Although we may not acknowledge it, our relationships come with a two way set of Terms and Conditions that could rival a broadband contract.
The unwritten Ts & Cs, cover such issues as; chores, frequency of contact, the introduction of someone new, friendships, joint and individual activities, dealing with conflict, monogamy/non-monogamy, frequency of sex, the role of family, and the role of work. The list of Ts & Cs are infinite, and although not always explicit, can cause conflict and pain when one partner breaches the terms.
The problem with many relationship Ts & Cs are that they are not discussed or agreed. There are many reasons for this, including; guilt, avoidance of conflict, shame, embarrassment, or fear of loss or rejection.
I work with couples where a partner is working with one set of Ts &Cs whilst the other is working to another. The challenge for a relationship, is when one partner wants to update the Ts & Cs, to reflect a change in their relational or sexual needs. Although the process can at times feel painful or rejecting, the alternative option may involve secrets and lies, a breakup or relational loneliness.
It is natural for our needs to change over time. There is nothing wrong with our desires evolving, or wanting something different, yet at the same time wanting to stay in a relationship.
Think about how your needs from a relationship have changed over time. Have these needs been acknowledged, or do you have a tendency to avoid the difficult stuff?
Individual counselling and relationship therapy can offer support with communicating your evolving needs, in a way that is sensitive to you and your partner.
Contact me to ask any questions, or to arrange an appointment.