Sometimes I come across people who are really stuck in their relationships. And the story usually goes something like this…
“I’m having a tough time in my relationship. Can you help me figure out what I need to do to get my boyfriend to commit?”
Or maybe it’s someone in a volatile relationship with huge ups and downs. They feel more loved than ever on the highs. And more worthless in the lows. They’re unhappy with the relationship and want to change it. If only I can help him to be happy, everything will be perfect.
Or sometimes it’s a partner that has an addiction issue or mental health problems. And the other partner will come asking for help to ‘make’ the relationship work.
I believe that you have to take responsibility for the quality of relationship that you have. Yet, you can’t be responsible for all of the relationship.
You Can't Do A Relationship Alone
If 40 – 60% of the ingredients are missing, you can’t make the recipe work… however well you cook it.
I teach people how to build a great relationship, but you can’t build when you don’t have all the bricks or cement you need.
To have a great relationship you need integrity, commitment and sensitivity.
If you don’t have those, then you have nothing solid to work with. A great relationship then isn’t possible. And so what you have is a mediocre to toxic relationship that will wear you down piece by piece until you have nothing left to give.
So why do so many bright, attractive people with choices stay so stuck in these relationships?
Usually it’s because they’re trying to recapture the initial high. But there’s a deeper reason for us that lies underneath the reason we gather clutter, struggle with diets, money and many of our other problems in life.
The Root of the problem
Life is the ultimate buffet of experiences.
Our experience of life is defined by what we choose. Life isn’t a menu that we directly choose what we want. But it does give us options and we choose how we respond.
We have three possible responses.
Yes, No and Maybe.
Everyone loves the yes’s because that’s when we get what we want. That’s what you can build on.
No one wants to hear the no’s. But the no’s are so valuable to us.
When we listen, the no’s tell us where our narrative is out of sync with reality. It can sting for a while after a no. But we can pick ourselves up and move on from them.
Maybe’s are what really kill people.
People stay stuck in relationships tearing themselves apart because they’re scared to hear a no.
Often people won’t want to give us a no. When people break up with someone they’re trying to be gentle. The other person can interpret that as there’s still hope and it drags out the break up process.
When someone wants to date and sometimes shows signs of liking us, yet makes no moves to commit… we stick with the maybe instead of taking it as a no.
When someone has an addiction, a mental health issue or they’re under stress or whatever.
What is keeping people stuck in these relationships is that they are a maybe. “I don’t want to give up because maybe he just needs a little more time”.
“Maybe if I just…”
You can’t ever get perfection in life. Yet it’s what you compromise on that will define the quality of your relationship.
Someone being two inches shorter or a 6 instead of an 8 doesn’t impact the long term happiness of a relationship.
On the other hand someone lying, cheating and without respect for you will dramatically impact on your long term happiness.
At the end of the day, our relationships are a reflection of our choices. We can’t change other people, but we do choose whether we accept their behaviour.
The biggest single thing you can do to increase the quality of your relationships is get rid of maybes.