Today I’d like to talk about relationships of the heart, setting aside many of the Cluster B Personality Disorders I’m famous for discussing. Today I just want to talk about couples, in love, hopefully. I see couples fighting all the time and usually it’s over the silliest reasons. Sometimes they can’t even tell you why they’re fighting, except that it might be all they remember how to do well with each other. I think it’s those kinds of fights that should tell you it’s time to either seek counseling, or throw in the towel. I have to tell ya….that’s not what love feels like.
Whenever you’re fighting with a significant other, this is truly the time to put yourself in their shoes. What would you want to hear? How would you want to be treated? If you were being told these awful things about yourself, how would you react? How would you feel if you were on the other side of this argument? These are all valid and stable questions to ask yourself. Even though not all circumstances are this cut and dry, arguments all have the same flavor. Someone in the relationship isn’t getting what they need in order to feel loved and secure. How simple is it to talk about this with love, instead of yelling at each other?
Just take a moment away from the fight, take a deep breath and ask your partner to answer the questions with you, or for themselves. Either you’ll work it out, or you won’t. If you can’t work it out after doing this small exercise in empathy and logic, then you aren’t meant to be together. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s a fact. No amount of counseling is ever going to bring two people together that can’t come together out of empathy for each other and for themselves. When self centered behavior is more important than having empathy for a partner, then your relationship is doomed to fail.
Think about this.
Assuming there is no domestic violence or fear of losing one’s life, how would you feel about this argument? If your partner told you to get out of the house you have shared together as a loving couple, how would that make you feel? Suddenly you’re homeless, right? How about if after you’ve been gone for a few days, they change the locks and refuse to give you a key? Does that feel like love to you? Is this something you would do to someone you vowed to spend the rest of your life with? I would imagine that the rest of your life implied being about to come and go in the marital home, within reason. However being forced out with no prospects of where to go, expected to fend for yourself and rely on the graciousness of your friends, has to be humiliating. Under those circumstances, would you want to continue to work it out with your partner?
When you love someone, you don’t throw them out into the cold, to the wolves, even if they’re cheating on you. People cheat for all kinds of reasons, but the biggest reason of all is they aren’t getting what they need from their partner. Any time part of a couple decides they need to leave the marital home, it should be their decision. Nobody gets so much more control in a relationship that they can lord the sanctity of their home over their partner. If that’s the situation, then it’s not a partnership, it’s a dictatorship.
I’m also going to shock you and tell you that it is also the responsibility of the partner staying behind to make sure the other partner is comfortable, has a safe place to go and knows they can come back pending a reconciliation, or simply to talk about things. These aren’t lofty ideals. They are simply what you sign up for when you stand before the clergy, your family or the Justice of the Peace, even when you simply combine your households and proclaim your undying love for someone. When you commit to another human being and promise them your virtue as their partner, you promise to abide by this same love and connection even when you’re fighting. For better or for worse, people!
If you find yourself in a mess that used to be the best feeling you thought you’d ever have, then take a deep breath and ask yourself; Does this still feel like love to me? Can we find the love again and will we be strong enough to repair the damage and make it work for a lifetime? I think that once each of you takes the time to put yourself in the other’s shoes, you’ll see and feel that same love that brought you to each other in the beginning.
This is Madeline Laughs and here’s hoping that each and every one of you knows the joy of what love feels like in your lifetime. Once you feel it, you’ll know how to find it again and again and love will sustain you through life’s ups and downs and any challenge you face can be conquered, simply by knowing you’re loved.