What makes a relationship good?

I had a brief and harrowing affair recently that initially appeared to have everything going for it, yet once I dove in it was nothing but struggle and disappointment. As soon as I realized the long hard road ahead, and that the best thing I could do for myself and everyone around me was to move on, I opened my eyes to other options and the perfect partner appeared, just like that, no struggle, just wonderful synchronicity.

Ok, I’m not talking about a man. I’m talking about an online scheduling software program, BUT, it drew so many parallels to life and relationships I couldn’t help but tease you with this metaphor.

I’ve experienced it myself, and I see it happening with so many women around me. That struggle to make it fit, make the relationship work, even when the current reality makes it impossible or entirely unpleasant, is rampant. I believe this happens for two main reasons: 1-fear of being alone, and 2-setting your sights too much on potential and not enough on present reality.

On a quest to understand what makes a relationship good, particularly those of the love partnership variety, I’ve made a point of paying close attention to couples I know that are actually really happy with each other (unfortunately rare). I spend time with them, I talk to them about their relationship, I observe, and I ask questions. A recurring theme is the absence of struggle. This doesn’t mean that life doesn’t serve them a poop-load of challenges, or that everything in their relationship is great all the time. What it does mean is that they don’t struggle with each other.

86 Kate and Rocky
Clearly these two make each others’ lives better.

From the onset, things just flowed. And when tough times arise, they support each other, boost each other, and get through it as gracefully and lovingly as possible. Essentially, they make each others’ lives easier, more harmonious, better.

Is that too much to ask? No! It’s exactly what you should be asking. For this I must return to my metaphor. I sought out an online scheduling software program to integrate with my website. I did this to make my life easier, and my clients’ lives easier. I did this to increase the harmonious flow of my business. After much research, unfortunately I made the wrong choice. When I sat down in front of it, it took way too much time, it was not intuitive, and it ultimately didn’t meet my needs. I realized I could either continue paying for it and do my best to make it work for what I wanted, or I could let it go and seek out a better option for me.

I chose the latter, and wow, within no time, I was up and running with the right program for my website and my needs. It was fast, user-friendly, looked good, stress-free and basically everything I wanted. If I hadn’t had the struggle with the first option, I wouldn’t even have known my needs so intimately, or how much better the second option fit my business model.

In a sense, the struggle was a necessary learning experience to lead me to a better fit. I think the same is true for relationships.

We tend to already live quite complicated and stressful lives. Why make it even more so by being in a partnership that causes emotional distress and pain? Just because you see that someone is an amazing person and has all the potential in the world, doesn’t override the current circumstances that are making your life difficult. Ask yourself, how do I feel in this relationship? Then ask yourself, how would I feel to be free of this relationship? Take note of how your body reacts to these questions.

The right fit is out there for you. You don’t need to force yourself into something that brings you down. The relationships that you choose to bring into your life should be the ones that lift you up, the ones where you feel supported and able to support in return. The flow should be harmonious and joyful, so that when the challenges do arise, they can be met with love and compassion.

Take action now:
1) In the comments below, share how this resonates with you. Are your relationships a struggle, or do they flow with harmony and ease?
2) Share this article with someone you love who could use a little more flow in their lives.
3) Check out my new super easy scheduling software to book your sessions with me, including FREE Feel Good Goddess consultations. You can access it right HERE.

See you in the flow,
Sasha

Published by Sasha Marie Stone

Happiness Engineer at Automattic, work-from-home wellness expert, life coach, and dog mom.

5 thoughts on “What makes a relationship good?

  1. I feel compelled to offer a different perspective…

    Relationships are extremely complex. And meaningful, lasting relationships take diligence and work…on both sides. Show me someone with “the perfect partner” with “no struggle” and nothing but “wonderful synchronicity” … and I’ll show you someone in the honeymoon phase of their relationship. What often appears as perfect and effortless at the beginning… later reveals itself as limited or unfulfilling in unexpected ways.

    What happens when you want more out of the relationship? What happens when you want to take things to the next level? And the next? Will the perfect-no-struggle-synchronistic partner be able to meet your needs? Will the same partner that met your need for immediate comfort and ease also be able to meet your evolving needs for greater depth and more complexity? Will the partner be there to work through things when inevitable problems arise? Will the partner be there at all in 5, 10, 15 years?

    The truth is relationships are extremely complex, as are businesses of any size or scope, as is software that empowers those businesses. I know a little about all three, having been in two relationships lasting over 26 years total, and… having co-founded the software company you recently left. 🙂

    I will admit that if you want to keep your business very small and very simple and have no plans of evolving it beyond that in the future, you can probably get by just fine with software that – like a relationship – essentially meets you on that same level. But if you ever want more – especially if you ever want a LOT more – it involves a level of complexity (under the hood) that is almost impossible to explain to someone until they’ve been there. (Kind of like asking someone with kids who’s been married more than 5 years to explain to someone who just started dating & is wide-eyed in love… what all goes into a long-term relationship like that. You’ll likely get a blank stare and a shoulder shrug – impossible to sum up. You gotta go there to know there.)

    We started creating software for businesses like yours in 1998, so that’s 16 years of listening, creating, evolving. And some passionate, brilliant folks have committed their lives to it since then – all to accommodate the complex relationships that ultimately develop between you and your Clients, because ultimately that’s the relationship we support. Is it as simple as we’d all like it to be to get set up and going? No. Is it struggle free on your part? No. Are we evolving ourselves continuously to make it easier for you? Yes! Is the work and diligence worth it in the end? The truth is, like any relationship, only time and experience reveals the answer to that question. I know tens of thousands who say a resounding yes, but ultimately it’s a very personal, individual answer – every person, business, and relationship is unique…

    I sincerely wish you the best with your new romance. Please let me know how it goes. 🙂

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    1. Dear Blake,
      Thank you for offering this thoughtful perspective. I completely agree with you and I certainly did not mean to downplay the complexity of relationships, especially long term commitments. I actually don’t believe there is such thing as a “perfect partner.” Yet I do believe there is a big difference between people that uplift you and people that bring you down. There are those who you flow with quite easily and those who cause much struggle and strife. Yes, relationships go through their ups and downs, but it is precisely the “honeymoon phase” as you term it that I’m talking about.

      I see so many women, and I myself have experienced it, struggling their way through that initial phase trying with all their might to make something work that is clearly working against them. The ones that do have strong lasting relationships are the ones that actually do get to experience a joyful honeymoon phase, and are willing and able to put in the work after that to keep things flowing, glowing, and expanding.
      A relationship that didn’t pose any challenges would be boring. But a relationship that makes you feel bad about who you are is not healthy.

      In regards to your company, well, that’s a different discussion entirely which I’m happy to have with you in detail if you like. There’s certainly no accusation for lack of complexity, but perhaps that complexity is getting in the way of the simplicity that’s needed for the scaled down version of your product to be more functional. Unfortunately, I was also mislead from the getgo about what those capabilities would be. Though I have no doubt that if I were a large studio your software would be ideal, for a solopreneur such as myself at this point it just does not meet my needs.

      Let’s chat more if you like. Feel free to email me at sasha@sashamariestone.com or call 323-823-8963

      Like

      1. Thank you, Sasha. Believe it or not I completely agree with you & would love to talk to you in more detail about your experience – I will reach out. I love your relationship analogy and am wondering if, when it comes to business software, the initial phase isn’t more akin to training for a marathon than embarking on a new romance. 🙂 Still, it doesn’t escape us that we let you down and we feel bad about that and want to know how we can do better in the future… if not with you, at least with those we get engaged with in the future. (Let’s face it, our current and future relationships always benefit from the mistakes we made in past ones…)

        Kind regards,
        Blake

        Like

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