I tend to dislike food detoxes/cleanses because of my love of food as well as my tendency to get really cranky when I am hungry. I also often feel tired and sick for the first 5 days of the process. Yet, I admit, when I surrender to it, what I love about doing a food cleanse or detox is that after the yucky (body/emotional withdrawal) symptoms pass, my skin begins to glow, my mood improves, I feel mentally clearer, and I have a lot more energy. It resets my entire body, mind, spirit, and energy system.
What if a food cleanse/detox had similar benefits as a relationship detox? First, when we hear the term "relationship detox" we tend to think it's related to a past relationship. Examples of comments people have made to describe their experience of a "post" relationship detox include, "I am going to take a break from dating [my marriage, relationships]" or "I am only going to date myself for awhile" or "I need to focus on self care and figure out who I am before I am with anyone else." Interestingly with those individuals I have worked with I think two out of hundreds were able to actually do this for a year (both were women and watching them transform was REALLY beautiful!).
Detoxing post-relationship can be extremely useful in clearing one's mind, heart, and spirit. I invite and encourage this type of detox if a relationship has ended to clear the path for a new relationship where one isn't repeating the same behaviors or patterns, especially if their past relationship was toxic.
While a post-relationship detox may be useful for some, what if you could do a relationship cleanse while in your current relationship? Might this serve as a means of giving your relationship a reset or even a fresh start from toxic or dysfunctional habits and patterns? What if you or your partner feel the need to detox in order to open to newfound mental, spiritual, emotional and sexual clarity for the benefit of your relationship? Can this be healthy or does it signify that the relationship is in dire straits?
I believe it can be healthy and can significantly improve your relationship on all levels if both people in the coupleship are willing to participate.
First, let me be clear on what this type of relationship detox IS NOT:
- It is not cheating on your spouse with any person, device, substance, or thing
- It is not keeping secrets from your spouse or being deceptive
- It is not disrespecting your spouse and relationship via not coming home, staying out until all hours of the night, sowing your "wild oats"
- It is not a mid-life crisis where everyone around you suffers while you act like a spoiled, hormone raging teenager
- It is not a means to feed an addiction
- It is not an "easy out" to leave your relationship
If the above issues are occurring or are renting space in your head, they get to be addressed in therapy by a relationship/intimacy expert.
A healthy relationship detox involves both people in the relationship. Both of you must agree to participate since this can truly enhance your relationship and level of intimacy and connection with one another. To only have one person do it can actually backfire.
The signs that a relationship detox is in order in your relationship include:
- Constant fighting
- Inability to communicate without contempt, defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling
- Lack of intimacy or sex, or disconnected intimacy or sex (indeed a bit of an oxymoron)
- On-going drama, tension, strife
If you are experiencing the above issues in your current relationship (none of which are due to an active addiction or other crisis-oriented situation), partaking in a relationship detox together may be for you (although if you are unsure I recommend consulting with a relationship/intimacy expert).
Note: Do these on your own so that your process doesn't become a judgement fest. If you want to come together later to share with open minds as friends would--do so. But give yourself time to do these.
The goal of a relationship detox is to reset and get clarity. Keep this in mind as you read through the following tipster experiencing a healthy relationship detox together:
1. Five-fifteen (5-15) Mins of a Self Care/Morning and Night Ritual~Both of you need to increase your self care during this time (key word "self"). Learning to sit alone with ourselves can be a beautiful way to achieve a sense of solitude rather than feeling lonely or experiencing loneliness. I realize you may have small children, hectic schedules, and full time jobs--which is the very reason why increasing self care is so crucial. Self care doesn't mean "other focus" or other care (or screen time). The latter are examples of being in your partner's business, which is not yours to tend to. Self care can mean 5 mins in the morning of lighting a candle, listening to soft music and breathing before the kids get up while you lay in your bed! If that means getting up at 5:45 a.m. to have those 5 mins, do it! You will notice a difference. Self care can mean going to bed 30 mins earlier than usual without screens and reading a funny or romantic or inspiring book. It can mean journalling in the morning and night (that takes 5 mins!). A Calm mind equals a calm body equals a calm experience of the world. APPS: Insight timer app, headspace app are great for music, meditation, yoga.
2. Make your bedroom a sacred space (a zero "drama" zone). Most people dislike hearing what I am going to say next but here goes: If you want this to work then put your screens away! You are detoxing--yes you will feel physical withdrawals from your phones etc, but you need this time to clear your mind, heart, and soul. Pick up a book, color in an adult coloring book, journal, or listen to some music. You will be amazed at the wisdom that comes to you.
3. Read or listen to these three books in this order: "Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work" by John and Julie Gottman; "Mating in Captivity" by Esther Perel; "The Path To Love" by Deepak Chopra. Different books but powerful and enlightening! If you feel inclined and can do so from a calm and non-critical mental space, share passages with your partner.
4. Exercise. I realize that this can be SO hard. I too have struggled with exercise over the past several years. But I woke up one morning about a month ago and decided it was time for a change. I joined a studio that day and started a daily practice of Pilates and Yoga. I as well as my husband have noticed an incredible change inside as well as outside of me. I had forgotten how much exercise could heal our minds and spirits as much as our bodies and pave the way for clarity and insight. Happy hormones help our relationships!
5. Hit the reset button. Start over! Each morning is a new day. Let go of yesterday and start fresh with yourself and your partner. If there is residue from yesterday with your partner, write it in your journal. You will need to find a way to express it in a healthy way. Gottman's book offers a guide and couples therapy can also work wonders. Again, I am not talking about doing this with pent up resentments from betrayals etc. We have an entire program and process for couples with chronic betrayal.
In order to have a successful relationship detox as a couple, it is essential that you cleanse your mind, body and spirit (I don't necessarily mean spirit in a context of religion although you can use it as it applies to you).
When our relationships have build up, similar to our bodies, we need to take step back and assess what the issue is as well as implement lasting changes. Detoxing is a great way to clear out the old, get some fresh perspective, and start new. You can do this in your current relationship if both of you are willing. You will be amazed at what you experience.
Join me beginning in January 2018 for my on-line course as I assist singles and couples on a 6-month journey where you will experience an increase in your mind, body and spirit's wisdom, gain a lust for life, work to clear out past residue in order to enjoy sacred and divine intimacy, sensuality, and sex.
Embrace life's journey, dear ones.
Aloha and Namasté,