Here I am again, marrying another word with relationship, so what exactly am I meaning by putting these two words together?
Let’s start again with my definition of relationship: your thoughts about someone.
Distraction being something that divides attention or prevents you from concentration.
When you put them together, relationship distractions are what keep us from what is hurting in our relationships. Basically, relationship distraction is a form of buffering, which is anything we put between ourselves and something we don’t want to deal with. As always, you can apply the following information to any relationship where you are avoiding, instead of being honest and working through to find solutions to the problem. After I discovered this in my relationship with my husband, I started to see the same behaviors with other people in my life. Notice how you might be pushing people away instead of dealing with the problem at hand, maybe it’s someone on your team at work or your boss or maybe even your girlfriend.
Ignoring the problem, distracting yourself from the problem, won’t make the problem go away, it just continues to agitate you under the surface.
Let’s look at some different relationship distraction techniques:
- Scheduling activities with other people to escape, or avoid, spending time with your spouse. Doing outside activities separate from your spouse is important and recommended but not if it is distracting you from intentional time together.
- During your time together you don’t dedicate time to chat/discuss/laugh and work on your relationship, instead you each do your own thing.
- You don’t schedule activities together.
- You find yourself avoiding connecting or blaming the other partner for not being a good connector/communicator.
- Looking for excitement or fun experiences outside of your relationship because you’re bored. Yes, exiting and fun experiences separate from your spouse is highly recommended. Your spouse might not be interested in the same things you are, just make sure you’re also planning fun experiences with them as well.
- Indulging in any of the other buffers I have discussed in other posts: over drinking, over eating, over spending, over social media-ing, over Netflixing, pornography, gambling. These buffers keep us busy doing something else instead of creating a more intimate relationship.
- Spending more time at the office to avoid interacting with your spouse. It’s easy to do, you know, there’s just so much work to do and those bills, they have to get paid! Really consider whether you could actually get all of the work you’re telling yourself you have to do AND get home with time to spend with your spouse.
Answering yes to any of these might mean you are looking to distract yourself from what you are describing as a unsatisfactory relationship and often times we don’t even recognize the symptoms.
So if you suspect that you might be unintentionally, or intentionally, distracting yourself from your loved one the let’s look at three steps you can take to regain relationship focus.
- Awareness is always step one. The simple step of recognizing what we are doing helps us to step back and question what is going on for us. Awareness allows us to look at our actions and be truthful about what is driving us to take them. It allows us to short circuit the thoughts and feelings that are driving us to take the actions we are currently taking.
- The next step is to question your actions, or inactions. If you’ve realized that you have been excluding activities that you enjoy, to spend time with your spouse, then that is a great realization! Realizing that your partner can’t fill all of your connection needs is necessary, for both of you. Just make sure you’re doing activities for your enjoyment and not to avoid time with him or in an to attempt to make him jealous or to “get back at him”. Love your outside social activities and be all in with them as well as being intentional about your time with your spouse.
- You will have to become intentional and honest about why you are buffering and then start looking at ways to change course. This will mean asking yourself some hard questions about why you are avoiding, answering them honestly and then planning your intentional path forward.
Relationships are a partnership. You don’t want to expect that they will just keep moving forward the way you want without putting any effort into where you want it to go. We have to pause and re-evaluate our relationships to see what is working, what isn’t working and then decide what you want to do differently. Don’t become complacent in your relationships, seek the root of the problem and then be intentional with creating what you want.
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