We create our relationships from the very start. The problem is that we are mostly clueless how to go about it. Our actions often stem from our feelings and beliefs, and what we’ve seen from our parents. No one ever attended 101 Relationship class at school. That’s why I decided to help people with their relationships, because I can.
I sell hundreds of Relationship Savers every week. The letters I very often receive start with: “My partner broke up with me three months ago….” Sometimes it’s a year or more. I have been wondering for a while now, why people wait until it is almost too late to ask for help about their relationship. Most relationships, i.e., more than 50%, are not happy ones. People either break up, or stay in an unhappy relationship due to fear, convenience, economics, children, you name it. Why do people not ask for help as soon as they notice a change for the worse?
I guess only you can answer that question for yourself, but the problem seems to have some generalities which almost everyone can find something to identify with. The most prevalent reasons are: hope and fear.
Hope is always associated with the future. We hope that things will change, that or our perception of the situation is wrong, that it is only a temporary thing that will pass as soon as circumstances change. Hope that something will happen to change the situation or that we will find a way to change it ourselves. Hope that God will help us. Hope that our partner will realize his/her wrongdoing and stop, and so on. Feel free to add your own hope. Well, hope is a survival mechanism to ward off fear. Hope is a very effective tool for tricking our rational mind into going to sleep for a while longer. When one loses hope one tends to be depressed. The two are almost synonymous. Hope generates procrastination, stagnation, and curtails action. Holding onto hope supports a status quo, no matter how bad it is. The more you hope the more stuck you will get, often until it’s too late for action. This becomes a great excuse for not taking action. I was hoping he/she would change, you may say. Hope is the perfect way to fall into a victim mode, which admittedly can be a very cozy place to be. Victim-hood knows no personal responsibility. It is always someone else’s fault and someone else, i.e., your partner, who should change. Change is scary, so you do not want to initiate it.
Fear is our best friend and worst enemy. Fear helps us survive. If we had no fear of heights, snakes, hot or cold we’d all be dead a long time ago. Our brain is structured in such way that on a subconscious level we cannot distinguish between different causes of fear. Fear is a feeling that we cannot control. In general, we cannot control our feelings. What we can do is become aware of our feelings and transfer attention from the amigdala (feeling center of the brain) to the neocortex (the conscious, thinking and reasoning part of the brain). In other words, make a conscious decision whether our fear is a fear from an oncoming bus, or a simple conversation. One will kill us, the other will not. Now, how long have you been paralyzed with fear? Fear that you will be alone, fear that if he leaves you will become homeless and die, fear that you will not be loved or that you will be rejected if you take this or that action. Fear that your child/ren will suffer. Fear of making a mistake, feeling guilty, hurting his/her feelings, fear of loss, etc. Again, find your own fear that is stopping you from taking action.
All this is simple but I realize that it is not so easy to do. The first step is to admit that you do not quite know what to do when your relationship hits a bump. This is called getting in touch with reality. Not knowing is not bad or good. It just is. On what basis do we presume that we “should” know how to create a good relationship. We presume and we think that if we could only find the right person — our soul mate — we will live happily ever after. It only happens in Disney studios, not in real life.
Denying that problem exists or that it is serious, procrastinating, postponing and going for help to people who have not taken that Relationship 101 class is mostly a waste of precious time and the chance to save your relationship or make a healthy start of a new one. That was the reason for my Writing The Relationship Saver and The Gameless Relationship backed up with this blog.