How often have you heard that relationships take work? That it takes two to tango, and that each person should put the other one first? Yet, if your relationship becomes work, and you feel that if you let go of your mate’s hand, he’ll be gone, then you are the prime mover in your relationship… and you may have the wrong partner.
Before moving onto another relationship, it important to first step back and reflect on why you chose that person in the first place. You have heard me say many times before, that nothing happens in a vacuum, and that is especially true when it comes to your choice of a mate. If you acknowledge, recognize, and understand the patterns from your family of origin, which you spot in your relationship, you can catch a glimpse of the principal under those patterns. And it is those familiar patterns which compel you to choose to that particular type of partner… to gravitate to a person whose behavior fits your comfort zone. To further complicate things, you are always trying to “get it right,” and therefore, continue to recreate what you need, rather than what you want.
So, how can you know if he is wrong for you?
- Often, when you fall in love, you put your best foot forward and become the person you think your mate wants you to be. This puts you into a passive state of submission, putting your own feelings on hold, while preforming for love and approval. If you had a controlling parent, or parents, you may pick a dominant mate. This allows you to do what you know how to do, and that works… until it doesn’t. No one really likes someone who is needy, and even though it seems as if your partner wants you to “go along to get along,” he may just be recreating his childhood pattern. There is a great difference between wants and needs, and if you compromise your authentic self, you can easily become what your partner needs, rather than what he wants. Never mind losing yourself in the meantime.
- It is a distortion to think of love as submission. Love is not meant to sacrifice one partner’s identity for the other.
- If you become someone other than yourself… someone else’s idea of how you should walk in the world, then you are in danger of becoming a distorted version of yourself, unknown not only to you, but also to your mate; here is how you lose yourself to the control or possession of another.
- Acknowledge, recognize, separate, integrate, and individuate. This is the process of how to know yourself, how to listen to your inner voice, and get to know your own wants and needs. By recognizing your own patterns of behavior, you won’t be compelled to act or project them out, but rather to choose consciously and deliberately how to act in a way that works best for you. By overriding your compulsions, and in essence, shadow material, you will automatically integrate those pieces of yourself that you are unaware of, or have long forgotten.
- If your partner doesn’t see who you are, doesn’t behave in a manner that values and validates you, doesn’t actively listen to you, discounts you, doesn’t support your goals, and takes out all of the oxygen in the room for his own persona, then you may think about moving on. The one place you should feel safe, to be yourself, is in a relationship with your beloved.
- You will never change him. There is an old adage: men never think women will change, and they do; women always think they can change men, and they never can. It is hard enough to change yourself to be the “you” that you were meant to be, never mind trying to change others.
- Don’t settle for less. You will always need your own needs to be met. You must be able to count on the head on the pillow next to you to be in your court, right or wrong. A good relationship requires that level of commitment, obligation, and responsibility, knowing that the one person who will always be there for you is your partner through thick and thin.
- The most important ingredient in any partnership is mutuality. A relationship is only as solid as the two people in it, and if your life story is all about the relationship instead of you and your partner, then it will never be fulfilling. You can compromise your partnership for all of your life, but it will never be the kind you really want or need. A good relationship that is mutually satisfying for both, values and validates its individual parts.
In the final analysis, any partnership can be sustained through hard work and compromise. But a loving relationship that allows each partner to reach his fullest potential, must be authentic and mutual. This is the kind of relationship that we speak about when we say “true love” – the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, and can sustain itself through good times and bad.