Is a Half-Relationship Really Better than the Alternative?

Via Tracy Crossley
on Jul 26, 2014
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lonely, sad, angry, introvert, anxious

So many excuses get made about a struggling relationship.

We justify bad behavior or our inability to make a decision that would make us happier. We avoid it, because we’re afraid of losing what we have, even if it is half, or a quarter, or even an 1/8 of a relationship…bread crumbs.

It seems the experience of romantic relationships not working out takes its toll on our self-esteem, self-confidence and dramatically increases the fear factor. So, as we get older, this phenomenon makes for some funky situations.

It’s not to say that people who find themselves in these, sorta, kinda, relationships have a fatal flaw or something is tragically wrong with them. On the contrary, many of them are fairly stable, kind and want love as much as anyone.

Wanting it and being available for it are two different things.

I did this route myself. I got divorced and went to therapy. After doing therapy for a few years, I thought I was in pretty good shape.

I wasn’t.

I had no understanding at all of what it meant to be anxiety-free, connected to myself, truly confident, whole, happy and not seeking outside validation to tell me I was lovable. I was still looking for someone to fix what was wrong with me or fill up the gaping hole inside of me!

In the time since my divorce, I’ve had relationships, but there were two that I thought would do me in because of the intense level we matched at. I thought each one was the one; they were instead, both my greatest mirrors and lessons.

Both relationships were never full time.

Neither was officially a commitment, but the intensity and the feeling of having someone who got me superseded the lack of time together and all other red flags. My fantasy of what I wanted it to be slowly fell apart. I would seek out advice and everywhere I was told, “we were meant to be together.”

I hear these words from so many people who contact me. They look for psychic readings, books and other people to tell them it is okay to hope that this shitty situation has a silver lining. It can have a great outcome, but not in the way most of us think.

We attract what we’re capable of dealing with, so in these token relationships, as much as we want love, we have to look at how unavailable we are to its full commitment.

Many of us don’t want to give up because of the time invested, the familiarity and the connection.

We can have the most amazing connection to people who just aren’t there. They’re married or refuse to give up some other half-assed relationship they are in too. They may be single but living in their own past pain, with so many rules of engagement, we’re lucky to get any of their time or affection at all.

The longer we’ve been at the relationship game, the more entrenched we may become in believing we deserve less. We make excuses for the lack. We say the few moments of attention are worth all the hours of heartache. We break it off and somehow find ourselves back in this dance with this person, over and over again.

Some wonder where the strength and decision-making skills we had when we were younger went. We used to be more discerning and, perhaps, we were always the ones who left the relationship and now, we find ourselves unable to move on or unravel these ties that bind.

I see it often, and I’ve been there. We have to believe that we deserve a full relationship, but first we need to see what we’re afraid of and why we stay suffering. Once we have clarity, we come to making better decisions.

Look inside. Where does the anxiety of possible loss come from? We need to think back to times we put up with pain in our relationships and understand that we have walled ourselves off from being vulnerable to this same pain again.

When we’re walled off, we’re unable to be emotionally intimate. Therefore, we’re unavailable and the person we think won’t give to us is not standing across the room, it’s the one we see in the mirror.

As long as we stay there, we will not move forth, grow or be happy. Once we decide that our current lot in life is no longer an option, we can commit to ourselves and transforming the beliefs we have, which kept us stuck in these half relationships.


Relephant Read:

Why is Trying to Get a Commitment such a Pain in the A**? 


Does Your Relationship Have a Future or Should It End?



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Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: martinak15/Flickr




About Tracy Crossley

Tracy Crossley is a hyphenate: female, writer, curiosity quencher, artist, poet, gardener of real gardens and existential ones, clairvoyant, and momma to grown ups. She owns Intuitive Reinvention Inc. She is currently speaking, writing and mentoring people on getting out of their heads and dysfunctional relationships and into living an authentic, anxiety-free, happy and loving existence. If you want to learn more about her and how she can help you, check out a complimentary discovery session with her click to learn and schedule., Or find her on social media, facebook page, blog and on twitter, she always follows back. She also has a free weekly podcast show on many topics she writes about here click here to listen.


18 Responses to “Is a Half-Relationship Really Better than the Alternative?”

  1. Lamia says:

    I feel like I could've written this, it's exactly where I have been the last few years! So insightful and true. Thank you!

  2. Reneé Marie Fox says:

    So. Extraordinarily. Timely.

    Thank you.

  3. Carole says:

    Wow, this resonates with me at a very crucial moment in my life. I have come to a crossroads, where I now realize I need to let the wall down, if I ever want to find peace within myself, and let love in. Thank you.

  4. Nancy says:

    Hey, have you been seeing my man? :~) Damn you are good..

  5. Amy E says:

    I am also at a crossroads. I met someone who made an instant connection with me. It was like we had known one another for several lifetimes. I have learned so much from this relationship…hard issues I have had to face within myself, and realizing that I would never have a life unless I let down my walls. I am in a MUCH better place now. A question remains in my mind. Having once felt this connection with that person, will I ever be satisfied with less? I doubt it. Time and distance can make things difficult, but not impossible. Is it really half a relationship? I'm not convinced.

  6. Six Years of Crumbs says:

    I know these things and it helps me to hear them from someone else. To read them so well articulated and timely, as I have closed down the fractional relationship for a 10-week period, building strength to make it lasting. Thank you.

  7. Tracy says:

    Thanks Lamia for reading. I am glad it resonated with you.

  8. Tracy says:

    Thank you Renee for your comment, synchronicity is a funny thing when it comes to writing it seems. 🙂

  9. Tracy says:

    Thank you Carole. It is a process, isn't it? Love is easy, it's all the other stuff we put in it's way.

  10. Tracy says:

    Ha! Thanks Nancy! I actually have been thinking of writing a book on this topic, because I do meet so many people, almost daily who have found this to be their romantic trajectory too.

  11. Tracy says:

    Hi Amy! Thanks for your comments. I totally get what you are saying, and from my own experience, I know that the things, which were great are where I set the bar for anyone else. It showed me certain aspects of a relationship are possible, but for me, and for many, it is extraordinarily unfulfilling when you are growing and at the same time pain becomes an overarching theme. We're all in different places and what I found for myself, is that I could not wait, hold on or hope outside of myself, I had to focus on self-love and doing what I could when it came to control of me and knowing I would feel I deserved on a deeper level a relationship, which didn't starve me, but fed me. 🙂

  12. Shelly says:

    Wow, I didn't realize this was an "epidemic". I thought I was alone in this and afraid to talk about it. I thought people would think I was crazy, but yes I have fallen into this situation.

  13. Cha says:

    Sad to think that even after years of therapy I may not be better. I wish I could love myself and that I didn't desire it from others so much.

  14. Elyse says:

    Thank you for defining and validating my experiences where I was otherwise told I imagined the sordid scenario. How does love hurt and heal synchronously? I learned a lot.

  15. notanotherteenmommy says:

    This is awesome. I so needed this right now

  16. Four years of crumbs says:

    Crazy accurate. Such sanity in knowing I’m not alone. Especially now, as I contemplate that I’ll never experience that deep connection with another soul. Thank you so much for your words. I will cherish them.

  17. Mike Mckay says:

    I saw this linked via facebook and read it expecting it to be the normal post modernistic feminist mantras, disjointed unrealistic expectations and more princess syndrome sufferers screaming I am mediocre hear me raor then blaming everyone except the only common factor in a persons own relationships for why they dont work

    But I was pleasantly surprised, for once it was an insightful and clearly written article actually laying blame with the person who is actually choosing who they date in the first place and the only part that I didnt see in there is that often all people are afraid of is success in their dating

    Because only when a relationship succeeds can it hurt you severaly when it (as you expect it to) fails. So by people only giving equally broken and dysfunctional people a chance they guarantee it can never get that serious in the first place

    Otherwise though a thoroughly enjoyable read

  18. Ashley says:

    I think the common thread to most of the articles I read on this site (in my mind at least) is that you need to grow as an individual first and foremost and become a whole person. Sure, some articles seem to isolate men on their faults, or tell women that they can be just exactly how they are and expect a perfect man, but most of them inspire me to change and grow for the better and in doing that, you'll almost always attract someone you deserve. I totally agree with your post. YOU are the common thread in your failed relationships and there's a lot to be gleaned by looking in the mirror when you come to that realization.