I hear a lot of people talking about having failed their romantic relationships.
I think there’s a faulty assumption or expectation out there that we’re supposed to make a relationship work, and that if we don’t, we somehow fail at it.
I’m still getting my head around this concept, so please bear with me.
I still have regrets about a couple of ended relationships. Things I wish I’d done differently, things I wish I’d known about myself before, that I could have worked with and maybe saved the relationship, but ultimately it wasn’t up to me.
The timing, the circumstances, the emotional or physical resonance wasn’t right for it to continue working, so it ended.
They say there are three sides to every story — yours, mine and the truth, but really truth is all there is. Your truth looks different from mine, and mine probably bears no resemblance to yours.
We can’t know what it’s like to walk around in someone else’s body, with someone else’s heart, their experiences and expectations, so we can’t decide for them what works and what doesn’t.
The heart isn’t logical, it doesn’t do what makes sense and it doesn’t follow the path of least resistance. It’s either in or it’s out, sometimes overnight. It’s not as simple as falling out of love.
Often we still love that person immensely, we just can’t see ourselves fulfilled continuing down the same path into a future that doesn’t resonate with our desires and passions. We don’t marry someone thinking that we’re not going to stay together for life. We just change. Our partners change.
We learn things about ourselves, we grow at different rates, we find out we don’t really have similar values or sometimes we’re in denial about our needs or about who we are or who our partner really is, but we don’t fail.
We need to remember that we came here with a plan, we created this reality for ourselves, this lesson plan, these co-conspirators for growth.
By not allowing yourself or them to move on when the relationship has played out, you’re limiting yourself to only what’s possible within the realm of that particular relationship by trying to control the outcome, which is not the point.
If you’re staying in a relationship that doesn’t fulfill you, challenge you or resonate with you because you feel obligated to a deal or a contract you made with another human being, you are depriving both of you of opportunities for happiness and growth.
We all want to feel happy, content, secure and loved. We’re all good people, no matter what we believe about ourselves. Your heart always knows better than your head what’s right for you, and the same goes for your partner’s heart.
If your lover isn’t feeling it anymore, you don’t get to decide for them or force them into submission. You are two completely different people. No one owes you the rest of their life and nor do you owe them yours, no matter what promise you made.
Things change. It can be incredibly painful when a relationship ends, but tears don’t hurt, your heart doesn’t really break, and you don’t die from losing someone. You heal, you pick up your pieces, you grow, you learn something new about yourself, and you move on.
You find yourself at some point and learn to put yourself first, where you belong.
This is your life too.
- Always honor your relationships when they end. It’s both an ending and a beginning, and now you have a lot more information to work with and freedom to make a better choice for yourself.
- Often we see someone’s actions but not their intent. Learn to register intent, both in yourself and others. You’ll be amazed at how dishonest you can be to get your way sometimes. If you have to manipulate someone to get what you need, is that really the ideal person for you?
- I was reminded last night that you can’t make room in your life for the thing you really want if you’re holding on to something that’s not serving you as well. Let go of the stone.
- Practice loving yourself unconditionally. No negative self-talk, no put downs, no dirty looks in the mirror. Be grateful for and accept what is and go from there. Find things to admire about you. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back sometimes for everything you’ve endured and remind yourself how far you’ve come.
There are no failures.
Erika Boyer is an apprentice of life, a navigator of storms, a student, a teacher, a writer, a consultant, a poet, a daughter, a sister, a lover, a child, and sometimes a mess. On a quest for the balance between striving and thriving, she shares her unfolding story and passion for learning with the intent to leave breadcrumbs for those who’ve misplaced their truth or need permission to lead with their heart of hearts. It is our stories that connect us, after all.