You have your list of things that went wrong in your relationship. You know exactly when it started and the first conversation that sparked the breakdown. It was an argument that didn’t get resolved or a behaviour that you could no longer tolerate. But was it really those things or was it something underneath that sparked those behaviours. What if the real reason you broke up wasn’t the obvious but something else that you couldn’t see?
Relationships shouldn’t be complicated.
A good relationship should just flow, be “easy like Sunday morning”. There should be no guessing, effortless open communication and a feeling of belonging and security.
I still believe this to be true in all regards.
There shouldn’t be a hidden agenda, strained communication and constant wondering if you’re speaking the same language. There shouldn’t be a feeling of imminent betrayal and suspicion. And there should definitely not be a feeling of shame and insecurity. If these things are occurring, then perhaps you need to reassess your compatibility.
But if you’re telling me that you’ve had all these things at the beginning and then things started to fall apart, well then, you’re in the right place.
Were the cracks the real reason?
The breakdown in communication that resulted in arguments. Perhaps a feeling of needing to guard yourself for some unknown emotional attack.
You might have ignored your inner voice a.k.a. red flags, in hopes that it was just your imagination. Or you misunderstood, vowing to try better next time. But the suspicion just kept getting stronger until one day you found your partner with his pants down in front of his computer monitor one night.
Are the arguments, lack of communication and cheating the real reason you broke up or could these behaviours be the result of a bigger issue?
Expectations Can Kill
Is there an expectation; some need that isn’t being fulfilled, that overrides all other needs?
Esther Perel says, “…modern life has deprived us of our traditional resources, and has created a situation which we turn to one person for the protection and emotional connections that a multitude of social networks used to provide. Adult intimacy has become overburdened with expectations”
But you saw Jerry Maguire and argue, “shouldn’t my partner complete me”?
It makes sense that when we find our partners, our mirror, our sentence finisher… that we become infatuated. We “fall” in love and are excited to learn all about them. We devote ourselves to learning all the nuances that make them tick. What they like and don’t like. How they sleep to how they eat become our new hobby.
This phase is exciting and all encompassing. We can let it take over our lives to the point where we have forgotten our own friends and family events only to sacrifice our lives for them. That’s what the movies and our culture tell us we must do to be a good partner.
But this sets us up for failure.
We end up “throwing all of our eggs into one basket”. The newness and excitement ends. Things become safe and settled and secure. We rely on our partners to be our everything.
We made it!
No more looking outside to find contentment because it’s all in this relationship and our partners are the main supply of it.
Modernity and The Breakdown of Relationships
Most of the modern first world has a divorce rate of 50 – 60%. You might think that wealth and education has shown us that we have more options and that we don’t have to settle.
But I believe the real reason the divorce rate is so high, is that we have lost touch with our community and family tribe. With higher education, there is a sense of independence and more mobility. We don’t live in extended family units any longer, with uncles/ aunts and cousins to offset the emotional support needed.
Instead we live rather solitary “independent” lives with our handful of friends and colleagues. Then the need to find our partners becomes imperative to our survival.
We completely identify with the idea that a partner is here to “complete” us on all levels. They are expected to be our emotional, financial, social support systems.
An impossible task that results in a breakdown.
The Cracks Start To Show Up
The burden that we place on our partners to be our everything becomes so overwhelming that we start to see the cracks. The first crack that we see is communication.
Let’s face it, not many of us have had the experience of being encouraged to speak our truth. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We were taught to be quite and do as we were told. Fast forward to your strained relationship.
How difficult would it be to express your disappointment if you were taught to be fearful of your survival if you caused any trouble?
Super difficult. So, you shoved your disappointment down and so did our partner. The result; no one is being honest about their feelings. Then the crack starts to get bigger.
Arguments get more volatile because no one wants to speak the truth. This distraction continues until one day your breaking heart doesn’t want to be intimate any more. Trust is gone and intimacy follows.
The Real Reason You Broke Up
Without trust and intimacy, you are on your way to a break up.
But then something obvious happens and then that becomes the reason for your break up. Your partner feeling dejected and unwanted, hungers for a reason to feel alive and seeks intimacy somewhere else. Kaboom!
And that becomes the reason your broke up.
If you dig deep, you had expectations, you both did. And on a subconscious level where the inherited love patterns exist, you picked a partner who would let you down and became the thing you feared most.
Nope, it’s not your fault. That’s not what I’m saying. This type of unconscious selection is just that… unconscious. You had no idea you were doing it. Neither did your partner. Even if they were a narcissist.
The breakup is a chance at freedom, not just of your pain story, or the inherited love stories, but of the cultural contraints on relationships.The ones that say you can’t have emotional security without passion or that you can’t have mutual respect and personal fulfillment.
You can have it all. It is possible.
If you work towards eliminating the expectation that your partner has to provide everything for you and be your everything, then you will be able to see the real reason you broke up.