Sustaining Balanced Relationships
This article was originally published in the June/July edition of Expat Ladies in Bangkok, here.
“It is important for all relationships to be balanced, respectful and rewarding”
Relationships continually evolve and require hard work and effort to maintain; whatever stage they’re at. This can often be exciting, liberating, exhausting, frustrating and confining all at the same time and that’s without any other external pressure or influence making demands on it, or of the people involved in it, that can have a detrimental effect on how we think, feel and behave towards the other person and the relationship.
Relocating to Bangkok is a perfect example where such pressure can present many different challenges that change our relationship with others. Whilst you may, or may not, have chosen to move to Bangkok the upheaval and resettling involved can be an unexpected and unwanted strain on the venture. No-one can ever appreciate the demands of living in another country, until you actually do it for yourself. This is especially true of Bangkok where culture, language and social diversity can all be issues when trying to make the city feel like ‘home’.
Being removed from your existing support network can also make these challenges feel overwhelming and magnify a sense of isolation that you were not prepared for. It could be that your partner, parents, friends, family or children have their own issues to deal with whilst you are looking to them for support. This can leave you questioning your relationship and asking “What About Me?” whilst feeling separated and further isolated from those closest to you when you need them most.
We often form relationships to enhance our self-esteem and to ensure procreation whilst subconsciously they can improve our work performance and sustain our mental health. For a relationship to work successfully we have to feel that we can be ourselves within it and, whilst we may be able to adjust, or fine-tune, our behaviour in order to live in harmony, ultimately we cannot sustain being a completely different person.
Compromise is a pre-requisite of any relationship, but not to the detriment of either person involved. It is often believed that it is necessary for one person to go without their needs being met when a compromise is being sought by the other. On the contrary you have to work at reaching a compromise and between you reach an agreement through mutual concession that both people are happy to move forward with.
To sustain a good relationship it is essential to be aware that ups and downs are par for the course but that both of you focus on getting through them together rather than letting them tear you apart. The responsibility for the success and failure of any relationship is not for one person alone; every relationship should be equal and based on a 50/50 split that requires the input of both people involved and to take part.
Communication is the key to allowing each other this opportunity and as such we must be honest and open whilst always listening to what the other person has to say; whether you always like what they say or not. Giving each other the time to talk and listening to what each other has to say develops and confirms a mutual respect and importance for each other’s feelings and opinions despite external demands.
Children, work pressures and day-to-day life experiences can make this extremely difficult and often communication is the first to be discarded when a need for functionality is required to get things done. However, it is the responsibility of both people involved to be aware if this happens and to address the matter accordingly; ‘date nights’ and scheduling time for each other can be an important and necessary way of re-focusing on the relationship and what better city to do that in than Bangkok with its abundance of restaurants and bars literally on your doorstep.