Hello…My Name Is Anxiety…

IMG_0771Dealing with someone who has anxiety is always a very difficult journey.  The tears stream down their face one minute as their despair overwhelms them and the next they might be exploding with anger because something has happened that has overwhelmed them.  They probably don’t know themselves where such rage has come from…it just bubbles up and explodes out of them sometimes.  It isn’t consistent and it isn’t easy to spot.  You might think your loved one just snapped at you but it’s their anxiety that got annoyed. You might think they’re often angry but again it isn’t that, it’s that they’re anxious.

You might be under the impression that they don’t like going out with you…that you bore or somehow annoy them…that everything is always your fault.  It’s not.  It’s their anxiety.  People who suffer with anxiety have no idea what it is like to have nothing going through their heads because there is not a moment in time when they aren’t thinking.  Their thoughts steam through their minds like a train over and over again…it’s tiring.  There’s not a moment when they’re not thinking.  They think about everything and usually from a negative perspective…worst possible scenario.  Some days it’s debilitating and they just can’t leave the house, though they’ll send you a hundred messages telling you all about it because they need to share it with you.  Otherwise their heads might explode with the stress of it all.

If you’re their significant other, they’ll often spend time wondering what the hell it is you see in them.  Do you regret being with them?  Do you wish that you were with someone else who wasn’t so moody and changeable? Sigh…  They know how tough their moods and moments are on you and they worry about it.  They know you just want to help them…to fix them.  But you can’t fix them because they aren’t broken.  All you can do is help loosen the vice.

Hold their hand…tell them you’re with them….take over the job or chore, or do it with them…share the load.  Let them breathe.  Reschedule Appts for them if they’re too overwhelming.  Encourage them to take things slowly rather than overloading themselves.  Don’t make them feel bad for missing an outing.  They wanted to go but they couldn’t.  They do feel bad but there is nothing they can do about it.  They can’t help it.  Encourage them to take time out for themselves when they need to.  Give them that space and they’ll love you for it.

Sometimes the answer is not quite so obvious.  Sometimes they don’t even know what they need and when this happens all you can do is be patient and let them feel the warmth of your love.  No one will win if you get frustrated.  It will just escalate things making both of you miserable.  No one wants their anxiety to define their relationships.  It’s heartbreaking for the sufferer to be a prisoner to this ugly illness when all they really want is to be carefree.

Not every day is bad and the good ones should be celebrated but on the bad days, still celebrate because this is when they need it the most.  They do appreciate and love you but at the same time they are vulnerable and scared so this can see them acting as though the opposite is true.

My answer to the people who suffer with this horrible affliction is that I am with you.  You matter.  You are important and you are worthy, so don’t give up!  Go and see your psychologist, psychiatrist, medical professional.  Take medication if it helps you and when triggered or overwhelmed by things, contact an organisation like lifeline to talk it out.

Youve got this!

Beautiful Gifts In Ugly Packages

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Often in life we find ourselves wondering “Why does bad stuff happen?”  “What kind of higher power would choose to bring such hurt into our lives and for what purpose?”  It can seem so unfair and so random and yet on many levels the answer to these questions comes down to perspective.

In the course of my work and in my personal life, I have come across and dealt with many survivors of horrible illnesses such as cancer and am actually dealing with exactly this at the moment in my own life with an extended family member.  The reality of fighting such a horrible disease is at times unbearable on many levels and yet so many people have gone on to tell me that at the end of the day, their cancer has ended up being one of the greatest gifts that they have ever experienced.  The gift in this illness often comes in the form of the reconnection of family members or friends who have previously been disconnected or estranged.  These relationships may previously have been seen as being irreconcilable but cancer is an amazing catalyst for change and forgiveness where there has previously only been hurt, anger and resentment.  Sometimes the most beautiful gifts come in the ugliest of packages.

The family member that has cancer at the present in my life has been given a very poor prognosis and this has all evolved very quickly which is difficult emotionally in itself.  This woman is in her mid sixties and has not always been one to behave well or treat people with kindness.  In fact she is someone who has often been manipulative and even down right nasty at times, creating wedges between people including her own children, to the point that one of them hadn’t spoken to her or most of the rest of the family for eight years, until this week.  The prospect of her mother rapidly dying has seen them burying the hatchet and there are now plans in place for her to come down so that they can reconnect before the end of this week…complete with grandchildren that she hasn’t seen since they were two and three years old respectively.  Hopefully they will all be able to get some closure now and all will find peace, if nothing else.

Many people I have met over the years have told me that their lives have been full of struggle and their circumstances so unfair that if reincation exists, they will not be coming back if they don’t have to.  This often changes though when they are given a prognosis with a finite time frame for their final end.  Some have told me that being given an end point suddenly made them appreciate their lives in a way that they simply hadn’t before.  The simple things now seem so much more powerful than they ever did in the past and this is an appreciation that remains after the illness has gone.  These people have been some that have told me that cancer for them was a blessing.

For someone who has always felt incapable of manifesting real change in their life, the fight against it can bring about big changes.  Victory over a disease that so often takes lives, leaves these kinds of people with a newly found respect for themselves and their personal power that can be expanded externally and thus for these people, cancer turns out to be a blessing.

When we stand back far enough from any circumstances that we perceive as negative, we find ourselves more able to see the experience in context and this brings to us an understanding of their purpose, meaning, healing and love.

And what of those who arent lucky enough to survive?  Well these people have to gain some kind of blessing as they move on beyond time and space, leaving behind the greatest gifts that they could give to those who loved them

 

So What Happens When We Just Stop The Search For “The One”?

So what would happen if we just stopped searching for love and decided to have faith in the Universe to make it appear when the time was right for us to start moving forward with someone?  In the meantime we could then focus on coming right into our present moment…the here and now…learning to love and accept ourselves just as we are in the process.

Searching for love is a tiring business and reaching outside ourselves to look for it can leave us feeling hollow and insecure because the outer world will only very rarely help us to address what’s going on inside ourselves.  Looking for fulfilment outside ourselves just leaves us feeling broken and unworthy…needy…(generally the polar opposite of what we were wanting originally) because instead of calming our inner fears, it tends to feed them.  The notion that another person or experience will help us to feel complete – you know, the one that’s fed to us in love songs and rom coms – is simply not true.  All it does is to feed our belief that our level of worth comes from the outside and that sees us feeling that we always need more external validation if we’re ever going to feel good about ourselves.

So we chase validation and love from others and inevitably, the very things we are chasing run faster and faster in the opposite direction.  Because fulfilment is an inside job and love cannot be controlled.

Life is constantly changing, whether we like it or not and generally we’re not in control of how this will happen.  The very essence of life is its impermanence – bloody inconvenient if you have control issues 😜 – but understanding this can help us to find something more solid underneath all the bullshit and that “something” is ourselves.

Learning to depend on yourself enables you to start attending to your own needs, rather than expecting everyone else to do it for you.  The way forward is within each and every one of us and developing a sense of self love is at the core of that because it helps us to realise that we aren’t actually lacking anything at all.  We aren’t broken, or damaged beyond repair.  All the answers we need are within us.  We just need to know where to look and to stop disliking ourselves so that we can see who we are without judgement.  Doing this will allow the right kind of love to arrive…the kind where you have someone in your life because you want them there, not because you need them.

For many of us, self love is definitely a work in progress.  It’s hard to feel love for ourselves when everything around us tells us that that’s not ok, that society has to love us first and for them to do that, we need to be beyond perfect.

Heres the thing though…when we begin to feel a tenderness towards ourself and who we are inside, others naturally become more drawn to us.  When we no longer care about who loves us and who doesn’t because we already feel complete without them, the pressure naturally eases off us and everyone around us and then others naturally want to get closer to us.  This is despite the fact that we no longer feel that we need them to validate us. It really is “win win”.

The way out is to go within.  We are not broken; we are not lacking; we don’t need anything to stand out because we are fine just as we are.  Once we can accept this, we can truly begin to know love and to feel it, maybe for the very first time.IMG_0743

Ever Just Wish You Could Disappear?

Do you ever wish you could just start fresh with no responsibilities when your life goes through one of those periods where everything feels too hard?  Wouldn’t it be nice one time just to be able to pull out a fresh new beginning…a new slate to write a new story for your life?  I think we all feel this way sometimes, when we feel stuck in our lives.  We just want a massive change… we want the merry go round of life to change its rotation and drop us off somewhere entirely new.  Much of the time this kind of feeling is precipitated by some kind of rejection in our lives and the fear that it will happen again.

Most of us could fill a novel with stories of all the times we’ve been rejected.  By lovers, friends, family, the government, the corporate world, investors, partners, employees etc etc etc.

Think for a moment of ten different times where you’ve been rejected and list them. How easy would it be to list one hundred of these times?  One thousand?  There are lots of different ways that we can be rejected.  You can be rejected for opportunities; jobs; rejected by people who don’t understand you; you can be rejected by people you have upset in some way, or who you have made angry; or by those who don’t respect you.  How does this make you feel?

Is never trying better than being rejected though?  Never putting yourself out there? In life these days, everyone basically acts out of self interest, based almost solely on how things are going to affect or benefit them so we need to learn how to build the energetic house we will live in.  Houses need a solid foundation and so we must build our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health so that we can be free and healthy enough overall to help ourselves and others around us to live the life we choose to lead rather than the one that someone else has chosen for us.  This house doesn’t live in the past, it leads you into your future.

How we deal with rejection is not just about how healthy we are mentally, psychologically or emotionally.  Time helps to heal our wounds but we can control to some extent how much time it takes and this depends on the number of factors we allow to affect us.  If we can build ourselves a strong and solid foundation then it is easier to start moving forward when difficulty strikes.

We are all born with different levels of oxytocin hormone in our systems and these help to modulate our reactions to different situations.  This can include anything from social anxiety to our financial situation, to happiness, to loss.  Our levels of oxytocin can be boosted by the foods we eat, how we use our minds, how we associate with others and how we deal with the positive and negative events in our lives.

In order to function properly, we need a functioning body, a healthy brain, a functioning social life, a good sense of imagination and the realisation that there are some things that we simply have no control over.  Obsessing over things we can’t control is useless and takes our focus off the things we can control.  Dwelling on the bad things that have happened to us won’t suddenly turn things around.  It only attracts more negativity into your mind and you can’t be happy with a head full of negativity.

To bring positivity into your life, you need first to build up a base of positivity in all areas – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.  Once these four bodies are in alignment and working harmoniously, you can reach out into the world to find happiness.

Many of us are taught at an early age that whatever we are, we’re not good enough.  That someone else must choose for us if we are going to be blessed, rich, certified, legitimised, educated… whatever.  This brings about feelings of insecurity which can overwhelm us if we’re not careful.  When we are not chosen, we feel bad.  When we are chosen – even by people not as smart as us – we feel validated.  How does that work?  We wake up and worry about these things at 3 in the morning when there’s absolutely nothing we can do about them and so we lie awake and struggle with our regrets, our anxieties, our fears of loneliness or depression, or poverty.  The paranoia invades all the cracks in our minds and our self esteem.

Heres an exercise to do if you’re one of those 3am worriers:  write down the things you are worrying about.  Don’t try to solve the problems, just write them down.  Then write down all the things you are grateful for.  Even the crappy things.  Figure out why you should be grateful for them.  Try to think of 100 things to be grateful for.    Success comes from continually expanding your frontiers in every direction – creative, financially, spiritually and physically.  Ask yourself, what an I improve on?  Who else can I talk to?  Where else can I look?

This should help put you right to sleep but it also gives you something to work on once you wake up so its win, win, right?FullSizeRender

What Attracts You?

What qualities attract you to others?  Perhaps rather than thinking about what is supposed to attract you, focus on what really does attract you – whether it is socially acceptable or not!  If most of us were asked to write a list of what we think we desire in a relationship partner, we’d probably write down many of the qualities we already possess, in an attempt to find the person we think would be most compatible.  However, if we take notice of how we actually feel about people who possess those qualities we think we want, we will typically feel little or no spark of attraction, instead being drawn to people who, on paper at least, just don’t work at all!

True attraction is biological rather than logical and when we allow it, it can unfold very easily and naturally, even when our logical minds can continue to churn out reasons why they aren’t our type.  Sometimes our differences complement each other and these kinds of relationships make both parties happy and help them to grow a great deal.

That being said, maybe it’s time to throw out the list.  Start to notice those people you do feel naturally attracted to, even if you can’t explain why and make a list!  When you’re done, review your list and ask yourself how someone with those qualities might actually be an incredible partner for you.  Attraction is not a choice…it just is, so perhaps this is where we simply need to upgrade our way of looking at things so that we can see the big picture.

The bottom line is that people generally get too stuck in the social programming of what we’re taught to be attracted to and don’t pay attention to the people we’re actually naturally attracted to.  We get too caught up in the judgements that then cause us to rule them out.

“My parents won’t like him.”

“He’s too short.”

“She doesn’t have the same hobbies as I do.”

“My friends would make fun of me if I went out with him.”

Perhaps mating with our opposites is natures way of making sure that we create stronger offspring and that rather than doubling up on talents and skills we already possess, they are also able to inherit other traits. They are also then able to gain from two different role models.

Its been my experience in the past that whenever I connected with men I was naturally attracted to, I could usually see clear evidence that the attraction was mutual, even when nothing was ever mentioned openly.  It was always as if a magnetic field was pulling us closer to each other. This happens a lot to people, I think but often when our logical minds notice that’s happening, there is a tendency to resist and try to block it with all of the reasons why that person wouldn’t be right for you.

When I met Damien, I instantly felt a strong pull towards him and that terrified me because I hadn’t felt that kind of pull in a long time.  All I wanted to do at first was to get away from him as quickly as I possibly could.

When we sense an attraction to someone, it’s so easy to deny how we feel as our logical minds break through and explain why we would be a terrible match.  “She’s overweight – No way!” “He’s too aggressive – so obnoxious!” “If I go out with him my friends will think I’m an idiot.” And so we talk ourselves out of it but in doing so we also turn our backs on the truth when we could just accept it and seek to understand it.  See where it leads us.  Let go of judgements and trust our feelings for a change.

Does a gorilla look at his female counterpart and say to himself   “I don’t know, she seems kinda hairy. And her butt is bigger than I’m used to.” Does she say ” Ugh, all that chest beating…who does he think he is anyway?”

Of course it is possible to create attraction…to learn how to do the things that will make other people feel drawn to you but does that create the basis for a relationship that will continue into the long term?  Eliminating blockages that you have in regards to relationships is one thing but it is important that you don’t create a false image to attract a mate because this kind of connection, by definition can’t be long lasting.

There is wisdom however in learning how to express ourselves more authentically as this will lead to truer connections that really can make us happy and help us to grow because the attraction is genuine.  Our natural attractions are there to help us to become more aligned with truth, love and power.  This helps us to let go of denial and to practice acceptance

Can you talk about your attractions openly, even if others might reject or make fun of them? Are you ashamed of those you find attractive?  Or can you accept this part of yourself completely without judgement?  Natural attraction is a beautiful thing because in experiencing this you get to experience the affection of someone who finds you naturally attractive just the way you are and this can be a source of great strength and growth because it lays a very strong foundation.  So stop apologising for what you want and instead do your best to be true to it.  Listen to your body and your feelings instead of your social conditioning and later on your logical mind can put itself to work wondering how you got so lucky!IMG_0115

What Makes Someone Attractive?

The saying goes that opposites attract but is that true, or would you be happier in a relationship with someone who is more like you?  Is attraction something we create with another person, or is it more of a chemical thing? Have you ever made up a list of qualities your ideal mate should have, only to find that there was no spark when you finally met someone who technically fit the bill?

In many ways my partner and I are total opposites but we find ourselves naturally attracted to one another and very close, despite being what can seem to be a mismatch.  I’m more of a nurturing type who likes to know how people tick and to encourage people to feel better about themselves and be the best that they can be.  I’m also a problem solver which is likely why I work in the field that I do.

On the other hand, I can be a bit of a hermit and a terrible procrastinator and at times Damien has had to shove me out the door to try something new that would stretch my comfort zone.  If people are mean to me, I get very hurt by it and I struggle with unfairness and injustice.  I work every day with the public and I love what I do but I’m naturally a shy person, so sometimes this can be a challenge.

Damien on the other hand can be blunt, to the point that a common conversation between us over the years has been “Put the filter on between your brain and your mouth mate.”  He says what he thinks without worrying about whether or not what he says is going to be hurtful, even though most of the time that’s not his intention.  Recently I overheard him telling a mate that he’d never realised how rude he could be until he met me. 😊 He simply had no awareness.  His natural way of being is to push the people out of their comfort zones.  He comes across as confident and courageous and thrives on fresh challenges.  He actively likes to go out of his comfort zone and try new things.

Im right brained and intuitive and often people are shocked by what I can tell them during a reading. I’m imaginative and create but I’m also a procrastinator and left brained thinking is much harder for me.  My work space often looks like a bomb has hit it and this stresses Damien out 😊. I call it the product of my creative mind and the fact that I spend most of my life running around for other people.

Right brained thinking doesn’t come naturally to Damien.  He says he has no imagination, though this isn’t strictly true.  He just has to work harder to tap into it. He has little tolerance at times for people who have a different work ethic or way of doing things to his and naturally likes order, though he has mellowed somewhat over the years because he’s had to.

Despite these differences though, we are very drawn to each other and our 15 years together have been an incredible journey.  We both stimulate each other to grow and this is common in relationships between people who are very different.  Being with someone just like you won’t push your boundaries nearly as much, so it’s impossible for “peas in a pod” to grow as much.

Ive helped Damien to get in touch with his heart, to learn to think about how his words and actions affect other people more than he ever did before.  I think I’ve taught him how to really love on some levels by opening up his heart in a way it never was before we met…I know our son has certainly done that.

He has opened up my sense of adventure by pushing me to try new things and be more open to new experiences.  He makes me laugh and I really do enjoy his company.  He has helped me to get better with my organisational skills, to travel more and has generally opened up my world to new experiences and people.

We continue to be excited about our relationship because we can see how good we are for each other and we know that we couldn’t have achieved all of this personal growth on our own.  Every year we continue to grow and change and although it’s not always been easy by any stretch of the imagination, it certainly has been worth it.

Over the years there has been a huge amount of material written to explain how to attract a relationship partner.  How to develop the inner qualities a potential partner might find attractive.  Whilst I think that personal development is great and should never be underestimated, I don’t agree that we need to fundamentally change ourselves in order to become worthy of having someone in our lives.

It is possible to make positive changes in our lives whilst at the same time accepting ourselves just as we are.  It isn’t healthy to start out with the assumption that we are somehow horribly flawed.  Attraction occurs very naturally and I really think that it’s more important for us to learn how to stop blocking love than it is to learn how to “snag” a significant other.  You are already attractive.  You just need to realise that and stop blocking yourself from expressing that.

Animals don’t hold seminars to teach each other how to attract a mate.  They don’t even consider that they might be too ugly or unattractive in some way to attract someone because this is not their social conditioning.  They just get to their little attraction rituals and then go right back to foraging in the bushes.  With this in mind, instead of focusing on what might be wrong with you that makes you inherently unattractive, perhaps you could look at things from a different perspective.  What is it about people that you find naturally attractive?

Dont get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with self improvement and we should always be striving for that but not because there is something “wrong” with us. A relationship shouldn’t be an end goal but a pathway to long term positive growth.  We are all imperfect to one degree or another and that’s ok. Your personality quirks might just be exactly what someone else finds most attractive about you.  Growth should occur within the relationship, not just in order to get one.FullSizeRender

Let’s Stick Together!

So following on from yesterday’s blog – why bother getting involved in the first place if there are so many ways for things to fall apart?  And if you are one of the lucky ones who has a good relationship, how can you make it stronger?  When we look at and begin to understand why people break up, we can then start to use these same ideas to see why people would want to connect and why they’d want to stay together.

No one ever goes into a relationship expecting it to work out badly.  Initially you might simply be curious about this person you have in your sights.  Later you might want to explore, learn, grow and have fun together.  Eventually you might decide you’d like to build a life together.  Sharing thoughts and feelings about where the relationship is going and what you each hope to get from it is one way of strengthening your connection to a significant other.  What is important about your direction for the future?  Are you on the same page with your partner or are your expectations conflicted?

If you want to create a positive future outlook within a relationship, it is wise to first start working on yourself.  Sometimes doing this will awaken you to a real need to walk away if you start to realise that you don’t have enough control over your life to live as you’d most like to but if this happens then trust in the knowledge that once you establish yourself in the life you really want, you’ll naturally begin to attract the kinds of relationships that are best aligned with this.

People are naturally attracted to those who are optimistic about the future, so building optimism inside yourself is an important step towards this.  When a relationship ends, it’s not usually as a result of a mutual decision.  Even when the events leading up to the break up are the same for both individuals, they won’t always see them in the same way.

Its a beautiful thing when you meet someone who wants to explore both you and your desires and you are able to connect over these things.  Once this starts to happen you need to ask each other “What would you like to explore and experience together?”  This can include things like exploring and experiencing together, certain sexual experiences, etc and it is important that you then make an effort to explore these things together.  Fulfilling these kinds of desires as a couple can strengthen the bond between you and this will make you more likely to continue this pattern.

Even short term relationships like those you have whilst you’re traveling can be fantastic experiences when you and the other person can agree on what you’d like to explore.  Travel romance can be a beautiful thing.  The trick is not to pretend to be willing to satisfy someone else’s desires long term if you have no interest in them.  Don’t feel that you need to “take one for the team”.  Just be open to allowing your partner to explore those desires on their own, or accept that you just aren’t compatible and move on.

In long term relationships, there can be a tendency for one person to want to control the other to some extent.  This is their subconscious way of preventing their desires from diverging but unless the other person is willing to be controlled long term, this kind of relationship is unsustainable for any length of time.

We tend to value and appreciate relationships that help us to grow stronger and this strength can include connections that bring us new resources, opportunities, knowledge, skills, advice, encouragement and support.  Most people will say that they just want love but their behaviour suggests otherwise so instead of denying this reality, perhaps it makes more sense to embrace it.

If you misrepresent yourself when you first get into a relationship, your connection will be based on continuing that manipulation.  That is actually very stressful to keep up and it also stops you from having real intimacy, so offer what you can genuinely give and request what you genuinely want, not what you think the other person wants to hear.  This is what will lead you to a strong match.  Looks, income and social status are fluid…they don’t alway last, so if that’s all that is attracting you to someone, eventually things are going to go awry.  It stands to reason that if you’re always flashing your money around trying to impress potential mates, for example, all you’re likely to attract are gold digger types.

A healthy relationship strengthens everyone involved, whilst an unhealthy one drains one or both of its participants and so it is important always to be working on your personal growth within your relationships as well as your growth with the other person.  Personal growth helps you to grow as a couple provided both parties are working on themselves, creating a stronger emotional bond between you. Sharing your most important desires also does this as anyone who isn’t compatible will simply move away from you.  Don’t jerk someone around by encouraging them to invest their emotions in you if you know in your heart that you’re not what they’re looking for.  It’s a waste of everybody’s time.  There’s nothing as thrilling however, as finding a good match and running with it as you explore together.

Look for someone who empowers you…who you feel able to empower, rather than draining each other’s energies.  Exercise daily as this is a natural mood booster and clean up your diet so you’ll have the extra energy to give to your significant other.

When you make your self strong individually, you’ll add strength to your connections and will attract strong partners who can help you to become stronger.  You’ll be less likely to attract relationships that drain you.

Whether you’re already in a relationship, or are seeking a new one, pay attention to the three fundamentals of prediction, desire and empowerment because when those three things are aligned, you will know you have a winner.  Alignment is always your responsibility so restore and preserve it where possible within your relationships and be prepared to let go of the ones where this isn’t possible.IMG_0673

Deal Breakers

As a part of my work as a reader and healer, I deal with a lot of people who want to leave their relationships, or have just been left and it got me thinking…why do people break up?  What are the core patterns that these situations have in common? Surely if we can better understand why people break up, we will be half way to understanding why people stay together and this might then help us to choose our matches more carefully in the future and to strengthen our existing relationships.

In a Nutshell

So when I looked at this more closely, the reasons people break up basically came down to this:

  •  Lack of trust – dishonesty (real or imagined); suspicion; broken promises; betrayal (whether physical or emotional)
  • Lack of growth – stagnation;  not enough growth or progression within the relationship as a couple until one outgrows the other
  • Falling out of love – the weakening of emotional ties
  • Unmet needs – important needs that are not fulfilled; constant compromise by one person in the partnership in favour of the needs of the other
  • Insecurity – one partner who is constantly clingy or insecure
  • Unacceptable behaviour – boundaries that are constantly violated and a partner who either can’t or won’t change their behaviour in order to be sensitive to the needs of the other
  • Incompatibility – significantly different goals, desires or values; nothing in commin
  • Social and family pressures – disharmony; invasion of privacy; regular boundary violations by your significant others family or close friends that they refuse to address
  • Wanting to be single – wanting to restore single status; wanting to regain complete personal freedom
  • No sex or intimacy or bad sex – loss of sensual and sexual desire and/or fulfillment
  • Not enough fun – not doing things together that make you happy
  • Abuse – physical, mental and/or emotional disempowerment
  • Drug or alcohol abuse – making substances more important than your significant other
  • Financial problems – fights about spending, debt, earning capacity etc
  • Unbalanced value exchange – unbalanced giving or receiving; not getting back as much as you feel you are giving

So what is the opposite of these things?  Because these are the things that are going to give us a healthy relationship:

  •  Trust –  open and honest sharing of information; keeping up commitments
  • Growth –  a sense of growth within the relationship; feeling as though you are moving forward together towards a common goal
  • Love – maintaining a strong emotional bond; actually liking each other
  • Meeting needs – fulfilling each other’s important needs and aiming for win-win solutions rather than constant compromise
  • Security – building our and our partners self esteem so that we can each feel good and secure as individuals
  • Respecting boundaries – mutual respect; altering behaviours that you know push the boundaries of your significant other
  • Compatibility – goals, desires and values in sync
  • Social and family harmony – external boundaries defined and maintained/protected; privacy respected
  • Balancing individuality and coupledom – maintaining space within your togetherness
  • Intimacy and good sex – emotional intimacy; sharing; good sex
  • Abundant fun – have fun together to strengthen emotional bonds and reduce stress
  • Encouragement – empowering your significant other physically, mentally and emotionally
  • Healthy lifestyles – free of destructive addictions
  • Financial compatibility – compatible financial goals and practices; similar risk tolerance
  • Giving and receiving – balanced giving and receiving

 

So Why Do People REALLY Break Up?

Most of us in relationships have some of the negative qualities in the first list and we don’t necessarily break up, or have many of the positive qualities from the second list and still do break up.  If you take a close look at the first list, I’m sure that you can think of a situation where a person might stay in a relationship despite these things… do people ever stay in a relationship that isn’t growing? Do people ever stay in an abusive relationship till death do us part?  Do people ever remain in a long term sexless relationship?  Of course they do!

Why do people put up with some of these “deal breakers” for years and then suddenly decide to leave?  Why didn’t they leave as soon as the problem became noticeable?  What changed to make them finally give up?

As individuals we all assign different meanings to similar events.  What is a deal breaker for one is tolerable for another.  For one person cheating is a reason to send the other half packing, whilst for someone else it is a reason to renegotiate the nature of their commitment whilst trying to find a way to forgive and heal.  Some may think it’s a deal breaker before it happens but then behave differently when confronted with the actuality of it.

For one person, little or no sex is a deal breaker, whilst for someone else it’s an invitation to spice things up, or just to learn to live with it and find other things to fill that physical and emotional space.

For one person, high financial stress is a reason to head for the door.  For another it’s a chance to find a way to work together to resolve it.

We are all brought up differently and this colours the way we see all of these things but this is not the only factor.  How do people decide that staying in a relationship is going to be better than leaving?  How do we assign meaning to specific events within our relationships?  How does this meaning influence our expectations of what will happen next?  How do our expectations influence our ultimate decision to stay or leave?

Events that cause us to lose hope can shift us towards leaving, as can the introduction of a feasible escape opportunity.  Many relationships end with an incident that turns into a “straw that broke the camels back” moment.  This moment can and often is something small…something that is almost nothing when compared to previous incidents but something changes in that moment.  Leaving becomes more desirable than staying.

People often go through several rounds of leaving and reconciling before they break up permanently, exhausted by the merry go round of emotions but this can take years.  At the end of the day though, if you need to keep asking “Should I stay or should I go?” month after month and year after year, you need to understand that most of the time, people in that situation actually feel happier once they have left.  Not knowing creates unnecessary stress, messes with your self esteem and makes you feel negative about the future.

Desire also changes within a long term relationship and this can be a cause for relationship break down.  Denying the fulfilment of someone else’s desires in the long term pretty well destines you to failure. Support from our significant others is important and the smart partner supports their loved ones most deeply held desires and actually works with them to make things happen.  At the very least they don’t get in the way.  If your significant other tries to make you leave the things you see as important behind you, you’d probably be happier leaving in all honesty because in pursuing your desires will more often lead you to someone who is more compatible with you.  This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships either.  It’s true for friendships, family connections and relationships with co-workers also.

It is important in all of your relationships to look for this kind of compatibility.  Don’t fall into the trap of misplaced loyalty to people who don’t support you or actively try to hold you back.  There are worse things than being on your own, so find your tribe.    Find the people who empower you and surround yourself with them.  Staying in a disempowering relationship weakens you, destroys your self esteem and makes you feel like you are missing out.  Put simply, this kind of relationship drags you down.  It becomes work…too much effort and eventually it sucks the life out of you.

Leaving this kind of relationship makes you feel empowered as it brings your inner strength back into focus.  Healthy relationships make you feel stronger by adding to your life and this enables you to dream bigger and achieve bigger goals through teamwork.

In reality there are really only three reasons why people leave their relationships and where one may be more abundantly present, generally if there is one, the others will be there to some degree as well.

  •  They come to the conclusion that life will be better if they leave
  • They feel the relationship is standing in the way of their true desires
  • The relationship is making them feel weak and they want to feel stronger again

These three things relate directly to the three core principles of growth:

  •  Truth – recognising and accepting the truth that your relationship isn’t working anymore
  • Love – feeling drawn to explore and fulfill greater desires
  • Power – needing to grow stronger and feel empowered

Of course all of these things are judgement calls and each of us will assess our relationships differently but if you can understand these core reasons to stay or go, it will make things clearer and your choices easier.FullSizeRender