When You’re Thinking About Decluttering Your Relationship
Have you binge watched the Marie Kondo Netflix series on the magic of tidying up yet?
If you’re like me, you’ve been flooded with notifications and emails about it, and maybe you’ve been talking about it too.
Admittedly I haven’t watched the new series, but I read the book — The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up — a few years ago.
I’m definitely guilty of hanging onto things more than needed.
What can I say, I’m the product of the daughter of a poor Irish immigrant, who grew up thinking the gift of a ball was like the best thing ever and continues to bring giant bags of “props” made out of paper towel tubes to entertain my kids when she comes to visit (they love it).
Personally, I was lucky to grow up with more than enough resources myself, but the influence and mindset around “things” hung on.
The book makes some good points, and while I don’t strictly follow the process in any way (that would take me weeks), I do force myself out of my comfort zone at times to get rid of certain things that no longer spark joy (except once I let go of a book that I later wanted…oops!)
Yet one of my concerns in this era of self-help and personal development is this idea of simply cutting off as a solution …
While it does work and I’m all about boundaries and removing yourself from toxic situations and people…
Sometimes I think we go too far with this.
Maybe your partner no longer sparks joy for you because you are constantly fighting, not seeing eye to eye, feeling disconnected and lonely even when you’re with them.
That can literally feel like life or death.
The obvious solution might then be to cut yourself off.
“Separate to elevate,” as I’ve heard.
That might be what everyone around you is telling you to do, too.
They’re especially on your case to Marie Kondo your partner if they’ve cheated on you. As Esther Perel has written about, our cultural narrative now shames you for STAYING after infidelity.
“You deserve better,” they say.
And I agree that you deserve the best.
Not someone who you can’t connect with.
Definitely not someone who cheats on you.
It’s a giant paradox, because cutting off at times IS the best solution – particularly if you are in an abusive relationship (if that may be the case, please go here now to get some free and confidential support).
Many times, however, it’s NOT an abusive or toxic situation that you’re in, you’ve just lost each other, trapped in a seemingly endless negative pattern, and you’re both suffering as a result because you both desire to find each other again.
This is even true sometimes when partners cheat.
I’m not excusing it, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your relationship, in fact, many couples experience post-traumatic growth after infidelity and create an even richer relationship than before.
So…prior to cutting yourself off from your partner…unless you’re really ready to because it’s truly toxic and/or abusive…think twice.
Get some support from an expert.
There are pros who understand what love is all about and to show you how to untangle your wires so you can start sparking that joy for each other again.
Attempt rehab before you amputate.
It’s still a minimalist process — focusing on what’s salient, and getting rid of the garbage of misperceptions, escalating negative feelings and faulty narratives.
Just don’t mistake the garbage for each other.
Emotionally Focused Therapy is a process that can assist you tremendously.
Get some expert support before decluttering.
That’s all I ask of you!