This is a topic that came up in my class last night. I was teaching my women’s class and one of them just seemed to pop up out of nowhere with this comment, “OH, So I broke up with my boyfriend this week!” This was said in a way that made me feel there was much more to this story. So I stopped the planned lesson for that week and felt it best to explore this further. I ask “What brought about this sudden change?” Now I feel it is best to explain that she has had many conversations with the group about him and his angry, controlling ways. I do not ever go so far in my class to tell someone they need to break off a relationship, I feel that would be crossing a very dangerous line.
Back to the story now. She then told me how he is just so negative and I feel like he drags me into that mindset when I am with him. She explained how she tries to be a positive person and not let the negative of life rule her. To be honest I do get that vibe from her most of the time. I then asked the obvious next question, “How do you feel now that you have given yourself some space from him?”
As it turns out she really didn’t end the relationship in term of not seeing each other, more in terms of he doesn’t sleep at her house anymore. Which is fine if that is what she felt was best. As I was told, however, this was not what she thought was best. She did it this way in a feeble attempt to salvage this broken relation.
So my next question was, “How long have you been trying to “Fix” this relationship by trying to change him?” “About seven years” was the response I got.
To this I ask a very, what I thought< obvious question, ‘How long to you keep trying to fix a broken relationship?” I was in no way excepting a concrete answer. You know something like “I plan to work on this for eight years nine months, sixteen day and five hours!” This would be silly.
We all di it to ourselves though. We know something is broken but we try to fix it. While we try to fix this broken thing, whether it be a marriage, friendship, family, we lose sight of the great things we already have. We become all consumed on fixing this one aspect of our world. We are convinced that if we can gain a little more control, or if we were a little more understanding, or if we could just find the right words all would be grand. The birds would sing just for us. The sun would always shine.
This will cause us to miss when someone who is the person we what to change the person we are with in comes along. we are blind to this mush healthier relationship because we feel we “must” fix what we have or risk being a failure. If we give up we may lose out on something. When the truth is some people just are incompatible. If we spend our whole lives miserable just to say we never gave up, who really gets hurt? Both of you!
I do believe we should give our best attempt to fix and salvage that which is salvageable. However, once it comes to a point that we are angry with ourselves and that person then it may be time to throw in the towel. It is up to each of us to decide how long we are willing to put forth the effort to change in the hopes that the other person will make the changes we would like to see. I hope that all you do is wonderful and fulfilling , but in the chance it is not me willing to end it and move on. It is only when we are truly happy with ourselves and those around us that we and grow and gain healthy relationships.