Those of us who have grown accustomed to unstable relationships, often find it extremely difficult to handle a healthy relationship when it does come along. Our reflexes are set and ready to respond to instability, our mind has been trained to expect chaos and drama, and we are entirely unprepared to deal with the normality of a healthy relationship.
Transitioning from a lifetime of rocky relationships and diving into one that is calm, balanced and healthily loving, is not easy. We know the patterns of unstable relationships, we are familiar with the roller coaster of emotions that come along with them, and the highest of highs and lowest of lows that we are so used to experiencing have become a part of who we are. We know toxicity like the back of our hand, so how can we possibly unlearn all of that and teach ourselves to love and be loved in a healthy way?
These are just a few points to consider if you’re struggling to adjust to your new relationship:
Navigating your way through this unfamiliar territory takes an awful lot of patience. It requires patience from your partner while you adjust to this new way of loving, but it also calls for you to be a little patient with yourself too. You don’t have to push yourself, and you don’t have to get everything right the first time. Don’t rush, give yourself the chance to catch up. Pace yourself for all of the learning and personal growth that this new relationship will undoubtedly bring you.
Moving from unhealthy relationship after unhealthy relationship into a healthy one requires a lot of determination and perseverance. We’ve all heard the saying “try and try again”, and when it comes to your first healthy relationship experience, this couldn’t be truer. You need to be able to keep trying, even when you don’t get things right and you need to be able to commit to learning and improving with each new challenge that presents itself. Persevere through the uncomfortable situations and unfamiliar feelings, it’s the only way for you to adjust to this new way of loving.
You will make mistakes, and there will be misunderstandings, uncomfortable feelings and confusion. Learning to adjust to a healthy relationship is going to take forgiveness on the part of your partner, but you’re also going to have to be able to show yourself patience as well. Don’t be so hard on yourself when you don’t get things right. Put the negative self-talk on hold, acknowledge all the things you have done well so far and stop beating yourself up over every little mishap. Learn from mistakes and move on, for both your sakes.
OPEN AND HONEST COMMUNICATION
Your partner can’t support you if they don’t know what’s going on. Explain to them what your past experiences have been like and be honest about any challenges you’re having in transitioning to this new style of relationship. Talk to them about how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way, and work through it together.
And just as you need to talk about what you’re feeling and thinking, encourage them to talk openly with you too. Let them explain how certain actions, reactions or situations make them feel. Use that feedback to give you insight into areas where you can improve. Don’t look at every bit of feedback as a failure or criticism, look at it as an opportunity for you to grow in a way you haven’t had the chance to before.
Openly communicating your fears, thoughts and feelings isn’t enough. You both need to be willing to see each other’s point of view and really understand where your partner is coming from. This enables you both to move forward with a deeper understanding of each other. Empathy is key.
When your partner is used to being in solid, stable relationships and it’s brand new territory for you, it can feel pretty lonely. Inside you feel like a failure because everything that comes so easily to them seems nearly impossible for you. You might feel awkward and embarrassed, that's to be expected at times. But what's most important during the tough times is that you face the challenges head on, as a team. This will give you both the chance to lean on each other, learn more about one another, and most importantly it allows you to form a solid bond.
Any healthy relationship requires both parties to accept each other fully and in these types of situations, it's no different. It isn't always easy for someone to accept a partner who comes along with the baggage of all their previous relationships, nor is it easy for someone who is so used to being surrounded by thick brick walls, to let those walls come down. In order to move forward and see your relationship bloom, both of you need to accept each other and the situation you're in, for what it is. Acknowledge the challenges that lay ahead of you and commit to your relationship with your eyes, mind and heart open.
Saying goodbye to a love life full of turmoil and heartbreak isn't easy when it's all you've ever known, but that's not to say it's not possible. With the right person, the right mindset and the right support systems in place, each and every one of us is able to start a brand new chapter in the story of ourselves.