3 Keys to Knowing if You Are In a Fulfilling Relationship or a Draining One
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
There comes a time in every relationship where we reflect upon the good, the bad, and all the glory that falls in between. When it comes to matters of the heart, we have a good reason to examine how the relationship is serving us--or rather, how it's not serving us any longer. Whether you're a woman or a man, one of the most empowering things to practice in life, is the act of self reflection...especially in your romantic endeavors.
Let's delve much deeper and examine why.
What You Think Isn't Always What You Know
You have more than likely witnessed on several occasions, how friends, family members, associates and co-workers, get involved with the man or woman of their dreams based on how they describe it--and maybe, even in the way that you see it. We may not know precisely how their love connection was sparked, but what we do know is that they appear to be happy. Who doesn't want to be happy? In fact, we all do--it's part of the never ending pursuit of fulfilling the very humanistic need for satisfaction deep down within all of us. We must not be deceived into thinking that just because someone is smiling and having a good time with each other, that it means that everything is coming up roses. This assumption couldn't be further from the truth. People have been taught from a very early age, to sometimes hide what they really feel from others who aren't close to them, especially the scrutinizing public eye that rips apart and dissects every move a couple makes together. We have developed a deep and very conscious fear of being judged, if and when things take a turn for the worse in our love relationships.
The flip side of this, is having a positive, powerful, and passionate bond between two people who have committed themselves to each other. We know it when we see it...two people who are successfully balancing their relationship between their careers, family, and individual goals. It's a beautiful thing when the person you're with is all that you've hoped for and more. We don't question for a moment that these couples are ever faced with adversity, because they seem to have it all together. Once we find out that they don't, which is especially true of couples who are in the spotlight--the media, and public in general--stumbles, falters, and falls at the knowledge that things weren't always what they seemed. Why is this so surprising? Because people are good at only showing you what they want you to see--it's you who allows your mind to make up the rest.
How Does This Relate To You And Your Relationship?
The first question that needs to be addressed is--What do we gain by telling ourselves the truth?
Here’s the quick answer: Everything.
What I mean is this--you'll gain much more power in your relationship and even individually, when you practice some reflection from time to time. Naturally, we do this with most things in our minds...we go back over an event, a television show, a date, a movie we saw, what someone said to us. We do this constantly throughout our lives, but sometimes we neglect to do this in our relationships because we take it for granted that things will work themselves out.
The information you receive from examining whether something is serving a purpose in your life or whether it's simply run its course, can be liberating once you put fear aside and get real with yourself. Easier said than done right? Well, it doesn't have to be difficult, but it has to be done in order for growth to occur. Once you stop growing, you begin to accept less than you desire. Instead, you literally become stunted right there where you are...stunted growth, stunted thinking, stunted development. The natural progression after something has been stunted, is that it continues withering away and eventually ceases to exist. That's a slow mental death no one wants.
In a recent interview, I had the opportunity to speak with actor and author, Gary Anthony Sturgis, who released a book in June called, #WhyHeWontMarryYou. There was a point in our conversation in which the topic turned to the issue of couples who have what’s considered to be, an emotional breakdown. He said something that both men and women should pay attention to. “People are emotionally unstable when things are not going the way that they expected them to go. Then people start making moves that may eventually cause them to lose their king or queen.”
I agree, and the truth of the matter is—the decisions we make, along with the things we accept and tolerate, will impact how we feel individually and collectively as a couple. I feel quite free to say that there isn’t one relationship that’s free of problems—yet, it is perfectly acceptable to expect the best from others, when you in fact, are giving yours. This is why self reflection is essential when it comes to gauging your level and your partners level of fulfillment.
So let’s take a look at 3 signs that indicate you're probably being emotionally and physically fulfilled in your relationship, before we get into how to know you're being drained. There are so many instances that can be discussed here, but let's examine these first.
How to Know If You Are In A Fulfilling Relationship
1. You look forward to seeing your partner whether you're just dating, engaged or already married. You get butterflies of anticipation so to speak--wanting to look great for them, truly
enjoying their company because you're still intellectually interested in who they are, their aspirations, and how they view you and the world around them.
2. When something goes wrong, or your feelings get hurt, they genuinely and consistently work to make it better. Not only do they seek to find out how they hurt you, they make it their job to
make amends no matter how long it takes.
3. You want to be physically close to them and share their space. You both enjoy and crave intimate conversations and sexual contact with each other. It's not a chore because you actually desire them in that way.
How To Know If You Are In A Draining Relationship
1. You feel as if there's a lot of monotony involved in your interactions with your partner. Conversations seem rehearsed and dry, the quality of communication is lacking and often leads to a full fledged argument. Instead of looking forward to communication exchanges, you dread them.
2. The consistency just isn't there with what they say and do. They may tell you they'll try to do better at this, that, or the other--they start out to make changes, but then lose momentum along the way, all while reverting back to the same ways that led to problems in the first place. The bottom line is that your needs aren't being met, you've made your concerns known, but you cycle in and out of expectations and promises that yield no real results.
3. You have no desire to be with them sexually. This is a huge red flag for yourself and for them. When we consider the vastness of what true intimacy entails, we know that physical attraction is not the only thing that can draw one person to another. So whatever it is that once drew you to this person in a positive sense, should still be there to some extent, to feel fulfilled. If you're coming up with nothing in this area, then that’s a clear sign that damage has been done.
No one person can tell you how you should feel about your relationship, however, the things outlined above are easily relatable to those who can identify with being fulfilled or being drained. Hard questions don't always have easy answers, and reflecting while being honest about the state of your relationship can either build it up even more or shine light upon what needs work.
Don't be afraid to be completely honest with yourself and then adjust your sails as needed. You'll be a better person and partner for it in the long run, whether you're with them or someone else down the line. Always remember that your inner voice is talking, pay attention to the things that you may have been neglecting, namely yourself and what you really need to be happy.
Desirae L. Benson
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If you would like a copy of “Why He Won’t Marry You,” by Gary Sturgis go to