The vagaries of love and despair keep our lives in high drama, don’t they? And man! if we could just figure out how to crack the code on healthy, peaceful coupling, we’d have it made. Many times, my clients come to me in the midst of a tangled, painful relationship that has gone septic, or they are in heartbreak hell and trying to conduct a postmortem on the relationship.
I have a naturally optimistic view of love, relationships, and the abundant opportunities that are available for all of us to find a wonderful partner. However, there are roadblocks and misguided perspectives that come up frequently with my clients when we sit down to figure out what went wrong. This is a not-incredibly-romantic cheat sheet of love and relationship truths that I hope will give you clarity, support, and resonance.
1. Some people put up with a lot of shit in relationships and think they are proving their love and loyalty. But really, they are putting up with shit because they are addicted to the other person, afraid to be alone, or addicted to how they feel as the Saviour, “good one,” or hero/heroine. The shit-taker goes through high-highs, low-lows, confusion, starvation, self-loathing, vindication, relief, depression, and victory. If this is you, I have a message: love doesn’t feel like this.
2. Lack of self-worth will fuck up your relationship, even if there’s a lot of potential.
3. You can make a great life with someone who is not your soul mate.
4. The partner that cares less calls the shots. Generally.
5. The breakup sucks for your ex too, but for different reasons.
6. The next bus leaves in 5 minutes. Translation: If you’ve given it a fair shot and your partner is not the right fit for you or doesn’t treat you well, then move on. There is an abundance of love, opportunity, and partnership possibilities in this Universe ready and waiting for you. This a scientific fact. Replace your scarcity mindset with an abundance mindset and stop imprisoning yourself in a mismatched (or abusive, or luke-warm, or dysfunctional) relationship. Let go of the banana, Magilla.
7. Loving someone, but not being IN LOVE with them, is a real thing.
8. You can love someone even if you don’t love yourself. It’s not recommended, and it will make for a problematic and arduous relationship, but the statement: ‘You can’t love someone until you love yourself’ is a lie.
9. ‘No one can make you happy except yourself’ is another lie. OF COURSE people can make you happy. They can make you immensely fulfilled, profoundly directed, ignited, and inspired – sometimes more than you could for yourself. Why are we afraid to admit that? Is it because we are addicted to being self-sufficient and self-powerful? I don’t suggest being vampirically co-dependent on others for your sense of personal happiness and security – but hell yes – other people can make you happy…deeply and deliriously so. LET THEM.
10. You can have more than one soul mate in your lifetime.
11. I have coached people through (and been in relationships where) infidelity, sex addiction, money problems, possessiveness, jealousy, anger issues, lack of sex drive, and sucky communication skills were killing the relationship, but were not the deal breakers. Most things can be worked through. The deal breaker was the offending partner’s refusal to get help. This looks like stalling, making excuses, admitting/crying/doing nothing (see #14), blaming you.
12. The highest level of attraction will occur when you meet someone who closely matches the composite sketch of your primary caretakers (mom and dad). This visceral attraction filter lies in your subconscious. Consciously we want to be happy, subconsciously we want to be healed. It’s called imago matching and accounts for most ‘soul mate’ relationships. Imago matches can be deeply healing, or, if you don’t know you’re in an imago match – devastatingly painful.
13. It is not necessary to hate your ex in order to move on. It is okay to have an affectionate gratitude for the time you spent together, and it is possible to have healthy boundaries while in this state. Elizabeth Gilbert gives some fine advice here.
14. Don’t be placated by a partner who is a good admitter/apologizer. No one gets a parade for admitting their shit and saying sorry. Credit is given to partners who take action and change their behavior.
15. Sometimes the only purpose of a marriage is to bring some amazing, sweet kids into this world. If you and your ex can compose co-parenting vows to replace your marriage vows, you can create “one family living in two homes” – which is what my ex and I did. Our kids are happy, well-adjusted and secure, 8 years post-divorce.
16. Do not attempt to marry someone while you are still in love with another.
17. Gramma said, “Spend 4 seasons with someone before you claim to know them, and certainly don’t make a decision to marry them before that.” I broke this rule a few times. Sorry gramma….(you were right!)
18. Understanding masculine/feminine energy (and the role you want to embody) is essential to having a successful, connected, and sexually dynamic relationship. This book by Dr. Pat Allen is an excellent resource.
19. A period of time spent alone will be the best gift you can give to yourself. If you resist medicating yourself with alco-, worko-, or Bravo Channel-holism, you will learn to trust yourself deeper, hear the voice of your inner guide clearer, and in the absence of another person telling you how beautiful/smart/clever you are, will learn to generate this for yourself. Your future and your healthy relationship will thank you.
20. Let go when you’re hurting too much. Give up when love isn’t enough. Move on when your gut tells you to. Remember that you have been given this one gorgeous, sparkling, comet-of-a-life and you are free and entitled to choose how to spend it. Don’t wait around for a permission slip, better timing, or a better financial situation… Go for it now.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Side note….
A few years ago, my best friend and I broke up with our boyfriends during the same week and we were completely devastated. We cried together, took turns bringing chicken soup to each other’s apartments, and made sure the other one was brushing teeth on a regular basis. After about a month of this we were still not feeling better or getting out much and we decided that had to change. We were in New York City after all, and being on a diet of Ben & Jerry’s and cheap martinis was ruining any judgement we had left. John and I created the Thursday Night Supper Club and we would each invite 2 people to dinner at the Standard Hotel and the 6 of us would drink some drinks, eat some food, laugh some laughs, and slowly….we started to feel human again.Thank God we had each other, but you know what we could’ve REALLY used back then? COACHING! Coaching with someone who had been there. A listening ear that would have helped us sort reality from hysteria. We would’ve totally gone for this: Bring Your Bestie to Coaching and Split the Cost. That is why I created this program, and to my knowledge, it is the only one that exists. If you are stuck, sad, heartbroken, need clarity, or could use a swift kick of courage (and your bestie could too) sign your sweet asses up for this! Go here.
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