The Single Reason Why Your Relationship Might Be Failing
If there was only one thing you needed to do in order to find happiness in your relationship, would you do it?
Many people consider relationships as 'having found their other half'. We go from being whole to being half of something, a complete person only when we are with someone else. We allow our minds to be content with the fact that our lives are not truly our own, and that the ultimate definition of love is to forgo part of yourself with someone else by choice, believing that our lives are enhanced by the presence of something foreign to you. I am by no means an expert in the love department. I've had my fair share of boyfriends who have cheated on me, broken up with me, discovered their sexuality with me and even given the v-card by a boy I loved who trusted that I would know what to do. Even then, I am no love expert. What I do know is that while none of the men in my past have much in common with one another, there is still one deep, underlying fact that remains the same: our relationships eventually ended because we succumbed to self-abandonment in some way, shape or form.The honest definition of self-abandonment is to allow your true self to lie dormant in your relationship emotionally, physically, mentally, financially, spiritually and even socially, which opens the door for your partner to be responsible for you as a person.
You begin to rely on them for affirmation regarding various points in your life, eventually defining your self-worth and responsibility to your own well-being by the way they attend to your life. You subconsciously gain a controlling behavior that forces you to manipulate your partner into loving you, approving of you and essentially giving you what you need/want. And perhaps this image is what most might define as their partner being 'their better half', but the truth is that self-abandonment is the most common misdiagnosed diagnosis of a struggling relationship. If we take a moment to analyze some of these points we see in self-abandonment, you'll notice that it can be as simple as refusing to speak up for yourself in your relationship, and instead becoming complacent or resistant. When you abandon yourself to your partner through compliance or resistance, you create a lack of trust that eventually leads to conflict, disconnection and resentment.
If you refuse to take care of yourself physically through unhealthy eating habits and not taking the appropriate measure to maintain good health, your partner may feel resentful by having to take care of you. Your physical self-abandonment not only has negative consequences for you regarding your health and well being, it also has unwanted consequences for your partner which can lead to conflict and power struggles.Even more common in affecting our relationship to our partners is emotional self-abandonment. We as humans are so wired to listening to our emotions that even when men are stereotyped to bottle their feelings and 'be a man', it is these same emotions that has the power to convince a man to do things in a relationship that they may not necessarily mean to do. We as humans are also reactionary towards feelings of loneliness, helplessness, anxiety, and heartbreak, and in relationships, these emotional triggers can progress to a variety of mindsets:
1. We force the people around us to be responsible for our feelings.
When we emotionally abandon ourselves, we suddenly take on the notion that it is someone else’s job to make us feel loved and worthy. We might try to control our partners with anger, blame, criticism, or withdrawal to get him or her to give you what you are not giving to yourself. In this case, relationships eventually fall into a dysfunctional system where one person gets angry and the other withdraws or resists, or both individuals become angry and withdraw.
In some cases one is angry and the other is compliant, which might seems to work for a while until the compliant partner becomes resentful and soon enough, withdraws. When your intent in the relationship is to get love instead of to share love, then you will unfairly lean on your partner for attention, approval, time or sex. In all of these cases, every person is emotionally abandoning themselves which is the main cause of the failing relationship.
2. We turn to addictions to try to numb the stress of self-abandonment.
In this exaggerated instance, we begin to judge ourselves and ignore feelings by way of drugs, alcohol, food, overspending, gambling, other people and even our work. It is because we are unable to garner self-love from ourselves and our partners that we source self-appreciation from these unnatural things that, if left in our current state, would drive us into an unhealthy mental and emotional level.
3. Your emotional focus is trapped in your head instead of being present in your body.
We begin to ignore our feelings and avoid them by focusing our mental strength in holding our emotions inside. We eventually become unaware of these feelings we are withholding by consistently ignoring them and in turn we are unable to connect with our partners. We emotionally connect with each other from our hearts and souls, not from our heads. When you stay in your head as a way to avoid responsibility for your feelings, you cannot emotionally connect with your partner which can lead to distance and most commonly, infidelity.
4. We redirect our emotions and judge ourselves instead of accept ourselves.
Sometimes we might learn to judge ourselves as a way to try to make sense of why we are a certain way so that others would like us. Self-judgment creates anxiety, depression, guilt, shame and emptiness, and can lead to a variety of addictions in order to avoid these feelings. Self-judgment also leads to needing the approval of our peers and those around us in order to feel worthy, and your resulting controlling behaviors to gain others’ approval may lead to many relationship problems.
Ultimately, when we learn to love ourselves we become the best version of ourselves for our partners and this is the key to a great relationship. When you learn to connect with your own body and access the love and wisdom that is always within you, you learn to fill yourself with love instead of demanding love from other sources. This does not mean that you need to be self-sufficient or self-reliant, but perhaps more of a self-appreciation and self-awareness. While self-abandonment creates an inner emptiness that relies on others to fill you, self-love creates an inner fullness that, when overflowing with love, rather than always trying to get love, you can now share your love with your partner. If we can all learn to be a little bit more mindful of where we are in self-love, our relationships and connections with the people around us would be that much more gratuitous.