Often in a relationship it happens that at least one of the partners is not true to himself/herself. This happens for a variety of reasons:
HE, for example, wants to separate but is afraid to be alone; he wants to confess about an affair but is afraid of the results; he feels more responsibility to his grown-up children than to his new partner, but doesn’t have the courage to admit it to her; and so on and so forth.
She, on the other hand, hates the way he makes love to her but isn’t assertive enough to bring it up in the open; is tired about asking him to a help her around the house, but doesn’t want to confront him about it, afraid he might feel she doesn’t regard him as “a man”; she feels frustrated about him not inviting her out to restaurants as often as she would have loved to, but hesitates to bring the issue up, fearing he might get angry, and so on and so forth.
Two people in a relationship, none of them true to himself/herself
So here there are two people, in a relationship, none of whom is true to himself/herself, none of whom has the courage to bring up issues for discussion with the partner. As a result, due to being dissatisfied with the partner and with the relationship, they both behave in a passive-aggressive way with one another.
“Well, at least I am not alone,” each of them is quietly thinking.
“Well, at least I don’t rock the boat,” each of them calms himself/herself down.
“Well, who said a relationship should be perfect?” they each ask themselves, “is there anything like a perfect relationship?” they comfort themselves, each of them separately, but somehow together.
What makes them stay together?
So what makes them stay together is their silent, shared “agreement”, that their relationship is not good, but…
It might well be that according to their own standards, belief system, and “shared” view of partners and relationships, what they experience in their relationship is just “normal”; “they way things always are in a relationship”.
Do they feel they sacrifice much by not being true to themselves – and to their partner? Maybe not: it is likely that they don’t know better. After all, they both might have experienced failed relationships in their past; both might have separated or divorced (maybe even more than once); both might have never allowed themselves to open up to their partners and communicate openly and honestly.
So as much as they might resemble each other in their behavior, it doesn’t yet mean that they have much in common or are soul-mates. The opposite might be true: they are neither “relationship-wise” nor soul-mates. What they are is just two people in need for love who gotten attached to one another as a result of fears and needs which control them and drive them to stay together; to behave the way they do; to cling on to one another, feeling not really happy but then, “you can’t expect everything from a partner and from a relationship”, they tell themselves, quietly, each in own head, time and again.
The difference between choosing a partner and a relationship or escaping into them
What it all tells us is simple: when you approach a relationship not with the intention to gain something significant in your life but rather in order to escape something – be it escape from loneliness, from feeling not worthwhile, from being disillusioned with life and looking for something to “fill the void” – when you look for a partner and approach relationships with such an attitude, it is quite certain that you will end up – if at all – in a relationship in which you will not be true neither to yourself nor to your partner.
The funny part of it all (or shall we say: the sad part) is, that often you yourself might not even be aware of the fact that you are not true; that you have entered the relationship based on your need to escape, driven by fears, feeling inadequate to confront life, impatient to take the time to look around for a compatible partner, but rather willing to “jump in” with whomever seeks your company.
When initial “love” ends up causing you to feel tormented – yet you stay…
Indeed, upon initially meeting your partner and going out on dates you might feel “in love”; you might feel “attracted” to the person; you might feel loved and desired. But these, unfortunately, might be only short-term feelings, and sooner or later, as the two of you enter a “serious” relationship and maybe even move in together, you might realize, soon enough, that the “magic” has vanished (if there was one to begin with), and that all your dreams about a fantastic intimacy just went down hill, down the drain, and all what was left was… o well, someone with whom you escape your fear of loneliness, your fear of abandonment, someone with whom you attempt to fill in the void of love, neediness, self-worth…
Ignoring, denying, being unaware of reality
Does declining to be aware of your self-sabotaging behaviors enable you to prolong the relationship till “death will do you part”?
Does ignoring the fact that you are not being true to yourself and to your partner make you feel more “at peace” within the relationship?
Does repeatedly denying warning-signs that this partner and this relationship are not for you enable you to feel more “at home” with your partner?
Hard to say. This is your mind, your denials, and your relationship.
However, even people who are unaware can not cheat themselves (and their partner) all the time; can not continually pretend that “all is right”; can not repetitively come up with one thousand and one excuses to justify staying with a partner who is not for them and in a relationship that doesn’t bring them happiness.
The heart knows what the mind refuses to acknowledge
There is a proverb: “the heart knows what the mind refuses to acknowledge”.
Their hearts as well.
But they stay. Out of fear; and neediness; and feelings of worthlessness.
You might think to yourself: if only they would have developed awareness; if only they would have become aware of their fears and needs; if only they would have gotten up the courage to seek appropriate therapy, receive relevant advise; take initiative to make a positive change in their perception of themselves, of partners and relationships.
If only. This is the setback: IF ONLY…