Everyone is looking for that someone that completes them. We have been raised on a hefty dose of ‘happy ever after’. In the movies boy meets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy finds girl and they all live happily ever after. All of this takes place in ninety minutes, including whimsical music and credits. But we never get to see what actually happens after. We never get any detailed information about how to deal with the nitty gritty and sometimes shitty bits about being with another person. What is the purpose of a relationship? Where do we get our ideas about relationships from? The movies…our parents…friends. All of us want the best from our relationships but many of us have unrealistic expectations, assumptions and unconscious agendas about how things should be. When the reality doesn’t match the fantasy our love can quickly turn sour.
After many years as a couples’ therapist…
Here’s why relationships fail…
Many people love the idea of love. They dream about ‘falling in love’. They want to meet the person who completes them rather than looking for a person to share their life with. The whole premise of ‘falling in love’ is conditional and therein lies the problem. What we actually fall for is the passion…the romance…the giddiness and not a real life person. Once the mist clears who we are left with may not match up to the dream. Many people find themselves in a relationship with someone they hardly know; let alone love.
-Conditional love is a polarized emotion and that means it has an opposite. The opposite of love is anger and hate. When we love someone conditionally, we tend to want them to look, act, and think in ways that fit our unconscious agendas. We hold them accountable to our unconscious agendas in order to get our affection. If they act the way we want them to, we express our approval; if they act contrary to our wishes, we withhold our expression of acceptance of them. Conditional love means that people cannot be themselves…nor can they do what they want to do…hold their values, views or opinions. They can only be what their partner wants them to be.
-Everyone enters into a relationship with an expectation or history but some people come with baggage or damage from previous relationships. They dump all their pain, suspicion and jealousy at the new partner’s door for them to deal with. Thy come like wounded animals expecting the new partner to be able to read their minds, be their therapist and deal with all sorts of crazy behaviour.
Here’s how relationships fail…
-Miscommunication is the killer of all relationships bar none. Couples argue in healthy relationship… of course they do. It is normal to have a dis-agreement, retreat for a while to clear the air. Communication is the glue that bonds a relationship and is paramount in a relationship that wants to stand the test of time. When there is miscommunication in the relationship everything thing seems to rub the them up the wrong way…they are quick to lose their temper…to blame and accusations…to get the wrong end of the stick…to be offended or insulted… there is no negotiation or seeing the other point of view. Communicating becomes dysfunctional, scoring point and tongue lashings.
– Whenever there is a ‘dis’ in a relationship then the relationship is under threat and is likely to go belly up. Let me list the ‘dises’: 1. Disrespect 2. Disloyal. 3. Dishonesty. 4 distrust 5. Disregard 6. Distain 7. Disenchantment 8. Disinterest. 9. Disillusioned 10. Dissatisfied.
-Routine in a relationship is like death by a thousand tiny blows. Same shit different day syndrome. How many times couple say “We used to go out but now all we do is sit in front of the T.V with our TV dinners”. That has got to be death by a thousand slashes. In the end no one has the energy to turn off the TV, let alone get out of the relationship. Every day is the same. This will kill the relationship stone dead. Routine gives rise to a greater problem. Apathy. Everyone knows there is a problem but no one can be asked to do something about it. You see people like this all the time…doing stuff together and wishing that they were somewhere else; in restaurants…together but a million miles apart; folks at the dinner party that have nothing in common; The couples who are together… because they have nowhere else to go. Routine is a killer.
What is the purpose of a relationship?
That was my question at the top of this post. So now I’ll answer it…
-The only purpose of a relationship is to invite someone into your life to love you as you love yourself. If they cannot give you the love you want then you have to ask yourself what is this relationship about. The only relationship you will ever have is with yourself. When you feel love for another person you express it through you. When you feel love the only thing you can do is express love. Pure and simple. If the love is not built on a solid foundation then the weeds that it was built on, not matter how good intentioned will surface and strangle the relationship.
-The person that you choose to be your partner is a vehicle to help you to know yourself and love yourself. You can never know yourself alone. When your partner pisses you off… there is something in it for you to learn. If you are wise you will learn what pisses you off and better know yourself. It is as simple as that. Being in a relationship is the greatest self-development lesson you will ever get. And guess what. If you do not learn from the first and the second you will be destined to repeat the same lessons with different people until you get it. Until you get you!
-Once upon a time a sage said to me that relationships were hard work. I looked at them as if they were mad. How hard can a relationship be if you loved one another? I can now testify that being in a meaning relationship is the hardest thing you will ever do in your life!
-It is a contradiction in terms but a relationship with someone is all about you. It is never about changing another person that is not your role in a relationship. If you are still growing having fun and learning lots then stick around if you are ‘feeling less than’ then pack your bags and move on.
I will leave you with this wonderful quote from Eartha Kitt the amazing actress and jazz singer.
“The purpose of a relationship is to fall in love with yourself and then invite someone to share you with you”
Amen Miss Kitt…I’ll drink to that!