When Relationships Go Wrong
Last week I visited »The Black Umbrella Society« meet up again to gather inspiration for my new article and refresh the Ohlala Blog with exciting insights. For months I’ve been watching this event getting bigger and more popular. The same people show up, new ones join in and always present, a unique dynamic. People trust each other and share intimate confessions about their lives. One could say that a relationship has developed with this event. A relationship between very different characters who sit together to fathom their individual motivations, seek help from the participants / friends to evolve their chosen connections, get opinions about what they are doing wrong, why they are repeating old patterns and curiously explore how others deal with them, to realize that we are not alone with all the questions of how we can make our relationships better in the future.
Why do relationships actually end and why do some head in the wrong direction entirely? When we dive into a topic with these elementary questions, which each interpretates in his or her own way, we first have to realize that all lived relationships are relationships and not only the exclusive ones with a chosen partner. If one does not become aware of this, there is, in my opinion, always the danger of letting relationships go without even knowing it, without ever having really made an effort to do so, without realizing how valuable each and every single encounter with the people we meet on a daily basis is.
A strong woman who had been betrayed for years by her partner once said: »I can only love him for what he is, not for what he is not.« She chose love and at the same time a life full of pain. A special woman who exhaust her potential, her own self-realization, the full power of love only in connection with pain and she is not alone with this decision. How often do we find ourselves in relationships that actually drive us crazy, that make us unhappy and happy at the same time? When we are trapped in a situation where we keep doing all the wrong things, or rather, when we do the right things for the wrong person? A self-imposed fate arises from hopelessness and we have consciously chosen to do so. What happens when we repeat suffering what we experienced earlier, perhaps in our childhood, and integrate this feeling into our future partnerships? We can accept it as our truth or we can decide against it. In both cases we are the driving force and thus the source that determines the preferred quality of life. We are on a journey to ourselves and when we are tired of suffering, when we have experienced enough pain, we will certainly go in a different direction.
I spoke of a strong woman who said, »I can only love him for what he is, not for what he is not.« after being asked by her friends why she puts up with the constant humiliations of accepting that she is always the cheated one. I am talking here about an artist who could only bring her full potential to the canvas in connection with pain and who realized that loving sometimes means giving up at the same time, at least if you have chosen this path.
»I cannot speak of Diego as my husband, because that term, when applied to him, is an absurdity. He never has been, nor will he ever be anybody’s husband.« – Frida Kahlo –
Once we have chosen the path to happiness without pain, all relationships can become permanent. A lifelong connection is created, even if the relationship in the form of a traditional cohabitation may not be continued. I like to integrate my own personal experiences and how partnerships can end without actually having to end. Let’s introduce ourselves: A ten-year, monogamously lived relationship comes to an end because the sexual power is no longer perceptible, because people change and their once jointly developed path leads to a crossroad. The couple breaks up because an open relationship is out of the question for one side and because cheating is not an option. Seven years have passed since then and the friends still live together. They have new love relationships, but they remain friendly, because they know each other, because they have decided for each other at some point and have grown together like a family since then. Sexuality has disappeared, but love has always remained.
If we put the dimension of love on this level and realize that we alone can decide how we want our relationships to end, or if we want them to end at all, then anything is possible. With mutual esteem, trust, open communication, the confrontation of longings as well as fears, the exposing of all our insecurities, the concession of vulnerability, doors never close completely, but lead to a new level – the level of deep connectedness that transcends the boundaries of an exclusive relationship and leads to true friendship.
I have chosen happiness after years of imperfect affairs but with the conscience that the right people have always accompanied me. I know the path of happiness as well as the path of pain. I know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally, to have a balanced partnership, to encounter appreciation and respect that knows no boundaries, even when the »exclusive relationship« ends. I know this feeling of not being loved, to fight for someone who isn’t aware of what he actually wants, to surrender to the state of constant fear and insecurity, to hope that this state will eventually change and true love will emerge.
So if you ask me today, why do relationships actually end and why some head towards the wrong direction? Then I can say from experience that this is always at one’s own discretion. If we are brave enough to forgive, if at the same time we try to apologize every now and then, if we manage to be vulnerable and strong simultaneously, relationships will not end, they just take on a different form.