Thursday, 28 November 2013

Q and A about relationships: T2 article dated 29th Sep' 2013

Thank you for sharing your problems with us. Here are three letters (names withheld) with a common theme — relationships.
Hope our tips will come in handy.
Do write to us.
I broke up with my boyfriend recently after a five- year relationship. It makes me unhappy. I have lost my faith in love, life and the things that make me happy. I am having misunderstandings with my parents because they have started looking for a boy for me. Please tell me how I can be happy.
Break- ups are not easy, but that is no reason for you to lose faith in love, life and the things that make you happy. We use up a lot of energy and time in trying to answer questions like ' Why did it happen to me?' or
' How could it happen to me?' or thinking about ' how things should/ could have been'. Or, we allow ourselves to drown in selfpity.
The first step to being happy is to stop giving reasons for your unhappiness. Focus on all that you already have. Be open to welcoming new people, new relationships and new things in your life. Try and let go of the past. And if you need time for this, then let your parents know in a calm manner. Keep in mind that they have their own perspective on this matter, which may be different from yours.

My partner is very selfish. He constantly justifies his behaviour. I get very angry and cannot focus on anything. What should I do? That your partner is selfish is your subjective interpretation. And even if he is, your anger is not helping him become unselfish. You can let him know how you feel when he is ' selfish', in a calm voice with understanding and compassion. There are people who can be termed ' selfish' and let's assume that your partner is one of them. Is his being ' unselfish' so important that you put your life on hold? When you get angry you are choosing to sacrifice your mental well- being and trying to ' fix' him. If you want to be happy with your partner, then work on changing your reaction to his behaviour. We all have our share of faults. Choose to be kinder to his, and maybe that will enable you to deal with the situation more patiently, calmly and efficiently.

I feel that after five years of marriage, my husband and I have lost love and respect for each other. We don't talk to each other anymore and I feel he is very unhappy in our relationship, which makes me sad. What can I do? 
Are you sure your husband is unhappy because of your relationship and not due to some other reason? Work on your relationship by focusing on yourself. It is difficult to communicate when you know you'll end up arguing or hurting each other.
So, adopt a different strategy. Try and communicate with your husband without trying to fix things. Try and reconnect. Start by talking about general things, maybe a light topic.
Try and understand him, without your idea of what a happy person should be like, coming in the way.
Try to be happy and joyful yourself. If you can radiate that joy, probably your husband will also gravitate towards happiness.

We often put conditions to our happiness. We think of happiness in terms of ' only when... then....' For instance, ' I can be happy only when our kids top the exams', ' I can be happy only when I have the special someone in my life', ' I can be happy only when I have this much money'. It is natural to feel disappointed when things don't work out the way we had planned or thought, but learn to look for the positives. Avoid associating your self- worth and happiness with things, people or situations. These are variable. Which brings us to the first step of our previous article — decide to be happy.
Dr Sangbarta Chattopadhyay and Dr Namita Bhuta are medical practitioners, psychotherapists and life coaches.

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