Are you one of those who are no longer happy in your long-term romantic relationship or marriage, but are considering up how much of yourself you might have invested in it, while you ask yourself problem, “ Should I stay or Must i Go? ”.
This is actually the dilemma of, Too good in order to leave and too bad to stay, and the ongoing state of ambivalence which usually this engenders, can be very corrosive over the long period of time, and can also lead to illness and depression.
When you are involved in this kind of scenario a person tend to become increasingly disconnected from the partner or spouse, and feel more and more lonely and despondent as time goes on. After a while you run out of methods as to how to change the situation. When it becomes intolerable, one or other makes a decision to separate or divorce. The problem is, often this involves breaking up a family and everyone facing the prospect of living in reduced circumstances.
From Intolerable to Intolerable
The proceed towards separation and the prospect of not being in each other’ s i9000 lives begins to feel more unpleasant and eventually intolerable. It is at this point that you decide to “ give it another go”. Unfortunately, this usually means trying behaviors and approaches that have been tried and failed before. Soon the honeymoon is over (again) and the relationship begins to slide back to where it was before, and both of you feel even more despondent, hopeless, sad and demoralised, and decide once again that the only method ahead is to separate. The situation will be again intolerable.
Once again you begin to move towards separation, and when again, when the prospect of in fact living apart and sorting out contact arrangements and maintenance obligations for the children is on the plan, the pain increases and again, you decide to try again.
Consequences of Ambivalence
This kind of oscillation is not uncommon with couples. Sadly most couples generally do not access professional help to aid them in moving beyond the particular impasse and to explore other ways of moving through the impasse. Eventually, one may finish up really rocking the motorboat by having an Exit Affair perhaps, regardless of whether consciously or unconsciously engaged in. Usually this is the final straw to the additional party and provides the impetus in order to proceed with the divorce or splitting up. Many decide to pursue the splitting up or divorce route, out of sheer desperation, because they can no longer stand the ambivalence, and, particularly if they have the milestone event like a 40th birthday, death of a parent or a New Year.
A Tale of Two Couples
As the saying goes, “ If you keep doing what you’ ve always done, you’ ll keep getting what you always obtained. Do something different. ”
I recently was seeing two couples for coaching, each of whom had been in this position of oscillating among staying or going for a number of years. These were all deeply unhappy and worried that the situation was now impacting their respective children, (which it was) who in different ways had been beginning to display behavioural problems.
In order to turn such a situation around couples need to be able to action aside from their problems long enough to learn some essential knowledge about relationship mechanics and also to acquire new knowledge and a range of relating skills to carry out that knowledge. Couples also need to possess a degree of insight into their own patterns that they have taken on board from their early environment, usually their primary caregivers, and which are no longer serving their romantic relationship.
One couple, let’ s call them Jean and John stayed in the Karpman Triangle for a long time, blaming and criticising each other. Eventually however , they managed to take on board what I was teaching all of them, and started to do the work on them selves and now have made a great breakthrough and find out what I was driving at meant for so long.
The other couple, Jack and Sally, played the game of “ I’ m departing, let’ s get a divorce” meant for so long and then made up and reused this about twice a year, that neither of them would stop their own Game Playing at the same time, or lengthy enough to actually do the necessary work of learning about their unhelpful patterns and reconnecting with each other in a more meaningful method. During one of their “ let’ s get a divorce” swings, Jack port actually went ahead and applied for divorce. They are now very unhappily divorced and putting so much period into making contact arrangements for their two children, that they both want they had made the effort to stop fighting and to learn some new strategies to change their situation.
The underlying problem for each couples was that they were both unaware of the ways in which their unconscious patterns affected their relationships, and continued to blame each other. Jean and Jack port eventually agreed to lay down their hands, and got into some alignment with each other while they learned some romantic relationship lessons and skills. They are right now relating on a much deeper and more romantic way and are well on the way in order to “ Happily ever after”.
Jack and Sally remained entrenched in their old patterns and refused to set them aside lengthy enough to learn about how relationships work and get some skill in applying that. They appear all set to have some very unhappy years and then to go on in order to repeat the same unhelpful patterns within another relationship.
Getting Out of Your Own Way
No one teaches us this relationship stuff, but it is a sensible couple who recognise when they run into trouble, that they have reached the end of their limits in terms of knowledge and skill; not necessarily their relationship. It is a milestone in everyone’ s personal development (although not everyone passes it) to examine their early conditioning and review how they operate in terms of their living in the here and now, rather than the way they were told their life and relationships should, ought, or must be. Instead of going to war with each other and perceiving each other as the enemy, they can become Allies and support each other to make their own individual reviews and adjustments perhaps with the help of a skilled Coach.
It Doesn’ t Have To Be Either/Or
With some professional guidance, couples can agree to have a controlled splitting up, while they work through any personal development issues they may have, which interfere with the couple relationship. They could also commit to staying together for an agreed period of time such as 3-6 months, while they follow a coaching program. In case after all this, their situation has not improved, at least they both know they have given the relationship their best shot, and can part with much less acrimony.