I stood on the balcony in a rabbit onsie (don't ask) overlooking the midday sun as the distant noises of traffic & roadworks hummed from below. It was Monday and I had been awake for over 36 hours with a blood alcohol level that would indicate I should be passed out.
The uppers in my system I so eagerly ingested were keeping me upright though, so the bender continued. Something way back in my brain started whispering, the whisper got louder as I started to understand the words - "What the F*CK are you doing bro!"
I snapped out of my drug fueled depression. Took one giant step back from the balcony that I was now leaning over far to comfortably. Walked straight out the hotel room & never looked back! Being dumped so suddenly was a harsh reality but the lessons I learned from my failed relationship have made me a far better human.
Failed relationships suck! There is no doubt about it & they often throw us into a depressive slump that can last months and cause multiple bad decisions. However they are also an incredible experience to learn from - remember failure is when the greatest opportunities arise.
In this weeks 'Mindset Monday' we will cover 6 lessons learnt from a failed relationship. 6 lessons I wish I had known 7 years ago.
If you are reading this blog chances are you fall into one of these two categories: You believe your relationship is starting to fail & you want to do something about it. That's great to hear! Wanting to make a change shows you are committed to your relationship working.
Or, your relationship has already failed & you want to know what went wrong so you can avoid the same thing happening again. To make these lessons more applicable in your own relationship I will structure each lesson in the following way:
-A practical way to apply the lesson
Let's get into it then.
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001 - Trust
Trust is often referred to as the single most important factor in a successful relationship. Because it is! If you cannot trust your partner or yourself then how do you expect to feel secure and happy in your relationship. You need to go into a relationship with trust from day one.
'My head was clouded and foggy, I was confused, hurt and could not comprehend exactly what was happening. Was I about to be dumped? So I did the only thing I could think of... I checked her phone.'
It took months to realize just how many issues I had with trust during my last relationship. For one I had no trust in my self which led to decisions that hurt my partner deeply at the time. We did not realize in the moment, but that hurt was too deep to recover from.
We tried again but the trust on both ends never really came back which ultimately led to jealousy, frustration, anger & even hatred.
Practical Change- Apply the lesson
If your relationship is brand new then you are at an advantage. If you have reached post honey moon phase and you realize this is worth pursuing. The honey moon phase is the first three months of a relationship where all you do is f*ck, dream of f*cking and f*ck some more.
Start things out right by making a pledge to one another to trust each other no matter what then share all of your failings and insecurities. Intense right! Yeah but if you know each others darkest despairs, failures & weaknesses from day one it will truly help cement that trust in one another.
If you are trying to fix your relationship then the same rule applies with one difference. Openly share your insecurities about each other, hell have a big old f*cking argument and air out all that built up dirty laundry.
002 - Fight Loads
The sign of a good relationship is no fighting and constant happiness.
BULLSH*T!! We are all human and we are all different and in order to sort our differences out we need to sometimes fight for what we believe in. If we realize we are wrong, apologize and move forward.
'We were laughing away as we always did. "Wow you guys have such a great relationship you never fight about anything and you always seem so happy together." I was told this so often that I actually began to believe it. I think that is why I struggled to see it coming.'
Practical Change - Apply the Lesson
Let's just clear something up real quick - In NO way, shape or form do I or should anyone, ever condone physical violence or verbal abuse. Having a fight is great for your relationship but use your words wisely to bring your point across.
I want you to practice something everyday for the next week. Imagine your partner saying something she/he usually says and that you normally agree with but don't truly believe in. You want to say no but you don't want to start a fight.
Got the phrase in your mind? Good. Now out loud say 'NO! I don't agree.' You may want to be by yourself for this one... could be a bit weird in a crowded train on the way to work. Practice this for a week and then confront your partner.
Tell he/she exactly how you feel. Argue, listen & come up with a solution to your disagreement that benefits you and your partner. Don't attempt to hurt your partner with harsh words, keep the argument in control.
If things escalate and your partner becomes hurtful and aggressive then you know something much deeper is at play. At least you know and you can begin to work at a solution. You may find that the real issue is trust which you now know how to address.
Or maybe its a lack of adventure and excitement.
003 - Get Adventurous
Ohhh god you just can't get enough! The sex is great! You laugh all the time and that dimple when he/she smiles is just so perfect. Then you hit 6 months... the sex get's boring, her/his laugh hurts your ears & f*ck that dimple is annoying!
'We had the night off, the bottle of wine was empty and the mood was perfect. The logical next step was a night filled with sex and laughter. "Wanna watch Netflix and cuddle?" Eww when did we get so boring!'
Practical Change - Apply the Lesson
So I used the example of sex because it is - to most of us - the most important part of our relationship. However 10's of thousands of relationships thrive on finding other adventurous ways to share their love with their partner. If sex is not your thing then that is totally fine.
If you are finding that your relationship is starting to get boring then chances are your partner feels the same way. Step one is to confront your partner, don't wait a month to see what happens. Do it now!
Chances are there will be tears followed by a fight. But remember, fighting is a good thing & it is the sign of a healthy relationship. Talk it out and agree on some areas of your relationship you want to bring more excitement to. Then agree on some actions.
If sex is the main area for you here is a crazy idea. Consider having other sexual partners. Humans are not designed to be monogamous, just look at divorce numbers if you don't believe me.
In the 2016 there were 118,401 marriages registered in Australia alone. With a staggering 46,604 divorces. That's nearly 40%!! If having other sexual partners is something that you want to explore talk about it with your partner. Love is more than just sex.
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004 - Be You
Before you even consider committing to a relationship you need to know without a doubt that you are comfortable with the person you are. More importantly you need to be committed to yourself and your own set of goals. You shouldn't need to change your passions and dreams for anyone.
Let me start by saying that I am so grateful for the life I have had thus far. I have done some incredible things which I have worked hard to achieve but I could have done more if I had committed to myself. A mistake I never intend to make again!
'I wanted to kayak, climb & pursue the outdoors in places like Norway and Chile. Then I was struck by cupid and my dreams fell away as my sole focus became love. Hell yeah I want to go camping with you instead of kayaking with the boys.'
Practical Lesson - Apply the Change
Now by no means did I have a demanding ex-girlfriend, if I am completely honest with you she let me do what I wanted 90% of the time and was one of the most understanding people I ever met. In this situation I was the one who restricted her dreams.
It was both our faults really. I urged her to follow my ideas and my failed plans and she did without argument. Deep down I knew that was not what she wanted & deep down she wanted to tell me. But neither one of us wanted to start a fight... idiots!
It is quite funny to look back on now and realize just how simple it would have been to avoid. The lesson for this one is simple guys. Follow your dreams no matter what!
-Be you and pursue the path you want to pursue.
-Respect who your partner is and never try and change them or their dreams.
If you can find a way to make your dreams work together then give it a go. However, you may reach a certain point where you need to do your own thing for a while. Let it happen and if it is truly a strong relationship then you will find a way to make it work.
005 - Be Honest No Matter What!
Hands up if you think you are an honest person. Go on put them up.
(HINT: This is the point you decide to put your hand up or not homie.)
Right everyone who put their hands up answer this question for me - Have you ever told a white lie to avoid hurting someones feelings or to get yourself out of trouble?
The answer is probably a YES! None of us are truly honest because if we were truly honest about every single thought that came into our messed up brains... well.. the world would be a very violent f*cked up place.
The aim for a successful relationship is to avoid lying at all costs and to be honest about your needs, desires and issues.
'Your mad! This is not what you had in mind, why is her ex here anyway? "Are you alright?" she/he says to you. "Yeah, yeah I'm all good. Couldn't be better." You smile back and bury your feelings down deep where you hope they stay forever.
Practical Lesson - Apply the Change
I can almost guarantee you resonate with that example. White lies are just easier because avoiding the conflict will be better in the moment. Yet you and I both know that 'fighting/conflict' is far more beneficial to the long-term health of your relationship. So why avoid it?
Because we are wired to think about the micro (short term) first rather than considering the macro (long term) benefits. The short term benefit in this situation is avoidance of conflict and embarrassment.
So we need to train ourselves to be honest just as we trained ourselves to say No. Start by talking to your partner about being more honest with each other. Agree that you will both make more of an effort to be honest about your needs, desires & issues. Then do it!
Practice makes perfect and perfection takes commitment.
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006 - Commit or go home
In a world with so many options we all struggle to commit to any one thing or any one person. In the short term we find great satisfaction in having no set path to commit to. However, in the long term we can never achieve any true happiness and fulfillment unless we commit to something.
This is true for work, passion, contribution, health, sport and of course a successful relationship.
This example rings very true for me. My ex and I would occasionally talk about our future and in the early days it was exciting! We talked about taking on the world together and even spoke about having a home and a couple dogs together.
Along the way something happened. We stopped being honest with each other, we stopped fighting and as a result we stopped communicating about the sh*t that really mattered. The stuff that would have kept our relationship strong.
We gave up on Commitment! Commitment to ourselves and commitment to our relationship.
Practical Lesson - Apply the Change
This one is easy guys/gals! Make a F*CKING COMMITMENT! If you have both decided to love each other and you want to make this relationship work then you need to make a solid commitment that you can work towards.
Like every step before this one start by having the conversation (a fight if that is what is needed). Figure out a commitment that aligns with both of your dreams and goals then commit to it 100%.
It may be a family and a home. It could be starting a business together. Hell it might even be marriage. Whatever it is you choose to commit to set a timeline and work towards making it a reality. It won't be easy but nothing worth doing ever is.
As I look back at myself 7 years ago part of me still wishes I had known what I know now. Maybe I could have saved my relationship or maybe I could have ended things sooner to avoid so much pain.
But the past is the past and I am just grateful I am able to share what I have learnt with others. Paulo and I are working on some brand new travel blogs & videos and of course more mindset blogs. If you enjoy our content then please comment below & be sure to SUBSCRIBE.
Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques.