Why Can’t I Have the Relationship I Want?

I’m often asked by acquaintances, friends, and clients about why it is so hard to find the right person for the right relationship.  When inquiring about what is important in a relationship I often hear things like: “same religion”, “common interests”, “someone to take care of me”, “companionship”, “pulling their own weight”, “cares about me as much as they care about themselves”, and so on.

When the conversation goes toward what one EXPECTS in a relationship, it often turns on responsibilities, commitments, and what the other person can do for them.  And, often, it turns out that those features that attracted one to the person now figure prominently in being problems in the ongoing wear and tear and maintenance of the relationship.

Thus the question comes up, “Why can’t I find the right person for me?” Often it comes down to understanding one’s real needs and one’s real baggage that we all bring to bear in any relationship.
There are a few axioms I use in my business to help clients process their inner feelings and thoughts concerning their needs and what they expect from a relationship in meeting those needs:

Axiom #1: We often have relationships that reflect our own self-worth.

While this is not always the case, often we do find that one’s own sense of self-worth is sabotaging choosing the right partner.

Axiom #2: That which is suppressed will find a way to be expressed, and you may not like the way it is expressed!

So if we’re trying to “make” ourselves “good” for our partner, or “acceptable” or all the things we think our partner wants… or if we’re trying to “change” our partner, or “make” our partner meet our needs, well, guess what? You’re going to spring lots and lots of leaks! Change comes from within. You cannot make others meet your emotional and relational needs. That you must do yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be leaking all over your relationships (unconsciously)!

Axiom #3: We often find people like our own family system from childhood.

Even though I promised myself I would NEVER get into a bad relationship like what I saw growing up, I found the same type of person and recreated the same darn family system! It was NOT on purpose. It’s very unconscious. And it takes a conscious effort to realize what is going on. It’s like a comfortable shoe. It slips on so easily. You can do it without even thinking about it. That’s what happens when we gravitate toward a person or sense a familiarity or comfortable-ness about them early on. That is something to pay attention to. If you come from a positive and nurturing family system, then fantastic. But if you don’t, then pay attention.

Just because it seems comfortable or familiar (“seems like we’ve known each other for ages and we’ve just met!”) doesn’t mean it is going to be healthy for you or him.

Axiom #4: Know thyself.

Know yourself. Really, really know yourself, your needs, your hopes, and your BAGGAGE! Be willing to look inside yourself for those wonderful qualities you have, and those elements of yourself by which you might be sabotaging your own relationships. I’m not saying you do or don’t. In fact, I think this is true for all of us. Reach inside yourself and really look at who you are and what you want in a relationship.

Axiom #5: A relationship is not about the other person meeting your needs.

It’s about respect, honesty, open communication, and being emotionally supportive. Anything else that you or I might require of the other person, or the other person of you, beware that you are not stepping into the abyss of disappointment and dashed hopes, from whence relationships do not often recover.

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