Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

How would you rate YOUR relationship out of 10? Here’s how to fix it

Special person, I am writing to YOU today. I am speaking to you as an individual whoever you are, wherever you are…

It is a new year, and we have all set different goals that we want to achieve.

You might want to be debt free, lose weight, only consume alcohol over the weekends etc… But in all your future planning, did you ever consider your relationship? Did you take a moment to sit down and think about your relationship goals for the year? Did you chat to your partner about how you could improve, maintain, or ‘save’ your relationship in 2019?

Rate your happiness

Just for a moment I want you to rate your overall level of ‘happiness’ and satisfaction within your relationship on a scale between 1-10, where 10 is “very happy”.

I’m a relationship counsellor, and I always ask my patients to rate their relationship on this scale. If they rate it 5/10, this is an indicator that their relationship is on the verge of either crumbling, or improving. And it’s up to the couple to decide what they want to do, and to commit to making it work.

So what is making you a 5/10?   (or less!)

  • We no longer make time for each other.
  • We don’t have much to talk about.
  • We prefer to spend time with friends and family rather being alone together.
  • We prefer to do things on our own rather than together
  • We choose our own gifts. He/she just needs to pay for it.
  • We don’t even like each other’s jokes - they are actually irritating.
  • We prefer to avoid conflict therefor we don’t speak about things that upset us.
  • We have become selective in our sharing, because we no longer feel safe in the relationship.
  • We are still together mostly because of the children.
  • We hardly have sex anymore it has become another “job”, and most of the time we avoid it.

Where are YOU? Did you agree with some of the points above, or maybe all of them?

The reality for me as a marriage and relationship therapist, all of the above are red flags!

They shout out that your relationship is in need of help. Maybe it’s a long term relationship and you’ve just become stuck in your ways. Maybe you’ve experienced major life changes or upsets like retrenchment, infidelity, or a death of a loved one. There are many things that can erode the intimacy and trust between partners.

BUT the good news is that relationships can be re-built.

Maybe you have suggested before that you need to see a professional, but you decided not to because you don’t want to share your ‘private business’ with someone else. Or it’s too expensive, or it’s too inconvenient and you just don’t have time right now… If these sound like familiar excuses, then you need to figure out what your priorities really are. If you want to reconnect with your partner and save your relationship, then it needs to become a top priority again. It’s going to take effort. Time. Energy.

Don’t leave space in your relationship for someone else to enter in.

Where are you? Do you want to make positive changes in your relationship?

If you answered yes, then start by considering what changes you can make right now, from your side. How did you contribute to the state that your relationship is currently in? Stop blaming your partner, or using work, kids, and responsibilities as an excuse. Be brutally honest with yourself right now, and figure out what YOU as an individual can do to help make the relationship better.

Sex doesn’t make relationships stronger

A lot of the time, my patients confuse lack of sex with the ultimate deterioration of their relationship. I always say sex is the cement in a relationship. The bricks are made of trust, respect, loyalty, kindness. If these things are damaged, then the cement will ‘fall out’ from between the bricks.

Only once you’ve re-laid the bricks, can you start adding cement. If your relationship has reached a point where there is very little physical intimacy left, then seeing a professional therapist is highly recommended. They are impartial, and will help each partner understand the relationship more clearly, while helping to devise a way forward.

This process needs to be facilitated by a professional, or you might just end up where you started.

What would you miss most?

Ask yourself this difficult question about your partner: “If today was the last day I’d ever see you, what would I miss most? What are the things I would not miss, and what are the things that I would regret never telling you?”

Difficult questions?

These are some seriously tough questions to ask yourself, and to gauge how much your relationship and your partner mean to you at this point in time.

Where are you and your partner right now? Are you an 8/10 or a 5/10 or less?

Remember it is never too late to start working on your relationship. Rather start sooner than later. Give it your best shot to avoid regrets later in life.

Over the years, I have counselled hundreds of couples, and I’ve seen incredible stories of healing and reconnection. You might thing that your relationship is ‘un-saveable’ but believe me, with the help of a dedicated counsellor, and a willing couple, nothing is impossible.

Whether your relationship needs help or just some guidance as to how to make your future together stronger, think about making an appointment with a relationship therapist - it could be the best thing you do for yourself and your partner in 2019!