One of the most precious gifts of partnership is being able to care for one another, daily and in times of need. I do the cooking, he does the washing up. He’s got the flu, I put cool washcloths on his forehead and make him soup. I’ve got cramps, he fills my hot water bottle and brings me advil.
It’s a pretty awesome exchange of love. I believe humans thrive in togetherness.
So when I say trust that he can take care of himself, I’m not referring to the sweet exchanges of love I describe above. I’m talking about trusting that he knows what’s best for him and how to be a productive, successful, and happy human.
Relationships tend to be all butterflies and bliss in the beginning, but if you’re in it for keeps, you have to expect fluctuations. Think about all the different phases, challenges, and shifts you’ve gone through in your life. Wouldn’t it make sense that you will continue to go through those, as will your partner? And as a result, you may not always be in sync, and that’s OK!
The long term game requires compassion, patience, and a huge amount of allowing for each individual to experience their own growth, setbacks, slumps, and waves.
Key words: Compassion. Patience. Allowing.
A lifetime of romantic relationship bliss seems to be what most people desire. Yet I hear my ladies getting overly stressed about timelines and fretting over whether or not he’s dealing with his traumas, healing his relationship with money, expanding his mind, or making peace with his mother.
The misunderstanding is that you know what’s best for him and he doesn’t. For the bliss to be there, your life has to look a certain way, be a certain way, and on your own timeline. If not, then he’s somehow sabotaging your chance at happiness.
I know because I’ve been through it many times. And believe me, it’s such a relief to let that sh*t go and actually allow for joy to happen, right now, no matter what your present situation.
The key is to allow your man to have his own process. Allow your life to play out differently than you imagined. Because only then is it possible for life to be far better than you ever imagined.
Your partner is a unique individual with his own likes, dislikes, and approach to life. That’s why you love him. So why would you insist that you know what’s best for him? You don’t. Only he does.
And straight up, criticism, judgment, and anger are huge turn offs. They lead to shutting down, not love and receptivity.
When you find yourself being hyper-judgmental or critical, you’ve moved into the space of fear. This can be a way of avoiding something that you don’t want to see. It can also be a way of avoiding your own potential for bliss.
Here are a couple areas where I used to be super judgmental, switched to allowing, and feel so much better as a result…
Sports watching. When I moved to LA 14 years ago as a massively pretentious snob (very Toronto), I couldn’t wrap my head around sports fanaticism. What a waste of time! I thought. Fast forward a decade, I shacked up with a serious Lakers fan and chose to let go of the judgment and instead be curious about why he was so devoted to this team. Well, guess who’s cheering and clapping every time Kuzma makes a shot this season? Me! Haha! So much fun.
Spiritual and Emotional Wellbeing. A decade of studying yoga and meditation, doing deep personal transformational work, being a life coach…I thought I really had a legup on what my boyfriend needs in order to feel happy. Wrong again! What works for me is unique to me. And what works for him is unique to him. We might have suggestions and ideas to offer each other, but ultimately, I need to trust that he’s finding his path with the same respect he gives me to find mine. So much better this way.
Of course there are times you might see your partner struggling or in crisis, and it’s appropriate and helpful to offer a reflection of what they perhaps can’t see themselves. Yet again, it’s essential that this come from a place of love, compassion, and respect rather than judgment, anger, and fear.
And always ask permission to give these heartfelt reflections, rather than the dreaded unsolicited advice (My boyfriend lives with a life coach. Imagine how much fun that is?!?!).
Learning to allow takes practice, yet the more you can learn to let go of your need for control, the better everyone is able to thrive.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments below, share one area of life where you feel that you’re in judgment/criticism/fear/anger toward your partner, and what you’re willing to do to let go and trust that they know what’s best for them.