We all get in relationships thinking we will never split up, but when problems hit and the possibility of parting ways is considered we are usually in panic mode. I want to address a common question that comes up in my office regularly. . . Should I stay with them? Or should we part ways?
Basically, people see two options when there are severe problems in their relationship. . . Option A: Split Up – or – Option B: Stay Together. Option A comes with a boatload of pain that permeates every aspect of our lives . . . finances, kids, where we live, work, in-laws/mutual friends, Yuck! That sounds horrible! So we’d better look at Option B!
Option B comes with its own set of problems. . . the pain of trying to work it out, dealing with bitter hurts and resentments, more beating our heads against the wall trying to get the same thing we’ve been trying to get. Option B sounds bad, too, so let’s go back to Option A again!
Standing directly between these two mountains looking up at the insurmountable obstacles is exactly why so many people get “stuck”! They can’t stand the thought of staying, but they can’t bear to leave. Both options stink!! The problem is not that they can’t make a decision; the problem is that they are focused on the wrong thing! Everybody everywhere is focused on the end result – will you be together or will you split up? People have their opinions based on the limited information they have and will try to sway you in a certain direction. Back and forth, back and forth – Stay or Go? Stay or Go? Honestly, I think many people just tire of the head spinning decision before them and jump in one camp or the other too quickly.
When there is a sense of urgency in the grappling back and forth, it is a sign that this is not a good time to make a permanent decision. Try focusing instead on this . . . Option C: What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of relationship do you want? What do you need to do to grow and become that person who can be in that relationship? Keep this focused on YOU, not on your partner
such as . . . I want to be a good person and behave in a mature, non-reactive way in my relationships. I want to be in a relationship that has deep intimacy, honesty, affection, companionship, where my partner has my best interests at heart, etc. Now stop trying to mold your partner into someone who fits that bill! When you stay focused on your goal of behaving in a mature, non-reactive way, you will steadfastly and calmly tolerate little less than that. Your partner may step it up and give you what you need or they may resist the change, but you have no control over how your partner will react – you never have!
When we stay focused on Option C: Becoming the best person we can be and let those around us behave the way they choose to behave, things become clearer and we are better able to make decisions. When we skip to the end of the book because we can’t stand not knowing the outcome, however, we miss all the lessons we could have learned from the earlier pages!