Sometimes relationships end. It doesn’t mean that they have failed.
We have a habit of casting blame on where and when a relationship failed because we want it to make sense.
Imagine the end of a relationship as a tiny death. If you are in grief, you want someone, or something, to blame. We want to know how it’s possible that something so great could ever go away.
At the end of a relationship we often go through the five stages of grief.
- Denial – The relationship isn’t over.
- Anger – How could they give up something so good?
- Bargaining – Will you let me fix it?
- Depression – They won’t let me fix it.
- Acceptance – I have to let go.
Within all of these points you will find blame. For yourself (I must have broken it) or for them (How could they stop trying?). We enter into negative thought patterns about ourselves and about our partners. We cling to the hope that if we could find the one thing that we did wrong, we could fix it, correct history, move forward into some one destiny that allows you and them to be together, forever.
The reality is that sometimes it’s not as simple as one person doing one thing wrong. It’s not about a moment. It may not even be about a series of moments. Sometimes two people who were good together simply aren’t good together anymore.
We enter into a chaotic repetition. We love them in all of the ways we used to love them but those actions, those sentiments, they don’t work anymore.
Sometimes, if we try our hardest to love, and it doesn’t work, we stop blaming ourselves and we blame them. It’s all we have left. It’s a simple equation.
If I have tried everything to fix this and none of it has worked, it must be you that broke it.
Relationships aren’t so simple. They aren’t a series of numbers to plug in to get the right solution. We are madness, bright, beautiful, confusing, loving and messy. We are all of our experiences. We are all of their experiences. There are too many confounds to solve unhappiness with a series of potentially redeeming steps.
A relationship might die many times before it dies the final death. The death where each partner knows it’s over, knows it can’t be brought back to life.
We can’t protect against the unknowing reasons a relationship might end. But we all have the power to make our relationships stronger and happier now, before that moment comes. It may even prevent that moment entirely.
Imagine your relationship as a fire
Sometimes your relationship might burn bright and crackle and give off heat to others.
Sometimes you relationship might roar predictably throughout the night with little need for upkeep.
Sometimes your relationship might start to fade out, the flame growing dimmer, the heat diminishing.
When you notice this start to happen, when you feel the light begin to fade, don’t question the ability of the fire to heat. There isn’t anything wrong with your fire. It just needs a little help.
Give the fire something to burn.
The more we stoke the fire (of our relationship) the warmer (and happier) our relationships will be.
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