For me, the goal of relationship coaching is: “It’s about bringing back respect, tension and love in the relation. Or keeping the mutual respect when it comes to ending the relationship divorce.”

When to Switch the Goal of Relationship Coaching?

There is a moment when you might switch to the goal of relationship coaching. It’s always a difficult moment to decide when to let go of your first goals and cooperate when it comes to the second one.

When you’ve Both Been Waiting for too Long

The longer you postpone the switch regarding that goal, the bigger the pain of the disappointment which you will feel yourself regarding your partner. If you wait too long, it makes it too easy for you to actually hurt that partner.

Not even because you’re being mean or sadistic, but especially because it feels unfair. “I feel pain, now it’s your turn”. It almost feels “fair” to start an issue in between the rules. It starts out small and it’s a process which usually starts on both sides.

This is how you create defense mechanisms and how you start introducing relationship stress. If you’re not careful, it will end up in divorce-fights and trench wars. It is often -despite good intentions – difficult to prevent if you don’t start talking about it with someone who will recognize this as an actual risk.

Your friends will pick your side and will quickly help you to start digging that trench. It often demands someone who knows the relationship but can keep somewhat of a distance when it comes to the both of you.

It’s a risk, because when trenches start acting up in a relationship, it will be increasingly difficult to respect each other and the efforts and investments you’ve made towards each other. Investments you’ve both made but forgotten about because of all the things that have happened.

Then you will start to undermine each other and in a short amount of time. You’re busy to try being right instead of both trying to create the “best you can be”. That sounds corny and a little bit like Dr. Phil, but eventually this is relationship is about: help each other to be the best you can be in the future.

Expectations Regarding the Other Person

The disappointment you feel regarding your partner is mostly a consequence of expectations you had of him or her. And maybe this is actually a good thing to think about:

What do I expect from my partner? And is that something which I should actually expect from him/her? Or are there a couple of things which I need to take care of myself in my own life?

There are two options: A relationship that needs to change to continue or a divorce which always contains a phase of transformation. In either case, you will need to ask the questions “What do I want to achieve? What can my partner actually do for me?

Because actually doing something is always better than my partner not being allowed to do something because of me. What can someone do, or how can someone help me so I’m more able to take that step of personal growth myself? In or after the relationship.

Expectations Towards Yourself

When you decide to end the relationship, you need to have thought about your expectations towards yourself. You will opt for a divorce when you expect that you’re a happier person without that other person.

A divorce can be a step of personal growth: “I stop to expect that my partner will give me what I want. I will give it to myself.” In this case, you better have been thinking about the next step in your own personal growth as well.

Which expectations will you set for yourself and which expectations are better to just let go of because they do not work. Not with this partner, but possibly also not with the next one. Which expectations are feasible and are your minimum requirements when it comes to a partner.

Be Careful of Outsourcing Without Thinking it Through

A risk you will find is that we as people always unknowingly try to “outsource” our relationship to your partner which makes it difficult for you to give to yourself.

“If I’m honest, I just want to have from you what I cannot give to myself”

In a relationship it can be difficult to take care of yourself. You might even feel that you should do something yourself. Then even if your partner does that particular thing for you, it might be difficult to be happy about it.

Your partner might make an effort regarding your personal step of growth and takes care of you because you’re not perfect but just being human. That feels nice. That is different than if your partner takes care of you and points out that you cannot take care of yourself. That might be nice at first, but tends to be confronting pretty soon.

When you think about this topic, rethink the demands you have regarding relationships. Maybe even think about the relationship you are still having.

And when you decide to do it by yourself in the future, then make sure to closely look to the things your partner -ever- gave you. Because that’s something you need to learn to do yourself now. And possibly also the things your partner didn’t give you but actually do expect. Possibly, you might need to do those things during the transformation phase which we call a “divorce”.

“Are we going to take care of each other? Or are we going to take care of ourselves?”

Because we can work on bringing back the love in a relationship or we can work on the mutual respect when it comes to ending a relationship.

Hans has over a quarter of a century of experience in the mental health sector. Hans is a certified physiotherapist, psychotherapist and relationship coach. The debilitating effects of shame and taboos have always had his attention.

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