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How to Restore Hope for Change in your Relationship


Man sitting on a couch contemplating

If you believe that any attempts to change your relationship don't ever last, it is easy to feel hopeless that things will ever get better. But there's a secret to creating hope in your relationship. Let me share a little more about this. Even after you've agreed to make some changes or your partner decided to make changes, you fall away from those changes, and nothing seems to be different.


There is still hope. Your typical efforts might look like this: change is, there's a plan in place, and action implemented, but after some time, you start to notice that things are different. At first, it might feel like things are getting better, and then over time, that effort to change or do something different starts to fall away.


You begin to think that nothing will ever change and lose hope and motivation to keep trying. Here is the problem, typically, we think about change as linear. We identify the problem and think about what needs to change, a plan implemented, action taken, and success/failure.


The Secret to Renewing Hope is that Change is Circular.

A circular framework looks more like a regenerating process. It starts again with initiating, planning, and then implementing. One of the significant differences between a linear vs. circular view of change is when you get to the point where efforts start to fall away, see that as an opportunity to reset and review.


What was working? What got in the way? What is no longer serving us? What needs to happen moving forward?


Then you can start the process all over again: implementing a new plan, envisioning that plan in place, taking action, but adding celebrating to the process. Eventually, there will be a natural fallaway, and you can start that cycle again. Seeing this process as circular, meaning you move through the phases, can help you to renew hope in the relationship.


Woman covering her eyes in bed.

Here's What You Can Do When You Land in the Fall Away Phase:

Tip #1: Detach from any story you make up and get curious about the situation.

Instead of getting judgmental about it or criticizing your partner or even yourself in that situation, ask yourself questions that will open you up to see it from different perspectives.


Why might this be happening right now? What might be another way of looking at it?

What could I learn from the situation?


Explore with your partner some things that have gotten in the way. That way, you can build new hope and re-envision a plan, including anything that has worked and is needed to continue moving forward.


We have all experienced trying to make changes in our lives and have fallen away from that change. It's normal. If you can adopt a regenerative framework for change, you're more likely to create change that evolves.

 

Breaking the Cycle: Asserting Boundaries

Tip #2 Honor your needs.

It's easy to lose hope and motivation to keep trying when efforts don't last. When this happens, you will get frustrated. You might think that they or nothing will ever change, or even if it does, it never lasts your experience and brings it back up again. Instead of going down this path, bring it back to the table and discuss what has happened. Please don't limit yourself there and believe it's not worth bringing up. You are worth meeting your needs, so bring it back to the table.

Woman therapist consoling a male.

I have used this idea of change being regenerative in all areas of my life, even when it comes to just being a business owner and entrepreneur. I will make positive changes or implement new habits. I do it consistently for some time and then fall away. In the past, I would fall into that pit of despair and frustration and think, "I'm never going to get anywhere, and I'm never going to get ahead." Once I started to shift into this mindset of change being circular, I could stop myself from going further down that hole and look at what was working and what I needed to put back into place.


You have the power to change your part in any relationship dynamic. Shifting your mindset will empower you to make a more significant impact in your relationship. You can adopt this new way of looking at change and try some ideas around creating more sustainable change.

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