A number of years ago, I ended a relationship because it lacked an essential component for success and happiness. I saw for the first time very clearly what is needed to create a long-term rewarding relationship. This theme keeps coming in the last few months in my work with clients here in Sedona and on the phone.
Here it is: You need love to create a relationship but it will not make it work. You need compatibility to create a relationship but it won’t make it work. But if you are both on the same page with your commitment to personal growth individually and as couple then you have a formula for success. But if you are not on the same page, then you have formula for unhappiness. And that is what I finally saw clearly in that past relationship. She was just unwilling to grow personally and as a couple.
The sadder outcome as I have seem so many times is when one partner or both refuse to get support but stay in a relationship that is not working. The destroyers of people’s lives are these two statements: “But, Greg, I’m in love with him (or her).” And, “But, Greg, he (or she) is my soul mate.” These components will not make a relationship successful. I know this is painful to accept but inside we all know this is true and most have been there. And people will waste 5, 10, 20, even 30 years in a relationship that is not working based on these statements. And when I say not working this would be understatement.
I have twenty couples who come see me once a year for just the day. Every time I get a call from one of them to schedule an appointment it makes me so happy. These guys are up for the “game.” They all have happy relationships but they want to learn to communicate better or connect more deeply. I call it relationhip continuing education or preventive maintenance. I think it’s the smartest thing in the world and I am honored to support them in the process.
Bottom line: If you are in an unhappy relationship and you go to your partner and suggest that you both seek support and they refuse, then I suggest you let go and move on. I know this is easier said than done. But sadly, it’s the only solution to honor your spirit. And it makes no difference how in love you are with them. Some partners will respond, “I’m fine, it’s you that has the problem.” That might be true but if you are partners, then don’t you want to do everything you can to support them? So there should be no resistance to exploring some support together. It’s a win-win; there is always something to learn.
If you are in a relationship and not willing to get some continuing education, at some point it will have a negative effect. I use the metaphor of a glass under a dripping facet–one negative drop at a time. You don’t notice these single drops but at some point the glass spills over and this is called divorce. We are all very aware of the divorce rate. So get smart and get more education about how to get your needs met and how to connect and communicate at a deeper level. You have the first two components: love and compatibility. Embrace the third component: openness to learn. That is strategy for victory.
I know there is a tone of tough love in this column but it is sad to see so many people stay in unhappy relationships and not get support. There are amazing therapists and healers out there that can empower you to find each other again. Seek them out. You can do it!
Gregory Drambour has 39 years counseling and teaching couples. He is the owner of Sedona Sacred Journeys.