How do you know when you have had enough and want to end a relationship? What is Love? Is there such a thing as “not enough love” or “someone just isn’t good enough for me?” What if you’re feeling misunderstood, not heard, offended, disrespected, or abandoned for years in a relationship? Do you have a voice inside your head that’s been secretly wishing you could be happier with your spouse or with someone else? Are you afraid to confront this truth? Are you even ready to admit that it IS your truth?
The internal battle I hear most often is “How do I know when I’m done?” It’s a legitimate question but there is no simple answer. I do know a few things to consider:
1. How well do you understand your challenges?
2. How well do you understand your partner’s challenges?
3. How empowered do you feel to meet your own needs?
4. Can you see yourself through another person’s lenses?
5. How much denial do you require to manage your life?
6. How real can you be with yourself and others?
7. Do you trust yourself, your real self, within your world?
8. Do you know your own brokenness?
9. Do you know how to love?
10. Do you know how to forgive?
If you can answer all 10 questions with “Yes and Very Well”, then you are probably ready to begin your walk alone…..but, my guess is that you wouldn’t because you would be experiencing a great deal of love with your partner. On the other hand, if you are unsure about any of them, then you are not ready to throw in the towel. You are ready for counseling. Relationships are complicated. There is a lot going on inside each person. When we come together, we bring both the good and the hard stuff. No one sees you the way your partner sees you, every day. No one is all good, all perfect, always loving, or always supportive. Everyone has insecurities, fears, sadness, loss…Love is about how we handle the rough times with someone. When your partner is having a rough time, do you have challenges with them? Does someone else’s issues make you uncomfortable? Do you feel like you have to fix them? Do you want to run away from them? Do you become overly involved in the same feeling and enmesh, so you are both drowning? Have you both decided to be with other people? All of those scenarios illustrate an enmeshment with a negative reaction. Why is loving someone and allowing them to be who they are, so hard?
There isn’t a perfect way to love or a perfect formula. Love is imperfect. Love means feeling hurt, along with joy. Human beings are not perfect. We are flawed. We hurt and offend one another, especially the ones we love. Then why have the expectation that you will always feel loved? If you’re imperfect, chances are you will feel unloved.
The reality between the relationship as it is and the fantasy of what we wish we had is the cause of our anxiety, sadness, and distress. It is healthy to know what you want, but it is not healthy to run away from the reality we created or think our lives are a mistake. There is meaning to our struggles. There is meaning to love that isn’t going the way we planned. How did we get there? Does your L-O-V-E have conditions? Do you know how to receive love that is given to you from another person’s perspective and value system? Is that NOT love? Do you really only want the love that makes sense to you? Healthy life experiences are balanced and provide learning, grace, forgiveness, and acceptance. Without these elements, we would only have conditional love that comes from being measured. How do you measure love?
Love is not owed to a person, it is given, by choice, to someone from someone. It is given freely. To learn to love well, better than you learned thus far, means you are loving yourself well. Therefore, the ability to give love begins by facing your own fears and turning away from the blame game. If you are constantly focused on the pain that comes from the outside, the cycle of disappointment and pain will never end. Another person cannot heal you. You are a complex, special, and unique being. Too complex to expect another person to heal your ailments or to be exactly what you need. You are exactly what you need. Heal thyself first!