Why Relationships Don’t Work. ~ Kristin Luce

Via Kristin Luce
on Sep 25, 2013
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relationship

After a quarter century of personal, scholastic and professional experience with relationships, I have finally discovered why none of them work—neither for me, nor for anyone with whom I have encountered.

To illustrate the point, let me tell you about my most successful relationship to date. It lasted for 36 hours.

We met at a party of mutual friends, and quickly fell into a “Bubble of Wow,” together. It encapsulated us in a solitary and intense kind of intimacy for a while—even in the midst of the fray and party-goers—until we finally found a quieter space.

We then spent most of the next day and a half together. It was one of those, “where have you been all my life” kind of things.

When we parted on an early morning a day and a half later—after lots more “Wow”—I could feel that something was shifting ever-so-slightly in him, and for the next three days he didn’t call or reach out in any way.

I didn’t either.

I sensed that time was needed for whatever had come up between us. When I finally sent a short text (“I’d love to see you”), he texted back simply that he could not—that he was, in his words, “out of his integrity.” I never saw him again.

So after 25 years of intimacy and working with couples why is this 36-hour, seemingly failed connection, the most successful relationship I have ever encountered?

It’s successful because I didn’t feel blame or outrage that he “ditched me.” I just heard him: he was out of his integrity. I don’t want my friends or loved ones to feel out of their integrity.

Hell, if my kid told me she felt out of her integrity and was changing things in her life to rectify it I would applaud her! I might take her out for sushi to celebrate. (her favorite) Why would I want someone whom I care about to compromise himself?

I want to note that this wasn’t just an intellectual understanding and that is why, for me, it was successful.

Had I tried to talk myself into being happy about it (read: suppressed smoldering rage at being rejected), well, it would hardly have been a success story. The beauty and testament of it was that my actual, visceral, uncontrived response at not seeing him again—a man I liked and wanted very much—was joyful.

When I realized that my desire for him to be happy was stronger than my own personal disappointment, I knew that I had turned a corner.

So let’s take a hard look at why relationships never seem to pan out. I mean, really—have you ever seen a functional relationship? There are some that seem to be functional, or possibly even very good, but we never really get to know Breaking_Up_Phototoo much about them. Then later, we discover the seedy underbelly—often when the couple splits—and are disillusioned all over again.

This one had domestic violence in it. That one has been a sexless marriage for the past 10 years. This one had one partner lying and cheating on the other. That one was more of a business arrangement, waiting patiently until the kids were out of the house. The list goes on and on.

Further, the relationships that seem truly mature are ones that we know almost nothing about: Adaya and Mukti, Barak and Michelle, Katie and Stephen, Will and Jada—never-mind the myriad hollywood couples that are constantly appearing as perfect and happy in the media.

Perhaps they are the exceptions, or perhaps they are just a whole lot better at hiding what isn’t perfect about them. The point is that I have never had a direct experience of what most of us would call a deeply mature, intimate relationship that lasts over time, and no one I have ever met has either.

It seems, quite frankly, that relationships don’t work. And as a long-term researcher, impassioned by the mystery of it, I think I have discovered why.

Relationships are based on the fallacy that I exist, you exist, and that my happiness, connection and fulfillment can be met by something from the outside—that there even is an outside.

That might sound esoteric, but stick with me.

When we look at our experience we can’t actually find a “person,” or even a “self.” In any experience we can find what we call color, the sound of a voice, the experience of a touch, etc. Without a belief in a self, other or time—which are all just thoughts and images in the mind and have no substance—all we have is this moment.

No past, no future, no lover, no “relationship,” and that—to spoil the ending—is the only place where intimacy can reside.

The truth is that we are all living in fantasy-land and we build our relationships on that ground. What it means is that as long as you have an ego your relationships will fail.

So at this point you might be thinking, “OK that’s pretty depressing. I guess I have to become a celibate hermit or else resign myself to having painful, non-functional relationships.”

Herein lies the solution: Recognize that relationships are not primarily based on love, they are based on fear. Once we know this, we can work directly with the fear itself instead of on the other person or “the relationship.” We may discover that relating with another is not about our pleasure or comfort at all (although that’s sometimes a by-product), but about discarding every confusion we are still trapped in.

Byron Katie said, “Egos don’t love, they want something.”

When ego is operating—which let’s face it is pretty much 100% of the time—then no matter how good we try to be, how loving, selfless, kind or noble, we in fact want something.

We might simply want their approval, or we might want financial security, someone to stand by us, to be seen in a particular way, their validation, to avoid responsibility, or a long list of other things.

There is nothing wrong or bad about wanting something from someone. In fact, without the thought that we shouldn’t want something in a relationship, we can simply get honest and admit that we do! We might also notice that our partners do too. So, if you think that your partner is manipulating you to get what they want, it’s probably because they are.

They are not bad, just like we are not bad. They are motivated by fear, just as we are.

So how does fear operate? It motivate us to leave love in order to stay “in control.”

It whispers things in our ears like:

“You’ll be alone.”

“You won’t be able to support yourself.”

“You’ll be homeless.”

“You’ll become dependent.”

“They will manipulate you if you show your love too much.”

“They’ll use it against you later.”

“You need their love and affection.”

“You’ll never be happy again.”

What happens when we believe such thoughts is, ironically, that in the name of love we leave it. We begin to manipulate, withhold, and lie to our partners in order to get what we want or avoid losing something.

Here’s an example:

When I didn’t hear from “Wow-Bubble” Guy I could have pretended that I was no longer interested, told him that he was out of integrity by not talking more directly with me (especially now that I’ve discovered that his being in integrity is a sore spot for him), cajoled him into viewing our connection as an important relationship and insinuated that he was just scared.

I could have threatened to withdraw my appreciation of him or even to see him again—or used any of other the tactics that I have in my past relationships to try to get what I want.

That is not love.

That is reaction based on fear—fear of what will happen and/or what his actions mean about me.

OK, so my encounter was just a day and a half, but what happens when our fearful thoughts prey on a longer term relationship, one in which we have far more invested in? What happens when we watch as our blissful intimacies predictably begin to fail?

Most of us withdraw, manipulate, become fearful, jealous, go into denial, blame ourselves, become controlling or lash out. Meanwhile our partner is doing some version of the same thing. Even though we may be “in relationship” over time we are way out at sea, alone and often in pain.

At some point we face the ugly dilemma of whether it would cause us less pain to leave the relationship or to endure it, even while recognizing that neither of those prongs will bring peace because neither gives us the intimacy, connection, or comfort we seek.

So brace yourselves. Here’s what love looks like.

Love is feeling delight when your partner ditches you. Love is when you can’t find a partner and you enjoy how happy others are to have found one themselves—and all that’s beautiful about sleeping alone. Love is leaving someone you know you shouldn’t be with rather than holding them hostage to your fantasy or needs. Love is when you love and appreciate another who apparently doesn’t appreciate you back, or maybe even notice you.

I sometimes attend a drop-in group mostly to bask in the presence of a beautiful man who’s often there and apparently has no interest in me. I get to see him, adore him, hear his brilliance and witness his huge heart. I

Source: via Jenna on Pinterest
Source: via Jenna on Pinterest

sometimes even get to hug and smell him. Pure love, without requirements or agenda.

Here’s the secret and the power of it: If you want a good relationship then have one. Take it, don’t wait for permission. If you want love then be love and you will never be separated from intimacy and connection again.

What does that look like? It means caring for the other as much as yourself, especially when he or she doesn’t do what you want. It means deeply respecting what they want for themselves, which may or may not mean being near you. It means that if they say “don’t call me,” then don’t, and keep your heart wide open. It means if they say, “I need you,” and it’s not right for you, you say “no,” and keep your heart wide open.

So, I know what some of you are thinking: “If I let go of trying to get what I want in relationship then I will never have it.” But why would unilaterally staying open to someone—loving them and setting them totally free from your own expectations and judgments—make a positive, functional or long term relationship any less likely?

I think it would make it a lot more likely actually, and in the meantime how much fun is it to adore everyone like your own, sweet lover, whether they know it or not?

I will leave you with a quote. It will be a blessing to you every time your relationships fail—as they predictably will—while you quietly become love itself:

“You are your only hope, because we’re not changing until you do. Our job is to keep coming at you, as hard as we can, with everything that angers, upsets, or repulses you, until you understand. We love you that much, whether we’re aware of it or not. The whole world is about you.” ~ Byron Katie

 

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Ed: Dana Gornall

~

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About Kristin Luce

Kristin Luce is slowly going sane by using her actual life and relationships to wake up. Her quest for truth has led her through a B.A. in Philosophy, an M.A. in Buddhist Psychology, intensive retreat practice, certification as a Meditation Instructor, two life-changing relationships and two life-changing kids. She now provides in-depth coaching for individuals and couples who want profound and dramatic transformation. An avid writer, she has been featured in such publications as Mothering Magazine and The Buddhadharma, and is a regular contributor to elephant journal. Friend her on Facebook, Twitter, her website or contact her at [email protected].

Comments

91 Responses to “Why Relationships Don’t Work. ~ Kristin Luce”

  1. Selina says:

    KRISTIN! You have no idea how perfect the timing for this article was for me! I loved it, and it is so spot-on. Thank you, Sweet Woman.

  2. Selina says:

    KRISTIN! You have no idea how perfect the timing for this article was for me! I loved it

  3. Kelly says:

    The only thing I don't get is how to feel delighted when he ditches you?

  4. James says:

    Thank you! And, I believe that we may sustain successful relationships – even while believing in an ego – by being 100% willing to feel any pain so that the other person feels free to follow their desire however they wish. Of course, we also reserve that right for ourselves. Could there be any other way?

  5. James says:

    One other thing that comes up for me is that it’s true that relationships are often based on the confused belief that the other person is the source of Love. Why else would we seek them out again and again? They must be the source of something we cannot get elsewhere/everywhere. Enjoying their company while freeing them – and ourselves – from any burden of responsibility can be a challenging path to walk, and enlivening.

    Thanks again. I love your articles.

  6. KristinSLuce says:

    I totally agree. That's the subtext of the article. I only mean that our relationships will fail *in the conventional sense* as long as we are operating from ego. Being willing to feel pain, give another plenty of room to follow their own way, and following our own– well, now we're talkin'!

  7. KristinSLuce says:

    Great question! and that is what I teach, actually, using Inquiry (the Work of Byron Katie) mostly. But I touch on it in the article as well. What we do is identify the FEARS that come up when, say, he ditches you, like: "It means the relationship is over"; "I can't trust him"; "I did something wrong," etc.

    Then we can begin to question the FEARS instead of the other person or the relationship. Is it true that I can't trust him? We can have a deep mediation and inquire into all the facets of that and what I have found, over time, is that often I spontaneously feel delight even when he "ditches me." You're not "supposed to" feel that way, but rather over time in inquiry that may happen.

    It is a process, however—just a more efficient one than struggling with relationships, learning better communication skills, etc—which, although good, will never result in the relationship we want.

    Going into how to do the full Inquiry was larger than the scope of the article, but check out my website for more info! http://www.kristinluce.com

  8. Marina says:

    So grateful I saw this today. The timing was impeccable (of coarse). I got off the phone talking with a friend who was encouraging me to love this way and here was your post!

  9. Amanda Fox says:

    I really enjoyed this article. The older I get, the more I realize what I believe you are saying – that I am my only hope – for everything. Love, success, happiness. I have to go out there and get it. I can't rely on anyone to give it to me or get it for me. In that, I am free.

  10. KristinSLuce says:

    I love that! –that the other person is the Source of Love. My goodness, can I be the source of love for others? Can I be that for myself? Apparently not, or I wouldn't be seeking it out there (and that doesn't mean that we shouldn't love, adore and be in relationship with others). Thanks for the appreciation and great discussion, James!

  11. Catherine says:

    For me, the best one of yours I've read yet! Thank you.

  12. Paul says:

    Love you.

  13. Auki says:

    If your most successful relationship only lasted 36-hours I can't imagine why you feel qualified to offer relationship advice to others. 🙂

  14. KristinSLuce says:

    Yes, that's rather the point. Conventional ideas of relationship will never work. This one was successful because I let go of the demand that it meet my expectations, and found actual love for the first time. I would love to hear your stories of same.

  15. onesadhaka says:

    This was real nice, and aligns with some important lessons I have learned lately (or known all along and recently had the chance to manifest in action). Love is accepting and allowing….among other things. Yet the accepting and allowing are key to a real love. if we love someone, that will never change, regardless of whether it is reciprocated or not.

    The part that really resonated with my heart and experience was…

    "Love is feeling delight when your partner ditches you. Love is when you can’t find a partner and you enjoy how happy others are to have found one themselves—and all that’s beautiful about sleeping alone. Love is leaving someone you know you shouldn’t be with rather than holding them hostage to your fantasy or needs. Love is when you love and appreciate another who apparently doesn’t appreciate you back, or maybe even notice you."

    …I have experienced the pain (yes, pain) and pleasure of that recently, and it is reassuring to know someone else has as well and gets it.

    Much love and thanks again for this nice piece and great perspective. : )

  16. Paula says:

    What does out of integrity mean? That's the first time I have seen that word used like that …

  17. Juliánna says:

    "a beautiful man whose often there" it's actually "who's" as in "who is". I agree with the message. It requires tremendous self-knowledge and emotional intelligence.

  18. Aygul says:

    Thanks Kristin! This article is very liberating. I hope to follow your suggestions. And yes, it has a perfect timing for me as well.

  19. Vera says:

    Thank you so much,

  20. Patricia says:

    hi Kristin… loved the article… wondered if it ever occurred to ask what he meant by "not being in his integrity"… and i see Paula has asked something about it as well… were' u ever curious? or did you know?… it came to me as something i would have felt kind and loving towards me to do… and not too intrusive or disrespectful towards him…

  21. KristinSLuce says:

    That's a great question! And I could write a whole other article about that. I assume that he meant it in the sense that continuing things with me meant he had to compromise other things in his life to which he was already committed. Those could have been internal things or external things. In this case I know he was in a rigorous training program and may have felt that spending time and energy in a new relationship conflicted with his prior commitment to that. So, perhaps he made the difficult choice to give up something he wanted (me) in order to be true to something else that he was dedicated to. And, I don't know what was actually going on for him.

    And for me, as another example, I would have been out of my integrity to try to pressure him to continue to see me, as I say later in the article. I also was willing to give up something I wanted (him) in order to stay in my integrity.

  22. KristinSLuce says:

    In my understanding he made it clear that he didn't want to discuss it. So yes, I had that question too and I respected his wishes around it, including not discussing it more. That also left me free to imagine all sorts of kind examples for myself and for him!

  23. Sara Plummer says:

    That was so beautiful, eloquent, and enlightened. Wow. Thank you. I have room to grow there.

  24. Cay says:

    Poem my mom sent me when I was stuck in a very negative relationship. We do not know the author, but one of the most powerful poems I have read before.

    Love

    Love is a gift that one person makes to another. It is a gift of the heart, and the heart "signs no documents". It does not sign a lease, a mortgage, nor a bill of sale. It offers no warranties of service nor guarantee of faithfulness. It is well to remember this both that your have no inalienable right to another's continued affection and that you have no obligation of your own always to love someone you once loved.

    Sometimes, if your own life is to add up, you must subtract yourself from someone else's life. This time comes, I think, whenever you find that affection of love of someone else can only be kept at the cost of yourself. If you are on the receiving end of much criticism, if the other has nothing but dissatisfaction with you, if you have lost the sense that to be yourself is a good and decent thing, it is time to get out. If love lessens you, if an undeclared war is being carried on in it's name, if it is painful and joyless, if it is an excuse for destructive demands, it is time to let the love go and save yourself.

    You will find another love, but not an other self.

  25. @e2mpower says:

    Beautiful, happy, loving and lasting relationships DO exist. I am proof and so is my father. It requires the ego-less effort of BOTH parties though and that is truly rare. When I met the man that I so adore I made a silent promise to love him in the most sincere sense of the word. We both made the decision to leave our egos behind, release fear and move forward. Because of this selfless love, we have experienced a level of intimacy that (to hear you talk about it) must be very unusual. I trust him completely and even more importantly, I trust myself. When two people have absolute trust and share honest and sincere love that is free of attachment, then and only then can they experience true intimacy.
    Maybe I am this blessed because I had an excellent role model. My father has been with his wife for over 15 years in a happy, healthy, exemplary relationship. It's so clear that these two love each other that people are just drawn to them! They don't need each other's constant companionship. There is no co-dependency here, just sincere love that is free of attachments. Before I ever met the wonderful man I am with now, I asked my dad how he had made it work for so long? What was the secret to such a loving and healthy relationship? He said 3 words… absolute trust & respect!

  26. KristinSLuce says:

    Thanks! Just a typo that wasn't caught. I found another small one as well (alas!)

  27. Sash says:

    You have never seen a relationship that works? That's very sad. Meanwhile you generalize from a few anecdotes to make a global statement that relationships are based on fear, not love. Also, your description of love only includes a single type of love, agape, as if only this type is valid or valuable.

    Even when fear is an element, that can be a good thing. Fear can be a good motivator and guide to living. No one can survive without a healthy sense of fear, and a good sense of judgment of when to listen to fear and when to courageously go beyond it.

  28. Molly says:

    I would agree with several things you have said in response. One is how extremely rare these type of relationships are. It is a continuous relationship with oneself to have absolute trust and respect. Not at all daunting, but one must always be mindful. The ability to transition thru the seasons of each other's lives and to continue, would only be attainable by sustaining the commitment to oneself, thus benefitting the other. Which was also how the article read, to me, anyhow… The commitment to myself would be maintaining my integrity. So, let's add a fourth word to your father's wise words of advice; absolute trust, respect & integrity. if we give nothing else in this world, let's give this of ourselves.

  29. KristinSLuce says:

    Thank you for your post! I am curious what "absolute trust" means to you?

  30. KristinSLuce says:

    Thank you for you response! Yes, I have never seen a relationship that works, that's true. I don't find it sad myself, I find it liberating—as in, "Doh! that's why they never work!" because the ones that *seem* to work, don't really work, from what I have seen.

    I do generalize personal examples to make global statements, that's also true. And as I say, they are based not just on the anecdotes I include in the article, but on my personal and professional experience of 25 years. But fundamentally, you are right here.

    I cordially disagree with you that fear is a good thing. The belief that fear is needed as a motivator is a fallacy in my experience, though I understand that this belief is very common.

    I am very interested in the different forms of love that you point to, agape being only one of them. I have not studied that closely, and would love to hear more! Thank you.

  31. Sue says:

    A lot of us do have a "deeply mature, intimate relationship that lasts over time." Honest. It almost seems that you're trying to explain the possibility away so you don't feel badly about not having it yourself. And please don't raise your daughter believing that relationships are based on fear. If she is confident in herself, she will find one, like others have, based on love.

  32. Lars says:

    Wow, sounds like a very bitter person wrote this article. I feel sorry for you if this is the way you truly feel. Just because you are a constant failure at holding a relationship doesn't mean the rest of us are doomed to a fate such as yours. Perhaps you have some unresolved issues from your past that will prevent you from ever keeping a partner. What you decry actually does exist out there, but again I really pity you that you are unable or unwilling to find a lasting loving relationship.

  33. Beatrice says:

    36-Hour Relationship? You're crazy! I have good conversations at parties all the time. That's not a relationship!

  34. Rainy says:

    Hi Kristin, I subscribe to Auki's comment. I hope with "Conventional ideas of relationship will never work", you are only saying that they will not work for YOU. I'm happy for you that you found love, even if transitory, in one relationship but to extrapolate one experience to make it life's philosophy sounds rather sad and pessimistic. And somehow your whole article seems to be having the same overtones- to be happy with sacrifice, to love from a distance, unrequited love and the like. Being happy when love ditches you? Looks like a brave attempt to cover up a heartbreak. I might analyse the situation and see what went wrong and where. While I might delight that love happened, I would not be happy that love ditched me. Where was this man's integrity in those 36 hours? Sounds convenient to suddenly have an aligned moral compass. Any ways, its always interesting to read different perspective. Wish you the best on your journey!

  35. Ben Rocap says:

    My opinion has come to be that it is my expectations that is causing my disappointments. My new motto is No Forgiveness Needed when no Expectation Proceeded. BTW "out of my integrity" is code for I am an asshole.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Its a beautifully written … about beautiful wisdom … and spoke to my (and clearly to many) heart! Thank you.

  37. dan says:

    So good, so true. Thank you!

  38. KristinSLuce says:

    Thanks for your comment, Sue. As I said, the relationships that seem good have been ones I don't know too much about—such as yours—and I also believe you that, in your experience of it, you and others have mature relationships. I myself believed I had one for almost 20 years. I also appreciate that you seem to want to be of help to both me and my children. Thank you.

    In my experience ego is based on fear and most of us are operating from ego most of the time. Hence, relationships are also based on fear. I see this especially when someone doesn't do what I want them to do and I have a negative or stressful reaction. I also see it when I don't do what they seem to want and they exhibit a negative reaction.

    Since you posted, I will invite you to look at how it would be if your partner did something you didn't want, such as sleeping with someone else, lying to you, leaving you unilaterally, etc. Would you still feel open and loving? Would you still count it as a positive relationship? That's the kind I am interested in—where I actually feel love even when I don't get what I want— and the kind that I am finding I can have unilaterally, whether I am "partnered" or not. Thank you for opening this discussion.

    I will also add that my articles, though I use personal examples, are not particularly about me. I am not actually inviting people to comment on my life situation which they can know almost nothing about. I appreciate more when people comment about the substance of the article and their personal experience rather than that they judge me, imagine they know me, or offer me advice, even though it may have been kindly meant.

  39. KristinSLuce says:

    Just replied to you below, but neglected to do it in the "reply" sec ion. You can read it in the comments thread.

  40. Sue says:

    If my partner slept with someone else, and broke the bond of trust and intimacy that we share, then no, I imagine I would not feel "open and loving" – at least not in the immediate aftermath. I likely would feel betrayal, anger, and sadness. Maybe I'm on the wrong forum here, but to state otherwise feels ingenuous.

    So, even though I consider myself to be in "a deeply mature, intimate relationship that lasts over time," you wouldn't count it as successful either. Success is in the eye of the beholder, obviously.

    As your article used the first person and shared many personal examples, I certainly assumed the narrative was about you. It was concerning to me to read about a mental health professional and mother stating that successful relationships are impossible. I, personally, would not have wanted my therapist or mother to have modeled that belief. That said, I'm sorry if I overstepped my bounds.

  41. KristinSLuce says:

    I really hear your sincerity, Sue, and it may be that we are just kind of in two different worlds 🙂 I stopped practicing as a psychotherapist in part because I realized that I was not interested in, nor could I help people to make their lives and relationships "better." What I can do, and what I love doing, is to raise consciousness, which has the by-product of actually making lives and relationships better. When I say that "no relationships work" and that they are based on fear I am calling out exactly what we talk about above: that is, our relationships and our love are typically conditional (e.g. only if you don't sleep with someone else, or whatever). And I'm not saying that anyone should be OK with that if they're not. It's where I was at for my 20-some year relationship, so I get it.

    What I am finding is that there is another way in which true, unconditional love can be set free. And then, as it turns out, *every* relationship works, including long-term ones, including 36-hour ones. And it doesn't take two, it just takes one. I don't teach my children or my clients to be afraid, quite the opposite. But when the people around them act in less than kind ways, I do notice the fear behind it that motivates them, and I think my kids and clients begin to see that too. It tends to bring up compassion, and a recognition and understanding of our own fears, rather than defense, justification or control.

    There is so much more I could say that is beyond the scope of both this article and this thread, but I thank you for engaging with me in the conversation! I am in no way offended about your advice to me, and yes, my articles are really to raise awareness as well as questions about reality and oneself as opposed to being about me personally. You can have no idea how beautiful, empowered and confident my children are!

    I will end by saying to you and to anyone reading this, that if the time comes when your relationships (or other areas of your life) seem to fail you, I am available. There is so much transformation that's possible right in that place!

  42. KristinSLuce says:

    I am a constant failure at holding onto relationships. It's totally true. I've also been a constant failure at letting them go. Longest one: 21 years. Shortest one: 36 hours.

    Thank you for your sadness and pity.

  43. KristinSLuce says:

    It's kind of a joke, actually. Thanks for your comment though!

  44. KristinSLuce says:

    I couldn't agree more about expectations, and I think that was a huge boon to me as what appeared to be wonderful suddenly evaporated. As for "out of my integrity," I figure either he is being honest about that, or else he is out of integrity with me in that moment, so either way it's true. Thank you for the comment!

  45. KristinSLuce says:

    Actually, I do mean that conventional ideas of relationship simply won't work, not just for me, but for anyone. I am happy to be disagreed with, but that is what I mean. It's like an engineer seeing that a bridge will not sustain a critical weight. It's not that it won't sustain the weight *for him*, it's actually just that it won't sustain the weight.

    The way ego operates will not sustain relationship. I realize that it's pretty much unheard of for someone to be happy when "someone ditches them" but that has been my experience. If it were me, especially in the past, I would assume that whoever said that was repressing something—so I very much understand your incredulity. And, I was also personally disappointed, as I say in the article. I do not deny that.

    Analyzing the situation is what I have done, personally and professionally, for a quarter century or more, and it is advocated in most helping professions. In my experience it doesn't work. The good news is that we don't have to. It's much, much simpler than that. In this case it was as simple as not wanting someone I love to be out of his integrity. Period. Acknowledging and embracing reality is the quick route.

  46. Ben Rocap says:

    I agree in a sense that fear is a big motivation for finding connection. Very few people want to die before sharing this experience with someone. But it is the expectation of the world to comfort us and relate to us that ultimately can lead to rejection and loneliness. The world is chaos and random so your take your chances that way. I am practicing the art of loving myself which I can control most of the time, and this will bring the energies I want into my life and so I do not need to look so hard. Good luck with you journey.

  47. Iona says:

    The saddest thing about this article is that it assumes that everyone is operating on the same set of ludicrous assumptions. If you've never seen a relationship that works, the missing piece is most likely gratitude. That and the fact that people in good relationships are usually quietly at home enjoying them, rather than out at cocktail parties complaining about their exes.

  48. ejesh says:

    I think this is my favorite article in elephant…Great job!!!

  49. @e2mpower says:

    absolute trust (within a relationship) is faithful knowledge that my partner ALWAYS has my best interests at heart , as much as I do. In other words… I know without a shadow of a doubt…my man's got my back 🙂 For this to work however, that trust must go both ways!

  50. KristinSLuce says:

    Interestingly the few negative comments here have all been in the same vein: they each rebuke the writer for failing to acknowledge positive relationships. And most of them do so by using derogatory and shaming language ("I am sad for you," "I pity you," "The saddest thing about this article is…," (You make) "ludicrous assumptions," etc). There are many non-attacking ways to express a variant viewpoint, yet they resort to attempts to undermine the credibility and character of the author.

    When I hear such put-downs I know that it is not possible that these responders are in positive, personal relationships themselves. If they treat strangers, such as the writer, this way, then this is (at best) how they treat their partners as well, and their children, and themselves. They shame them, undermine and try to humiliate them when they don't like what they hear or are getting.

    It is exactly as I say: those who seem to have a good relationship are ones we do not know too much about, and I will add that the threat of getting anywhere near exposing that can bring out hostility.

    I will also add that, as I say in the article, this defense and attack is brought on by fear, which I understand. I think this article just got way too close to the truth for some folks.

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