5 Reasons Why You Should Consider Spring Cleaning Your Relationships
Relationships reflect our inner world and what we believe is possible for us. As we navigate our lives, relationships serve as invitations to do inner work with others. When we are unaware of what is happening internally, it can be a recipe for disaster. You are no longer authentic.
Sooner than later, you may feel drained, depleted, and resentful due to unmet needs and boundary violations. When your needs aren’t met, you will serve someone else's standards while neglecting your own. This is why it is so vital that we take inventory of our relationships and assess if they are relationships that honor our needs, our boundaries, and our truth.
Here Is Why You Should Consider Spring Cleaning Your Relationships:
You allow yourself to build more intimacy in your relationships.
Intimacy is the heart of a healthy relationship. When we understand our partners, we build intimacy with them. Vulnerability is a conduit for emotional intimacy in safe relationships. Our relationships thrive when we feel emotionally connected and supported by our loved ones.
Nevertheless, a healthy relationship does not mean a perfect relationship, and sometimes we need to assess and address what's working in our relationships and what may need some fine-tuning. When we are open to learning, growing, and developing deeper bonds with our loved ones, we invite them to preserve our relationship through open dialogue centered around honesty, love, respect, and safety.
You are choosing yourself and are being honest with yourself.
When you consider spring cleaning your relationships, you offer yourself a token of love. You are communicating that YOU matter, and your feelings, energy, and the overall health of your relationships matter.
Spring cleaning your relationships allows you to be there for yourself. When we choose ourselves, we advocate for ourselves. For so many of us, we are starting to realize that we have every right to advocate for ourselves even if the environment we grew up in did not support our emotional or physical well-being.
Now that we can advocate for ourselves as adults, we get to choose our relationships, not from a place of obligation or fear but from a place of reciprocity, love, and respect.
It can help you to get clear on things you may have suppressed.
Suppression happens when we actively push uncomfortable thoughts and feelings out of our minds. When something painful happens, and we are left with no resolve, we can suppress how we truly feel as an act of self-preservation for the relationship.
Nevertheless, with honesty also comes vulnerability with yourself. Maybe you have been unhappy in certain relationships for a while, but it was too painful to address, or maybe you have been suppressing how you feel because that is what is expected of you in your relationships. Although concealing your feelings may protect you from experiencing them, keep in mind that the body stores all of our emotions. There can be serious long-term side effects of emotional suppression, such as physical ailments linked to autoimmune disease.
Our mind, body, and heart are all interconnected, so assessing your relationships through spring cleaning not only improves your overall wellness but can also prevent anxiety, depression, and other chronic illnesses.
You can reflect on how you’re showing up in your relationships.
This one is my favorite! Spring cleaning your relationships gives you an opportunity to see yourself more clearly. If you are going through an imaginary checklist of what everyone in your life is doing wrong, you may be a part of the problem. Spring cleaning your relationships is not about what everyone else is doing wrong; it’s about accountability. Take this time to reflect on how you show up in your relationships. Are you kind and respectful to your loved ones? Do you honor their boundaries? What can you do to improve? How can you become a better listener? A better communicator?
Use this time to put a flashlight on your heart and take inventory of the places you love people from. Relationships are co-created, meaning both people play a role in the dynamic. Assess your role in your relationships and be the change you want to see.
Setting boundaries will reveal the health of your relationships.
Nedra Tawwab, the author of Setting Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself, defines boundaries as a "verbal or an action that you communicate to someone to feel safe, secure, and supported in a relationship." As we are spring cleaning our relationships, it’s imperative that we check in with our boundaries.
As humans, we are forever evolving, growing, and changing. As we grow, the boundaries that worked for us ten years ago may no longer serve us today. This is why it is important that we communicate our boundaries as they change. People cannot read our minds, and it is unfair to expect them to, no matter how much you think they should just “know” you.
All relationships need boundaries because people need to know how we want to be treated. In healthy relationships, boundaries are honored, and differences are respected. In unhealthy relationships, boundaries are constantly violated and not taken seriously. When you learn to set healthy boundaries and you start communicating them through your season of spring cleaning, allow your boundaries to reveal the health of your relationships. This may come with a sigh of relief, or this may come with immense grief, but I once heard someone say, “Struggling with the truth is much better than being comforted by a lie.”
Let your relationships reveal themselves to you so you can form healthier bonds, repair broken bonds, or release connections that no longer serve you.
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Feature image by dragana991/ Getty Images
Take Our 2-Minute Wellness Quiz To Up Your Self-Care Game!
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
From Monogamy To Polyamory: 'I'm In An Asexual Poly Marriage With My Husband Of 7 Years'
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be asexual and in an open marriage? Relationship Coach Mikki Bey shared her first-hand experience with us as well as answered some of our burning questions.
Like a lot of people, Mikki met her now husband, Raheem Ali, online. As soon as they met, they instantly fell in love and got engaged on their first date. Just 90 days after they met, the couple tied the knot and have now been married for seven years. Raheem and Mikki aren’t your typical married couple, and despite being married for almost a decade, their marriage is anything but traditional. Mikki and Raheem have what she calls an "asexual polyamorous marriage."
Defining Her Sexuality
It wasn't until last summer that Mikki found the language to define her sexuality. "I didn't have the language for it until last summer," she explained to xoNecole. "Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing.”
Mikki always thought she was broken because she had no interest in sex. Mikki noticed after her friends came to visit and started discussing their sexual fantasies that she realized something was different about her. “At that point, I knew something was definitely different about me since I do not have sexual fantasies at all. It was truly news to me that people are at work thinking about sex! That was not my experience.” This led to Mikki researching asexuality, which she soon realized fit her to a T. “It felt like breathing new air when I was able to call it by name," said Mikki.
"Looking back, I just thought sex wasn't my thing. It was never enjoyable for me, and I'd go years without even noticing it."
Asexuality refers to people who experience little or no sexual attraction, experience attraction without acting on it sexually, or experience sexual attraction differently based on other factors. Like most things, asexuality falls on a spectrum and encompasses many other identities. It's important to remember, however, that attraction and action are not always synonymous: some asexuals may reject the idea of sexual contact, but others may be sex-neutral and engage in sexual activity.
It's possible that some asexuals will have sex with someone else despite not having a libido or masturbating, but others will have sex with a partner because it brings a sense of connection.
From a Traditional Marriage to Kitchen Table Polyamory
Although Mikki never really had a high sex drive, it wasn’t until after the birth of her son, that she noticed her sex drive took a real nosedive. “I never had a high sex drive, but about a year after my son was born, I realized I had zero desire. My husband has a high sex drive, and I knew that it would not be sustainable to not have sex in our marriage at that time.”
She was determined to find an alternative to divorce and stumbled upon a polyamory conversation on Clubhouse. Upon doing her own research, she brought up the idea to their husband, who was receptive. “It’s so interesting to me that people weigh sex so heavily in relationships when even if you are having a ton of sex, it’s still a very small percentage of the relationship activity," Mikki shared.
They chose polyamory because Mikki still wanted to be married, but she also wanted to make sure that Raheem was getting his individual needs and desires met, even if that meant meeting them with someone else. “I think that we have been programmed to think that our spouses need to be our 'everything.' We do not operate like that. There is no one way that fits all when it comes to relationships, despite what society may try to tell you. Their path to doing this thing called life together may be different from yours, but they found what works for them. We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us,” Mikki explained.
"We have chosen to design a marriage that works for us. We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sex partners to lifetime partners if it should go there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it."
She continued, “We both consent to each of us having everything from casual sexual partners to lifetime partners if it should get there. We believe love is abundant and do not limit ourselves or each other on how we express it. Our dynamic is parallel with kitchen table poly aspirations.”
Kitchen table polyamory (KTP) is a polyamorous relationship in which all participants are on friendly terms enough to share a meal at the kitchen table. Basically, it means you have some form of relationship with your partner’s other partner, whether as a group or individually. A lot of times, KTP relationships are highly personal and rooted in mutual respect, communication, and friendship.
Intimacy in an Asexual Polyamorous Marriage
Mikki says she and her husband, Raheem, still share intimate moments despite being in a polyamorous marriage. “Our intimacy is emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical, although non-sexual. We are intentional about date nights weekly, surprising and delighting each other daily, and most of all, we communicate our needs regularly. In my opinion, our intimacy is top-tier! I give my husband full-body massages, mani-pedis and make sure I am giving him small physical touches/kisses throughout the day. He is also very intentional about showing me his love and affection.”
Raheem and Mikki now use their lives as examples for others. On their website, thepolycouplenextdoor.com, they coach people interested in learning how to be consensually non-monogamous. “We are both relationship coaches. I specialized in emotional regulation, and Raheem specializes in communication and conflict resolution. The same tools we use in our marriage help our clients succeed in polyamory."
Mikki advises people who may be asexual or seeking non-monogamy to communicate their needs openly and to consider seeking sex therapy or intimacy coaching. Building a strong relationship with a non-sexual partner requires both empathy and compassion.
For more of Mikki, follow her on Instagram @getmikkibey. Follow the couple's platform on Instagram @thepolycouplenextdoor.
Featured image by skynesher/Getty Images