You Can Love - One Day at a Time


Many of us have been deeply hurt in our romantic relationships. Sometimes our partner has hurt us. Other times we have been shamed by our own behavior toward a partner, leaving us with a profound low self-esteem.

While technically these events are all in the past and not actually happening at this very moment, learning to live “One Day at a Time” in a romantic relationship can be very difficult. Past wounds seem to be reopened with each new harm we experience or cause.

Even romantic partners with no shared past will find that a past emotional wound that was incurred while in other romantic or familial relationships will come roaring to the surface when a relatively minor wrong has been committed by a current romantic partner.

We agree. It can be very difficult to stay in the moment when your partner is behaving in a way that you find hurtful. The normal tendency is to quickly remember all the times in the past when your partner has caused you pain.

Painful memories from the past can awaken so so quickly. It is also very common to unknowingly re-experience feelings linked with the hurts associated with other partners we may have had in the past. The recollection of past hurts will cause the present situation to appear much worse than it actually is.

Likewise, when we are feeling ashamed of the way that we have injured a loved one, we are likely to awaken the feelings about ourselves from past experiences as well.

However, it is going to be too difficult to examine one’s wrongdoing, whether it be our partner’s or our own, in a fair light when we have one foot in the future – fearing what will come, and one foot in the past – dreading repetition. That is why it is so important to condition yourself, as difficult as it may seem at times, to stay in the day and live the relationship one day at a time.

Deal with today’s problems today. The truth is, we do possess the strength and resources to handle today’s relationship as it is. The seemingly impossible can indeed become possible, One Day at a Time.


This article is the first in a series we will run over the next few weeks on the subject of popular 12-step recovery slogans, specifically, “one day at a time“, “keep it simple“, “let go and let God“, and “let it begin with me“. These blogs are written by John & Elaine Leadem, senior supervisors of the Leadem Counseling & Consulting offices in Toms River, NJ and East Brunswick, NJ. The content of these articles are based on their popular book: “One in the Spirit: Meditation Course for Recovering Couples”



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From Psych Central's World of Psychology:
Best of Our Blogs: July 12, 2013 | World of Psychology (July 12, 2013)

From Psych Central's website:
Keep It Simple …and Loving | Couples in Recovery (July 18, 2013)

From Psych Central's website:
Should I Really Ignore What Bothers Me in My Romance? | Couples in Recovery (August 12, 2013)

From Psych Central's website:
Applying Program Slogans to Your Relationship | Couples in Recovery (August 26, 2013)

    Last reviewed: 14 Aug 2013

APA Reference
Leadem, J. (2013). You Can Love – One Day at a Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 2, 2015, from


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Elaine Leadem, MSW, LCSW & John Leadem, MSW, LCSW are authors of many books, including One in Spirit & An Ounce of Prevention.
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