Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shock and Disbelief... My Partner Wants to Leave

Spent some time tonight reading the blogs posted by folks going through serious difficulties with their partners. It seemed that there was a pattern in relationship failure that cropped up over and over again. One partner being shocked by the other wanting to leave the relationship and seemingly completely unaware of the deep unhappiness that their partner was feeling.

This speaks to a lack of communication between partners, as well as a failure on the part of both parties to address issues before they become serious road blocks to moving forward. In many instances small problems are swept under the rug as partners try to get along. They do not want to spend their time talking out thorny issues that they may feel are too explosive or too difficult to try to negotiate via compromise. Some may convince themselves that they are doing their partner a favor in keeping the peace. In reality, those issues that do not get discussed are generally the ones that are most important and need attention.

The investment of time discussing and working through smaller problems may eliminate the necessity of dealing with huge hurdles later on in the relationship. Getting along on a day to day basis is crucial in building a foundation for the future. However, ignoring small irritations eventually builds walls between partners that over time may turn into resentment and bitterness. The bricks in a wall of resentment cemented by bitterness are very difficult to tear down.

It behooves us to take what is called the five year test when deciding to address an issue. Will this matter in five years? If the answer is yes, then it must eventually be deal with at an appropriate time. If the answer is no, why deal with it at all. In this way we select what is important to us according to our values. We want to win overall in the relationship, not focus on the small unimportant nuisances. We must be honest with ourselves if this strategy is going to succeed. Can we really live with the issue in our daily lives if we do not address it? Do we have the tools to let it go? Does this violate one of our core values or beliefs? If we are truly honest with ourselves, we can navigate what may appear to be a mine field with clarity and self knowledge.

Our goal is to make our relationships more joyful and fulfilling. Effective communication may take up large blocks of time and feel awkward initially, but the dividends paid in the long run in intimacy and self esteem are priceless.

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