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Most of us don’t want a divorce or have to deal with a crushing breakup.
But in case there is someone out there who wants to be abandoned or rejected by a partner, read on.
I’ve lost a lot of relationships in my life.
No divorce yet (married eight years, together 12), but I do have seven relationship failures under my belt (is there a trophy for that?).
So, why have I been in so many failed relationships? And did they leave me or did I leave them?
What was going on?
Was I just another dense, shut down guy who was emotionally unavailable?
Well, err, yes, but there’s more.
Was it that I farted too much in front of them?
Um, yeah, I didn’t really do that did I? (No, our relationship never lasted long enough for me to be that comfortable with them, so that’s not true.)
Maybe it was that I was completely inept, when it came to intimacy?
Yea, that was true.
Was it that I lost my erection sometimes? Yes, that happened and left me wanting to run away and hide.
Was it also that I rarely showered and painted my toenails silver?
That could have been it.
Or maybe it was that I drank too much and peed myself on numerous occasions, with my overnight dates?
That was lame and definitely could have done it.
But actually all of these, while hurtful (and should have had the women I dated running away in horror), were not the reasons I left every woman I dated.
Wait, let me be more accurate—I didn’t just leave, I ran away.
So, why did I run away from these awesome, caring women?
Because I didn’t have a clue how to do relationship once discomfort arose. In other words, I didn’t know how to do conflict.
The very moment she advocated for herself and wanted to have “the talk” to discuss her needs, desires and frustrations, wanting to know what I was really thinking and feeling, I felt uncomfortable.
I would get this strange feeling of annoyance. I’d get irritable. My affect would go flat, I’d want to drink more and I’d start making up excuses why I couldn’t hang out.
Bottom line? I wanted her to get out of my space.
When she asked what was wrong, I could only muster, “Nothing.”
And, when I had my balls strapped on, I’d have the courage to reveal a tiny bit more about myself by saying something like, “I’m fine, I just think I’m in a funk” while quietly thinking to myself how annoying she was.
The more she tip-toed around me, the more irritated I became.
This type of dynamic is common.
In essence, this was me running away from my own sh*t. Running away from conflict.
My lame approach worked for a while. I’d get some space and eventually the “issue” would miraculously fade (after a lot of drinking, napping and climbing) until I could hang out with her again, a few days later.
But guess what?
The issue didn’t go anywhere. I never actually dealt with anything.
Until, of course, I was in enough pain to finally get my sh*t together and learn how to do conflict, which of course, took me to the next level in relationship.
So, I rejected women because I was rejecting the uncomfortable feelings these women provoked in me.
Even though I thought they were wrong consistently, they never really did anything “wrong.”
Their “way” mirrored irritating behaviors from my childhood. And because I had zero tools for how to deal with my unconscious blocks, I’d get relief by firing them.
It takes me a while to learn stuff like this.
What I slowly realized, over time, is that the entire point of a relationship is to help me grow and be more authentically myself.
When I finally embraced this, it was “game on” for a real relationship that was thrilling, engaging, sexy, alive, fun and most importantly, one that included conflict.
And since then? I haven’t left my wife and she hasn’t left me.
Author: Jayson Gaddis
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
Photo: Ryan McGuire/Pixoto