I'm a relationship coach and normally when people learn what I do, it sparks many conversations and even more questions. A lot of the time I sense they want to know what category their own marriage falls into.
They want reassurance that all is well on the homefront or that what is going on for them currently is a normal part of married life.
Those who are very satisfied in their relationship tend to ask the most forthright questions, while those who have a sense that something is amiss are a little less willing to ask direct questions. They tend to allude to situations rather than ask outright.
There are many reasons for this, but most often when I manage to break in and gain their confidence, it's a sense of not wishing to face the truth.
There is a fear of admitting failure (society can make divorce seem like a failure), fear of actually having to take some action and finally because they have tried to address the situation with their partner only to be met with a wall of denial, or the "Oh here she goes again" reaction.
When you meet with this type of response, it leaves you questioning the validity of your feelings, your own state of knowing, and even your right to live happily, healthy, and contentedly in your relationship. So you shut up and put up in the hope that something will change.
You often turn your thoughts to happier times, the honeymoon period in your relationship, where everything seemed so perfect. There's hope that somehow by the sheer power of your thoughts you can recreate it. Sometimes, you future trip about how wonderful it could be when x, y and z changes.
You are not living in the present and not being facing your current reality.
I know I've been there in my own marriage and it's the story I've come to hear again and again in my professional life. I wish to offer you an insight into the truth of your relationship by laying out some examples of situations I hear time and again in my initial consultation with clients or in those conversations sparked by the introduction of my job title.
When I could get truthful about the state of my own marriage, I was then able to uncover the reasons why and begin the inner work required to make a shift in my self belief great enough to change the dynamic in my marriage.
Below are seven questions I'd like you to ask yourself — honestly. No justifying or not questioning the truth of you feelings.
Read each statement and let your gut respond for you:
1. Does your partner insist that there is "nothing wrong" with the relationship despite your obvious unhappiness and dissatisfaction?
2. Does your partner make your feel like you are the "real" problem with all your complaining, whining and expectations?
3. Do you feel alone despite the fact that you are in a relationship?
4. Do they feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells, censoring your thoughts, denying feelings and monitoring your behavior in order to maintain some level of peace in your relationship?
5. Do you spend way more time focusing on what you can do to keep your partner happy than you ever spend thinking about your own well-being?
6. Are you questioning your own worthiness and your right to have your own needs met in the marriage?
7. Are you spending the majority of your free time thinking about your relationship or alternatively when thoughts arise you find yourself trying to push them away?
If one or more of these statements strikes a chord, then your marriage is currently in a phase of instability. You are certainly investing more to keep the equilibrium than you are in growing the relationship.
The extent to which these situations are occurring will have a direct impact on how happy, healthy, safe and loving you find your relationship. It will, with no doubt, impact how you feel about yourself and mostly probably will have started to infiltrate other areas of your life.
The good news is you can actually make a positive impact in your relationship, transform it into a happy, healthy, safe and loving space once more — and the even better news is you have already started making that shift, by allowing yourself time to honestly appraise your current relationship status you have opened yourself up to making bigger shifts.
It takes the courage to be honest with yourself and the willingness to go inside and work on the relationship with yourself.
In my work I help people make those shifts on a personal level, without the need to involve their partner, because once you have an honest view of the situation and you are ready to face the big "Should I stay or should I go?" question. That is your own personal journey of discovery and as such should be undertaken alone.
*To know more on how Allison Reiner works and how she can help you, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or to get working immediately, why not download her 5 step worksheet to help identify where you can begin to make changes? Click here. *
This article originally appeared on YourTango.