The question of should I stay or should I go is so deep and complex and sensitive. When is it more empowering and expansive to stay and work through issues, and when is it more empowering and expansive to separate?
I believe that if we don’t feel we are worthy of something, we won’t know how to attract it and/or receive it when it shows up. We will attract that which we believe we deserve.
Whatever is going on externally is a mirror of what’s going on internally.
Sometimes we can be addicted to the cycle of trying to make something work. It can be hard to accept, without blame or shame on any side, that we are no longer in alignment with a person, a place, a job, an activity…..that we have gone as far as we can in that relationship or setting, perhaps even outgrown it. And it’s not about working harder, it’s about living that truth.
Sometimes our pattern is to flee when the going gets rough; we don’t know how to stay in the ring and work through difficulties, and we need to hang in and learn these lessons. There is no right or wrong, it’s about your patterns and what’s required for your evolution.
I was once in a relationship that was my first love. We decided to live together over the summer. It was doomed before we moved into our rental apartment. I was excited to live the fantasy of what I wanted, but the reality was that by the time of the move in, we had already grown apart and were never going to be able to progress together.
It was a horrible summer for me. We barely spent time together. I was so sad and I was acting small. We were in center city and I spent the summer doing very little, completely uninspired, disconnected from the pulsing city right at my fingertips, unable to pursue any activity that brought me true joy, except for occasionally hanging out with my now husband who at that time was a good friend.
One day I spoke to a family friend on the phone, someone I had grown up with and trusted completely. She said, “You know, relationships are hard, but they’re not supposed to be *this* hard.” It was really painful to hear that. I felt scared to let go of this dream that I had, that I was going to progress in this relationship and that through this connection, I would be a secure woman.
The opposite was happening. The more I stayed the more insecure I became, and the more I shrank and isolated. I forgot that the world is a beautifully alive place with music and dance and art and pleasure. I forgot how much I love these things.
This was not my first experience like this, and it was not my last. These lessons of losing my spark in the pursuit of love and security were lessons I’ve had to subsequently learn many times. In my marriage I still sometimes spiral back to a place where I forget that I’m an adult woman who can find what I need inside of myself, and who can connect with my husband from an internally secure place.
And it’s such hard work, this marriage I’m in. My husband and I make so many relationship mistakes. My marriage can stretch me to my outer limits. But I stay because it’s the kind of stretching that is just enough to make me more supple, but not so much that I injure myself.
I stay because at the end of the day we take responsibility for ourselves. We apologize and forgive and we change our perspective and behavior. We stay in the ring until we both feel seen, heard, and complete. And we have fun. He joins me in the pursuit of expanding our sense of what’s possible. He does intimacy practices with me that create more safety and excitement in our sex life. In this relationship, I’m inspired to do the things that I love to do and fully connect with the me within the we.
I’ve learned there are different levels of maturity in relationship, and relationship is very different when you’re with someone who can meet you fully, and even more importantly, when you’re ready to be the person who can fully meet them.
We can only start with ourselves. We can only control whether we show up, and whether we take the leap of faith to be unapologetically authentic, trusting that this will bring us closer to what we actually want.
As you grapple with your choices, and with the places where you feel stuck and unsatisfied, I’m here for you. I’m here to support you in determining what you want, what you need, how to go after it, and how to receive it when it shows up.