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Is it Solvable or Unsolvable?

We all have problems from time to time. Some are solvable, and others appear to be unsolvable. 

Solvable relationship problems are related to your needs. There are emotional and functional needs. Emotionally I need to feel loved. My 'functional' need is to have my house clean and the yard mowed. That way my life will work better. 

Needs are negotiable, but if not met, you will experience an issue that makes you unhappy and needs to be discussed to be resolved.

Requirements are not negotiable. They tend to be black or white. When you are definite about an issue, and your partner takes a different position, you may have an unsolvable problem. 

Knowing your requirements is crucial. They are the relationship makers or breakers. They are frequently confused with needs and wants. Having children is a good example of a requirement. For some having children is a requirement to be happy. Others are dead set on not having children. To have or not have children will probably lead to an unsolvable problem for a couple if you are not in agreement. Many stay in a relationship thinking they can get the other person to change their minds. Thinking we can get another person to change usually doesn't work. It is best to be clear on your requirements before entering a relationship.

There are four alternatives for solving an unsolvable problem.

1. Stay in the relationship and be unhappy.
2. Leave the relationship.
3. Let go of the problem - People do this when they realize the relationship is more important than having the problem. Requirements are core to who you are and the life and relationship you want, and it is pretty rare to be able to let go of one. 
4. Compromise - When you compromise you give up some of what you need to meet in the middle.There are some areas where there is no way to meet in the middle. 

Most all of us agree we want to be happy.  Sometimes it is clear the relationship is not going to work to make you happy and leaving is a natural choice.  But for many, this isn't an easy choice. If there are children and property involved it gets complicated, and there is a lot to consider. 

Many of you may think there is something wrong with you if you can't get your partner to change and be the person you want them to be. Everyone has their unique inborn temperament and personality that is not likely to change much over the years. 

Some people are more willing to pursue growth and can make changes at their partner's request. Others have a 'fixed' mindset, and they will say such this as "This is the way I am, and I can't change." 

Of course, it is always up to you whether you stay or leave the relationship. But if you decide to stay how can you find a way to be happy even if your partner has a 'fixed' mindset and is not willing to be influenced, I suggest compromise as a last resort. A win-win is a better approach. To accomplish either successfully it may take a lot of talking and dialogue. But if your partner isn't willing to discuss, how do you still own your power and assert your needs and desires? 

If you can influence your partner to talk and make the behavior changes you request, great. If you can't get them to meet any of your needs how do you go about taking care of yourself without expecting anything from them? That is a tough challenge.

© Relationship Coaching Institute | All rights reserved | Adapted with permission


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Before coaching, I had a lot of fear and anxiety that kept me from doing things I knew I should do to get ahead. I was tired of being alone and not having a relationship. When I did go out with a guy, within the first few dates anxieties and behaviors that I thought I was past resurfaced. I felt like I couldn't control myself or my emotions. I felt terribly insecure and desperate. I thought I needed to settle for whoever would be with me even though they were not my ideal mate. 
Finally, I said to myself “enough is enough”.  I realized that I was never going to figure this out on my own.  I also recognized that this wasn't something that was a medical necessity for which my health insurance would pay.  A relationship coach was just what I needed.
I loved that no matter how crazy I sounded to myself my coach seemed always to understand what I was saying and feeling and made sense of it. 
Since coaching, I have gained confidence in myself and am now married to a wonderful man. This increased confidence and communication skills have also showed up in my professional life, and I have increased my income 50%.
Thank you, Dr. Marian, for all the help you have given me. 

Lee S.