by Garet Bedrosian, LCSW, CIRT, CBT, CET
Have you noticed lately that when people talk about relationships more often than not they say things like…
“I have given up. It’s not worth it.”
“There are no good men/women out there.”
“All the good ones are taken.”
“I don’t know where to meet quality people.”
“I hate the bar scene.”
“People on dating sites lie, don’t follow up, aren’t looking for a serious relationship, are only looking to get laid.”
“There is no one in my age group that is attractive/interesting/emotionally or financially secure enough.”
“I’m not young enough, thin enough, attractive enough, rich enough…enough, enough, enough.”
“I don’t even want to be in a relationship. I’m happy on my own.”
Married or Committed…
“Relationships are hard work.”
“I wish my partner would…were more…were less…had…didn’t have…”
“Boy, you don’t really know someone until you live with them.”
“You’re lucky…stay single. I would never do it again.”
“I got married…for the wrong reasons…too young…too soon.”
“I can’t seem to ever make him/her happy.”
“I’m not sure we are meant to live with just one person for our whole life.”
“Maybe we’d all be happier living alone.”
I am so intrigued with this relational conundrum. Singles, for the most part want to find a satisfying relationship and those in committed relationships wish for something different from what they have.
I am not saying that happy, successful, passionate relationships do not exist. I happen to know quite a few and it is a complete joy to be around them. Nonetheless, even they tell me it takes conscious effort to keep it that way.
It would appear that finding and keeping a satisfying relationship is challenging, so challenging that many are deciding to give up the notion of ever being relationally satisfied. Maybe the romantic part of our brain is so programmed by the proverbial ‘happily-ever-after’ storybook love that anything short of ‘the prince (or princess) riding in on a white horse’ is disappointing.
Or, maybe it is just that a different relationship paradigm is at play and our brains are trying to figure it all out. My 85 year old mother shakes her head quite often while questioning whether the world is headed in the right direction with all these changes.
Whether we are headed in the right direction is certainly worth pondering. For many, the relational evolution has freed them to live more authentically. For others, it has created a mental and emotional quandary. Relationship dynamics are not necessarily the same as once upon a time nor are they even a necessity.
For some, living a non-partnered life is a completely satisfying choice or at least better than experiencing constant disappointment, frustration or rejection.
For those interested in finding the right someone… the love of their lives… their soulmate… who is also attractive, compatible, fit, intelligent, sexy, witty, financially secure, available, geographically desirable AND who is also attracted to them AND wants the same level of committed relationship may be akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
Since understanding the complexities of relationships is one of my passions I have spent so much of my personal and professional time and energy pondering this issue. I have spoken with and coached thousands of people about making the most gratifying relational choices.
This is what I have observed and come to believe…More often than not the people who have created the most satisfying relationships have learned that it had less to do with any of the external variables they thought were problems. Their beliefs, energy and readiness were more critical factors in their manifestation of love.
You know it was not as simple as that… They first had to face some challenging self-awarenesses. One of the toughest realizations was that they had unconsciously contributed to the dissatisfaction or demise of their relationships. Yep, it is not usually one person’s fault. As they say, it takes two to tango!
They were also surprised to discover that their relational choices had been unconsciously determined by familial or societal expectations, past wounds, insecurities, fears and defenses. You know that proverbial ‘baggage’ we would like to forget in a locker somewhere? You can downsize it but you have to go through and de-clutter it first.
And, one of my favorite revelations was that regardless of what they said, their energetic communication told a different, sometimes opposite story. Getting their energy aligned with what they said they wanted required discipline.
Those discoveries opened them to a new relationship paradigm… Creating love, joy, intimacy and passion in their relationships was an inside job. Truly knowing themselves was a process of discovery and healing. Living an undefended life required courage. Loving vulnerably and completely required self-love and self-worth. Living and loving intimately and passionately required a committment to a conscious life.
(Tying in the fairy tale metaphor and a bit dramatically if I do say so myself…)
The moral of the story is… Creating a deeply gratifying relationship requires that one battle and conquer the demons (fears) that lurk in the recesses of the unconscious mind. Only then will relational choices be conscious and more satisfying. THEN…you can create your own ‘happily-ever-after’.
There are so many relational options – Married? Co-habitating? Gay, straight, lesbian, bi-sexual, polyamorous, uncommitted and dating or not. The list of options could go on forever but my blogging intent for the rest of this year is to explore how to make relational choices, whatever they may be, more consciously.
Let’s have a dialogue… Please send me an email with your relationship thoughts and questions and I will try to address them in future blogs. email@example.com