Okay. If you are anything like me, one of your biggest struggles is finding a healthy way to deal with your constant desire to want to help people achieve their potential. This is something that I find especially hard to maneuver when it comes to the relationships those close to me are in! In reality, only you can make the decision of entering or ending a relationship, the rest of us can only provide you with the healthy space and conversation you might need to decide. When you enter MY “space and conversation” it usually consist of asking the hard questions and voicing thoughts perhaps you do not want to hear, I don’t beat around the bush. I have sat at both ends of those conversations, and I cannot value enough how they have shaped decisions in my life.
Recently I found my self asking (perhaps more than once) “how do you break up two people that are settling for each other?!”, which lead me down a trail of hard questions for myself- surprisingly! What were those questions? Keep reading (or listening).
1. What brings you to believe this couple is not meant to be together?
Our answer often time brings us to how much we care about our loved one, and how little we like their chosen partner! When Anthony and I were dating, I had family members that did not feel he was a good match for me. As much as I would take these words to heart and stew over them behind closed doors, I learned to not get defensive on WHAT was being said, and to focus on WHY it was being said. Why did they feel Anthony and I were not a good match? If it was a character trait in him, what about that trait was the issue? If it was “just a feeling”, what started that feeling? It is easy to get hung up on the superficial emotions we have about a relationship, but we must always seek to understand the deeper roots of our emotions and rationals. Asking ‘why’ allows us to dig deeper into the thought and understand what the real issue is, it allows us to bring our concern forward in an informative manner, as opposed to an aggressive and emotional one. If you are having a hard time with a relationship that is close to you, sit and try to understand the deeper issue before you turn it into a discussion or make rash decisions on your approach and actions.
Why do you dislike their partner? Why do you feel they are settling? What were your expectations for them? What do you want for them? Would your perspective change if X or Y changed? These are all a good start to help unravel your thoughts.
2. Why do you feel the need to decide who your loved one should be with?
This is often connected to our desire for our loved ones to have the best and be truly happy. However, that desire could be hiding a deeper issue in YOU. In my case, I am a caregiver by nature, causing me to want and step in to help when I feel someone is making choices I see as poor or damaging. My desire is not to control, it is actually to protect and encourage. That being said, sometimes our protection becomes control or even manipulation, and though we justify it with good intentions, it does not make it okay. This is also a good area to start asking why. Why do I feel the need to control? Why do I not trust their decision making? What can I change about my approach to the situation? Again, the more you understand your why, the better you will be able to bring clarity into the conversation you will likely be having with your loved one.
3. What are you going to do about it?
I started this draft with the intentions of turning it into a “here is how to show them they should end the relationship” post, but frankly, I am ending it on an opposite note. I encourage you to be open, be honest, and be present.
Be open: I am a firm believer in expressing your concerns, and I have learned that the more prepared you are to explain why you feel as you do, the less chances of angry outbursts and misunderstandings taking place. Keep an open mind and be willing to hear out the other party as they explain to you why they have chosen their relationship. You do not have to agree with someone’s decision in order to be kind and understand with them. Place yourself in their shoes, and try to see things through their eyes in order to gain better perspective.
Be honest: There is nothing worse than sugar coating and dampening your true feelings only to have the truth exposed later. There has to be wisdom in how much you share, but there should not be dishonesty in deep conversations. I have had my share of tough conversations during my relationship- there was sobbing and goodness did it evert hurt my heart at times, but I always appreciated family being honest with me. It allowed me to feel respect for them when I didn’t have many other positive emotions to feel.
Be present: It is more than okay to not want to support a relationship you do not feel you can stand behind- I have a strict rule when it comes to this! But if you feel to, offer yourself to be present for discussions and a hug (they’ll be needed). One of the worst feelings in my own experience was having someone close all the doors to our relationship without having a two sided discussion to understand why it was happening. I do believe there are times people have to do this to protect their own hearts, I have had to do it too, but show respect for one another and have a discussion. I also believe that the more we isolate someone that is feeling stuck in a hard decision, the more likely they are to run towards comfort and ease, and that is not usually the best path for most of us. So be present in whatever capacity you can.
At the end of the day we all have to understand that we cannot decide on a relationship for someone else, and that just because you feel their decision is a mistaken it does not mean that it in fact is. Once you have sat and sought to understand your feelings and have expressed them to the individual, sit and pray. Often time our best power move is prayer! My best approach? Praying that the heart that needs changing be changed and come to a place of acceptance, because let’s face it, sometimes we are the ones in the wrong and need a little help to see that.
Have you had difficulty accepting a relationship lately? How did you approach the conversation with your loved one? Share your wisdom and experience in a comment below!