When Sam got injured, Jenny was worried and afraid, but she also felt useful. She consulted with doctors and reviewed treatment options with Sam to help him make the best decision. She actually felt closer to him than before the accident because they spent so much time together and it seemed like they were a team.
As time passed, this all changed.
Two months into his recovery, Sam became depressed. He wasn’t improving as quickly as he wanted to and began to resent having to depend on Jenny for so many of his daily needs. When they found out that there would be lasting and debilitating effects and that some of his injuries might never fully heal, Sam was bitter and felt defeated. Jenny tried to keep up her encouraging and positive attitude, but she felt utterly exhausted.
They are now adjusting to the long-term plan they’ve decided on with the doctor’s advice. Jenny is grateful that Sam is still with her and that he didn’t die in the accident, but sometimes she daydreams about how free she’d be if she just left him. She doesn’t really want to do that, so she stays and tries to ignore her conflicting emotions.
Accidents happen. Unexpected challenges-- whether they’re health-related, financial, emotional or anything else-- descend on you leaving a whole lot of chaos, upheaval, uncertainty and stress.
A LOT of stress.
For some couples, a shake up galvanizes their relationship and moves them closer together, but for others, the added strain pushes them apart. As with Sam and Jenny, shake ups can initially forge a strong bond, but then later wear the two down and damage the relationship.
Even soulmates can be torn apart by an accident or another type of calamity. It can actually be tougher for soulmates to weather an unexpected challenge because many hold the belief that connection for soulmates is automatic and guaranteed.
Whether or not you’re in a soulmate relationship, extra effort IS required to get you through whatever is going on and to sustain trust and connection too.
At the heart of surviving a shake up and staying close to your beloved is understanding this...
You may not have much (or any) control of the situation that’s turned your lives upside down, but you DO have control of how you respond to it. Remind yourself of this often and live by it.
Make self-care a true priority.
Developing resilience is at the core of getting through a shake up and keeping your relationship healthy. Resilience is the ability to manage whatever is going on and to bounce back. And if there’s one thing that’s required when cultivating resilience, it’s self-care.
This applies if you’re the one most directly affected by the job loss, health crisis or any other challenge AND it especially applies if you’re in a caregiver/supporter role. It’s important for you to make regular time every day to tend to your own self-care needs.
Give yourself permission to notice your own anxiety, anger and resentment and to work with those emotions instead of hiding them or “being compassionate.” You can actually be more present and available to your partner if you regularly take good care of yourself and are authentic.
This comes down to you taking responsibility for you.
Let your feelings out in ways that aren’t hurtful to you or anybody else. Keep yourself well-rested, eat nourishing foods and drink plenty of water. Simple basics are a requirement during a shake up and provide you with a strong foundation.
A feeling of mutual support is one important aspect of a close, connected and lasting relationship. When you or your partner is unable to offer the level of support you’re accustomed to, a sense of imbalance can result. Acknowledge what you do or what your partner is doing to offer support even when mostly in a “receiving” place.
If your partner is healing from an injury or otherwise going through a tough time, don’t automatically jump or rush in to take care of everything. Find out what your partner is up to doing-- not just for him or herself, but for you too.
Really listen and be willing to be both patient and creative.
This is a time to nurture that feeling of mutual support between the two of you, and it’s also a time to be open and ask for (and receive) support from family, friends, professionals and community resources.
Reach out to those you know and those who may have useful information related to your situation. Ask specifically for what you need and then allow the help to come in and give you a boost.
Simply knowing that support is available and then utilizing the resources that are there for you really does make a difference. This reminds you that you’re not alone. You and your partner have each other AND there are others who have your back so that you two can focus in on healing, re-building or making a necessary change.
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