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Saturday
Jul272013

The Truth about Relationships

Relationships take work. No one likes the word "work" let alone doing it. People prefer to do things and have things that require less effort and more ease. It's just human nature. If one has the choice to climb up a hill or down a hill, most would choose the downhill route. However, hills that only go one way down do not exist. Relationships work the same. You can't expect a relationship to be good and easy without having the experience of the uphill route from time to time. This is especially true as you traverse the second phase of relationship building. Phase two* is that challenging space  between the time when things are magically (and temporarily) easy and where real deep love and intimacy reside.

We humans do what we can to avoid the uphill struggle. We avoid, sabotage, deny, and flee. In the end, we lose—because to avoid the uphill climb, we also miss out on the joy and satisfaction of having come down the other side. We are tempted to cut the journey short and stay stuck in a small and often lonely place.

Unfortunately, some people take advantage of our vulnerabilities. They will try to sell you the idea that relationships can and should be easy—and of course, they have just the thing that you can purchase to get you there in 10 easy steps or less. We all know deep down that this is nonsense. Relationships require the same kind of rigor, commitment, discipline and attention that building anything worthwhile requires over time. You can't get to phase three or four* in a relationship without doing the work of phase two. You simply can't skip phases. Every time we try to create shortcuts in life we create a mess instead.

So as much as I'd like to promise you a downhill journey, the truth is we all need to adopt or readopt a solid work ethic. Creating long lasting and satisfying relationships require a certain kind of discipline—one that understands it takes consistent effort over time—one that knows if this is done, then slowly, over the years, one can and will build a relationship that is strong and vibrant, one that will last and flourish, one that honors and protects.

As a therapist and relationship coach, I can't tell you how many times I've heard clients say "I just want something easy; this shouldn't be so hard." If it's feeling hard, it simply means that the work of phase two is not yet complete. It does not mean that you will never get to the downhill side. It simply means that there is still something missing, misunderstood or feared and only when you address those issues can your relationship begin its downhill course (and I mean the good kind of downhill :-)).

"But what about those people who say their relationships are so easy?" Relationships that are "easy" and stay easy tend to be relationships that don't challenge each other to grow, don't deepen over time, and may easily dissolve when hard times hit. One of the gifts phase two offers is the opportunity to build and strengthen the relationship's muscle. It is through building the relationship "muscle" that a relationship grows to withstand, protect, and nurture both parties through life's ups and downs. It is what gives us what we truly need when we need it. The "easy" relationship may feel pleasant in the moment, but rarely has the strength or the depth to withstand challenges. It certainly does not allow for the people within the relationship to stretch and grow. And it typically ends when one person wants a more intimate and satisfying experience.

So as you continue to build the foundation of your relationship, consider what kind of relationship you want. Do you want one that will withstand all that life may throw at you or do you want one that is easy now but may crumble quickly when true challenges occur? Do you want one that gives you the strength and vitality to grow and live for many years in health and happiness or one that may feel easy in the moment but will leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied at the end of the day? Do you want an real, authentic partnership based on mutual love, respect and care or do you want a superficial relationship based on only mutual interests and time spent doing things?

The choice is yours.

Although real relationships will challenge you from time to time, I believe the payoffs are well worth the effort. If you're willing to put the work in, you will be rewarded with having created a transformational relationship* that ironically has a legitimate feeling of ease—except this time, the ease is the result of having put in the real work. It is the prize for honing your skills and learning how to navigate the world of relationships. It comes when you and your significant other have mastered the four phases* of relationship building—knowing how to move through issues quickly and effortlessly, enjoying your time together and apart. These great relationships did not just appear. They are the result of two people having put in the time, effort, and commitment. They've earned it and I guarantee each and every one of these couples will tell you it’s worth it. Don't believe me? Just find two people who have created a great relationship and ask. 

If you or someone you know is interested in learning how to create a strong and intimate relationship, please don't hesitate to contact me. I am here to provide personalized guidance and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve. 

As always, I’m here to support you in creating a transformational life and strong and powerful relationships.

Be well,

Julie

P.S. And don't forget to catch my radio/TV show Pathways to Love w'Julie Orlov LIVE every Sunday 1:30pm PST on LATalkLive!

Julie Orlov, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of The Pathway to Love: Create Intimacy and Transform Your Relationships through Self-Discovery

Retrieve Your FREE Relationship Assessment Quiz and see if YOUR Relationship is on track at www.julieorlov.com/quiz

Create Relationships in Your Life That Work — learn more at www.julieorlov.com

*Phase one, two, three and four are the four phases of a developing relationship as described in The Pathway to Love books and programs. For More information on these phases, visit www.JulieOrlov.com

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