Updated: Jun 15, 2020
We had just walked in the house from a long, exhausting session with our couple’s counselor. I was so angry! I couldn’t understand why he didn’t “get it”!
We had been together for almost 20 years and had spent the last 5 working on our relationship. We had gone to therapy, had countless conversations, fights, make-ups, breakups, and back together. Yet here we were, still on the hamster wheel of our relationship.
It was like clockwork. The pattern of our relationship was so predictable I could map it out on the calendar.
He was angry and frustrated too. “What more do you want? How many more boxes do I have to check on your list for you to be happy?” He was right. He had done everything I asked and it still wasn’t working. We were both exhausted.
I remember it being very quiet. I was sitting on the floor with my back against the edge of the bed and my head hanging in my lap. The question, “Is this the beginning of the end?” was whirling around in my head.
It was in this moment of silence, I realized, that it didn’t matter how many times he checked the boxes or did the things I asked. His effort—his 100%—didn’t fulfill me.
I was the one who didn’t “get it”. I didn’t get that he was giving me all he had. There was nothing more he could have given and I still was unhappy. I didn’t even know who I was in that moment, yet I never felt clearer. I would never ask someone to give more than they are capable of and his 100% would never be enough.
Here’s what I learned in that moment of silence and in the remainder of our time together:
1. Learn to be, and let go. There is a saying that unless you learn to be silent, you cannot hear what the universe has to say. This is why the practice of meditation and prayer are so popular. But even if you’re not into meditation and prayer, things like walking, listening to music and running have all been proven ways to “be”. Whatever methods resonate with you to be able help you learn to let go and let the answers come to you is the right method for you. It is in this stillness that the answers come. You are able to let go of what you thought you knew and accept what you didn’t. There is freedom in letting go. What holds you back also sets you free.
2. Know what you want. How can you ask for what you need if you don’t know what you want? I thought I knew what I wanted, but in that moment of silence I realized I had no clue. I was asking for things I thought I was supposed to want or supposed to need. This is why learning to “be” is so important. It helps you become very clear on what IS important to you and what IS NOT. I had a wonderful therapist tell me to write it down. Write down everything you think you want! Things like: ‘I want them to be a good kisser’, ‘I want saving money to be a priority’, or ‘they need to enjoy Sci-Fi’. Those things which are important to you are just that: important. There’s no shame in anything you write down. The whole purpose of writing it down is become aware of what matters to you. Then, be willing to change it—at least a little. You will have things on your list that have a higher value than watching Sci-Fi, or maybe not, but it’s up to you to spend some time getting comfortable with what your needs and wants. And then…
3. Ask for what you need. Be kind and be brave! Once you know (really know) what you want, be brave enough to ask for it. Both of you deserve to know what is on the table. Hopefully, your partner will be able to do the same thing. It’s only fair for you to both know what is being expected of one another. No one should have to change too much to make the other person happy. It’s not sustainable and it only causes resentment.
4. Wake up. I’ll be the first to admit this is much easier said than done. This is your wake-up call! Stop making excuses, stop blaming, stop saying it will get better. There comes a time when there are no more chances; things aren’t going to change and it’s not going to get any better. It’s okay that someone’s 100% isn’t enough for you. This doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t make them a bad person either. It’s neither of your faults. In simple terms, it just means that you aren’t right for each other anymore. The frustration, anger, or resentment you’re feeling has more to do with you than it does them. It’s your soul trying to scream from the inside, trying to wake you up so you can live your life to your fullest potential.
5. Know when to say when. Most of us struggle with this. There is a big misconception out there that the person who is being broken up with is the only one experiencing pain. On the contrary, knowing when to say when is extremely painful. Most relationships end with both people still loving and caring for each other. The person who has to tap out struggles in their own way. It’s a process that usually happens inside the relationship rather than out of it. Relationships are habit forming and this person has become engrained into your everyday habit. Learning to fall out of love with someone takes time. It takes the brain three weeks to break a habit and longer to stick with it. Be gentle and be kind to yourself learning when to say when. Trust your gut, trust in the path, and you will know when to say when.
Michele Ogston is a certified intuitive life coach specializing in relationships, purpose, and balance. She provides life coaching sessions to clients and support groups to build confidence and strength from within. Her relationship series, A Look Inside Your Love, is a 4 phase coaching program specifically designed to target relationships and giving you tools to mend your barometer for choosing the right person. After experiencing her own loss through the death of loved ones and a painful divorce, she decided to dedicate herself to encouraging people to live a life that is well-balanced emotionally, physically, and spiritually. She owns Cloud 9 Life Coaching in Northern California, where she lives with her husband, children and fur babies. You can connect with her on Instagram and Facebook @cloud9lifecoaching.