Spring is time for transformation

Most people are now going on detox diets and hitting the gym to shed the winter weight. It is also time to spruce up their households, wardrobes and prepare for the new season.A�But have you thought of spring cleaning your rusty relationships and plucking the weeds sticking out in our garden of unhappiness?
What are some of the pet peeves in your relationship that you could do without?

Spring cleaning bad habits
Despite how great the relationship may be, we all have those habits our partners have that can drive us up the wall.
Does he always leave the toilet seat up, despite your constant pleas? Does she leave her clipped toe nails all over the place?
Vanessa Shongwe, a call-centre consultant from Phiri in Soweto, cana��t tolerate her partnera��s inability to keep in touch.
a�?I dona��t mean to be clingy, but my boyfriend has this habit of going AWOL on me the entire day. Hea��s a policeman, so Ia��m constantly worried about where he is and what hea��s doing.

a�?I dona��t even mean constant calling, just an SMS to let me know he got home safe, or that hea��s having lunch, or going out on a call of duty. He keeps quiet, and sees nothing wrong with it.

a�?Whenever I tell him about it, his response is always the same: a�?Sorry baby, I forgot.a�� This drives me insane,a�? she says.
Relationships therapist Karen Nader says that it all boils down to effective communication.

a�?If your partner knew what goes to the core of why something bugs you, instead of you constantly nagging (them) about it, then they are most likely to change that bad habit that irritates you.

a�?Nagging doesna��t help, but having an adult conversation and communicating your needs will send a message to your partner that this is very important to you, even if the partner finds it unimportant.a�?

Spring cleaning the same old routine
For Senate Potiane, a nursery school teacher from Cresta in Randburg, the monotony of her daily routine needs to be tackled before boredom can set in.

a�?We have somehow fallen into this routine that irritates me so much – coming home from work, making dinner, asking how the day was, watching the same old programmes on TV and then going to bed.a�?

Nader says couples should not forget that beyond children, bills and work commitments, they have to invest in themselves as a couple.
Again, ita��s about sitting your partner down and making them aware of how much of a rut they are stuck in . . . but also come up with ideas of how to inject the life back into the relationship like things you used to enjoy in the beginning of your dating life.

Spring cleaning your sex life
Sammy Matsena (28) of Meadowlands in Soweto, says his sex life is stuck in a rut.
a�?I have a very conservative girlfriend, and we are confined to doing the same old things every time. Ita��s always quick foreplay and positions that Ia��ve probably memorised.

a�?Ia��d like some innovation and a bit of thinking out the box. Whenever Ia��ve tried to bring up the topic she gets defensive,a�? he says.
Nader says the solution in this case would be to have a frank discussion where Matsena can communicate his sexual needs effectively. Perhaps also finding out why shea��s so conservative when it comes to sex.

Why ita��s important to spring clean
Midrand-based life coach Nothemba Mxenge says that spring cleaning in onea��s life is important as one gets to have a heightened sense of self-awareness.

a�?Constantly reflecting on aspects of your life that need changing is a good thing, as it means you are more in touch with your needs and your feelings.

a�?With a heightened sense of self-awareness, you are able to ask yourself: is there value-add in having this in my life?
a�?I always maintain that only if you feel that something or someone is encroaching on your core personal values, individuality and what generally makes you happy, only then should you consider changing it.a�?- Sowetan.