One of my favorite quotes about romantic relationships is by Marianne Williamson: “Sometimes the lesson to be learned in a relationship is how to hang in there and try to work things out. Other times, the lesson to be learned is how to exit a situation that doesn’t serve.”
She goes on to say that no one can determine for another person which lesson is to be learned, and it’s ultimately our own intuitional guidance that leads us to the higher unfoldment of events.
I love this! There is no ‘one right answer’ for everyone. Every relationship is different and it’s up to the people in it to determine what’s best for them…as individuals and as a couple. But this can be especially difficult when one partner feels differently than the other.
Same Relationship – Different Viewpoints
It’s fairly common for two people to feel differently about their relationship, even though they’re both in the same relationship!
I was just reading Mastin Kipp’s book called Daily Love, and he talks about his experience of believing that a certain woman was the perfect match for him. After finally building up the courage to profess his love to her, she told him she was still not over her ex.
“How could this be? We had so much in common. She and I made total sense on paper. It was hard for me to digest that my feelings were not reciprocated.”
This happens a lot. One person feels romantically attracted to another, but the other wants to keep it in the friend zone. Same relationship – different viewpoints.
This also happens in relationships that started out with both people feeling romantically attracted and connected to one another, but then the relationship develops into something the one of them is no longer happy with.
This is especially true when two people get married (or commit to a long-term relationship) when they’re young. Who we are at forty or fifty years of age is not the same person we were at twenty. And that’s a good thing!
When One Person Grows and the Other Doesn’t
We are supposed to change and evolve over time. If we always stayed the same, we’d be stifling our own growth and missing out on such much of the goodness that life offers.
Some people don’t like to change though. They like to stay in the comfort zone of familiarity and stick with what they know…it feels safer that way.
There’s nothing wrong with that approach (to each their own), but when one person in a relationship embraces change and growth, and the other doesn’t, it makes it far more difficult to maintain a strong connection.
A relationship without connection is mediocre at best…and true love is far from mediocre!
I’ve worked with a lot of women over the years, and it’s extremely common for a woman in her 40’s or 50’s to outgrow the habits and patterns that she and her partner have been engaging in for years…maybe even decades.
Doing things his way was fine in the beginning. But now, she’s ready to have her own way of doing things.
Sex used to be something that was enjoyed by both parties. But now, it seems like more of a chore…and an unfulfilling sex life is a clear indication of a lack of connection.
They used to engage in a healthy lifestyle together. But now, one of them has let themselves go – and for some people, it’s hard to be attracted to someone who doesn’t take care of themselves.
There are a number different scenarios that can change in a relationship over time. The key is to communicate and stay connected as much as possible so that it doesn’t get to the point of no return.
If the communication is healthy and consistent, when differences arise, there’s a much better chance of working it out. However, even under these (or other) circumstances, sometimes a couple is not meant to stay together forever. And that’s okay!
It’s Okay to Let Go
The only reason why so many people have a problem with couples getting divorced (or leaving a committed relationship) is that most of us have been conditioned to think that they must not be trying hard enough.
In some cases, that might be true. I agree that there are many couples who call it quits before trying to see if they can make it work.
But in many other cases, not trying hard enough is not the issue. The issue is simply that there is no longer a connection and it can’t work.
This happens is so many other types of relationships, so why the big stigma around romantic relationships?
It’s okay when people leave their jobs when they’re no longer happy.
It’s okay for people to sell their homes and buy a new one when they want something different.
It’s okay for long-term friendships to fade away over time.
I think you get the point. It’s okay to let go of what no longer serves your happiness in life…and the same is true of romantic relationships.
Have You Outgrown Your Relationship?
As Mandy Hale said: “When you are transitioning to a new season of life, the people and situations that no longer fit will fall away.”
If you feel like you’re in a new season of life, and you’re questioning whether or not your partner is still the right partner for you, please listen to these feelings. Avoiding them because you don’t know what to do with them will not make it any better.
Listening to your feelings requires a deep level of self-reflection and honesty, and I encourage you to be gentle with yourself and have patience.
As I said in the beginning, there is no ‘one right answer’ for everyone. It’s up to the people in the relationship to determine what’s best for them…as individuals and as a couple.
If you truly believe the lesson to be learned is to hang in there and try to work things out, listen to you heart. There are many cases in which this has been the best decision and the relationship is significantly improved as a result.
If you truly believe the lesson to be learned is how to exit a situation that no longer serves, listen to your heart. Even if you and your partner decide to go your separate ways, you can still do it with love and integrity.
Either way, listen to your heart and honor your feelings. Remember to take one step at a time…and it will lead you to the next.
Stay tuned for more mindful messages. Giving you helpful tips and exercises to improve the quality of your life and relationships!
With love and support,
Healthy Relationship Coach
P.S. If you feel like you’ve outgrown your relationship, but you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to let it go, take advantage of your complimentary Relationship Breakthrough Session. I’d love to help you gain the clarity and courage you need to be true to your heart and enjoy a better quality of life.