Are You Facing Relationship Atrophy?
I suspect at this point in the pandemic we’ve all spent more time in close quarters with our partners, children, roommates, and maybe even parents than we ever believed possible. With the exception of a few people who seemed to absolutely thrive in this new reality, it’s been hard on most relationships.
After writing in about physical atrophy in Part 1, I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up relationship atrophy—and in Part 3, I’ll talk about atrophy in our businesses.
Atrophy—wasting away—losing what we once had. Whether that’s muscle, a connection with someone, our motivation, or something else, I don’t want you to lose any more than you’ve already lost. And I want to encourage you to work hard at gaining back what you’ve lost.
So, what might atrophy in relationships look like?
Well, I suspect for most it was a very insidious process. Spending so much time together (and with ongoing pandemic restrictions) has meant that many people aren’t really planning in time for things like dates, little moments of connecting, or meaningful acts to show some love.
But just like with our physical body, the mantra of Use it or Lose it applies. We need to work on our relationships—even when we are seeing that person morning, noon, and night of every single day!
And just like exercising, when we’ve gone without for a while, the effort to get a relationship back to a good place after it’s atrophied is a lot more than the effort to keep things going in the first place. Folks, don’t let your relationships die.
If you’ve been doing the things that keep your relationship strong, keep doing them! Keep that connection going and growing!
But if a moment of thought reveals that your relationship is not as strong as it once was (or as strong as you want it to be), start to fix it now. Do it! Whatever good things exist in your world that build up your relationship, grab them with both hands and start doing them.
Wherever you’re at right now, the effort to repair and restore things if you start today is less than the effort needed if you delay. If that’s your motivation to get started, use it.
The pandemic reminds me every day of the frailty of life, and the uncertainty that those who we care about will always be with us. Today is the best day for investing in relationships!
I know that many of the things we used to do with our loved ones just aren’t possible right now. It might take some serious innovation to find something you can do. But oh, how worth it!
I mentioned Part 1 that it took me nine months to learn how to walk again after falling ill. Many of those days I barely saw progress. It just felt like the same struggle day after day. Now, I can look back and see how every day I was making my nervous system learn to send ‘walking’ messages to my muscles, and making my muscles respond to those messages.
It’s similar with an atrophied relationship. Some days (maybe even many days) it will feel like you’re not making any progress. Hang in there! The progress is happening. And it’s worth every struggling step to get there.
This was your warning if you were waiting for one. Today is the best day to fight atrophy in your relationships. COVID has taken so much from us, but the connections you have with the people you love are within your power to strengthen. Go for it!