Image via Wikipediafor the nth time. It's the same old scene again... feelings are changing, the good stuff seems to be disappearing, it's all tense and uncomfortable, we are walking on egg shells all the time, waiting for the other shoe to drop... it always does... we feel like running. It's the same as the last time, and the time before that, and the time before that... and so on. The same problems keep on cropping up in relationship after relationship. We are starting to wonder if it's worth it anymore. Maybe we should just be alone for a while and forget about having a partner. It seems like there just isn't anyone out there who we feel comfortable around for any length of time. It feels like the world has gone mad.
Does this seem all too familiar? What happened? Why do we keep on having the same problems year after year, relationship after relationship? Do we just keep picking the wrong partner?
At some point we consider that the one common denominator in each of our relationships is us. When we finally come to that realization, we have begun to see clearly. The one thing we do have control over in our lives is us. We cannot control how others behave, what they think or how they live their lives. When we finally grasp the truth, that the only person we can control is ourselves, we begin to see the light.
As long as we are trying to control something or someone other than ourselves, we give our power away to that which we try (in vain) to control. Once we realize that we can only control ourselves and allow others to do the same, life gets much less complicated. We focus on what we can control... us... and let our partner focus on what they can control... them.
It is probable that we have participated in the destruction of each of our relationships in pretty much the same manner from relationship to relationship. We begin with an obsessive and captivating eros form of love for our partner. Over time as that love began to change from obsession and eros into the more mature form, agape, we begin to notice little irritations about our partner.
As each of us tries to exert more and more control over the behavior of the other, we become harsh and unpleasant. The wonderful acceptance that blossomed initially in the relationship has vanished only to be replaced by criticism and complaints. In an atmosphere such as this, change does not happen. In order for change to take place, we need to feel accepted. Once we feel accepted as we are, we can begin to make the changes we wish to make to please our beloved.
As our irritation, criticism and complaints grow our relationship diminishes until there is nothing left but the opportunity to leave. If we experience the same kind of failure in one relationship after another we need to look within. How are we contributing to the demise of our love? Is there an answer?
The answer is empathy and acceptance. Compassion for our partner must precede a healthy relationship. Once we can feel empathy for their situation and accept our partner as they are, we are on the road to a balanced healthy relationship that will strengthen instead of falter over time.