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"Notes" #22

I Meet You and Then I Give Up My Friends?

I am often asked by my female clients, "Why, when I meet a man, do I give up my friends and become exclusively dependent on that relationship? Before we met, my life had 'order'. I did the things I wanted to do when I wanted to do them. I had fun. I felt on track. I was being me! And then as soon as I met him, it all changed. I start a relationship and then a month or two into it, I can't find me. I am willing to do whatever he wants to fulfill his needs so he won't leave me. It's funny, but he doesn't seem to worry about me leaving him. I'm not happy. In fact, I am miserable, wondering and worrying if he will continue to 'pick me'. Somewhere, I stopped being me. The 'me' who was the very person he was first attracted to. I become someone I think I need to be to have him stay in my life." Hmm!

I encourage women to stop asking, "Why do I do this (change to suit my partner)", and start checking out the family models in their life. Look at the values of their mother/grandmother around this issue, and study the messages women have received throughout history as part of their training in a "man's world".

Since women were made to feel inferior and were expected to take responsibility for the success or failure of all relationships, it is no mystery why they try so hard to make relationships work-even bad ones. They have to make it work. They have been conditioned to believe it is their fault if the relationship fails. Their self-esteem is inextricably tied to the success of the relationship.

Then there is the "I don't want to be alone" issue. In spite of the pain of a bad relationship, individuals continue to struggle. They try their best to make the unworkable work because they fear this is it; this is all they get, no one else will ever choose them and they will indeed be alone.

I am concerned about trying to understand the kind of thinking that allows a person to continue in a bad relationship, rather than be alone. As a therapist, I realize how difficult and emotionally draining it is to leave a relationship-finances, kids, family expectations, and pressure to stay. However, since we only have this one life, are we really willing to sacrifice it in a bad relationship? I am not talking about bailing out because it's just too difficult, but I am talking about leaving because it is unworkable.

On the 10-Point Scale, where 1 is low (we receive nothing from the relationship, are perpetually unhappy, and feel no hope that it will get better) and 10 is ideal, many of my clients who have left their partner place themselves at around 7 or 8, while in their previous relationship they saw themselves-yes, in hindsight-at a 3 or 4. Not only did the relationship fail to enhance their lives, it actually took the joy right out of it.

Stop asking, "Why do I give all my power to my partner?" and start asking, "What do I want from my life?" Then start working toward that. Be an 8, be "in charge" of your life!
Be discerning and only allow other 8s into your life.

Be aware of the "4" (wolf) in an "8"s (sheep) clothing. Stop rescuing 4s and thinking you can make them into an 8.
              ("Communication & Relationships", p. 40, Dr. Dan Rosin)


A long time ago when the earth was just cooling and I was exploring the possibility that I could be helpful to others, I wrote the following poem. The poem is about love, and back in those days when it was written, I thought I knew a lot more about life than I really did.

The poem is a bit sappy and simplistic. I guess most times were more simplistic than these COVID times. Anyway, I put the poem at the end of this week's "Notes" so you have the choice--read it or not.

LOVE SONG (poem)

Why can't people realize that love first means love of self?

How can I possibly love others, how can I tune into their love energy - if I can't tune into my own self-love.

To understand love, you must have experienced pain, joy, loneliness, acceptance, failure, and success, not in surface proportions but to its depths.

Love is not a mind exercise. It is a totality, wholeness.

So then if I am going to sing love songs, I had better listen to my feelings about me, turn back to my experience, and let the world strike the chords inside me.