Archive for May, 2010
As a relationship counselor, I am constantly being asked why so many relationships fail. In the 37 years that I have worked with couples, I have discovered five major relationship killers:
Most people enter a relationship with a deep fear of rejection, and this fear motivates various forms of controlling behavior. Controlling behavior falls into two major categories – overt control and covert control.
Overt control includes many forms of attack, such as blaming anger, rage, violence, judgment, criticism and ridicule.
Covert control includes compliance, enabling, withdrawal, defending, explaining, lying and denying. Often a person at the other end of attack will respond with some form of covert control in an attempt to have control over not being attacked.
Controlling behavior always results in resentment and emotional distance, bringing about the very rejection that it is meant to avoid.
Many people enter a relationship with a deep fear of being engulfed and controlled – of losing themselves. The moment they experience their partner wanting control over them, they respond with resistance – withdrawal, unconsciousness, numbness, forgetfulness, and procrastination.
When one partner is controlling and the other is resistant – which is really an attempt to have control over not being controlled – the relationship becomes immobilized. Partners in this relationship system feel frustrated, stagnant, and resentful.
Many people enter a relationship believing that it is their partner’s job to fill their emptiness, take away their aloneness, and make them feel good about themselves. When people have not learned how to take responsibility for their own feelings and needs, and to define their own self-worth, they may pull on their partner and others to fill them with the love they need.
SUBSTANCE AND PROCESS ADDICTIONS
Most people who feel empty inside turn to substance and process addictions in an attempt to fill their emptiness and take away the pain of their aloneness and loneliness. Alcohol and drug abuse, food, spending, gambling, busyness, Internet sex and pornography, affairs, work, TV, accumulating things, beautifying, and so on, can all be used as ways to fill emptiness and avoid fears of failure, inadequacy, rejection and engulfment. And they are all ways of shutting out your partner.
EYES ON PARTNER’S PLATE
Many people are acutely aware of what their partner is doing that is causing relationship problems, but completely unaware of what they are doing. For example, you might be very aware of your partner’s resistance or withdrawal, but totally unaware of your own judgmental behavior. You might be very aware of your partner’s anger, but completely unaware of your own compliance. You might be very aware of your partner’s addictive behavior, but very unaware of your own enabling. As long as your eyes are on your partner instead of on yourself, you will continue to believe that if only your partner changed, everything would be okay.
RESOLVING RELATIONSHIP KILLERS
All relationship killers come from fear – of inadequacy, of failure, of rejection and of engulfment. As long as you are coming from any of these fears, you will be behaving in one or more of the above ways.
The way out is to develop a loving adult self who knows how to take full responsibility for your own feelings and needs. You will move beyond controlling, needy and addictive behavior only when you learn how to fill your self with love and define your own inner worth. When you are willing to take your eyes off your partner’s plate and turn your eyes fully on yourself, you can begin to do the inner healing work necessary to heal yourself and your relationship.
A good place to start is to download our free Inner Bonding course and begin to practice the Six Steps of Inner Bonding. The daily practice of these steps will move you out of your addictive and controlling behavior and into the personal responsibility necessary to heal your relationship.
It is absolutely true that when online dating sites first started they were populated entirely by perverts, sexual predators, weirdoes, social misfits and emotional wrecks but that is no longer true. Online dating has gone mainstream and has lost all the social stigma it once suffered. Single people of all ages, races, religions and both sexes do it. Short people, tall people, thin people, obese people do it. People from every developed country in the world do it. Nice girls do it, too. The reasons people join online dating sites are as varied as the people who join but mostly they join for three very good reasons: (1) Time (2) Money and (3) It works.
Time: You can go through hundreds of online profiles and look at hundreds of pictures in the same length of time only one real world date takes and the screening is already done for you. You can tell right away if a guy is only looking for casual relationships or long term commitments. How many times have you worked 8 hours, gone home and spent another hour getting ready to go out then gone to the local hang-out for singles only to see the same old jerks, losers and drunks that are always there?
Money: For the price of one evening out on the town you can enjoy an entire month of meeting men from the safety of your own home….do it in your jammies or sweats and with a beauty facial working its magic.
It works. It really does work if you are willing to do the right things. Write a profile that grabs attention, post recent pictures of yourself, be fun and interesting while chatting with the men you meet on line, answering emails promptly and being on time for a pre-arranged online meeting.
No matter what your age, height, weight or physical appearance, there are thousands of women out there eager to meet you and eager for your company…whether short-term or long-term relationships are what you want. If you have found yourself suddenly “on-the-market” again after a relationship has dissolved or are just too busy with your work to spend a lot of time looking for a lady to keep you company, online dating can open the door to the dating scene for you.
The good news is that all you need is a computer and an internet connection to get started. The first thing to do is find an online dating site that fits your needs. There are the large sites that offer many extras like live video chat and even match you up with ladies using your profiles and, also, a lot of sites that cater to special interests like religious preferences, outdoor enthusiasts, gays, etc. You need to choose one or two that will meet your needs. I don’t recommend the free sites. The paid sites have a money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied and the investment is small. A whole month costs less than one dinner and movie date.
The next thing you need to do is write a killer, but honest, profile and upload a recent but flattering picture of yourself. Now you are all set. Start contacting ladies whose profiles sound interesting to you and answer any lady who contacts you…and do so promptly…not, however, on holidays or weekends. You don’t want to appear that desperate. Don’t give up after a month and think you will never find the right lady for you. New people join online dating services daily and at least half of them are ladies many, of whom, will want to meet you.