Most people cite a number of reasons for why a relationship didn’t work out.
Do any of these sound familiar:
“We fought all the time.”
“She was too possessive.”
“We didn’t know how to communicate.”
“We were incompatible.”
“We just grew apart.”
After working with couples for over 50 years, I’ve heard all these. And the majority of these people go on to be unhappy in their next relationship.
That’s why, if you’re in a relationship now and things have gotten so bad that you think you might be better off with someone else, you need to pay close attention to what I’m about to tell you.
The statistics are pretty grim:
About 41% of first marriages end in divorce. So do 60% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages.
Why is this?
Shouldn’t people get better at picking someone who is better for them?
The answer is that it’s not about the partner you choose. It’s about the person you take with you.
And that’s you.
You bring your issues from relationship to relationship, which means you’ll go on to recreate unhappy circumstances with someone else.
And the biggest issue we all bring—and the one that can and will bring a relationship down—is self-abandonment.
Self-abandonment is what happens when you make someone else responsible for your feelings and sense of self worth.
You’re essentially looking to someone outside you to take away your uncomfortable feelings and make you feel okay.
We are all prone to this, and it starts in childhood.
See, you came into life expecting to be loved. But if your parents or caregivers didn’t know how to love, or see who you are in your beautiful essence, then one of two things happened:
More than likely, however, this didn’t happen. Instead, like most of us, this happened:
Even if you had very loving parents, you would have experienced some amount of pain. We all have, because no human being can provide 100% love for us all the time.
And if, when you didn’t feel the love, you decided there was something wrong with you, then you started feeling very uncomfortable feelings—depression, anxiety, emptiness, and anger.
These are big feelings your little body didn’t know how to handle. Back then, you coped by doing what kids and teenagers do: either rebelling or conforming as a way to get attention and love.
Then you grew up and discovered something amazing called romantic love. “Aha!” the little child inside you thought, “THIS person will give me the love I didn’t get.”
In searching for the perfect partner, what you’re really doing is looking for someone to give you the perfect love your parent never could. You think that if you can just get your partner to give you this perfect love, you’ll always feel okay.
And this belief causes you to behave in destructive ways.
Because you’ve self-abandoned and abdicated personal responsibility for your feelings, you feel an urgency to make sure your partner gives you what you’re not giving yourself.
So you go into control, and not always in the ways you might think. Control can show up in the form of being overly nice and accommodating, or in being possessive and hyper vigilant. You can control by being overly compliant and by caretaking.
In each of these cases, you’re trying to make sure the other person doesn’t reject you. You think that by doing all these things, you won’t experience all the feelings that go along with believing you’re not lovable.
You attract according to your level of self-abandonment and self-love.
Therefore, in a troubled relationship BOTH people have unhealed self-abandonment, and their problems stem out of control—on BOTH sides.
In trying to get love and avoid pain, both partners will engage in a variety of controlling behaviors that can inevitably lead to fighting, disconnection, and infidelity.
As each partner tries to get love from the other, they end up pushing each other away, creating even more anxiety, emptiness, and anger.
So it’s very important to learn how to create our own sense of worth rather than giving that power to your partner.
When you make your partner responsible for making you feel okay, you’re going to “pull” on your partner. You will place an impossible burden on them to take away all your uncomfortable feelings. As a result, they will feel pressured, smothered, and controlled.
And even if your partner does try to love you, there’s nowhere for that love to land. Because if you don’t love yourself first, you will not be able to fully receive someone else’s love. You won’t feel worthy of the love you so desperately want.
Your love for yourself provides the foundation for their love to land in your heart and soul.
We cannot connect with others when we’re disconnected from ourselves.
And we cannot share love with others when we’re not loving ourselves.
But when you realize that you’re the only person who can truly make you feel okay, you welcome the opportunity to take responsibility for your feelings. You make it your job to feel good, which in turn takes the pressure off your partner to make everything right.
As if by magic, even long-standing problems melt away as your need for control disappears.
This is my life’s work, and it’s the work that has helped couples in crisis completely transform their relationships where traditional therapy has failed.
Now I’ve partnered with Flourish so I can help people like you heal your hearts, and experience an overflowing level of joy and passion in your relationships again.
When you subscribe to our FREE Relationship Advice Newsletter, you get access to an accomplished community of carefully selected experts (like me!) giving you our best insights and strategies to overcome any relationship challenge. You’ll learn:
I’ve spent the last 50 years (yes, 50!) counselling couples to completely transform their relationships into joyous, passionate, satisfying love affairs…even if they’ve struggled for years.
When you learn to fill yourself up with love and you create your own sense of worth, something magical happens—you naturally want to share this love with your partner. No longer in a state of neediness, you just want to give. When two people come to a relationship like this, it’s the greatest joy in life.
You too can experience this joy; all it takes is the right tools and information. I hope you will subscribe to our free newsletter. Why spend one more day in a relationship that’s anything other than overflowing with love?