One of the things that I consistently say about healthy, positive relationships is that it takes two people with both of their feet in it to make it work. When one person is a solo thinker whilst the other person is thinking as a team and trying to make up for the other person not pulling their weight, it cannot work. I remember doing a project with someone at university and she slacked off and of course took the credit when after I stepped up and compensated, and then we got a high grade… It was a deflated success and I realised that not only was she taking advantage of our friendship and my conscientiousness, but that I had allowed her to and assumed that she was on board the way that I was on board. When I’ve been in ‘relationships’ with lazy or reluctant team mates, it’s been comparable to trying to cycle a tandem bike on my own with the ‘team’ mate on it, with a flat tyre… Very tiring and a pain in the arse.

Many people assume that if they feel a connection, the other person feels that ‘connection’.

Many people assume that if they do the work of both parties in the relationship and love unconditionally without boundaries, that somehow they’ll reap the reward at some point in some sort of ‘cup runneth over and reciprocates eventually’ sort of fantasy.

The types of people that need you to have little or no boundaries and values in order to be with them assume that if you’re still there, that you are OK with doing things on their terms – see my post on terms and conditions in relationships. This is another example though of someone projecting their vision of things and assuming that the other person is on board – in this instance, the solo thinker, because they can’t see past their own nose, thinks that stuff they do in their interests is in your interests, because they’re happy or it ‘suits’ them.

Either way, you’re not a ‘team’ or a ‘partnership’ or at least not a healthy one.

You both existed before you met. If you cannot identify who you are and merge in your personalities, characters, interests, desires etc, it is very easy to become lost and co-dependent.

By the same token though, you can be an individual with boundaries and values within the team – it’s called ‘sense of self’. It’s called being an individual entity with a decent level of personal security.

It is really important in relationships that you keep your feet in reality. That’s not to be a killjoy; that’s so that you enjoy a real relationship but are also aware of when things have shifted significantly enough for you to sanity check your decision to be with the other party. One of the key reasons why we can find ourselves in dubious relationships is that no matter what we believed the person or the relationship to be at the outset, we have received contradictory evidence that indicates that we need to adjust our perception of things, and ignored it.

We’d rather opt for the illusionary alternative where we hope they’ll return to what we thought they were, or realise potential that they’re not actually going to realise.

Even if at one point you were on the same page, sometimes things change and if we keep on blindly assuming, blindly trusting, and blindly loving, we miss problems that are right in front of our faces. We don’t live in a bubble. Life moves on, circumstances change, and things that are often out of our control influence the relationship or the other person – if we’re not aware of factors that are impacting on the relationship because we’re assuming that things are the way that we envision them to be, it’s like falling asleep on the job.

It’s also important to note that I come across an alarming number of people who believe themselves to be on the same page for the wrong reasons – they think because they have mindblowing sex, read highbrow books, and share the same political views that they’re on the same page.

It doesn’t matter if you appear to share common interests if you’re not in the same relationship.

The reason why you will find yourself struggling in a dubious relationship is because you believe the relationship to be more than what it is (or want it to be more than what it is) – you’re trying to operate as a team with lazy or reluctant team mate. That so-called team mate doesn’t see the relationship in the same way. It’s ticking their boxes because they might be getting a shag/shoulder to lean on/ego stroke or even money, or whatever it is that is that they perceive as the ‘benefit’.

When you realise they’re not on the same page, you try to teach them how to be a team player instead of hanging solo.

This is why it’s important to know who you are and have boundaries because you’ll recognise when you’re alone hanging solo in a relationship instead of trying to make up for their lack of contribution. When we don’t have boundaries and identify ourselves based on our interaction within relationships, it creates a huge imbalance that doesn’t allow us to see the other persons lack of interest because we’ll engage in behaviour that involves us throwing everything that we have at them in the hope that they’ll eventually reciprocate and also validate us.

When you build your existence on another person and effectively have the sun rising and setting on them, it creates an unhealthy balance and puts a huge amount of pressure on the relationship and the other person because you have no personal security.

I regularly ask people what their interests are, what they desire, what their goals are etc and most of them have become lost in the other person and have lost touch with what they want.

Have you ever found yourself at a loss as to what to do with yourself because your ‘significant other’ is busy elsewhere?

Have you found yourself single and suddenly realised that you’ve been so immersed in your relationship that you’ve sacked off your friends and family?

Even as a mother, I know people who base their entire existence on being a mother and then gradually as the child grows and has increased independence feel totally at a loss. I even know people whose personalities disappear with motherhood and they find it difficult to identify with their partner and vice versa.

Here’s the thing: when it comes to being a team, each person on the team knows that they’re on the team, wants to be on the team, and is aware of how they need to work together for the common goal and benefit of the team, and that by doing so, they feed into the individual needs and goals.

People who actually want to be on a team don’t see it as a hardship to be on the team and don’t try to ‘resist’ it.

Likewise, in relationships, people who can’t resist being with you, don’t resist you. People who want to be with you will not run the risk of losing you. People who actually realise the possibilities of a relationship and see beyond serving their own needs, don’t see a relationship as hard work, or look at the other person as an ‘option’ or someone to get what they want from.

For those of you who genuinely want to find compatibility and love, I suggest you find a good running mate; a good team mate. You can keep choosing mates that you can try to build from the ground up and effectively try to teach fundamental basics, but your efforts may be futile because people who actually want to be in a mutually fulfilling relationship come to the relationship with some level of basic decency and are open to learning, not because they’re being radicalised into being someone totally different, but because by learning more about themselves and how to be a team mate, whilst still being themselves, they grow and want to be the best they can be for themselves and whoever is at their sides.

In a good, healthy relationship, when you ‘win’, they ‘win’, and vice versa.

That’s not because you’ve merged and become co-dependent, but because you’re still individual enough to revel in the greater good of each others successes but also share the difficulties when things don’t go so well. You’re on the team, but you won’t assume too much and become complacent – you’ll make sure you’re both on board and nurture one another.

In a poor, dubious relationship with little or no boundaries, when they ‘win’, you lose.

There’s no two ways about it – people who are in dubious relationships with little or foundations and boundaries, will basically find that a lot of stuff gets done at their expense. If they want to stay on the team, they have to normalise bad behaviour and have little or no boundaries for it to work.

If you’re with someone who is happier than a pig in sh*t being a poor partner for any relationship, not just with you, it suggests that you need to get out and stop trying to turn a pigs ear into a silk purse. Even when you don’t have another person to be a team mate, you still have to be your own best buddy and act in the best interests of Team You, even in the face of uncomfortable, but necessary decisions.

Your thoughts?

My new ebook The No Contact Rule is now available to buy and provides a dedicated guide to getting over someone by cutting contact and injecting some boundaries into your life so that you can move on to a happier you. For a no holds barred guide to emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, you can also get Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl.

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