Marriages and relationships involve a certain degree of heartbreak and disillusionment. Because in order to really love someone, we must give up the idea that our relationship and partner are the answer to all unmet needs that we possess. However, at the same time, we should never remain too long in unfulfilling dynamics which erode our self-esteem, where we feel constantly rejected, nor accepted, or seen.
Human beings aren’t static creatures that always stay the same in the course of life. Nothing could be more further from the truth. As we change as individuals, what we need from a partner also changes. Perhaps, years ago, we were attracted to the sense of security they provided to us or the distance emotionally and physically because we needed to feel less connected. But now, what was primarily attractive in them no longer is and perhaps, it is even repulsive.
We cannot blame our partner and cannot be blamed for becoming someone else as we go through life. I am sorry, we can’t. But as a woman, I believe we are much more proactive in cutting the ties or calling it quits of one relationship or marriage that doesn’t work any more than men. It is not a betrayal not being the same person. The betrayal happens when we don’t communicate our new self, our new needs, and wantings, no matter how difficult they are.
Although this may sound like heresy, what I will say. The reality is that we should give up on the idea that marriages or relationships are idealistic places where promises of love for one another will last forever it may indeed. But it does require work and commitment from both parties because we can not remove the human part out of the equation, as the fundamental purpose of marriage or relationship is to support and provide encouragement for each of our journeys.
The question should be:
What is true intimacy, and do I know my own truth?
I was never married, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t understand how a real marriage should be. In reality, because I am very aware of this reality and my own truth, I will only get married to someone who can dance with me the truth of life. It may seem like the 007 secret mission, but I won’t give up, and I don’t advise anyone to give up their own truth to please somebody else.
My relationships taught me the precious lesson that when we change, the other person might not be able to walk by our side any longer. And this is completely ok. Today, I am not the same woman I used to be last year or two years ago. Nor for sure ten years ago. This reality should be taken into consideration when the topic is expectations in marriage and relationships. We change, we grow!
I don’t care about the party, the princess dress, or the perfect love like in the movies. All this idea of perfect whatsoever and the endless fairytale is dangerous for your mental health, emotional safety, and bank account. I care about what the man I chose to be with will bring to the table. What is his character? His values? What does he want from life, but most importantly, does he want it with me? I saw people wasting years dating somebody else, and after getting married, filed for divorce. Multiple reasons can explain this, which some of I already wrote about in previous articles.
Here are some:
- Mismatched communication styles
- Different attachment styles and not being aware of the emotional triggers around it
- Feeling uncomfortable in talking and listen to each other no matter what the topic is
- Not spending time together or dismissing the required spiced attitudes to enhance intimacy/closeness
- Not being each other’s cheerleader
- Taking for granted the positive aspects of the relationship/marriage
- Not surprising one another with random acts of love, vulnerability, and kindness.
Like all living organisms and animal kingdom, love in a relationship or marriage needs to be nourished to thrive. More often than not, individuals tend to remain longer in relationships, which are unhealthy. Unhealthy, not because the other person is toxic. But because the relationship itself completed the entire cycle of living. And this leads us to the final question of the present article:
Why can it be so hard to leave a failing relationship?
- Subconscious comfort zone. We are attracted to what seems familiar because it means safety. For this reason, if someone is dismissing you, how are you dismissing yourself? Why are you making excuses to justify what is wrong at the conscious level?
- Core wounds that are still unresolved and afraid to face them. Let’s say that because of past relationships and other traumatic events, your unresolved core wound is rejection or abandonment. Your priority will be to avoid feeling these core wounds. For this reason, men and women tend to remain in unhappy relationships besides the social shame and economic impact that a separation/divorce can create.
Are love and relationships an easy equation? Yes and no! It all depends on you and the other person to make it work or not. But I would love to enhance this as a conclusion to my article:
If somebody else has chosen to spend their lives with you, no matter the length of time: It’s an honor!
Bachand, L. & Caron, S. (2001). Ties that bind: A qualitative study of happy long-term marriages. Contemporary Family Therapy, 23(1), 105-121. DOI:10.1023/A:1007828317271
Sprecher, S. (1999). “I love you more today than yesterday”: Romantic partners’ perceptions of changes in love and related affect over time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(1), 46-53. doi.org/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.52
Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review, 93(2), 119-135). doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.93.2.119