Some things I have done to cope...stay involved in a lot of activites, even take on a few extra. I try not to turn down any invitations. I play sports, I go on outings with friends, I sit on a board of a non-profit, I volunteer my time, I keep busy. I didn't drop everything when I started this relationship and most days it's all I can do to keep up my house, my friendships, my work, and my relationship with my SO. Doing one of any of the above things usually means something else has to give.
To cope, I have read books. A friend recommended a NLP book and one I just started called "Be Who You Want, Have What You Want: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life." That book is about finding happiness in your life and taking deliberate steps to achieve happiness. It has exercises to do at the end of each chapter. I stumbled on another book that I really liked called "If The Buddha Dated." I think I found it on another thread around here, actually.
That dating book led me to my third coping path which was learning about Buddhism. A friend recommended Zencast, a podcast about Buddhism, and it's been fascinating. I'm not a religious person, but, to me so far, Buddhism looks like more of a practice than a faith. I like the idea of letting go of my attachments to some things I really want, things that I long for. If I could let go of my pretty idea of a future, I think I could cope better with being a secondary who doesn't know where this relationship could go besides where it is now.
I also talk to my SO about my feelings all the time. He is loving and patient, but sometimes it gets to the point where *I* don't want to hear it anymore!
Most, if not all, of the activities above are adding to and enriching my life. I'm not regretting any of them, but what tends to creep into my thinking...wouldn't it be great to do them all WITH a partner?
So, coping doesn't really work since it doesn't solve the problem, but it leads to other good things.
Originally Posted by idealist
Intimate relationships are extremely rewarding and I do depend on them. Most of the things I value in life can only be realized in relationship, so relationships are extremely important for me. That said- any time I begin to feel like I'm not getting enough from a particular person, it is a flag for me to take charge of my life. I like to consider things like- what is my purpose in life? What are my strengths, gifts and talents? How can I contribute to others? Perhaps I could focus more on my clients and develop more meaningful connections with them which will enhance the services I am providing to them. Am I happy with my career? What about my retirement plan?
Idealist, I really like your approach of putting other aspects of my life under the microscope to see what I can do there to alleviate any dissatisfaction. I know that my recent restlessness has caused me to repaint my dining room and rearrange my furniture in my living room, both things I've been meaning to do for years. What else can I reorganize? Hmm.