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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.

You Can Love, One Day at a Time

This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on August 14, 2013.

John and Elaine Leadem

John and Elaine Leadem are licensed clinical social workers whose combined investment in the field of addiction treatment spans more than sixty years. Their commitment to helping recovering families has provided the core inspiration for the development of a "A Decision to Be IN Love"© which has helped many couples move from the traditional parallel model of recovery to strong united core support group. They are both certified Sex Addiction Therapist and have co-developed a model for treating couples during the crisis stage of recovery. In addition to being the co-directors of Leadem Counseling & Consulting Services, Elaine and John are seasoned therapeutic retreat leaders in working with recovering couples. As a team they have thus far co-authored a number of books, including One in the Spirit: A Meditation Course for Recovering Couples Clearing Away the Wreckage of the Past: A Task Oriented Guide for Completing Steps Four through Seven.

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APA Reference
Leadem, J. (2019). You Can Love, One Day at a Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 May 2019
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