It has been a wild time for relationships. Whether you’ve been locked-in with your partner or you’ve been separated by distance with no clear idea when you’ll see each other next, each relationship has had to navigate unique struggles, concerns and issues.
Recently in session I’ve noticed that both the relationship dynamics have been challenged and the individual has changed. With all the social, cultural, political, emotional, mental, professional structures changing around us it’s left the individual asking – so what’s next?
Sound familiar? It may be time for a relationship reset.
I find it incredibly useful for couples to engage in a relationship reset every so often. These resets could be useful in a range of contexts: you’re moving into a different life stage (kids moving out of home), something not-so-great has happened (death in the family, lost job), you’re living through a pandemic (enough said), you’re navigating relational issues (infidelity, attraction to other, low desire for intimacy), a sense of feeling stuck, uninspired, bored… Or it could just be that you’re curious and you want to make your relationship even better. For these reasons, and more, a little reset can do wonders for the system.
If you relate to this, here’s what I’d suggest:
Identify the benefit: This will involve some solo self inquiry. Before you bring up the process of a relationship reset with your partner, I invite you to feel into what it is you need, want and what a reset might offer you. Feel into how it will benefit your relationship as well as what you’re willing and wanting to do. It may even be useful to write this down so you’re really clear when speaking with your partner.
Communicate: This can feel like a tricky skill to learn though solid communication skills can support you in a relationship pulse check, asking – what’s working? what isn’t? What could we do to make this even better? I believe attuned communication can solve most relational concerns. I know this can be easier said than done, so firstly feel into what it is you need, create the context for an open and honest discussion (at a time that is relatively good for both of you), speak from the perspective of ‘I’ and intend to listen and understand each other. At the end of the day. Most humans just want to feel seen, heard and understood.
Set an action plan: Grand ideas are wonderful, exciting, promising!! But true resets and change comes from ‘doing’. So sit down and agree to a plan of action. This doesn’t need to be anything too intense – choose a few daily habits or weekly activities that are easy to integrate.
This may involve setting agreements around how to have a ‘good fight’ – one agreement may be we will not walk away or withdraw from the fight, we may need to have a break and in this case we will let the other person know and whoever initiates the break needs to be the one to call time in again.
The action plan can even be a little exciting! Like taking turns to create or initiate moments of intimacy and pleasure. Some couples love predictability so will agree to a specific night/s of the week, but others thrive off spontaneity and creativity so the experience you plan may come as a wonderful surprise to other.
Engage in new behaviours: We’re all about rewiring neural pathways, and the best way to hack your nervous system is to engage in new behaviours, thoughts and experiences (we can make sense of this when we look to neuroplasticity which is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganisation.
A new behaviour may be a couples meditation, attending a workshop, investing in new toys – there are some great couples toys out there on the market like We-Vibes Chorus or even the humble blindfold… figuring out what excites you both can be a great learning – once you’ve decided on it, and everyone involved is willing and excited – give it a go.
Do things differently: I love working with this phrase – anytime you feel stuck, uninspired, awkward or clunky – remember, you’re intending to do things differently – that’s why you’re engaging in a relationship reset. It may take some time, and it certainly may be a little clunky, though that’s a sign that you’re at your ‘learning edge’ which is a great space to lean into as a couple.
Professional support: Sure there are certainly processes you can try on your own, though sometimes you may need external and professional support. There are so many great professionals who are qualified to support you, and who work with couples just like you on a daily basis. You may choose to seek support from a coach, therapist, online course, a workbook etc. You don’t have to navigate this on your own!
The best thing about having a relationship is that it’s yours. So communicate your needs and boundaries, discuss your relational agreements and do what is right for you!
About the author: Georgia Grace is a sex coach and sexual wellness expert for We-Vibe.