Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Relationships - Staying Too Long at the Fair

I love to use the quote, "I stayed too long at the fair," when discussing relationships during the course of a reading. Four of the reasons people stay in relationships too long center around fear, love, trust and control issues.

Everyone in a love-oriented relationship wants to feel loved and secure. The desire to live happily ever after takes a lot of work, but there are times where no matter what you do, a relationship needs to end. How do we know when it is time to pull the plug? Is it easy to admit that a relationship is no longer viable? Can we acknowledge that we failed? Most people do not want to admit failure because that implies guilt and blame. If we can get past our emotions and not play (or stop playing) the blame game, we may realize that even though we love someone, we may have to say goodbye because our relationship no longer works. We are no longer happy.

Did we change? Is our partner resistant to change? Did we both change and discover that we no longer want the same things? People are unique and complicated. Relationships are like jigsaw puzzles. Each piece will fit perfectly next to two or more pieces, but all of the pieces need to be present to create a complete picture. The more complicated the picture, the longer it will take for us to put all the pieces together properly. There are people in the world who do not have the patience to wait for things to come together. Others discover that not all of the pieces will fit together--an important piece is missing. I like to refer to this situation as an eight of cups moment. In Tarot, one of the simplest interpretations of this card is: walking away to seek what is missing. Searching for fulfillment or taking a chance so that one can find what one needs.

When is love no longer enough to keep two people together? There are some people who know when to leave a relationship before it gets ugly. Others leave when it gets ugly, and there are a few who stay no matter what.

Depending on your age or life experiences you enter into relationships for reasons that are unique to you. I know the type of man I would have chosen as my significant other in my early twenties is not the type of person I would choose today. We change and evolve. We become wiser. If our partners change and evolve in the same direction that we do, we are most fortunate. If not, then we enter the market again and search for the next suitable partner. This should be an adventure--a quest to find love. It is not an easy journey. This may be why some people stay in unhealthy relationships.

Life happens. We lose jobs. If our parents are still alive, we may need to become their caretakers. Children still need a good education in order to succeed in the world. Sometimes we may need to go back to school in order to re-educate ourselves because the work environment has forced us out of our comfort zone. Perhaps we were not really comfortable but we were marking time--waiting for our next opportunity. Often we stay in jobs we hate or that make us ill because we need financial security. Even our nest eggs (if we have them) may take a hit when the economy dips, or we lose our jobs. We worry about our future and those who depend upon us. We need to persevere because that is what we must do. No one has it easy all the time. We should never give up living when life deal us a particularly difficult hand. However, when it comes to relationships, we may have to give up. Knowing when to call it a day is not always easy.

Where am I going with this line of thinking? To the heart of the matter. It does not matter how much you love someone and how much they love you. If you are not getting what you need from a relationship, you need to take a moment to figure out what you want and what you are willing to settle for or accept from your partner. Have one or both of you stopped communicating? Are you the one who is closed off? Do you find yourself eating more, drinking more, smoking more, needing anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication because you are not getting what you need in this relationship? Is your partner doing this?

If this sounds like you, you need to make a list of the advantages of staying in this relationship and the advantages of leaving. Do the same thing with the disadvantages of both. Write down what is keeping you tied to your partner besides love or the amount of time you both have invested in this relationship.

Are you trying to control the outcome or fix this relationship by yourself? Is that what your partner is trying to do this? Recognize that when one person is finished, the relationship is finished. Stop trying to convince yourself that the other person can change. The only person who can change is you.

If you are in a situation where you may need to end a relationship, here are a few more things to think about. 1) Would you be happier with or without this person? 2) Can you get what you want from this relationship? 3) Are you able to give your partner what they need without resentment?

I hope these thoughts are helpful to you or someone you know who may be staying too long at the fair. If you have any ideas, comments or thoughts about this chapter in my Relationship Insight Series, I look forward to hearing them, responding to them, and I may possibly include them in a future blog entry.

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