Relationship rescue - Step 1
Is the relationship worth fighting for?
Sometimes the relationship started out good but then went into a space that neither party knows how to get out of and even though they both just want it to go back to how it was, neither know how to get there.
If the relationship, however, was bad from the start or it is a constant battle to keep it going, it may be bringing out the worst in both of you and it may be better to give up and move on.
But knowing when to give up and when to keep going is one of the most difficult decisions to make, especially if divorce, custody issues, financial instability and affordability issues are hanging over your decision.
If you want to have a good life and have a good relationship the most fundamental thing is to be with a good person. No matter what you do with a bad person, you will never be able to have a good relationship or a good life.
When to give up
- Abuse – Physical, mental and emotional abuse is never ok and if there is abuse in your relationship it means that the abusive person never learnt how to express themselves properly, and grew up dysfunctional. Unless they are actively getting help that is working it is a lost case and you will only stay in the vicious cycle of trying to stop the abuse, working through the abuse and recovering from the abuse. Any children involved will be damaged in the process too whether or not they are part of the abuse.
- Frequent infidelity – If your partner has cheated on you more than once it is obvious that they are not too interested in your relationship and does not have respect for you. If you have been married or together for a long time and they have only cheated on you once it may be due to the relationship issues you have and if you can both get over it you may still have a chance. If your partner is already with another person, you will need to accept that and move on.
- Addiction – Addictions to alcohol, drugs, smoking, sex, gambling, porn and even eating can be huge factor in killing a relationship. Any kind of addiction results in self-absorption and ultimately all the energy from the entire family is always spent on this one person’s problem leaving no energy for growth, building relationships or anything else. It makes your partner unstable and creates an unsolvable relationship. Once again, unless they are actively seeking help and the help is working and you can see the changes, get out. Even if your partner is not necessarily addicted to drugs or alcohol but has a history of abusing these things and causing chaos around themselves, you need to get out.
- Chronic unemployment – If you are seriously battling financially and your partner either just can't find work or cannot hold a job down they are not worth your effort. If you are jobless then finding work (any work) becomes your job, 8 hours a day. If that means walking from shop to shop or company to company then that is what needs to be done. “I can’t find a job” is simply not an excuse. Anyone that has a bit of self-respect and love for their family would do anything it takes.
- Bad person – Even though we often find “bad boys” sexy due to their lack of limitations, fearlessness and oozing masculinity that does not mean they are an actual bad person. “Bad boys” often have hearts of gold and are actually teddy bears inside. What I am referring to here is somebody who is bad by nature and seeks pleasure from hurting and disrespecting other people and animals. No matter what you do to improve the relationship, this type of person will inherently be rotten inside and spread their rot into your relationship and into your life.
- Anger - Constant anger demands significance and authority and also consumes a family and drives them into fear and insignificance.
- Victim mentality - This is also a significance demanding condition where the person with the victim mentality is always demanding encouragement and feeds off everyone else’s energy, leaving nothing for anyone else.
- Control issues - A controlling partner is normally very insecure and has not worked on themselves enough to be comfortable in their own skin. They are so driven by fear, anxiety and insecurity that they have to control others in an attempt to feel better.
- You partner hasn’t grown up - When one partner lives in a child-like mentality, being irresponsible, unaccountable, selfish and wreck less, the other partner is forced to take on a parent roll, which creates a flaw in the dynamic of the relationship and kills the passion. You cannot have an adult relationship with a person who is essentially still a child.
Situations that won’t change
There are certain things in a relationship that won’t change so you need to decide whether or not you are willing to live with that. If you decide to live with it you cannot keep complaining about it. It will take a lot of strength and maturity to handle it.
- Sexual dysfunction - Sex is a vital part in relationships and sexual dysfunction (curable or not) can be like cancer in a relationship. It is very important to look at the psychological cause as well as the physical cause and to try and resolve it. If the relationship is very strong in love it is easier to work around it but chances are the person with the condition will be feeling unworthy, guilty, desperate and anxious where the other partner may be feeling resentful, unloved, rejected and abandoned causing a flaw in the dynamic of the relationship.
- Different culture / religion - Your culture and religion determine where you come from, how you fight adversity, how you handle tough situations, what you teach your children and how you treat your partner. You are on very different pages from the beginning of the relationship making it so much harder to build something from it.
- Toxic in-laws, ex-spouse or step children - When you marry someone, you also marry their family unfortunately. Make sure you are prepared to handle this and that you and your partner agree on the same method of handling it. My children / your children can be very complicated if you don’t all sit together and decide what the ground rules are and how things are going to work.
- Emotional damage from childhood - It is a sad reality how broken some people come out of their childhoods. Children are so susceptible to negative programming and conditioning and lifelong damage can be caused by early traumatic experiences or abusive situations. Unless you actively seek therapy and do the work required, a successful relationship and a successful life will be improbable.
- Significant age difference - This throws the dynamic off and can easily create a parent / child relationship. It takes a very strong emotional and sexual connection with a lot of maturity to make this kind of relationship work. Remember also that we go through different stages of our lives where different things are relevant and important to us and when the age difference is very big you will always be in different stages to each other especially as you get older.
Situations that can change
These situations can change if both parties put in the work needed and are willing to forget about all the water under the bridge.
- Long distance - Long distance for a short while is difficult enough but long distance in the long run can be near impossible. In order to have a successful relationship physical contact and physical presence is a necessity. Only you and your partner can decide how long is too long and whether or not it can work for the duration set out.
- Emotionally unavailable - There are many situations that can cause emotional unavailability. Ultimately it means that you are more interested in something else than in the relationship. Be it work, someone else, a hobby or whatever. Unless it is a short term situation caused by a traumatic experience or stressful situation, it is normally an indication that the person is either just not into the relationship or they have withdrawn due to the relationship not giving them what they need. In this case it can be rectified.
- Hasn’t recovered from past relationships - If you are still hung up on a past relationship there is no chance that you can be successful in a new relationship. Although it may be a nice distraction at first, it is unsustainable if the effort required is not put in and you keep longing for your ex. A decision needs to be made whether to live in the past or in the present. Only once this decision is made can the relationship move forward.
Let’s explore a few relationship issues
Movies and romantic ideals trap us in all kinds of expectations and unrealistic realities and fantasies which we base our lives on, only creating disaster.
1. True love conquers all
“Love” or what you may think is love in a relationship comes and goes depending if the relationship is going well or not. Every relationship has its ups and downs and sometimes no matter how much you “love” each other, obstacles seem impossible to cross. It is not the love that conquers all but rather the commitment.
2. When its true love you’ll know it the moment you meet that person
Love is often confused with lust. Yes, it is possible to be attracted to someone from the moment you see them but love is something that is grown and cultivated. It increases as you get to know one another, good and bad, and accept one another, flaws and all.
3. There is only 1 true love who is right for you
There is no such thing as a “perfect” match. Yes, some people may be easier to “merge” with than others due to similar interests, values, upbringings, cultures, etc. but you will connect with many different people in many different ways throughout your life and each one will affect you differently. If you have more than 1 child you will know what I mean. You love them all the same but differently. You love different things about each one and each one impacts your love in their own way.
4. The perfect partner will fulfill you completely in every way
Firstly, as we discussed, there is no “perfect partner” and secondly, it is impossible for someone to meet every single one of your needs. If they meet your top 2 needs, it may feel like they are fulfilling you in every way but this takes effort and can be done by anyone who is dedicated to doing so.
5. When there is serious sexual attraction, it must be love
Love and lust are two very different things. Attraction is based on a chemical reaction between two people where love is built through understanding, devotion, trust and shared experiences. Although both are needed in a relationship, they are two very different things and should not be classified under one umbrella.
Wrong reasons to fall in love:
Due to everyone needing at least their top 2 needs met, people “fall in love”, or rather, “fall into relationships” for all kinds of reasons which can cause many challenges when planning on taking the relationship to a mature, long lasting, happy status. The foundation is all wrong and the walls of the relationship will keep crumbling.
Here are a few examples:
1. Pressure – age, family, friends
As you get older the pressure to “settle down” becomes quite stressful and it is easy to fall into the trap of marrying the first person that is willing.
2. Loneliness or desperation
When you have been single for a long time one tends to “fall in love” much faster and look past all the warning signs. If your “being single” experience was difficult you will convince yourself to ignore incompatibility signs and things that may bother you in the future, only to be stuck with it in the long run.
3. Sexual hunger
Not only the need for sex but also the basic need just to touch and be touched and connect physically with another person can be overwhelming easily causing a distraction from reality.
4. Distraction from your own life
If you are not happy within yourself and haven’t given careful thought and planning to what you want from a relationship and ultimately from your life, you will always be looking for someone who can make you happy. It takes so much more effort for two incomplete people to make a whole relationship.
5. To avoid growing up or wanting to be taken care of
Many women especially seek to marry a man that can take care of them. In this way they can avoid having to get a job, a place of their own and take responsibility for their life. Men do the same to avoid having to cook, clean and take care of themselves. When a relationship is built on a parent – child basis (one takes care of the other), the chemistry will quickly die off and problems are bound to arise.
People often stay in relationships because they feel sorry for the other person. They don’t want to hurt their feelings or they have nowhere to go. A guilt driven relationship is like sticking 2 pieces of paper together with nothing but water. It simply cannot hold.
7. Emotional or spiritual emptiness
Once again, it is very difficult to create wholeness from two people that are broken and wounded or empty and don’t have a sense of wholeness within themselves.
It becomes so much more difficult to make a relationship work if it is built on these foundations but it is still not impossible. If the commitment is there, anything is possible and doable. The first step, however, is to create wholeness within yourself so that you do not seek to find it from your partner. Only then can you help them find wholeness and create a whole relationship. The only way to become whole yourself it to work through this program, completely committed and putting in 100% effort.
Biggest mistakes in the beginning of relationships:
1. Are you asking enough questions
Do you know what the person plans to do with their life? What their dreams and ambitions are? Do they have any? What are their values? Do they want children? What religion do they follow? How do they handle conflict? What does their past tell you about them? What issues do they bring from their childhood? What is their relationship with their parents like?
You really need to create as a comprehensive as possible picture of what your future with this person might look like. You need to foresee the problems before they happen or you might just be stuck with them.
2. Are you ignoring warning signs
Do they abuse you, alcohol or drugs? Are they untrustworthy? Do they tell lies? Are they possessive or jealous and controlling? Do they do as they say? Do they play mind games to make you jealous, angry or fearful?
These are all signs that the person is not whole and will be depending on you to fill some void for them, which you never can and you will only be sucked into their world.
3. Are you making premature compromises
Are you having to compromise very early in the relationship? Are they also making compromises? Do these compromises go against what is important to you?
4. Are you suffering from lust blindness
Are you so infatuated with the person that you don’t see the warning signs?
5. Are you falling for material seduction
Does the person have money and offer you a financially secure future? Is it worth it? Remember that the price you may be paying may be worth much more than the money they are offering.
6. Are you putting commitment before compatibility
Are you so desperate to be in a relationship that you are willing to commit to the first person that comes along without making sure that you are compatible first?
When the Way the relationship works from the beginning is wrong it is like building a factory on foundations for a house. The two are not designed to work together. You start off building one thing (a certain kind of relationship) and then you want it to turn out to something completely different.
We have different kinds of relationships for different purposes. A mother protects and looks after a child. An employee follows orders from a boss. A dog is loyal to its owner. A slave serves its master. None of these dynamics work in a sexual or partner relationship and if they do come into play, ruin the passion and kill the love. Partner relationships are supposed to be give and take, sharing, teamwork and dedication.
1. Does one partner care more than the other?
This dynamic tends to be a parent – child dynamic. The one takes care of the other and the one being taken care of doesn’t contribute much.
2. Are you in love with your partner’s potential?
Are you being the mentor or the coach, trying to make your partner reach their potential? This can feel like pulling a caravan by hand up the mountain and is not only exhausting but also futile. People are who they want to be and if they could have been more and wanted to be more, they would have been more. It needs to come from them, not from you.
3. Are you on a rescue mission?
Are you the hero? Do you feel like you can rescue them from whatever situation they trapped in? Is it your job to rescue them and do they really want get out of it?
4. Do you look up to your partner as a role model?
Is your partner fulfilling a parent role that you lacked as a child?
5. Are you infatuated with their looks?
Looks are temporary. Everyone gets old and if you are not in love with the beauty inside the person, there will be nothing left when the outer beauty disappears.
6. Are you with this person to be rebellious to parents?
What happens when they start yearning for their parent’s approval again? Are they so focused on being rebellious that you are just a by factor? Doesn’t that make you feel used and empty?
7. Are you over compensating for a previous partner?
Are you still in your previous relationship dynamic but with another partner? If it didn’t work out then, how can it work out now? Or are you so afraid of it not working that you are over compensating and pushing too far the other way?
8. Is your partner unavailable?
Is your partner caught up in their own world, past relationship or issues and not completely emotionally available to you? Why are you hanging on if they are not even trying? It takes two people to be in a relationship. At the very least, they both have to be there.
These kinds of relationships are rarely sustainable because as soon as the person grows out of their role and the dynamic changes, the relationship falls apart and the glue that held it together dissolves.
What makes relationships not work?
There is no 1 thing or list of things that make a relationship work. Some things work for some people and some things don’t. Making a relationship work or not is a choice. It is as simple as that. If you choose that you will make it work no matter what, then it will. If you keep questioning whether or not it is working, it’s not. You either commit or you don’t. Life is hard and marriage is very tough. There will be many, many tough things you will have to go through together and many times where you can doubt the relationship but giving up or carrying on is a choice. Even if your partner decides to give up, it is only because their needs are not being met. If you can change it around and COMMIT to keep going and DECIDE to get over your issues, it can still work. Remember that there is no such thing as “trying”. You either do or you don’t. Trying means you are putting in a lot of effort without deciding to succeed, so you are just wasting your time. So the first thing you need to so is to decide if you want to commit or not. Chances are that if you have come this far, you are already committed so well done!
Decide – are you in or are you out? You need to commit 100% no matter what.
When relationships are tough we tend to stand with one foot on each side. On the one side we are afraid to lose everything, especially what is familiar to us and what we are comfortable with and on the other side we want to run away and start over because we think that our situation is unfixable and that in the long run it would be easier.
Don’t be fooled. Every long, worthwhile relationship has times when you feel like this and it is by getting through these things that our love and commitment grows stronger.
If you are married this question becomes more pressing. How much do you have to lose? If you are not married, here it your time to decide if the relationship has the potential to allow you to live the life you want or not.
Whatever you decide, decide it completely. If you decide to get out, get out but if you decide to stay, you need to commit 100%. There is no turning around option. You decide to make it work no matter what and you decide to accept your partner’s flaws along with their good attributes.
Go into warrior mode
When you make this commitment the warrior in you is activated and control is regained. The warrior in you prevents you from quitting but also from attacking in self-defense. It allows you to express your true feelings without blaming yourself or your partner and to take action to what needs to be done. Nobody can lead when they are in “victim mode” which is why a relationship so easily falls apart when both parties are hurt. Nobody stands up and says “we will fix this”. Both parties are too absorbed in their own pain and in wanting the other to realize their pain. Warrior mode allows you to put your pain aside and stop sulking and take action. It stops the confusion and gives clarity.
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