If We’re Not Getting the Love We Want, Why do We Stay?
All week long I have been talking with clients and friends and having fits of deja vu — flashbacks of what it was like for me when I was in a relationship with a man that I SO wanted to love me… who on some occassions was able to give me the unconditional love I craved… but who on so many more days couldn’t and wouldn’t. In fact he would mostly do the opposite – yelling, fighting, ignoring me, telling me how F’d up I was. But yet I stayed for 15 years, waiting for the day when he would finally love ME, that he would finally be the loving partner more than the emotionally unavailable or verbally abusive mate he was 90% of the time.
After our relationship ended, which led me to loads of therapy and self-discovery, I came to realize this phenomenon as the ‘BLIP EFFECT”, which is when we let the small joys and moments of unconditional love make up for all the crappy times, loneliness, and struggle. It’s what kept me trapped in a relationship that wasn’t much different in year 15 than it was in month six – dysfunctional and unhealthy. And it’s what kept all the friends and clients I’ve talked with over the years trapped too.
So why do we stay in these relationships that don’t give us the connection, intimacy and support we so crave? Why do we get amnesia and forget about all the ‘bad’ stuff as soon as Mr. Nice Guy shows up? Two reasons:
- We get love mixed up with a reason to be in or stay in a relationship believing that we only end relationships when we fall out of love. And that is just one big lie. The truth is that we don’t fall out of love, we fall out of intimacy, trust and respect. Once you love someone you will always love that person. Unfortunately most of us push our relationships to the point of drama, deceit and devastation so we end up hating and hurting the person, thinking we don’t love them anymore, when in fact the love is lurking right beneath the surface.
- We are afraid to be ‘alone.’ We get ‘alone’ mixed up with ‘being lonely’ and the truth is that there is no place lonelier than being in a relationship in which you don’t get the unconditional love, support, trust, respect and intimacy you crave. It’s way lonelier than being single. In fact when we do choose to end a relationship and go it alone, what we find, and what I found, was that there was a whole lot of love just waiting for me. I found that love inside myself, I received it from my friends and I got boatloads from the wonderful healers and spiritual communities that welcomed me in.So much more than I ever got from my ex-person.
There is a simple truth that we all need to embrace into our lives — we have relationships because they make our lives and who we are better. If they don’t make our lives better — and I am not talking financially or materially here — then there is NO need to have them. We are better off without them. That is self-love.