Recently when speaking and corresponding with readers, I’ve been emphasising the importance and impact of the dynamics of your relationship.
As I’ve said again and again, we teach one another how to treat us and what to expect with the use (or absence) of boundaries, and as we engage with each other and time passes, the relationship dynamics get built around what we have consciously and subconsciously come to understand is the ‘norm’ for the relationship.
It takes two people for a relationship and as many of you have already learned, no matter how much you try, you can’t do all the loving, changing, and committing from the two of you, as eventually you’ll not only feel exhausted and emotionally kaput, but it’ll feel like your trying to drag a lamb to the slaughter.
Whilst in some instances, a partner can be incredibly duplicitous and keep their real selves hidden, more often than not, we can be complicit in facilitating the other person’s behaviour. It’s rarely ‘out of the blue’; we just weren’t looking or fell asleep on relationship duty.
There’s no getting away from the fact that, for instance, as women we can be involved with guys that are complete assclowns or mucking us around with their emotional unavailability, but this doesn’t change the fact that we have our own contribution to the relationship and this helps to create the dynamic between you both.
One person in the relationship doesn’t create the dynamic; you both do.
Human interaction is based on two things – acceptance and rejection. When someone does something that you know is not appropriate for your relationship, accepting it conveys a message to the other party, even if you initially say something different.
Assclowns and Mr Unavailables in particular take their cues from what you don’t do and because women don’t tell them to take a run and jump, they get to believe that they can’t be that bad because if they were really awful, surely the woman in question would leave and they’d be repelling women.
Too add to your woes, the fact that other women have previously accepted their crap behaviour can end up making things even more difficult for you.
They rationalise previous girlfriends/wives acceptance and say ‘Well June and Sally and Jennifer and Elaine and blah blah blah didn’t have a problem with it’, totally glossing over the fact that these women also got fed up with their behaviour and that these relationships didn’t actually work out.
You were both individuals before you met one another. You have pasts, baggage, and your own patterns that you’re catering to. You then meet one another and the likelihood is that if you stick around, it’s because the other person vibrates with patterns of behaviour and relationship that you are used to. For example – drama and fearing abandonment.
You might choose someone who needs a lot of fixing because it let’s you be in control, even though you might later complain that you would prefer him to step up. Of course when he does, that won’t fit well with you because it will feel out of control, so it’s a catch 22.
After a while, when you can no longer hide the fact that there are some serious issues in your relationship, it will feel like you are both trying to get one another to your ‘point of view’. The only problem is that he’s trying to get you over to his and because there isn’t the real common ground of a committed relationship, one of you (normally him) will end up being the far too powerful one that holds the powerbase and dictates how things will roll.
For instance, when you find yourself with someone who blows hot and cold and manages down your expectations, you fall into a pattern of creating drama but also he is no longer the pursuer because you become it.
Aside from the lack of boundaries in relationships, I have often talked about the issue of denial and living off illusions rather than dealing with reality.
One of the fundamental things that will keep you in a poor relationship facilitating a dodgy dynamic is resistance.
You might be resisting letting go.
You might be resisting accepting the reality of who he is or your relationship.
You might be resisting information that he’s told you.
You might be resisting making a decision.
You might be doing all of these things and more.
Resistance creates the struggle in the relationship and ends up making you complicit in their behaviour.
One woman told me that because she resisted accepting the reality of the relationship and the pain of his lies, it just opened her up to more lies and deceit because he knew that he could get away with being a liar because her desire to believe was greater than her desire to accept the truth, take action, and live a better real life elsewhere.
What I do know is that you both know that there is a pattern to your relationship and I bet if you sit down and think about all of the discussions, ultimatums, break ups, make up sex, nights waiting by the phone etc, there is a consistent pattern.
I had a friend who I could plot her relationship like clockwork. She’d ditch him and I knew that almost 24 hours to the button, he’d be knocking on the door. She’d tell him to p*ss off, he’d go home, then he’d call a few times, he’d come back and knock on her door, and within 36 hours it would be back on. Of course when she told him to get lost the final time he didn’t believe it. But that time she did, but it took months and a new boyfriend for it to sink in that this time, the dynamic wasn’t playing out. In fact, the dynamic no longer exists because she has moved on.
A reader said to me recently that when she broke down it was because she thought that the last argument she had with her guy was the usual thing. Only this time it wasn’t and they didn’t make up after 24 hours; he started sleeping with a woman that lived up the street.
Look at the things that frustrate you about your relationship – how do you facilitate it?
If it annoys you, for instance, that he calls up and expects you to pick up from where you left off, is this because you pick up the phone? Respond to his texts? Ask him to meet up?
If it annoys you that he keeps telling lies – You’re facilitating by refusing to accept that he and the truth don’t mix. You’re expecting him to be different and denying the reality.
Piece together the dynamics of your relationship so you can understand not only what makes you tick in the relationship but so that you can understand what you need to do to either change things…or get out.