Now that you’ve begun accepting the position that you are in. It’s time for something that is even harder…
You have to start thinking about what you want!
All Posts in this Series:
- I Love You but I’m Not In Love With You, Meaning and Advice
- It’s Normal for Your Heart to be Afraid, but fighting for the Past Will Mean the End, So Start Accepting Your New Beginning
- What do I do with this Broken Heart? Avoid Requests for Space and Use Your Head to Think about what You Want ⇐ You are Here
- Once Upon a Time We were Happy, and Suddenly it’s Over? The Heart Heals Slowly, don’t Fear the Future
- Intentions do not Win Hearts, Actions are the Secret, How to Start Connecting Today for a Happier Tomorrow
- Say Yes to Everything and Reveal the Secret of the Heart
- Learn to Speak the Language of the Heart
- Become a Sex Master and Learn How to Heal the Heart with the Body
- It’s Time to Get Some Help, Starting Today
- Rekindling the Flame Can Sometimes Burn Too Hot, Use Caution While Reconnecting
- Some Words about Physical, Sexual, Verbal and Emotional Abuse
One thing that might come up is that your partner will want “space”. That’s ok, space is a good thing for both of you right now. For you, because you need to think! For them for similar reasons, but more importantly, because they could be feeling threatened or smothered by you, and they need to be able to relax just a little bit and absorb what has happened as well.
The important thing…do NOT consider or even bring up moving out. If they bring it up you need to tread cautiously, because that is too much space. Once you’ve moved out, more than ever they’ll be imagining their life without you, and in their current state of mind they aren’t thinking about any of the good things through the years, only the relief that “the truth is finally out”.
If it becomes a big issue, tell them that you’ll go spend the night at a friend or family member’s house, or get a hotel for the night, but make sure you communicate that you’ll be back, and take no more than a single change of clothing.
The point is, that leaving and creating a great deal of distance is a last resort. Your goal now is to help them start including you in their future thoughts, not excluding you. That saying, “out of sight, out of mind”, yeah…that’s your worst possible reality right now!
You have to ask yourself questions about your relationship, and your yourself, that might be uncomfortable. The hardest part of this is that you have to think and formulate answers that are objective, and truthful.
One reason that being objective and truthful is hard right now is because it is our nature to want to make the ideal, the fantasy, the picture in our own heads, real. In your obvious emotional state, that’s not going to be easy.
Another reason that being objective and truthful with yourself is hard at this time in particular is because your emotions are raw. You have, in essence, been rejected.
Think back, in your past there likely have been times that you have been rejected and before that happened, you yourself were perhaps thinking of ending things with someone else.
Maybe you were dating someone (a girlfriend or boyfriend) and in your heart, you knew that it wasn’t going to work, maybe you were thinking about breaking it off, and then they beat you to it!
Suddenly you felt terrible! You were perhaps outraged, and irrationally you wanted badly to keep the ill-fated relationship going.
Perhaps it wasn’t quite so profound, perhaps you were mistakenly given a gift meant for someone else, then it was taken away. Your initial reaction was likely disappointment, perhaps an irrational desire to have that which you never truly possessed back.
It’s a natural thing, made imaginably worse when the person you care for most is what is being lost.
So, it’s inevitable, you are going to want to reconcile above all else. But there is danger here. If you succeed in bringing your partner back into the relationship, you may be postponing the inevitable.
Even if you truly want to make it work, it’s possible that you yourself will keep it from succeeding, years from now, after these raw feelings have been fully processed and relegated to the past.
So as impossible as it may feel at this point, you have to figure out what you really want. What follows are some fundamental questions you should be asking yourself. Feel free to explore other more specific questions, but these should get you started at least.
Question Number 1
Do you love your partner?
You’re probably thinking; “what the hell kind of question is that? Of course, I love my partner!”
Well, do you? I’ll wait while you dig down and think about that…
Are you sure that it’s the loss of someone that you value more than anything else, or is it simply the lack of what is familiar, or that you’re unsure if anyone else will “want you”, or is it simply that you’ve been “cast aside” and the rejection is causing you to feel the way you are. What exactly is it that scares you so much?
Don’t discount these feelings. they can be a very powerful motivators.
I can tell you that I’ve seen from a firsthand perspective, people that have successfully motivated their partner to “stick it out”, only to find out later that they themselves were simply suffering from feeling like the victim.
Feeling like the victim is something that can fool you into thinking that you want something when you are actually just suffering from losing what you thought you had.
The “familiar” is a terrible trap that people fall into. It’s possible that you simply are so comfortable or “used to” your partner, and your relationship, that the thought of losing it is scary as hell. Make certain that this is not the case, because the “wake up call”, which will inevitably come, will be a disaster.
If the answer, when you really think about it in this context, objectively and with as clear a mind as you can muster, is anything but a resounding yes, I mean if you have any doubt, then think on it for a day or two.
Try not to dig too deeply into what you are going through, instead reflect on the past and the reasons you got married in the first place, and then ask yourself this question again.
If you still want to pursue your relationship though you answered no to this question, or you’re not sure and struggling with doubt, then skip to Question Number 4 and act on it immediately!
Question Number 2
If you could snap your fingers and make everything better, what would that look like?
Obviously, the answer to this question is likely something along the lines of, “everything would go back to the way it was”. Or perhaps, “that he or she would love me again”.
But that’s childish. You need to think more deeply. I can tell you with certainty that there is no “going back to the way it was” because “the way it was”, was broken. It wasn’t working, you both had simply deluded yourselves into thinking it was.
You need to think about you. Start reflecting about some of the things your partner said during the conversations leading up to, and following when they told you they weren’t in love with you anymore.
This means that you have to stop justifying your own actions, and put yourself into their shoes, and I mean fully put yourself in their shoes. Immerse yourself into their life, see your shared experiences from their perspective.
Sure, your perspective is valid, maybe even justifiable. But justifying your position is the last thing you need to be doing right now. You have to completely abandon that line of thinking…for now.
Maybe one of the statements that your partner communicated to you was that you were boring, maybe they indicated you’ve become a recluse. Perhaps they told you that they wanted to go places, and do things and you never wanted to.
Perhaps they told you that you were angry all the time, or that they felt like you took them for granted.
It’s possible they conveyed that you spend too much time with your friends, watching TV, playing video games, or whatever.
Maybe you always wanted sex and treated them like an object, maybe you never wanted sex and made them feel unwanted and ugly.
There’s an infinite number of things they might have told you, the point is, you may have to change.
Change is often looked at as a bad thing, and it really isn’t. In fact, often it’s not good or bad, it simply is. It is up to us to interpret whether the outcome of change when considered in the perspective of the complete picture is good or not.
You may not currently know what you need to change, but I can tell you that you, and likely both of you, will need to change to make this work. But for God’s sake do NOT start telling your partner they have to change! That will come later, and you indicating in any way that they are at fault at this stage will drive them from you faster than anything else!
I should qualify that. There is one other thing that is likely to drive them away from you just as fast or faster: Neediness
If you come across as needy, clingy and dependent, especially in their current state, you will be revolting to them. Right now, they don’t like you much, pushing yourself on them is likely to reinforce their feelings of revulsion and increase their “need to escape”.
This question is meant to determine if you are willing to consider change, understanding that it may be possible that what you would have to change could be something that you are not willing to change, but we’ll get into that more later.
That’s how you need to think about this question. You have to reflect on the things that they’ve said, putting yourself into their shoes, understanding that you may have to change aspects of yourself that you don’t think you even want to change.
This is a question that you’ll likely have to ask yourself many times throughout your reconciliation as you gain clarity on what has brought you both to this point. If at any time, you start to struggle at being able to answer this question with yes, make certain to consider Question Number 4.
So, let me ask the question in a different way: Assuming you can successfully put yourself into your partner’s shoes, assuming that you can change aspects about yourself without sacrificing your core beliefs, assuming you can rekindle your relationship, will you be willing to put all your effort into changing what is necessary and still be able to be happy with the new you?
If at any time your answer is no, or doubt creeps in, then perhaps your partner is right and you have to consider a future where you and your partner are not partners, but friends, acquaintances, or simply ex’s.
I strongly urge you again, if you answer this question no, or you have serious doubts, please consider strongly Question Number 4!
Question Number 3
Can you forgive your partner and trust them again?
This one is easier to frame, and is less nebulous, but is probably just as hard to answer. In fact, this question is a question you may not be able to answer fully right now, but you must answer it to the best of your ability now, and then revisit it every day as you move toward reconciliation…and beyond.
The reason I say this is that your answer may be “no” right now. In fact, it may be “no” a year from now.
But you’ve always got to be moving toward “yes”. If you start to feel that the answer to this question is consistently “no” for more than a month without any forward progress toward “yes”, then you have to consider that this relationship may not be salvageable.
Mainly because as you move forward, if trust (on both sides) is not growing, then resentment and distrust is. At some point, you will sabotage yourself, or end up in a reverse situation where you are the one telling your partner that you can’t go on with the relationship.
I’m telling you, this little bit is insidious.
In fact, if you are one of the really unlucky ones that has been truly betrayed with infidelity once or multiple times, then the answer to this question is likely the most important one!
Jealousy is a demanding mistress. Jealousy will occupy your mind, color your decisions and erode any possibility of true love. Chronic jealousy is anti-love. Love and jealousy cannot coexist in harmony.
Bouts of jealousy are one thing, and perfectly normal. People can overcome jealous thoughts, but if they grow to something else, they become all encompassing. Catastrophizing is the child of jealousy, and you’ll begin to manufacture situations that aren’t real…but they’ll FEEL real!
If you can’t trust your mate, neither of you will ever be truly happy. Relationships must be fostered on trust, and marriage must be built on full trust.
If you feel like you’ll never be able to get over what has brought you here and everything that led to this situation you are now in, as much as it hurts, you should consider that the outcome you’re currently hurtling toward may be the correct outcome.
Issues of trust, more than any other is the reason that Question Number 4 is so important. You don’t want to engage in choices that are going to affect the rest of your life hastily. Just because you don’t trust your lover today, does not mean you can’t be moving toward trust.
Abandonment is a type of betrayal. But you likely weren’t abandoned because you were guiltless, so bear that in mind. Trust will not be built in a day. If it is, then it’s not trust, it’s delusion.
Now, go on to what is arguably the most important question, Question Number 4…
Question Number 4
Will you accept help?
What I’m talking about is outside help, a marriage counselor for example. Many people, especially men, are not keen on visiting a marriage counselor, or any kind of psychiatrist.
However, even if you’re a man, in fact especially if you’re a man, you may ironically be very open to visiting one now.
The problem is your partner likely is not.
If you think back, your partner may have suggested going to see some kind of counselor in the past (thus the irony). Whether it was a psychoanalyst, a priest, or even a friend. That was actually a clue to you that something was wrong.
Likely if they did, you dismissed it, maybe you even laughed at them, or the situation, and treated it as a joke.
But now, they’ve made up their mind. Whether you like it or not, they’re ready to “turn the page” and move onto the next chapter in their life…without you!
They don’t see how this could help, and in fact, even by mentioning it you may be feeding into their current belief that you’ll do anything to keep them around. They may even mock you, condescendingly asking you why now you’re so willing to do what in the past you were not.
After all, they are correct, aren’t they? You do seem to be willing to “do anything” to keep them from leaving.
The fact is that you may need a counselor for you.
At this point you need all the help you can get. In fact, the answer to this question, assuming you are willing to say yes to it, may help you in response to, and to better definitively answer Question Number 2 sooner.
You may need to work on yourself first before you and your partner will ever be able to rebuild your relationship.
If you do answer yes, and you present this option to your partner, and they decline, do it anyway without them!
It will not hurt you at all to get help for you, it also will show that you weren’t just spouting bullshit and that you are sincerely trying to not only deal with the situation, but become a better person. As in all things, action is the key, especially now!
Too many times people talk, and do nothing. In fact, that may be part of the issue with your spouse. Too much talk and not enough action.
I can practically guarantee that if you research and find a good marriage counselor, that they will help you at the very least. In fact, depending on how screwed up you are (come on, we’re all a little bit crazy aren’t we?) they may even recommend another counselor, perhaps a specialist, for you alone. I would advise going if that recommendation happens.
Who knows, you may start out going to a marriage counselor all by yourself, and that alone may be the catalyst to get your partner to eventually “try it out” themselves with you.
The problem many people suffer from in life, especially those going through a crisis like a relationship ending, is that we tend to procrastinate, or say things and then not follow through. If you do this, if you try to “bluff your way through”, then you’re likely going to lose.
Integrity is an important thing, and you probably have little or none in your partner’s eyes at this time. So don’t make it worse by not acting. Act, get some help, start following through and start today!
When you’re ready for the next part of the series go to: Once Upon a Time We were Happy, and Suddenly it’s Over? The Heart Heals Slowly, don’t Fear the Future