Feeling overwhelmed by your relationship?

Photo/FILE

The tussle of being in love on one hand, but wary of the possibility of getting hurt on the other drains energy.

What you need to know:

  • Love shouldn’t be a burden, if yours feels like too much work, there is an issue that needs to be resolved urgently

A young man went to see a counselor at the insistence of his colleagues, who noticed that he was behaving rather abnormally—looking upbeat one day, and completely depressed the next.

Robert was in a relationship, but what his friends did not know was that the relationship was only a few months old; to them, it seemed as if he was married already!

Why would such a young relationship cause such drastic reactions? Let’s find out by following this man to his counselor’s office.

Validate feeling

The counselor began by pointing out that what he was feeling was valid, since relationships touch every aspect of our lives. In this case, the first thing for Robert to do was to accept that he was overwhelmed.

As he listened to the counselor, he realised that the relationship was draining his energy, and he could hardly concentrate on anything.

To cover this feeling from his colleagues, he would often talk about how he liked his job, which he immersed himself in, getting himself totally worn out.

There are various reasons why a relationship can overwhelm anyone, whether it is a first one, a new one or an established one.

To start with, if one is in doubt about the relationship, it is likely to sap a lot of energy, mentally and psychologically at first, then physically.

For example, one might get into a relationship with someone who still has feelings, or even links with an ex.

This creates uncertainty, and unconsciously, the mental defenses kick in to prepare one for the worst. It is this tussle of being in love on one hand, but wary of the possibility of getting hurt on the other, that drains energy.

Another possible reason is having an insecure partner. This is the person who is all over you, tracking your movements, demanding more of your time than you can possibly give, and generally overwhelming you.

When you add the normal excitement of being in love and the pressure of everyday living, this can be completely draining.

A third possible reason is being mentally unprepared for a relationship. This happens to people who get into a relationship too quickly, jumping over key initial steps like knowing each other and bonding.

Sooner or later, the initial excitement might wear off, leaving a shell that demands a lot of energy to keep afloat.

Is there a way out?

Let’s look at solutions that applied to Robert’s case. Looking at his relationship, he picked the last reason as the most likely cause - he and the girlfriend got together a few months before graduation, the major reason being that ‘all’ their friends were leaving university in pairs.

To prove that their relationship was real, they soon started sleeping together. All this time, he had a nagging feeling that this was going too fast for him, and that he needed to settle down first before he could get into a serious relationship.

He did not want to upset his girlfriend, so wore a façade of happiness that only made things worse.

Once the cause was identified, it was easy for the counsellor to help Robert to deal with what he was feeling.

Though he did not end his relationship, he informed his girlfriend that he would like to ‘go slower’ and although she appeared unhappy, she accepted his decision.

The key to resolving such an issue therefore, is to be honest with yourself and accept that something needs to be done. One might need to seek the help of a professional, but an honest personal assessment discussed with someone you trust will yield good results.

This should be followed by an honest discussion with your partner, so that he/she too clearly understands what is happening and becomes part of the solution.

Love shouldn’t be a burden, if it is, then find out why, and together, find a solution.

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