Letting Go of a Bad Relationship

 

If you’ve done everything you can to reinvest in a relationship, but nothing is working or you are the only one trying, it may be time to let go of that bad relationship.

The point of a relationship is support, nurturing, caring, affection, fun, intimacy and above all love. But many relationships devolve into a war of enemies instead of a pursuit shared by loving partners. If you’ve done everything you can to reinvest in a relationship, but nothing is working or you are the only one trying, it may be time to let go of that bad relationship.

First, realize that a relationship is merely a psychological and social construct. There are no wires attached. Sure, if you are filing for divorce, or if you cohabitate and share a bank account there are going to be logistics to work out. There always will be. But by and large it’s all in your head, and the head of the other person. Once you start thinking of the relationship as over and start making plans, planning out the steps, and begin to execute them, viola it’s over. If you want to let go of a bad relationship, start thinking about it as over. That’s the first step. Make sure you outline clearly why it is ending. Have it clear in your mind. Lots of people will be asking why it ended. Your significant other will want to know too. Start making plans on how to address the issue with them. You want a clear go-to statement in your head because if they are manipulative or persuasive they may start trying to convince you to stay. Having a clear reason and clear cut incidents to call to mind will help you stay true to your decision and not back pedal, only to go through the same process again later.

Decide to what level you trust them. People break up for different reasons. Was it infidelity? Just falling out of love? Was there abuse? Or is the relationship just not going anywhere? A breach of trust is the worst kind of breakup. They may have stolen, lied or cheated. With this situation you have to be particularly careful. If you have a joint bank account and you think your soon-to-be-ex might clear it out, take your money out of there first. Secure any valuables you have at their place or if you cohabitate. Wait until they go out first. You’ll have to be sneaky but it’s better than getting ripped off. Don’t get revenge by stealing their stuff or taking their money. You will hurt your own reputation. It might be illegal. And then instead of standing up for you people will think that you are the bad guy. If your significant other is abusive or manipulative and you just can’t seem to shake them, elicit the help of a friend. Have them with you when it is time to break up or go over their place to get your stuff. If even this won’t help, clear out your stuff when they aren’t home. Then call them when they get home from work and explain to them what is happening and why. You don’t have to do it in person if they are going to hurt you or suck you in again. They don’t deserve that respect. You are doing it this way to protect yourself. Next grieve but don’t get stuck in it. Let it unravel naturally. Then work on healing.

Attractions of Deprivation

deprivation

Attractions of Deprivation

Do you have a string of romantic disasters trailing behind you? Do you often fall in love with the wrong person and your passion turns into devastation when you see your relationship inevitably fall apart? What gives? Don’t give up. You aren’t destined to die alone or in a dysfunctional relationship. You may be suffering from attractions of deprivation. The Imago model developed by Harville Hendrix states that we are attracted to those who embody the worst elements of our childhood caregivers, our parents or whoever raised us.

We have unresolved issues surrounding abuse, betrayal, neglect and manipulation from these caregivers. We desire to heal these wounds, subconsciously, and so seek out a mate with these qualities so that we may do so. Said another way, we are therefore most attracted to those who have the ability to hurt us psychologically the way we were hurt as children. Moreover, what ends up happening is instead of healing we get hurt in the exact same way, once again, this time by a lover instead of a caregiver. We want to have the same problem play out from our childhood but this time solve the problem instead of enduring the pain, and move past this incident, gaining closure and healing the old wound.

The first thing to do is to identify the negative qualities that pull you in in the first place. Look for qualities that all of your exes who matched this pattern had in common. If you are unsure ask friends, family members and confidants. Next, identify these exact same qualities in your childhood caregivers. Write them down in a list. Call it “My Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down anything that annoyed, upset or hurt you. Don’t worry if you were at fault in some instances, too. Just write them down. Put in physical characteristics that are attractive too but negative like over-confident swagger. Next, get another piece of paper. Entitle it “Profile of my Attractions of Deprivation.” Write down the exact type of person you are attracted to using these qualities. Notice that these exact qualities are both what turn you on and what end up stifling the relationship, such as arrogance. On the flip side, that person doesn’t care about you the way you do them. They aren’t considerate and don’t support you or make room in their lives for you. If you can’t think of anything, ask your friends. They’ll have a ton of things to tell you.

Underneath write “My Gifts.” Write down all of the positive qualities your exes never took the time to get to know about you. These are the very things that get stifled in these relationships. They are holding you back from personal growth. Keep this with you and the next time you are attracted to someone who is wrong for you, turn away. Find people you are attracted to instead, those that inspire you not deprive you. For more advice read, How to Avoid Falling in Love with A Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart without Losing Your Mind by John Van Epp, Ph.D.

Why many are Scared of Love

fear of love

Why many are Scared of Love

Did you know that most divorces and breakups happen at the beginning of the year? January seeks the most separations of couples. Why is that? Speculations abound but no real reason has been pegged. It could be that people want to have a new life in the New Year. Or perhaps they see Valentine’s Day down the road and run off before it gets there. But this begs the question, why do so many breakups and divorces happen at all? One reason, lots of people are scared of an emotion that should instead empower them, love.

These fears don’t always surface at the beginning of a relationship. They may lay dormant waiting for the right trigger to bring them forth. They all come down to one thing, a fear of intimacy. And even though initially this fear is seen as a protective quality, it ultimately keeps us from the intimacy and closeness we desire most. There are lots of ways to be scared of love. See if any of these describe you or someone you know. First is fear of vulnerability. This usually happens at the beginning of a relationship. Love means letting someone else in. You are suddenly dependent upon someone else for your happiness, not just you. And this fear of vulnerability can often affect or even end a relationship, the fearful partner driving the other away.

Falling in love also brings up old scars from the past. Childhood traumas are often brought forth. Anger, resentment, neglect, rejection and fear can all resurface in conjunction of finding love in one’s life. Love can oppose our old perceptions of ourselves. We may think we’re unlovable or undeserving of love. There are those who sometimes mistake their inner critic for how they actually feel about themselves. They let those negative voices become their opinion of themselves. The inner critic is an amalgam. It is nothing but a collection of negative messages we were exposed to when we were young by our parents and others, or those which our parents felt about themselves which we internalized and made about ourselves. Other negative messages from bullies and other peers may become part of this amalgam. Eventually it gets ingrained in the individual. Falling in love, and being validated by someone who loves you, throws a wrench in that perception. And since our biggest fear is that of the unknown, the person who is loved but doesn’t feel that they deserve it doesn’t know what to do.

Some people fear inevitable pain from the elation of love. That the breakup will hurt just as bad as the love now feels. But how do you know that it won’t work out? Lastly, some people fear that the other person loves them more than they love that person. They’re afraid that this dynamic will never change. Love changes over time and moment to moment. Do not fear love. Let it be a transformative force in your life, not a blast that forces you to crouch but an updraft that makes you soar. For more advice read, Love Me, Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.

What does it mean when Your Date had a Quick Marriage before?

date

What does it mean when Your Date had a Quick Marriage before?

Quickie marriages in celebritydom have become as cliché as the damsel in distress being saved by valiant heroes. But what about in real life? What does it mean when your date has had a quick marriage before? The truth is that most divorces occur after the first two years of marriage. And the social trend is being married over less time. So it may not mean much. Just like everything else, it’s far more complicated than just that. What you really want to do is find out the reason why the marriage ended, and the particulars before you toss this person into the discard pile.

There are many factors to consider. First, who was the one who broke it off, or was it a mutual thing? 75% of divorces happen when one person wants out of the marriage. And more often than not it’s the woman asking for a divorce. Many times people enter into marriage without knowing the responsibility, time and effort it takes to keep a marriage fresh and alive. Also, there are those who find it difficult to commit. They think they’re ready but once the marriage is in full swing it turns out that they aren’t.

Were they young when they got married? If you want to address this question a little more genteelly, ask if age was a factor. Young people are impulsive. They fall deliriously in love and rush off to get hitched, only to realize it isn’t built to last a short time later. But you shouldn’t hold someone’s youth against them, as long as they’ve tempered that impulsive passion with reason. Passion certainly isn’t a bad thing in a date. And impulsivity’s mature stage is spontaneity, another plus. It’s important that you ask your date for information over a period of time, and in a light or direct way. But make sure it doesn’t feel like an interrogation. Or else you may be pushing away a potential partner. Know that divorce is painful for most people. It may be hard to talk about, whether the person admits it or not. Get them comfortable with you. Ask them to share their story. If they don’t feel comfortable sharing the whole thing, or just want to sum it up for now, tell them that’s okay. Really listen. Don’t judge, at least not right away. Thank them for sharing it.

So it’s important that you keep an open mind, don’t jump to conclusions, really think about what the person said, and try to find what they may not be saying, but what they mean. They may not say nice things about their ex, depending upon the situation, but it just may be a defense to cover up the hurt. Be patient and figure out who this person really is, and what’s really going on before going to the next level with them, just as you should do with anyone. For more advice read, Dating the Divorced Man: Sort Through the Baggage to Decide if He’s Right for You by Christie Hartman.

What’s the Best Way to Breakup with a Hookup?

hookup

What’s the Best Way to Breakup with a Hookup?

Whether you are dating again after a divorce, staving off marriage, are too busy for a serious relationship or believe monogamy is antiquated system with no place in the modern world, you are immersed in the exciting albeit confusing, hookup culture.  And anyone who has spent any amount of time in it comes to a point where they have to break up with someone that they aren’t actually dating. The whole experience can feel like a double edged sword. You didn’t get the benefits of a relationship exactly but you still have to go through the worst part. Some people try to hint around as if they are all-of-a-sudden completely unavailable. But lots of people, of both genders, fail to take the hint. Of course, you may ask what the best way to breakup with a hookup is, but it all comes down to who you both are and how you relate. Do you do normal couple things but are still in the incubator stage of your relationship? Or is this a drunk dial booty call on a Friday night? Just as the punishment should fit the crime, the type of non-relationship you share with this person should determine the way you break up with them.

If you shared meals, hung out in bars or spent a significant amount of time together, this person is owed a face-to-face breakup. Just be honest with them. Sit them down and let them know that you want a plutonic relationship and still want to remain friends. If you aren’t feeling it anymore, say so. When you act like a couple the lines between hookup and relationship tend to blur. You’ll want to clear things up in a way that leaves no room for confusion. If this is the drunk hookup, let them know that it’s been fun but you just want to be friends from here on out. If you really aren’t attached a phone call might suffice, if it’s just a case of text and grind. Then there are those times where you just went out on one date and you are 100% sure the chemistry isn’t there and never will be. Just tell them so. Here perhaps over the phone might be alright as well. If you two have been hanging out a long time, or worse yet were at one time thick as thieves, this is the serious, sit-down breakup.  Perhaps they said or did something that soured you. Maybe you met someone else who flips your switch and lights you up like Las Vegas, or things just coasted into boringsville fast. Whatever the case, you have to sit this person down in a quiet, comfortable setting and explain why. Don’t let it feel like you are stomping on their heart. But they do deserve the truth. If you think they’ll make a scene, do it in a public place like a restaurant or coffee house.

Do go out of your way to let them down gently. Don’t gossip with your friends. Word does get around and then how will you look when it reaches your former hookup? If you are dropping this person, drop them. If you drunk dial them a week later and get it on, you’ll be in the same situation all over again. Erase them from your phone and email. Maybe keep them on your social media pages or else your actions may seem hurtful. Resist the urge of calling them and starting the cycle all over again, or don’t break up with them at all. Don’t dwell on the situation. Learn from this experience and integrate it into your future pursuits. Certainly even the most short-lived relationships can leave you with a good memory. Sometimes it helps to close with that memory and how you’ll cherish it. It leaves both of you feeling good. For more on traversing the harrowing landscape of love read, Sex at First Sight: Understanding the Modern Hookup by Richard E. Simmons III.