September 16, 2012

You’re gonna leave me?

No one says those words to someone upon meeting them, right?

Those words may be buried in your mind and, depending on your past experiences, they rule your future and disempower your present.

You may not think so, as you stand in front of a potential partner.

You might even think this person is just the medicine to give your love life a cure.

And so, you may dive into this relationship at the pace of Michael Phelps doing a breaststroke to win the medal.

The excitement of someone who finally gets you.

The thrill of a best friend and lover—you can’t believe your good fortune in how easy the relationship is, yet that voice is still there.

Now, some may believe the voice just needs to shut the heck up and go away, so they ignore it, but it doesn’t work for long.

And as intimacy grows, so does vulnerability and when that moment comes along with the realization of “I’ve been in this place before and I had my guts ripped out,” aaaahhh!

Then weirdness ensues—you back off or limit the relationship leaving your partner completely clueless and probably thinking they did something wrong.

They were caught up with you in the excitement, chemistry and fun! Though, as like attracts like, maybe they had the same “shoe will drop” feeling too.

Here’s the deal, to open up and confront that voice, you must invite it to the party—it’s the game changer. This is the point where you can change your future relationship.

Unfortunately, these scenarios are what happen instead.

You met on-line, had a deep two hour conversation on the phone—asking inappropriate questions about past relationships—so you feel “you got the down low on her.” This person goes on a first date with you.  You state you want to marry her out loud. You then accuse her of giving more attention to her last boyfriend than to you and that her child controls her life. Do you think she’s gonna stick around?

You’re laying around on a Sunday morning, happy, content and fulfilled with your loved one. All of a sudden cold terror hits you out of nowhere and all you want to do is escape the bedroom, your partner and the relationship. It’s a three alarm fire in your head.

You’re six months, a year or a few years into the relationship. You cannot and will not think of a future beyond the safety zone you have built in the relationship. You love him dearly. He sleeps over every night, but to think of living together or marriage sends you into convulsions. This is all you can handle.

You’re years into the relationship where you hear promises that things will move forward one day. Yet everything stays in a stagnant place and so you discuss it with your partner—they say how much they love you, agree with you and tell you they’re trying to move forward. And nothing changes. Ever.

You pick needless fights and start blaming your partner that you placed on this impossible pedestal for everything going wrong in the relationship.You totally dig this person, but can only handle communicating through the phone, because being in person makes you feel out of control with your feelings.

You keep things a nice shade of grey, so this person never knows what end is up. You do this because, you believe you’ll give your power away, and they’ll leave you. Except they’re gonna leave you anyway—you’re a ghost; you don’t show up.

You give and give and give, because you feel the other person is gonna leave you someday. You read things unsaid into the relationship,  creating drama and ultimatums. Then you back off, because you may actually lose this person.

The pink elephant scenario fits too.

In all these scenarios, many things are felt but not discussed. Maybe it’ll change? Disappear? Fix itself?

It’s tiring, isn’t it?

The common denominator in all scenarios is fear.

The symbol of fear is “you’re gonna leave me.”

And it’s not about someone leaving you now—it’s that adored person leaving someday. It’s five, 10, 20 years into it—after you’ve trusted, believed and committed to the person and the relationship—that they’ll leave you.

So, in anticipation of the aforementioned break-up, you help it along.

Your words and actions don’t match.

You may not want to lose the person now, but that back biting fear won’t let you step with both feet into commitment.

How to stop the vicious cycle?

Most fear begins with our beliefs and ends with our disappointments we’ve encountered along the way. No one likes the pain of disappointment, but you can’t protect yourself from it happening in your life. It’s impossible.

Whichever side of this fence you’re on, I suggest you take the scenario and write it out on paper; get clear on the pattern first. Then once you’re clear, communicate with your loved one. Tell them the real fear, your pattern, and the usual way relationships play themselves out in your life.

Look again at the pattern.

Where haven’t you taken action?

Have you stepped into vulnerability? Addressed some crazy untrue belief you have about yourself and relationships (everyone always leaves me, because I’m unworthy)?

And whatever the fear, start making choices and deal with them, take different action—now. Meet the fear head on, just go through it and relax.

Change within you is the only way it’s all going to be okay.

And what I mean by okay, is now your relationships have a chance to work out and even if they don’t, you’re at least trying to trust yourself to handle things if they fail.

You won’t use others as an excuse, a band-aid or a scapegoat. You’ll become confident whenever you look fear in the eye and decide you want to live happily, instead of remaining part of the soap opera of “you’re gonna leave me.”

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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