The Top 5 Relationship Excuses
When we look around, we’re noticing something odd. People aren’t happy.
Not everyone, at least. A recent study by the Society for Human Resource Management made it clear that Americans are having problems balancing their home life and their work life. In our profession, we refer to that experience as the “work/life balance” — and according to the statistics, it’s looking like an uneven teeter-totter. The study revealed:
◦Among the 89 percent of Americans who say work/life balance is a problem, 54 percent called it a “significant” problem.
◦57 percent of workers think that their employer is doing enough to address work/life balance issues; 43 percent
◦51 percent of workers say their work/life balance has not changed because of the recession.
◦38 percent of workers say their work/life balance has worsened because of the recession.
◦37 percent of those who do not have adequate balance say time with family is the first thing that suffers;
personal time spent reading or relaxing followed, at 22 percent.
•44 percent of men ages 34-54 say they do not have adequate work/life balance.
So, if you’re wondering why you’re feeling stressed out, you’re not alone. But there is a way to combat it, if you’re willing to try. From our experience with our clients, here is a list of the top relationship excuses, with some ways to eliminate them from your life:
- We don’t have enough time — We hear this far too often. We act and behave based on our values, thus what they are really saying is, “We are choosing to make other things (kids, work, etc.) a priority, and not our relationship with our partner.” We recommend sitting down together with a piece of paper and a pen and taking a look at your monthly schedule. That means all the soccer practices, poker nights, work trips — everything. I think most people will find when they do this that there are items here and there that can be eliminated in favor of some time together.
- We are too tired — This is definitely related with the above excuse, but a little more complex. Today, people are so busy with everything else, they are not slowing down long enough to recharge their own batteries, so to speak. As you look at your schedule, don’t look just at how many things you have to do, but how draining of your energy some of them can be. More than that, if you find a way to ensure you’re both getting between 7 and 8 hours of sleep every night, you’ll be able to better handle everything you have on the plate.
- You shouldn’t have to work on relationships — Whoever said that originally needs to be hit in the head with a rolled up Sunday New York Times. Are we the only ones who find it ironic that in ever Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy, she always figures it out in the end, but in real life, her average relationship lasts less than the movie’s running time? Life is not like the movies, folks, and relationships do take effort to achieve a balance. Maybe “work” is a term that doesn’t sit well with people, but you can call it what you want. If you want any partnership in life to work, you get out of it only what you put into it. And it doesn’t take much. A little thoughtfulness and extra effort can go a long way with someone who already loves you.
- Why bother, he/she won’t change — This excuse is putting all the power and responsibility on the other partner to change, which by logic, means that you’re relinquishing your own responsibility. Sometimes in a relationship, someone has to put on the grown-up shoes make the first move. It’s like being the first to start dancing at a wedding reception. Unless you dance like Elaine from Seinfeld, others will eventually join in. If you make a few healthy relationship changes, it can help motivate your partner to do the same.
- We don’t have the money — Well, you got us there. If you want to have a stable relationship, you really do need to finance it. In fact, we think banks should offer “relationship loans,” so people can actually afford to fall in love and be together. Sound silly? Well, that’s because it is. The public park costs nothing, so take a short ride or a walk with some sandwiches you can make with the food already in your fridge. Ride a bike, talk a walk, or just sit out on the porch and laugh at the people who are out jogging. They’re listening to their iPods. They won’t hear you. John and Paul were right when they wrote Money Can’t Buy Me Love, nor do you need it to maintain love. All you need is the time together, no matter what you are doing, to nurture your relationship back to a healthy balance with all the rest of the have-tos you have in your life.
What excuses are currently holding you back from having the kind of relationship you want to have? If you need help challenging these excuses, please feel free to contact us.
As always, wishing you deeper connection and passion!
Drs. Chuck and Jo-Ann Bird