My experiences with partnerships as a sex and relationship coach have proven to me that people are most satisfied in relationships when their evolving needs are met through constant direct communication.
Quality communication and attentiveness lead to greater satisfaction for couples, but it is even more important to acknowledge it just feels great to have needs and desires lovingly met.
When you engage the communication feedback loop to improve habit patterns, you both commit to share and receive in return. No one is left guessing. Each partner sets the other up for success by communicating desires and needs, which supports an informed response. The more your partner asks for exactly what he or she needs, the better you can meet those needs. Further, knowing that your relationship is your co-creation is an acknowledgment that no one unilaterally makes decisions. The communication is a constant, solution-oriented negotiation.
Embracing the dance of the negotiation leaves space for a creative counteroffer. Giving each other permission within the communication to say things like, “That won’t work for me right now,” or, “I’d like to take some time to think about that,” supports a shoulder-to-shoulder, not nose-to-nose, tone to communication. Eliminating judgment of one another and simply focusing on what will be useful and satisfactory in the relationship allows for all of the energy to be proactive. The creative relationship is team-oriented and eliminates a feeling of competition.
Often when I see partnerships, they are in a habit pattern of self-limiting thought that often sounds like: “Well, our relationship should look like this.” Most people move into relationships with many “shoulds” that have their genesis in cultural constructs, messages from family, and experience of past relationships. What I have observed and what I have heard from client after client is that the one-size-fits-all model of relationships rarely works for anyone. The culturally proscribed version leaves no room for creativity or true authenticity.
It is time to declare the relationship revolution.
When people give themselves permission to banish self-limiting thought and embrace that their relationship can look however they create it, a switch flips. Often I hear about how they feel so free and energized, when all that changed was that they claimed their right to decide together what works and is fulfilling for them, even if it doesn’t look the way it “should.”
The creativity is endless. It can be a rejection of gender roles, with him staying home with the kids instead of her. It might be a decision to not get married despite 10 years of a satisfying, long-term relationship. It could be choosing to engage in ethical non-monogamy and opening up the relationship. It may be a choice not to have children. Perhaps it is acknowledging interest in alternative sex practices or kink. It might be choosing to live apart for extended periods of time. It might be recommitting to each other after infidelity. Or it even simply may be rethinking the division of household management chores.
The growth edge in rejecting self-limiting thought is different in every relationship. The key is, in every case, you declared your own unique relationship revolution. You focus your energy on proactive visioning knowing that the only people you have to please are each other.
Krista Hammerbacher Haapala is a personal, relationship and sexuality coach. She is the author of “39 revolutions” and “Unlearn Moderation,” as well as “Body 2.0,” to be released September 2016. Krista finds her own edge daily as a mountain biker, CrossFitter, sailor and poet. Connect with her at kristahaapala.com.