Is This All There Is?

Couples Coaching

Written by: Steve Hartline Cella Hartline

Is this all there is?  Individuals have been asking themselves this question since the beginning of time. We, as humans seek to make sense or find meaning in our “being”.

We also reflect on this basic question in our relationships. At one point or another, the thought occurs, “is this all there is?” The answer and decisive action moving forward will decide whether to stay the course in quiet desperation, seek fulfillment through extra-marital affairs or cheating on our partner, addiction to substances or social media, or ______________________(you fill in the blank here).

As we coach couples, talk with friends, and coach others individually we have been posed this question many times.  As we dig into the “is this all there is?” question, we have heard several deeper meanings which include but are not limited to:

  • Total dissatisfaction with life or the relationship they find themselves in
  • Lack of fulfillment
  • Seeking outside of themselves to have others fill a void (i.e. happiness, loneliness, self-worth)
  • Lack of personal/professional boundaries
  • Expectations that are not being met/fulfilled
  • Have become complacent with what is and unable to see different options or what else could be. A form of status quo “syndrome.”
  • Lack of creativity
  • Lack of accountability within the relationship—choosing to complain about partner instead of initiating change or taking some type of different action
  • “I don’t know syndrome’ which shows the failure to communicate or talk about any real fears or feelings
  • The loss of self within the relationship
  • Used as form of protection and withdrawal from reality of the situation you find yourself in
  • Whatever meaning it has for you not mentioned here ___________________________

Our best tips:

  • Have the hard conversations and dig into the ultimate meanings behind the statement/question
  • Choose to speak up and discuss what is working/not working within the relationship
  • Define clear expectations and boundaries with each other going forward
  • Reflect on the contribution you have made to get to this place in the relationship. In other words, what level of accountability must you take right now?  Then take ownership and share what you have learned with your partner.
  • Determine how you will be intentional/courageous moving forward to the changes that are needed to improve your relationship.

“Is this all there is” requires some deep interpersonal reflection and deciding what you want to be different within the relationship.  Then it will take intention and commitment to change those aspects that need to be changed to get to the type of relationship that you ultimately desire to have.  Change is not easy, but so worth it!  How do you want your relationship to be different?

What are you waiting for? Take action now!



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