Ask Conscious Girlfriend: Aren’t relationships supposed to be hard work?

P.S. I love you chalk drawing with heartBY RUTH L. SCHWARTZ, PH.D.

Dear C.G.,

I don’t understand the statement on your retreat page about learning to create “a relationship that just works, rather than one that feels like hard work.” Aren’t relationships always hard work? (It sure seems like it to me!) After all, two people are always going to be different and have different needs.

Sometimes I’ve imagined that the only path to happiness would be to find someone who is exactly like me in habits, preferences and communication style. But I’m not sure that person exists, and I don’t know if I’d be attracted to her if she did! Yet the endless work just doesn’t feel worth it to me any more. Maybe you two are just two in a million, or something? I’d appreciate any insight you can share.

Disillusioned in Daytona Beach

Dear Disillusioned,

Have you ever tried not washing any of your dishes and not putting anything away in your house for months on end? Can you imagine what would happen if you did? You’d quickly have such an overwhelming, stinky mess that you might be tempted to just move out, rather than face the massive amount of work involved in cleaning it up.

Unfortunately, that’s what many of us unwittingly do in our relationships. I don’t know about you, but I personally grew up without knowing a single queer couple, much less any happy, healthy ones. And my parents’ way of handling conflict was to yell at each other, throw things, lie, have affairs, and eventually split up, so they certainly didn’t give me a model for how to “keep a clean house” in love.

Even if you were lucky enough to grow up witnessing a good marriage, we all know that watching something doesn’t automatically make us able to do it ourselves (otherwise we’d all be Olympic-level athletes, right?)

Relationships only feel like endless work if we don’t know how to do the small, hourly and daily steps that keep love running smoothly. Yes, you do have to be willing to do the emotional equivalent of washing your plate and fork after you eat. No, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming!

Michelle and I created Conscious Girlfriend to help other lesbians and queer women get on the “fast track” to relationship happiness. Yes, there is one! You can learn how to become aware of the choices you have available in every single moment – and then make choices that produce the outcomes you want (deep connection, harmony, mutual enjoyment, lasting love), rather than the ones that don’t.

The two of us do feel very blessed to have found each other – but we’re also aware that if we didn’t make the right choices, hour by hour and day by day, our relationship would quickly become a stinking mess. These choices don’t have to feel hard; in fact, a big one involves bringing more compassion to yourself, which feels exquisitely good once you get the hang of it! We also teach you how to access more self-awareness and healing, which will help you get happier, as well as, yes, creating a relationship that “just works, rather than feeling like a lot of work.”

It’s certainly possible to live a good life as a single person. But deep inside, most of us long for a deeply connected, joyful love. I understand that you’ve grown disillusioned by your past efforts to create one, but it sounds like you’ve been working without tools. So we invite you to check out our many articles, videos and free events – and then consider signing up for our membership program (the most affordable way to get our help), our coaching (the most targeted and intensive way to get our help), or, yes, our retreat – where you can build community as well as skills!

In love,

Visit Conscious Girlfriend to get your free copy of “The Five Keys to a Happy Lesbian Relationship!” and check out our amazing upcoming retreat, too!

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