The question about Maintaining a relationship is do we
MAINTAIN OR SUSTAIN?
Someone said to me ~ they were so busy they did not have the energy nor time to sustain the relationship. Was this a question of not having the desire or was it not having the ability?
It seemed to me , the word should have been to maintain as she was asking about the desire to continue. Was there no desire to maintain the relationship?
So off to the dictionary I went and found the following~~~
According to the dictionary to Sustain is to–strengthen or support physically or mentally.
|synonyms:||comfort, help, assist, encourage, succor, support, give strength to,buoy up, carry, cheer up, hearten|
for example-you sustain a charity through your donations that may fail otherwise.
Whereas to Maintain is to–
cause or enable (a condition or state of affairs) to continue.
|synonyms:||preserve, conserve, keep, retain, keep going, keep alive, keep up,prolong, perpetuate|
for example-you oil your wood furniture to maintain it, care for it
So let’s look at the difference between maintain and sustain regarding a relationship. Especially when it is at a stalemate or under a great deal of stress. Maybe working long hours, traveling or caring for a parent just does not enough energy left at the end of the day.
Often we have no interest or thought for something in the moment as we are just so focused on the task at hand. However, it does not dampen our desire to want to continue it on the other side.
This is especially true in relationships. Perhaps one partner becomes so involved in work for example that he cannot give to the relationship and the other partner feels as if things are ending, they are being shut out , ignored.
It is important here to recognize the difference between sustaining and maintaining something we want to keep in our lives. We were not asking did you want the relationship to end. We were asking about your desire to have it continue. And with a little communication ie maintenance, many relationships can make it through the hard times.
Letting a partner know that this is a temporary situation is the main thing . This can be done with a few simple phases, not the least of–thank you for hanging in. Let them know that it is hard on you also, to not be with them. Let them know-when it is back to normal, you will spend some time together or do one special thing if time is tight. Let them know, you want to maintain this but for right now you have no energy to sustain it but that it is temporary. Tell them , I miss you/us. And above all let them know you want them in your life and that you want it to continue and you appreciate their patience.
A few words here and there can maintain a person for a long time until the storm passes. With a bit of thought, a strong relationship will not collapse from a lack of sustaining as long as you remember to do the maintaining until you can get to it again.
Love isn’t when there is no stress nor problems in the relationship. Love is when the stress ends, love is still there.