelings, thoughts and needs without ever having asked him. Half an hour later, there was still no conclusion what she should do and I asked her, What do you really want to do? Her answer came quickly and was simple, I want to call him. Suddenly, everything was clear.

In the past, I spent hours thinking about the reactions of my partner before I decided what to do, or I created my own interpretations why he reacted in a specific way, and I never checked with him whether it was really like this or not. Since he meant a lot to me, I wanted to do it “right” but my relationship became complicated. I wasted my time and energy, and I learned that it did not work that way.

How can you simplify your relationships?

Here are some basics that helped me to understand the world of relationships better and that made my relationships simpler:

Each person has a different inner world

The truth is that each person has their own “reality” of the world. This means that each person perceives and experiments the world in their own way, with their experiences, feelings and thoughts and they create their own inner world. Just to give you an example: My sister and I have completely different memories about our childhood. She does not even remember moments that have been significant and highly emotional for me and vice versa even though we experienced both the same situations. Each person has a unique inner world. In your relationship, you have your world, and your partner has another world. You are expert in understanding your world but you will never really know what is going on in your partner’s inner world. Your partner is the expert for their inner world. So, stop thinking about what might be going on in their inner world.

Explore your partner’s world with curiosity

Instead of thinking about what your partner might think, feel or need, ask them. Be just like a tourist who is visiting a foreign country, in this case your partner’s inner world, and explore it with curiosity, just like a treasure map. I once coached a good friend and during the coaching process she suddenly revealed me dreams she had never mentioned before because she feared that I would judge her. I was deeply touched and surprised by the beauty of her inner world. Explore their world without judgement, ask them questions to get to know them better, and you may find precious jewels you never expected. The inner world of your partner might be a surprise to you. There will be things you like and others you dislike. It doesn’t matter how long you know each other, people can change overnight and their inner worlds, too. So, it is always worth to explore your partner’s world.

Let go of control

We can’t control what will happen in the relationship. It will happen what is supposed to happen. It does not make sense to create “what if” scenarios in your head because you cannot control how your partner will react. The more you try to control, the more complex the relationship gets. Don’t try to please the other person. There is no need to. You can just be who you are. Sometimes, you may have the same needs as your partner, and often you will have different ones. There is no right and wrong; the needs of both of you are equally important. Negotiate a creative solution that fits you both if you have different needs. Trust and allow your relationship to flow.

Be authentic

Show your partner who you really are. Be honest about yourself. Speak your true voice. Share your feelings, dreams, needs and fears. Respect your boundaries and say “no” when you want to say now. A relationship requires a deep connection between two people, and this is nurtured by authenticity and honesty.

Applying these basics in your relationship is a process, you don’t have to fulfill them all today, you don’t have to make is perfect. Important is that you make small steps and practice them with joy.

What do you want to try out today?

Do you want to read more? Check the post 4 Easy Ways to Say No.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Natalie Jovanic

Natalie Jovanic is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor and Shiatsu Therapist. As a counsellor, she passes on what she believes in, but it isn’t just knowledge, theory, and professional experience. It is also her wisdom gained through her own transformative journey of healing abuse. She is the author of A Brave, True Story.