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Overcoming ‘Shoulds’ in a Relationship

woman on bike reaching for man's hand behind her also on bike

Many of us spend time thinking of what ‘should be’. It is not uncommon to wish for something that does not exist. We often spend a lot of time thinking of the ‘what ifs’ of our lives and relationship. This can cause us to concentrate on the past and how we could have changed it. Wishing things were different often consumes so much of our time and energy that none is spent on changing the things we can.

Holding onto these things can be detrimental to moving forward as a couple. There may be hurts that you wish did not exist. There may be certain standards that have not been met by your partner. There may be unsolvable problems. Radically accepting these involves letting go and accepting the present .It is important to do this without fighting. Radical acceptance should not include a ‘Yes…but…’ statement of acceptance. When you radically accept something, you are not labeling it as good or bad but rather simply acknowledging its existence. Once it is acknowledged and accepted, steps can be taken as a couple to move forward.

  • ·    As a couple, ask yourselves what are the ‘shoulds’ of your relationship?
  • ·     What ‘wishes’ consume most of your energy?
  • ·    What are the solvable/unsolvable aspects?
  • ·    What would accepting them ‘as if’ look like?