“Just chill and go with the flow.”
How many times have you been told to do this in a relationship but had no idea how to achieve it?
It’s not easy, especially if you’re someone who struggles to give up control or lacks trust in their partner.
But as with everything, new skills can be learned and even the most stubborn natured person can learn to adapt their ways.
Take it from me, I’m one of them.
But I have started to embark on a journey of self-awareness and learning to let things go (both of which come under the term ‘going with the flow’), and the impact it has had on my relationship has been phenomenal.
Read on to find out 12 ways you can achieve going with the flow in your relationship as well as how to enter the flow state.
What is going with the flow?
Is going with the flow about giving up control and relinquishing your responsibilities?
To me, it’s a way of learning to embrace the moment, live without fear, and make the most out of my life and relationships.
Going with the flow allows me to:
- Concentrate on the things that matter in my relationship
- Spend less time trying to control things which I have no control over
- Be open to new and exciting experiences
- Let go of unnecessary stress and pressure within the relationship
By going with the flow, I am more adaptable to changes. I embrace challenges within my relationship and I have a clearer purpose as to how I want my relationship to be.
It’s quite the opposite of giving up all responsibility.
How to go with the flow in your relationship
Let go of your expectations and ideas of perfection
Learning to let go of all the expectations and visions of perfection which you’ve built up can be tough.
But what’s even tougher is the impact that these expectations can have on your partner.
Our ideas of what we expect from a relationship often come from our upbringing; a lot is shaped by watching how our parents behaved in their relationship.
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Only a few years into my relationship did I start to realize how much I viewed my partner the way my mother viewed my father. And it wasn’t realistic nor fair.
But until I actively set about changing my mindset, I would have been oblivious to these perceptions and standards of how I viewed my relationship.
And it’s not just parents who influence us; society, peers, and the media all play a huge influence on how we approach relationships.
So how can you let go of such inbuilt expectations and truly go with the flow in your relationship?
- First, acknowledge and identify that some of your expectations may have come from your upbringing, and they might not represent the person you are today
- Practice going into situations with an open mind – the less you expect, the more chance you’ll be willing to embrace new experiences with your partner
- If there are some expectations which you really can’t let go of, talk to your partner, and work out a way to manage these expectations healthily.
As with everything, this comes with practice. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to change your mindset overnight, so take it one step at a time.
I found that just being aware of my expectations helped me when I faced certain situations.
It allowed me to see where I was being unrealistic, and in return, I could practice letting my idea of perfection slowly fade away.
Accept that you can’t control others
You and your partner will inevitably have different ways of doing things.
It’s a classic cause for tension within a relationship; you think the dishwasher should be loaded one way and he/she prefers to do it the opposite way.
However large or small the issue is, the fact is we can’t control our partner.
Trying to stop or change your partner from doing something which feels natural to him or her will usually end in resentment and unhappiness.
When you go with the flow in your relationship, it’s important to relinquish some of your control.
That doesn’t mean giving up your power, instead, it’s all about accepting that you have control over yourself – but not over anyone else.
So how can you let go of the need to control your partner?
- Begin by understanding where your need for control comes from. Quite often, it’s bought on by fear, insecurities and a lack of trust
- Learn to have trust in yourself and your partner, especially when it comes to the small things (the world won’t end if the dishwasher isn’t done your way)
- Accept that you won’t get it straight away, but practising over time will help it become easier
- Breathe. When you’re faced with a situation where your control is challenged, take a step back and remind yourself that you are only in control of yourself.
It can feel scary and unnerving to give up control, especially if you’re someone who is used to doing things your way.
But it’s also exhausting to control others, especially your partner. You’ll be surprised how much better the flow in your relationship is once you surrender to it.
Learn to let go of the past
It’s easier said than done, and you’ve probably been told before to just ‘let it go’ but without really knowing how to do it.
Some things are easier to let go of than others, but if you want to experience a real flow within your relationship, you have to practise letting go of every experience which you’re holding onto.
Not only does it stop you from embracing your future, but you’re also punishing yourself for things which have happened and which can’t be changed.
Mistakes will be made in relationships, but putting the past behind you and moving forward is the only way to make create a strong, loving relationship.
It’s hard work, but it’s not impossible to achieve.
Here are a few ways to let go of times gone past:
- Face your painful memory head-on. Instead of indulging in painful memories over and over again and reliving it in different ways, give yourself one final chance to think over the situation before you accept that it’s happened and it’s finished.
- Learn to forgive yourself and whoever hurt you in the past. Without forgiveness, you’ll be stuck in these memories without a way to move forward.
- Take back your power. Acknowledge your hardships and instead of feeling like the victim, focus on how they’ve made you into the person you are today.
- Stop looking for closure. We’ve been told so often that once you receive closure on a situation, you can move on. But in some cases there isn’t any closure, so you must learn to move on regardless.
- If all else fails, seek professional help. A counselor or therapist can help you see that what you’re holding onto is weighing you and your relationship down, and suggest exercises for you to do at home and with your partner.
Once you learn to let go of the past, you’ll free up much more of your time, energy and emotions for your future.
You’ll be able to put all your love into the relationship without holding on to past resentments and hurt, and you and your partner will both feel better for it.
Embrace the times when you’re in ‘the zone’
In my relationship, there are times when we flow better than at other times.
Have you ever had those days where everything just goes right and you and your partner seemed synced and connected?
What do you think made you both flow?
It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. Why did we get along so well last weekend, yet this weekend we just keep rubbing each other the wrong way?
I’ve realized that as we’re both learning the art of flowing, there are still going to be hiccups along the way.
And, flowing constantly isn’t always going to be achievable. We are humans after all, and factors like tiredness, stress and external influences will still have an impact on us.
But one thing I have learned to do is enjoy the times we do flow.
Whether we get creative and work as a team, or just spend more time together intimately working on our emotional and physical connection, I take advantage of how smoothly we vibe off each other.
Here’s how to make the most out of going with the flow:
- Be aware of the times in your relationship when things are flowing. You can’t embrace your flow if you aren’t aware of it in the first place
- Be active and productive within your relationship flow. After, you will have a sense of achievement with your partner on how much you can do when you join forces
- Try to avoid disturbing the flow. It was only by being aware of the flow that I was able to suppress my usual insignificant worries and just embrace how my partner and I connected on a deeper level
Some couples will naturally flow easier than others, but with a little perseverance and patience, you too can experience this with your partner so long as you’re both willing to experience the flow of love.
On a final note for this point – there’s no point trying to falsely create a flow. It’s better to let it happen naturally and keep building on the energy that flows between you and your partner.
Be open about your feelings
Being open about your feelings to your partner and yourself will help you both achieve your flow.
Sometimes we can make the mistake of thinking our partner just knows how we’re feeling, but they aren’t a mind reader.
And if we aren’t clear with ourselves on how we’re feeling, how can they possibly know?
Get into the habit of letting your partner know how you feel, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you’re feeling frustrated about work and the flow in your relationship is being affected, having a quick conversation about your frustration with your partner might lessen your stress.
Here’s what you can do to be more open about your feelings:
- Keep a journal for yourself and record down your feelings throughout the day
- Make sure you and your partner both create time to listen to each other’s feelings – doing it as they’re rushing out of the door probably won’t give you the results you’re looking for
- Share your fears, worries and stress, but don’t hold back on sharing the good stuff either
- Sharing your feelings doesn’t need to be a three-hour conversation, it can just be a quick chat to explain why you’re feeling the way you feel so your partner understands you better
Whether it’s from embarrassment, fear of judgment or just from not being used to being open about your feelings, you must learn to communicate and trust your partner to be able to flow properly.
Keep a journal
As mentioned in the point above, keeping a journal can be a great way to keep track of your flow journey.
It’s a great way to organize your thoughts, and if you’re a scatterbrain like me, you’ll appreciate having your thoughts and feelings written down somewhere to later reflect on.
After a while, you should begin to see patterns emerging.
As humans, we tend to repeat our reactions, emotions and feelings towards situations.
It’s only by realizing these habits that we can begin to change them.
Here are some tips on keeping a journal:
- Record down times when you’re flowing and when you and your partner aren’t. Mention details on what the situation is, how you both feel during those times and what factors started/interrupted the flow
- Be honest in your journal. It’s for you, so forget about writing what you should be feeling, and concentrate on how you actually feel, no matter how irrational or silly it may look to others
Looking back over your journal daily can help you see how you or your partner react in different situations, and over time you’ll learn to know what works for your flow and what hinders it.
Learn to accept change
Change, as scary as it is, can also bring about great progress and new experiences.
Some changes will be within your control, and others won’t. I know how terrifying it can be, but to achieve a healthy flow in your relationship you have to learn to roll with the punches.
It’s important to stop viewing change as something to fear, and instead, see it as something essential to human life.
We need to be adaptable to survive in life and relationships, and when the world tests us it’s a great way to build resilience and perseverance.
Apply those two qualities to your relationship, and you’ll find that you welcome change rather than run from it because you know you have the strength to face whatever is thrown at you.
Here’s how you can learn to accept change:
- Accept that you can’t control everything – life has a way of challenging us and keeping us moving
- Throw yourself into new and unfamiliar situations. The more you’re exposed to change, the easier it will be to manage your fears and uncertainties
- Keep looking at the bigger picture. Change might be scary, but if it gets you closer to your relationship goals then it’s worth embracing
- Acknowledge your fears and move on from them. There’s little point in dwelling on your insecurities as this will only make the process harder
Some people deal with change quite easily, others resist it and do everything in their power to avoid it.
But one thing is for sure if you want your relationship to flow, you need to accept the changes you’re faced with.
Without them, you and your partner would remain in limbo, never moving forward and never truly realizing your potential as a couple.
Look at the bigger picture
One of the most important things about going with the flow is knowing that you’re doing it to achieve something great with your partner.
Ask yourself, why do I want to go with the flow? There’s a reason you’ve decided to look into going with the flow in your relationship, so what is that you wish to change or improve?
Is it for yourself, to be a calmer, more trusting person? Or is it for the sake of your relationship and to satisfy your partner?
Going with the flow doesn’t have to be just about letting go of all your responsibilities.
It’s about setting goals and adjusting your mindset to achieve those goals.
Here are some ways to keep the bigger picture in mind:
- Write down your intentions for going with the flow, and what goals you want to achieve from it
- Remind yourself daily of these goals, especially when you’re in a situation where you might resort back to old behaviors such as being controlling or holding onto the past
- Avoid seeing conflict or arguments as a setback – sometimes you won’t be able to go with the flow and that’s okay as long as you both stay committed to making the relationship work
To be able to focus on the bigger picture means that all those little irritations start becoming less frustrating and annoying.
Trust your partner
Linked in with all of these points is an element of trust.
You need to trust yourself and your partner to be able to go with the flow. Without it, how can you ever give up control, accept change and embrace the unknown?
But trust can be tough, especially if you have been hurt or betrayed in the past.
That’s why you need to be 100% sure as to why you’re embarking on this flow journey.
Without trust, you’ll find it incredibly hard to relinquish control over to your partner, and opening up about your emotions and vulnerabilities will be a challenge.
Here are some ways to trust your partner so that you can truly go with the flow:
- Be aware of your irrational thoughts and insecurities, sometimes our feelings of distrust are valid, and other times they’re simply in our head
- Listen to your gut feeling. Your mind might be going wild with suspicions about your partner, but do you know deep down that you can trust them?
- Keep open and clear communication with your partner at all times, and always encourage a safe environment where you can both be honest with each other
Having trust in your partner means that you can throw yourself into the relationship, minus all the fears and worries.
Once you release yourself from those emotions which hold you back, you can embrace the love and connection that you both share, and truly embrace the moments you spend together.
Let go of fears and insecurities
To achieve trust, you need to address where your fears and insecurities lie.
Only then can you set about changing your perceptions and allowing the flow to take place in your relationship.
Do your fears stem from a previous relationship? Are your insecurities linked to childhood traumas?
Whatever the reason may be, they only hold you back from embracing your true self.
And if you don’t embrace your true self, how can you fully embrace your partner and relationship?
Here’s how you can let go of your fears:
- Talk about them with your partner – sometimes the perspective of someone else can stop you from overreacting
- Write out your fears and insecurities, then come back to them and evaluate how realistic they are and whether you can do anything about them
- Face your fears. The only true way to overcome fear is to dive in headfirst. When you emerge on the other side, you’ll see how much strength you have and how you can conquer your issues
Facing your fears isn’t always pleasant, but once you get into the habit of doing it, you’ll start to see how much freer you feel as a person and within your relationship.
Practice managing your emotions
When it comes to relationships, we’re on a constant rollercoaster of emotions.
If we don’t manage them properly, we can easily get caught up our feelings and this can very quickly stop you from going with the flow.
This is where emotional stability comes into the picture.
And even worse, if we aren’t aware of our thoughts and emotions, we end up reacting to situations in ways which we wouldn’t have if we had more control over our feelings.
It’s not easy, but there are some simple tips to help you take charge of your emotions so that you can achieve a better, more stable flow in your relationship:
- Step back from a situation when you feel highly emotional. You need time to breathe and to calm down before addressing the situation with your partner
- Write down your frustrations and get it off your chest in a way that doesn’t make the situation worse (as opposed to yelling or screaming at your partner)
- Work out why you’re feeling those emotions, is your partner the problem or is it because you didn’t sleep well the night before?
A personal tip that I use for managing my emotions is to keep a list of reminders on the home screen of my phone.
When I feel like my emotions are getting the better of me and are ruining my flow, I check my list and use it as a way to reset myself and clear my head.
Enjoy the flow of life around you
Going with the flow in your relationship should be enjoyable, create healthier bonds with your partner and allow you to embrace the moment.
If you look closely, you’ll see the flow in which nature moves, how animals interact with each other and how people persevere through challenges to achieve their passions.
All of this is a form of flowing. The world around us flows and continues to progress without giving in to fear.
Being present and seeing life around will ground you and open your eyes to how achievable going with the flow can be.
The more you become aware of this flow, the more you can start applying it to your relationship.
Learning to go with the flow
After taking the masterclass in Love and Intimacy, by world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, I started to understand how my expectations can damage the flow of love between me and my other half.
It became apparent that I needed to work on this issue, and that all of my expectations over my partner meant that I was never really enjoying the person who he is, just the idea of who I thought he should be.
During the masterclass, Iandê talks about the issue of codependency, expectations and how to create a strong, loving relationship with your partner.
Understanding your expectations before embarking on a quest to go with the flow can help with the process, so I recommend you to take the free masterclass on Love and Intimacy.
Entering the flow state
In addition to Iandê’s masterclass, I found this video to be extremely helpful in understanding how to enter the flow state.
Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod, explains where he thinks the common misconceptions are when it comes to going with the flow, and three ways which can help you achieve the flow state.
It’s here that I learned the importance of embracing the flow and using it productively, whether in my relationship or at work.
Learning to go with the flow is a work in progress, and there’s no telling how long it will take for you to go with the flow in your relationship.
You may get frustrated at times, and even think about giving up, but remember – none of the points above can be achieved in one afternoon.
You are effectively changing your thought process and managing your emotions differently, so the process can take some time.
But when you do manage to go with the flow in your relationship, all the hard work will be worth it.
You’ll open yourself up to endless possibilities with your partner, and embrace love in a way like never before.