Couples that feel stuck and wanting change in their relationship are often also experiencing emotional pain. Until the pain is fully recognized, experienced and released, the couple will likely remain stuck.
What makes matters worse is that we can use our “stuckness” as a weapon in our relationships. We can dig in our heels hoping to make our partner feel the same pain we are feeling.
Sound familiar? If it does, know that you are not alone. It’s a thing. None of us feel good about it, and we all do it — granted, some more than others.
OK. So, what would it take to stop weaponizing being stuck? What would it take to stop either yourself or your partner from yelling from the rooftop, “I’m not going to budge, and you can’t make me!”
Often, it takes either asking for or offering forgiveness, and sometimes both.
It’s important to realize that although you may be in pain, you always have a choice in how you want to respond to that pain. Experiencing the pain is a good place to start — you can’t release it unless you experience it.
It’s what happens next that is critical to moving your relationship forward. You can continue to choose to hold on to it (keeping the pain alive, hurting you and your relationship) or you can look to forgive or ask for forgiveness.
We might withhold forgiveness because it makes us vulnerable to being hurt or betrayed again. If we keep the other person on edge or feeling guilty, at least we are in control. And ... stuck in a relationship unable to change.
We might not ask for forgiveness because it makes us vulnerable to being rejected. If we choose to stay safe, at least we are in control. And, you guessed it, our relationship remains stuck.
If you don’t forgive or ask for forgiveness, you will live in a perpetual state of limbo never really knowing if you can trust your partner or yourself again.
A relationship can’t move forward if there is no trust. If you forgive and are hurt again or ask for forgiveness and rejected, at least you will know what is real and where each of you stand. You’ll have more information about your relationship than you had before. You’ll be in a better place to decide what you want to do next.
Do you want a relationship where you know what is real or a relationship where you are afraid to find out?
If you forgive and your forgiveness is honored or you ask for forgiveness and you are forgiven, the grip of pain you have been experiencing will start to release.
You will become unstuck and be able to move your relationship forward. Forgiveness will open up space to dream big again and the possibility to turn some of those dreams into reality.
So, you’re in a relationship that’s stuck. Take a moment to slow down. Deep breaths help. Take three slow ones right now. Where’s the pain point that’s blocking change? What might you be ready to forgive? Where might you need to ask for forgiveness?
Find out what’s real. Get moving again. Or, stay stuck in the safety of not knowing.
The choice is yours.
Howard Stanten CPCC, PCC (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Erin Wright CPCC, PCC (email@example.com) are certified professional coaches specializing in relationship coaching for couples, individuals and teams.