The Balance Code

Is it Time to Rebuild Your Relationship?

March 27, 2024 Katie Rössler Season 2 Episode 21
The Balance Code
Is it Time to Rebuild Your Relationship?
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever found yourself in a long-term relationship, feeling like you're stuck in a rut, yearning for change but unsure where to start? As spring breathes new life into the world around us, do you sense a similar desire for renewal within your relationship? Perhaps you're craving the excitement and passion that once defined your connection but now seem elusive.

In this episode, we delve into the details of revitalizing relationships. We'll explore how to navigate the complexities of long-standing partnerships and initiate a process of tearing down old structures to pave the way for a fresh, vibrant chapter. So tune in if you've ever wondered how to breathe new life into your relationship and build new foundations for your journey together with your partner.

In this episode: 

  • Feeling stuck in a long-term relationship and desiring change.
  • Recognizing the need to move beyond blaming each other and reevaluate the relationship dynamics.
  • Embracing the concept of "Relationship 2.0" and the opportunity for growth and renewal.
  • Analogy of the relationship as a house with a faulty foundation, built upon personal baggage and unresolved issues.
  • The importance of grieving the old relationship before rebuilding.
  • Identifying past frustrations and childhood experiences to understand present relationship dynamics.
  • Navigating the balance between logical thinking and emotional dreaming when creating a new vision for the relationship.
  •  Addressing grievances and past hurts to prevent carrying them into the new phase.
  • The significance of mutual commitment and support in the rebuilding process.


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[00:00:00] Is it time to tear the whole thing down and rebuild or is it time to walk away? Today I'm putting on my couple's therapist hat and we're going to be talking about when it's time to actually rebuild our relationship and when it might be time to step away from it.

Welcome to the balance code podcast, a place where you have permission to step outside the hamster wheel of day to day life and learn tools for better balance. My name is Katie Rössler. I'm a licensed therapist and hidden grief and burnout specialist. I help ambitious high achievers who are ready to get off the one way train to burnout and learn better tools to embrace life.

Oh, and by the way, I'm an American living in Germany, who's still learning the language, a mom of three and an entrepreneur. Living my balance code is what helps me keep working in incredible ways without burning out. So let's discover our balance code together. Are you stuck in a rut in your relationship and feeling like there's just no way to go but out? Today I'm going to be putting my couple's therapist hat on and we're going to be discussing when it's time to rebuild and how to do so. 

 Welcome back to the [00:01:00] podcast. Okay. So maybe you're feeling kind of stuck in your relationship. And now that spring is here, you're feeling a little bit of buzz of like, I want to get out and do things. I want to change things. I want Spring cleaning and you want to spring clean your relationship. You want to shift something so that there's more passion and excitement in your relationship again, but you feel stuck.

You feel trapped. Kind of like, where do we go from here? Some of these habits are so ingrained in our relationship and we've been together for seven, 10, 15, 20 years. What are we supposed to do? Okay, so the couples that come and work with me are often in that place of we just feel stuck and trapped and we don't know what to do.

They know that how they've been doing things aren't working and they are at a point where they're realizing pointing the finger at the other person isn't exactly helping the situation. But we can only go so far with the I feel this way when you do this [00:02:00] statement. We got to go beyond that. So what I love to do with my couples is ask them, what if we tear it all down and rebuild?

And I usually get a bit of a blank face of like, wait, what? What do you mean by tear it all down? Like we want to stay together. And I'm like, yeah, exactly. So I love this quote that Esther Perel gave a long time ago in an interview where she talked about. That we will all, especially in the Western culture, have two to three committed relationships in our lifetime.

And we get to decide if it's with the same person. Well, the couples I work with are going, Okay, we're choosing the same person, we want to stay with them, but what do we do? Because we don't like how we're living our lives together. And that's the point where I say, It's time for a relationship 2. 0. And the only way to upgrade is to get rid of the old.

So I talked to them about what it is like to have this sort of [00:03:00] relationship house. And if you're familiar with the Gottmans, then you know, they like to talk about the relationship house. Here's how I see it. We come into our relationships with baggage. It's normal, right? There's the stuff from our childhood, the stuff we witnessed in our family, relationships and dynamics.

We have our own history of relationships. Maybe they went well, maybe they didn't. And then we just have our temperament, our personality, our cultural background, right? Like we have all these things we bring to the relationship. And then we, our partner has that too. And then we just go, okay, we're going to create a foundation together for this relationship based on all of that.

And most of the time, our foundation is faulty. Maybe we've actually tried to build the foundation on sand and we're realizing, well, that's not going to work, right? There are things that we did not think about, talk about, you know, prepare for. And it makes sense. We're in love. It's the honeymoon phase.

We're not [00:04:00] thinking like, Hey, let's talk about. what triggers we may have and the struggles I have with opening up when I feel vulnerable. I don't like when you get angry about these things. We're like, I love you. I love that you're spontaneous. But later on, I hate that you don't plan things, right? Like we, love these things, but our foundation is going to have cracks and imbalances, and it's just not going to be stable.

That is normal. That's normal in all relationships. But for some reason, We get really upset when we look at the foundation and go like, see, we were set up for failure. This was never going to work. And it's like, Whoa, well, no relationship is going to be able to work on a foundation like that because they have to work on it.

There has to be growth. There has to be times where you reassess, you tear it down and you rebuild. So what I help my clients do is look at what that foundation is. And I encourage you to think about that. What are the things you came into your relationship? What are the [00:05:00] challenges you were already facing?

The things about you, you already knew were kind of issues that maybe get, magnified in the relationship you have with your partner. What are the things that, patterns you saw growing up that you said, I will never do this, right? I won't find a partner who's different. And you're noticing, maybe they're creeping in.

And a question I like to ask my clients is what is something you really wanted in your childhood and you never received? Now, sometimes I get the answer of like literal things, like I really wanted a Gameboy or I really wanted to have, you know, shoes like the other kids. What I mean is from an emotional standpoint and a mental standpoint, was it support, mentorship, cheerleading, for them to just pay attention or to back off and give me freedom, right?

What is it that you wanted? And is that a struggle you're still having in your relationship today? Like I wanted this and I'm searching for this and I'm not getting it. Cause often what [00:06:00] happens is that starts to play itself out when we feel stuck and trapped in our relationship. Wow. I always really wanted this and I'm not really getting it from my partner.

And so it makes me feel even more frustrated. And then my favorite thing to do next is go, okay, Think about like the frustrations you had in your childhood. Things upset you. Maybe, maybe you always felt like, um, your sibling got more focused than you. Maybe you got frustrated when, you know, you came home with, a bad test grade and you were super punished, but your friend wasn't.

Or, um, Um, maybe it's, you know, your parent was working all the time and you just really wish they would be there and show up for the soccer game or whatever, right? What are those frustrations? And then I want you to think about how you responded. Did you respond by working super hard and trying to prove yourself?

Did you respond by getting angry and like slamming doors? Did you just get quiet and shut, shut out everybody? Like think about how you responded to those frustrations. Because I have a feeling you're probably playing that out in your relationship now. So when we look at all of [00:07:00] that, right, and we're looking at both of you separately with that context, we can see why the foundation was already going to have issues.

So that's the first area to start to work on. Okay. We need to rebuild the foundation, but first we have to grieve the old and pull what worked, what was good to create the new, right? Like I liked that picture on the wall. I liked that beam and column. I liked that brick wall, right? Like these things were good in our relationship and we want to pull them into this new house.

But these are the things we got to tear down and for my clients. This is freeing. It feels like a fresh start. You know, if you've ever moved to a new place, there's this excitement of like selling all the old, getting to buy new stuff and slowly really setting up your home the way you want it, right? Or your apartment like, Oh, we could do this and we can get that.

And we could paint the walls. And you know, there's this hope and [00:08:00] excitement for newness. And that's what this process gives couples. That's what this process of rebuilding gives your relationship. And I truly believe that every seven to ten years, we need to be going through this process because we ourselves are changing.

I can't tell you how many times I've had friends and family members and clients say, My partner is not who I married. Like they've changed and I always respond the same good. They shouldn't be good. Lord, it'd be boring if they were stuck in the same way. Right? Like they need to change and grow. You have to, whether you see it or not.

The problem is, is it growth that you like? Or not like that's what you get to decide. Are they making choices you're comfortable with or not? That's really the issue. It's not that they've changed is that what they're doing is uncomfortable for you, who they have become is something that doesn't [00:09:00] jive well with you.

And that's okay. That's, that's a discussion worth having, but to say you're not who I'm married. Of course not. Again, I would be really sad for both of you. If that was what the issue was, like you're the same person. 10 years ago, like from 10 years ago. Oh man, no personal growth, nothing, no, no life challenges happen that changed and shifted, made them softer or harder or, you know, really?

So we have to release this whole, like, you're not who I married because of course not, neither are you, hopefully. So now it's like, okay, relationship 2. 0, brand new relationship house, new foundation. Who are we now? How do we respond to challenges now? What are the communication dynamics we would like to set in solid stone, right?

That cement that goes, this is how we handle things. Knowing that there'll be hiccups, there will be issues along the road. But [00:10:00] what are the things we really want to have in place? And the more we have these discussions, the more we start to create a vision together as a couple. How do we want, do we want to be more peaceful with each other?

Do we want to be able to have more boundaries around our work and our time together? Do we want to have more family time? It's okay that your brain goes, there's no way to make this happen. Like, I don't like, you know, no. It's okay if your brain will tell you no. I don't believe goals can be created from our mind.

And I know that's like, wait, what? Cause of course it's coming from our mind. No, actually, when we create goals really light us up, that excite us, that get us motivated, it's from a deeper inner knowing kind of this wisdom within us that like, this is really what I'm meant for, because when we have goals that like make us go like, God, I feel like I'm compromising too much.

I don't feel like this really is like authentically who I am. Like, I feel like I'm trying to be someone I'm not and not in a, Oh my God, this [00:11:00] is like my next level. I'm excited. Right. When it's like, uh, no, that's from the mind of like, I'm supposed to be this way. I should be this way. This is what a good person does.

This is what a good worker or spouse is like. Okay. So the mind can't be a part of this process. And ultimately one of you is more of a thinker. And one of these probably a little more of a feeler and the thinker is going to be like, well, this isn't logical. We can't do that. Hey, we want to live abroad. We want to go and like live abroad for a few years.

And, 1 of you will be like, well, that's going to cost a lot. And you know what? My, my parents are getting older. It doesn't make sense to do it now. And like, your brain will get involved when you're creating the vision, the floor plan. You know, the outline of what this new house is going to look like the brain has to, like.

Take a back seat. And that's extremely hard for my couples that I work with. It's hard for me and my, partner. It's very easy for us to be like, I want this. And then it's like, Oh, well, how do I make that happen? No, no, no. And then we end up [00:12:00] hurting each other in the process because we sort of debunk any idea we had like, Nope, that can't happen.

Nope. That's not realistic. It's like, of course not. These are dreams and goals. We're creating a new floor plan. We're creating this vision. And as soon as our minds get involved, Hurt happens. Hurt feelings happen because somebody says something that like completely just like, I was dreaming, bro. So if you are that person, if you're that thinker in the relationship, you just have to be like, mind, I need you to take a break.

Like, turn off for a moment. And if you can't, then I would say, just get a notepad and a pen and write out all the reasons why that won't work. So you don't have to say them out loud, out loud. And your, your dreamer partner can continue on with this vision and it go, okay, if time, energy, and money were not an issue, if kids weren't an issue or parents weren't an issue or whatever, what would our life look like?

What would we be doing? And ultimately, when a couple comes to me with, we have this like bigger [00:13:00] vision and we don't know how to make it a reality. I say, what is the bigger vision represent for you? Is it freedom? Is this sense of stability? Is it about, greater relationship in your community? Right? Like what does it represent?

Because that can absolutely be created. today. That can start to happen. And then when that starts to happen, you see either the goal starts to become, wow, we can make this a reality, or you go, ah, the goal is shifting because now we understand what we really wanted together. And then the walls of the house go up and you paint it the color you want, right?

And you create this home that is in tandem rather than I want this. I want this. You need to compromise. You're a narcissist. Why is it always about you? Right? Like that dynamic. You're familiar with that. I know either you're go through it or you know, people who do, but it starts with tearing down the old.

Now I mentioned, you have to grieve the [00:14:00] old. You have to let go of some of the dreams that didn't come to fruition. Maybe you wanted to get pregnant and it didn't happen. Maybe the hope was always to move somewhere and it didn't occur because of life. Maybe you did have children and there are health issues and there's things that you weren't planning for, you weren't expecting, or one of you have health issues.

Maybe there's been financial instability or lying or cheating. All of these things need to be faced and grieved. This isn't tear it down and positively reframe everything like new beams that are all positive. No It's really looking at the old and what we've gone through and grieving what didn't happen Grieving the hurt grieving what didn't work letting go almost having its own funeral, right?

This this relationship this marriage, you know We're so grateful for it and all it provided and it's time to delay it to rest So we can create this new, but what I find is when a couple is ready to rebuild if they [00:15:00] haven't really grieved together and individually and worked through what are some of those pains, they secretly sneak it under the rug in the new house.

I'm like, I'm still going to bring this with me. I still want to hold on to this resentment. I still have this grudge. You can't do that. Naturally, your brain is going to struggle a little bit not to, but when you actually grieve and have conversations about the past in productive and helpful ways, then the progress happens.

Then the grieving is able to be integrated. Then you're able to go, okay. I forgive, I move forward, and I understand what we've learned from this first poem together. And now I'm ready to tear it down with you. Let's do it. Goggles on, right? Big old hammer. Let's hit it at the wall. Let's go. Like, let's do this together.

Because there's a passion and a connection that happens when we do these types of things together rather than one of us dragging [00:16:00] the other or fighting the whole time about how the other person's doing it. And the only way we can get on the same page is to really reassess all of it. And then say, we're both ready for a rebuild.

So reflect on your relationship. Is it time to rebuild? Is it time to tear down the old? To look at the rubble and say, okay, we're going to take these pieces and we want this and that. But the rest just needs to be laid to rest. And we're ready to grieve it and let it go. And now we're ready to create the vision, the floor plan, the view of what it will look like.

And start to build that foundation. And start to let the walls come up in a positive way together. If it's time for something like this in your life, and you're realizing, yeah, we together are willing and committed, and maybe we don't have a lot of time and energy, but we're realizing that the longer we put this off, the worse it will get, because it will, then I really encourage you to take, Then I really encourage you to check out my Rebuild [00:17:00] Program.

You're going to find the information below in the show notes. The Rebuild Program teaches you everything I talked about in today's session, and it guides you on what that process looks like. It teaches you how to have those conversations. It addresses the grief from the past. It supports you as you go forward in creating that vision in the new, and then how to build the new.

And it's not like you have to do it on your own. You get support from me throughout the whole process. So if you're like, yep, it's time for us to check something like this out, go check out in the show notes below the rebuild program. Okay. Dear listener, I hope today was eyeopening for you. A realization that it's quite normal that we go through these periods.

Where we need to reassess and really decide, is it time to tear it all down and rebuild? And to see that as a sign of growth, of progress, of we've reached that milestone and now we get to create a new, [00:18:00] healthier, better, stronger relationship. Because it's true, Esther's quote is very true. We will have two to three long term committed relationships in our lives and you get to choose if it's with the same person.

I'm here for the couple who continues to choose each other day in and day out and are ready to rebuild. So check out the program below. Okay, dear listener, here's to finding our balance code. 

 Thank you again for listening to today's episode. As one of my listeners, I have a special gift for you. Do you ever feel like you're simultaneously doing way too much while also not feeling like you're doing enough? I have a workbook that's going to help you solve that problem and get to the root of what actually needs to be done and what matters to you most based on your values.

Check out my juggling all the things workbook below in the show notes so that you can use this special gift. To simplify your life. We all need that. [00:19:00] And if you're interested in working with me, check in the show notes below on information on how to do so. Here's to finding our balance code.