When we make a commitment to our partner, our usual expectation is that our relationship will last for life and that our love will see us through the inevitable hard times. Yet, when reality sinks in, we have to acknowledge that while love is one of the components of a relationship’s longevity, it really takes more to make it through the long haul. It takes skills that many of us haven’t learned. We don’t know how to negotiate our way through relationship difficulties to build a lasting connection, but we can learn.
“What disturbs people’s minds is not events, but their judgments on events.”
In China, parents once bound the feet of their daughters in pursuit of beauty. In parts of Africa, both men and women elongate their earlobes and decorate their skin with minerals to look attractive, and this trend may be found in the United States now. At one time in this society, we found plump, rotund people to be the epitome of beauty.
Old movies show us that the Tarzans and Supermen of past decades would hardly pass muster in today’s gyms. Today we define beauty as a thin, youthful, and muscular look. Today we go under the knife and on extreme diets to achieve a socially acceptable appearance – not to mention tattoos and body piercing – all practices that are similar to the early Chinese custom of binding feet.
Although changes are taking place, strong social standards have dictated, especially through the media, how we should look – and if our own bodies deviate from these expectations, which is the case for almost all of us, we can feel inferior and ashamed. We hide. We cover up. We don’t like an important part of our selves. We feel depressed. We feel anxious in front of other people. We feel powerless – and we are apologetic when we show the world who we are.
It’s not uncommon to fall out of love with someone.
Even though you have been close for a long time, you may feel that now is the time to end the relationship.
The question then becomes, what’s the best way to go about it?
Even if you feel that you’re no longer in love, you probably still care for your partner to a degree, and you want to break up on as best of terms as possible.
Here are some tips on how you can end your love relationship with grace, dignity, and compassion.
Numerous researchers have examined the phenomenon of being in love. This refers to the stage of feeling whole and complete once we have found someone who matches the image we carry around with us of the person we have been searching for – that is, someone who has the positive and negative qualities of an imperfect parent from our childhood.
Although some people prefer to remain single throughout their lives, most people strive to connect with and live in partnership with one special person. There are many obvious advantages to finding a relationship partner – physical, economic, social – but there is another significant advantage in that working through the ups and downs of a relationship allows us to come to terms with many of our own personal issues.
Many people search for that special intimacy in their relationship. Some of us search our entire lives for a feeling of oneness with another person. It’s hard to describe, really, what we search for, but we know it when we finally achieve it. Maybe we tire of that dark feeling of being alone as we struggle through life. If only there were someone else here, we say to ourselves, who could understand and share these burdens. Then it wouldn’t be so lonely. It wouldn’t be so hard.
Is it fair that you have to work on your relationship alone? Many couple counselors would probably say no, it isn’t, but they would probably encourage you to consider the alternatives. For example, you can choose to stay stuck in a relationship stalemate, but then each of you lose the potential benefits that can come from the work that you do – for example, a healthier and more supportive commitment in your relationship. Or you can let the relationship end.
But working alone may not be a realistic option if the situation is unbearable or abusive or if you’re completely mismatched. However, if there is a chance that your relationship can work, it might be well worth it for you to keep trying until you have tried using all of your ideas. Otherwise, you may regret ending your relationship too soon, and this would be unfair to you.