Your relationship feels off kilter, it’s not how it used to be, the niggles out-weigh the love you feel and you’re struggling to see the positives, or find the feelings for the person you first met.

The dog-chewed comfy old slippers are the pink elephant in the middle of the lounge every night in front of the television. How have they entered our lives? Maybe they’ve sneaked in the back door, growing imperceptibly through habitual wearing until they become that pink elephant.

Banishing their presence from your lives may seem like the answer. Finding the opposite of what they represent: routine, steadiness, ennui, monotony and even weariness seems like the only solution to the frustration you’re feeling about the combined life you’ve jointly created. After all you’re married/together/ in a partnership; it’s surely a shared venture involving both individuals to make it work…?

The argument makes sense – that you need two people to collaborate in nurturing and repairing a relationship or else it will wither away. And they do -frequently.

One side of the argument is where a partner feels they are doing all of the inputting into the relationship, whilst receiving little from the other partner who appears oblivious to the situation or is making little effort. If they were aware or wanted to improve the relationship then surely they would make the necessary changes demanded by the ‘giving’ partner?

These are one person’s expectations of another. This is where the discrepancy lies in that our expectations of people and relationships are all different even within a marriage. The other person is unable to meet your own requirements without trying very hard which is both unsustainable and inauthentic for them. So, disappointment is another emotional ingredient added to the pot of bubbling emotions, rapidly reaching boiling point and the next fracas on the menu.

Being overly responsible in our relationships and for others is a way of being we take on voluntarily, especially in close intimate relationships. It may not feel to have been taken on willingly and rather that it was foisted upon us in difficult circumstances or simply from wanting to help and support others, but it is nevertheless a choice we assimilate into our daily lives.

There is a connection between being overly bound by duty and life feeling serious, resulting in a sense of stuckness as we are in it, doing it and living with it everyday. It’s a lot easier to apply glue than it is to remove it.

There is nothing wrong with you for wanting more in your relationship. The need for change is a natural course life follows with events and age. Whatever the drive within you to find what you want, will exist until you satisfy it.

We have to create our own lives by exploring new ground, remembering what fulfills us, identifying what is enjoyable and asking for help so that the next stage of growth can emerge. Listening to our intuition, practicing mindfulness and meditation can question our attitudes, our relationships with others, healthy boundaries, what’s working and what’s out of balance.

If you start to show up differently in your relationship then your partner will see it and respond differently, as well as being excited by it and you. Seek out what you need for yourself first and foremost. Take off the dog-eaten slippers and shoo out the pink elephant. Celebrate the differences between each other rather than trying to become one unit. You exist as individuals; recognizing this is where we find our passion for ourself, our partner and our relationship.