Life is all about choices and we are responsible for those choices…for the decisions we make! I hear people complain about their boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife all the time. He does this! She does that! He won’t do this! She wont do that!
Recently I was listening to a woman complain about her boyfriend. She has been with him for nearly 4 years. Her biggest complaint is that he keeps promising to get a divorce, but has made not effort to get the process started. How many red flags does she need to recognize this is a relationship doomed to failure? During our conversation I pointed out several obvious problems and reason she needs to leave this relationship and reasons he won’t be getting a divorce. With each observation I made, she made an excuse for not leaving. She was emotionally (and financially) locked into a relationship that was convenient at best and toxic at worst.
The Oxytocin effect
Oxytocin is a hormone most commonly known as the “love hormone.” For most of people, this hormone helps us make a connection with our mate through physical touch. The more times you touch or are touched, the stronger the connections becomes. The touch can be as simple as holding hands, a touch on the shoulder or back, or a simple kiss. If the touch is sexual in nature, the connection becomes even stronger. This helps explain why it is so hard to leave a poor relationship and the longer you have been together, the harder it is to leave. This also helps explain why we tend to return to poor relationships on average of seven times before we can finally leave.
Another component of relationships is the emotional attachment. Healthy attachments are great and based on a common desire to be together, support each other, and to help each other grow intellectually, spiritually, and emotionally. The attachment becomes unhealthy when one person feels the “need” to have someone in their life or they become dependent on the other person either emotionally or financially. They become stuck and don’t believe they have any power to leave and move forward with a healthy life and a healthy relationship. Often times the emotionally unhealthy person only finds value in themselves when they are in a relationship and should always be encouraged to seek professional counseling.
Living with a fantasy
There is another possible component and that is the fantasy of a person changing to be what or whom you want them to be. The person that has this fantasy can see the potential of a great relationship…if only he would change this or that. “If only he would do some of the things I want to do.” If only he would change his mind about getting married, having children, etc.” While I am describing this as being a female characteristic, it is common among men too. Men tend to be the rescuers. We find a damsel in distress and we want to fix it. We want to help her financially or fix whatever problem she has that day. We ultimately enable our partners to be less than they have the potential to be.
The biggest problem that most of us struggle with in all of these situations is not having the courage or maturity to walk away when we first recognize the problem. We want to fix the other person. We want to believe that it will all be okay and that this person can fulfill all our relationship needs…if only they would change. The reality is that we can’t change someone else no matter how hard we try. We only end up frustrating them, frustrating ourselves, and wasting precious time on the wrong relationship. And, as long as you are in the wrong relationship, you are not available for the right one when it comes along. When you have the right person in your life, you won’t have to change them! Make your actions speak louder than words! Stay focused on what you want in a relationship and don’t settle for anything less than extraordinary.
If you or someone you know has questions about dating, please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the author.
Over the past 30 years, Rick Soetebier has been a student of self and relationship improvement. He is an astute observer of people and relationship issues. Over time and through a relationship and marriage that ended after 25 years, Rick started to develop some of the fundamental principles that are found in his book, Dating Backward: A practical guide to dating and finding your soul mate. You can benefit from his observations, education, research and personal experience by letting him help you make better relationship decisions. Date consciously and settle for nothing less than extraordinary in your next relationship.