How Do I Not Feel Frustrated In My Twenty-Nine Year Relationship Where I Do Everything But Don’t Want To Leave?

ANSWER:

There are several ways to approach this question, however the wisest might be look at what is right with the relationship. Often we marry a partner because we have so much in common and time together feels joyful and secure. With a long time relationship, setbacks are going to happen. Also, getting older can make us grow more set in our ways and less amenable to new choices. The ease of communication can become strained. If one partner is “carrying the weight” yet doesn’t want to leave, this is where new choices and understanding begins.

Start with looking at what is right with the relationship. Then think about the goals, dreams, ideas, and choices the two of you have talked about for the past twenty-nine (or plus) years, and ways this can become a “we” reality. What successes you have enjoyed and achieved in the past? If you did it before, you can do it again.

Blame is not a solution. While you can feel angry or resentful this can change.

As you look at what is right with the relationship, notice your partner’s strong points. Encourage this person back into this direction. Then reward your partner for each success. This is called Behavioral Psychology and it works. As your partner becomes more self-reliant and supports your needs, you will feel less stressed and more supported.

A lot of individuals put off their hopes, desires, and talents because they are bogged down in daily activities and weekly routines. If you want to get on with your life, start doing activities that make you happy. When you are doing things that are meaningful and feel personally important, your partner will see the change. More likely than not he/she will feel happier around you and support you. Try not to settle for less. Asking for what you want is necessary to make a relationship last and maintain its integrity.

I often say to my clients,

“Where your attention goes, your future flows.”

Here are some encouraging ideas:

  1. Be yourself and believe in yourself.
  2. Listen to your partner and hear their side of the story.
  3. Continually notice what you both have in common and do these things together.
  4. Together visualize the future you want.
  5. Communicate your needs and goals.
  6. Do things that make you happy.
  7. Don’t do the blame game. Take responsibility for your role in the relationship.
  8. If you have gotten through twenty-nine years, most likely it will be easy to create twenty-nine more because you understand commitment.

Final note: Only you can judge when it is time to stay or leave. While it is true that sometimes we outgrow a relationship, leaving too soon can be a painful path. “If only” thinking can creep into your thoughts as well as regrets that you could have made different and wiser choices. (See Common Question: “If Only” thinking) Sometimes twenty-nine years is the magic number to get through past issues and step into a wonderful renewed life of being together.