• Pam Del Franco aka ASK NANNA

Going in Circles

Your relationship keeps going in circles. You fight, you make up, you fight again, but never seem to move past the same old argument.

You recognize you’re in a cycle, but each time you have that talk, you think it’s going to be different, but a little while later, you’re back at it again. Love isn’t the problem because you both love each other.

There’s a lot of women stuck in this loop. You think that if he changes his ways, or you explain again why it’s important to you, that the arguments will stop. So when you fight, you keep doing the same thing (explaining to him what you need, giving ultimatums, telling him how you feel angry when…and he says he gets it.)

So all is forgiven, and at make up time, it goes something like this:

She says, “I’m glad you understand now.” (She’s assuming he gets what the argument was about. After all, she clearly spelled it out …” You never take me on date night anymore!”)

He says, “I understand how important it is to you. I’m going to set up date night every week from now on.” (He just wants to stop the fighting, but he hasn’t initiated any further analysis of the deeper problem.)

So, for the next little while, he sets up date night, he’s more attentive, and you feel that things will be different. Finally, he gets it! It’s been a long time coming, but now you can move forward.

You’re happy for a while, and that gives you the space to reflect on what you think caused the problem in the first place. You recognize that you have the stuff of your own to work out, (you think maybe you need to calm down, or be more understanding or not so demanding and things of that nature.) But a couple of months later, you’re triggered, and you have a big fight… again…over a similar issue.

It’s an emotionally painful roller coaster—tears, anger, sadness, and disappointment on both sides.

What you thought was the problem (controlling your demands, calming down, being more understanding) isn’t. Both of you working on those types of things help strengthen your relationship, but it doesn’t solve the actual problem. It’s a good outcome of what to do after you recognize the real issue.

To have the same success in your relationship as you do the other areas of your life, you need to look at this differently. You can’t go over, under, or around the issue. To get through it, you need to recognize what it is that’s causing this loop.

Creating a better relationship means understanding the (almost unconscious) connection to a past hurt that’s causing this. This doesn’t mean blaming your parents or your ex. It’s about recognizing that there is something from your past that’s bleeding into your relationship.

We’re not talking about taking a Freudian deep dive into all your childhood traumas, but there will be a catalyst, and that’s what I’m an expert at finding.

At the end of the day, it’s not about your partner. The daily living essentials, accountability, and responsibility for your relationship and respect between you are shareable. But the painful connection that comes from your past that’s causing havoc in your relationship now is not shareable (you can share with him after you clear it.) This is your journey alone. He can show he cares, be supportive, and all that, but he can’t do this work for you. (He probably has his own work to do, but this conversation is about you).

You’re a powerful woman who only needs to sort this relationship thing out, and your life will have the balance you’ve worked so hard to achieve. Yes, life will offer up it’s good and bad experiences. But now you’ll navigate them differently because you’re not burdened by old, unhealthy hurts. When that pattern pops up, as it will from time to time, you’ll be able to acknowledge it and deal with it right away.

There’s no magic pill. It takes some work on your end, but well worth the effort.

I remember driving home after a night with my then-boyfriend of fourteen years. I was trying to convince myself to leave him…for the millionth time. Driving home, I began to feel my chest constrict, and my mind went into panic mode. I was only in my 40’s. I kept driving, thinking it would subside. When it didn’t, and it began to refer to my throat, I passed my house and went straight to the hospital with visions of them ripping off my shirt, grabbing the paddles, and shouting, “clear!”

They kept me overnight, did tons of tests, and I was sent home wearing a heart monitor for 24 hours. Everything was fine physically.

The build-up of all the stress of constant pleasing and putting myself last translated into a severe panic attack when I seriously thought about leaving him. After that, I spent $ 1,000’s of dollars on healing.

We have a fantastic health system here (in Canada). However, it doesn’t cover alternative, naturopathic modalities, therapy, or prescriptions from my medical doctor. It took years for me to get that this trauma wasn’t only emotional and physical, it was also expensive financially. I could have used that money on my kids.

Do the work so you can feel powerfully capable about how to move forward in your relationship.