A lesson for All Relationships
There is a cruel game being played on and in our romantic relationships. It is one that I have devoted my adult life to conquering, attempting to give one individual at a time the tools necessary to be victorious. Unfortunately, we enter romance with no experience and zero preparation. Our genetics can pass down the instincts necessary to provide life’s basic necessities, along with a healthy urge to procreate. They give us very little (innately) to handle life with another living and breathing emotional being. This means that almost every single relationship is doomed to fail, upon inception. We can try to find the “right” person all we want, but it will be for naught.
I am not here predicting that readers’ relationships will implode, resulting in divorce. Rather, I predict more of the same, unless something is done. What happens in relationships is the definition of predictable. We argue. We take our love away. We re-engage, hoping to end with a truce. Usually, this is done under the guise of conflict resolution. Let me assure you that conflicts are very rarely resolved. There is a simple litmus test. Is your relationship closer or more distant following the conflict than before-hand?
A lesson from pregnancy
Now, what in the heck does pregnancy have to do with relationships that are not in this life stage? Like anything in life, we can gain incredible wisdom from situations and circumstances that seem far-removed from the present. Those ten months are very exciting, were one to be an observer with a morbid curiosity. The interactions between partners during pregnancy highlight how all relationships wax and wane. In fact, the lesson at-hand today is one that I wish I could give to the world. Unfortunately, few accept it and go on to fail in their relationships.
I have found absolutely zero professional support or proper understanding of pregnancies, hormones, and emotions. To admit this truth would require individuals to apply the emotional mastery during pregnancy to all aspects of their lives. The individual bits and pieces are well-understood, but the professional psychological community can’t or won’t put them together.
Pregnancy can be a very difficult time, as many mothers-to-be experience extreme illness, pains and mood swings. What we find is that women can have very sharply deteriorating moods. It could be more severe than the non-pregnant woman, and more frequent. The couple that was so profoundly in love, just days or weeks in the rear-view mirror, could find themselves in dangerous territory.
Normally, a woman has a lot that stands in the way of giving negativity. Analogously, this is like a long path between neutrality and negativity. This means that there is usually enough patience and mental willpower for her to self-regulate her mood. In pregnancy, many women finds a direct path to the negativity. The negativity that comes out can be rather severe. So much, so that very many relationships disintegrate during or shortly after a child is born.
The lesson today is for you to understand where the negativity comes from, and how to keep it from destroying or driving distance into your relationship. An outpouring of negativity comes from that person’s pain. When we talk about bullying, we call it projection, which means individuals put others down because they feel inadequate. Romantic relationships work in similar ways. Unfortunately, individuals on the receiving end very rarely get to the point of trying to understand their negative partner. Individuals feel that the negativity must hurt and that their partner must be held accountable for their actions. There are things that “people who love each other” do and don’t do, right?
When we don’t empathize with negative individuals, we take the negativity as if it were a knife through our hearts. We end up missing an incredibly important part of the equation. This missing piece is what makes relationships thrive and prosper. When we instead expend our energy to give compassion to this negative person, we help end their pain. Interestingly, this greatly reduces (or mitigates) self-pain, as well.
Scientifically, we know that pregnant women suffer terrible physical, emotional and mental pain. But we give them very little leniency for their externalized actions. Well, it is in nearly every person’s collective definition of right/wrong and good/bad. “Hurtful” words must hurt, by definition. We also have definitions of who can and cannot say these things to us. Our romantic partners are held to stricter standards. Otherwise, we deem them unworthy of our love and compassion. We know (again scientifically) that individuals in pain aren’t always the nicest or friendliest individuals. For a good visual, imagine that drowning swimmer that will likely take their rescue down with them.
Earlier I spoke of bits and pieces of information that are well known but are not well put together in the professional community. This lack of acceptance and understanding is what guarantees the demise (to varying degrees) of relationships.
Romantic partners that give what we call “negativity” do so for very predictable reasons. It is always due to some personal weakness. And what happens is what I referred to as the cruel game. We beat this person (emotionally) when they were already down. Love is removed, and usually, the one that was first on the receiving end will fire back.
Relationships thrive or fail for very predictable reasons. Every time your relationship takes a step forward, it is because the immutable relational laws are being obeyed. Every time it takes a step back, the partners are trying to circumvent the laws. I feel it is imperative that all individuals align themselves with reality. Otherwise, a hopeless endeavor is undertaken. Every relationship could thrive if only individuals acted in accordance with reality.
The takeaway is very simple, but most find it a difficult undertaking, at times. We have to eliminate all of the conditions we place on our self-happiness and stop trying to conform our romantic partners to what we have demanded of them. People that are in love do silly things. They also say “hurtful” words. What I advise is to master oneself, so that they can step forward and offer compassion to this person that is giving negativity because they are upset.
Empirically, we know that reciprocating with negativity or by playing the victim does not work. We have too much evidence of relational failure and distance resulting from it, yet it is done anyways. The simple answer is to love your partner unconditionally. Unconditional love engenders intimacy. Conditional love destroys it. When we attempt to violate these immutable laws, we face the consequences, one way or another.