When you leave – you have to take yourself.

I’ve noticed over the decades in my work at the Smart Therapy Centre that people are often very quick to decide to leave a relationship.

While there are times where it is definitely right to leave (for example, when there is the slightest inkling of violence), there are also times where people leave normal but difficult relationships prematurely or without sufficient self-reflection.

This is probably because when things get hard we are all inclined to want to flee the situation and it is easy to see our partner as the problem that must be escaped.

But if we reflect more on any problem we encounter in a relationship, there are ways in which we are both contributing.  For example, one person might be passive and sulky and never talk about or raise conflictual issues that desperately need to be sorted out.  Equally, the other person may be getting angry and yelling about these issues, but because of their escalation they are cutting off opportunities to calmly sort through these valid issues.  Both people are contributing to the lack of good communication and both people need to change to rectify the situation.

When people just leave (and take themselves), it often results in them simply repeating the same patterns in every new relationship embarked upon.  When we locate the problem as being primarily ‘outside’ of ourselves (the ‘fault’ of our now ex-partner) then we continue with our own dodgy behaviour.  Of course, when we behave the same way then we are likely to evoke the same response in other people, setting up a predictable pattern of repeated relationship breakdown.

It is not until we realise that we must stop emphasising the failures of others and instead focus on changing our own contributing behaviours that we can truly liberate ourselves from the misery of the failed-relationship roundabout.