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. . . And If All Else Fails?
When you have done the best you can, and your relationship seems to be falling
apart at the seams, what other possibilities exist? What can you do when you have
difficulty sustaining intimacy in your relationship?
What options are available when the very foundation of trust is shaken by an
indiscriminate act of infidelity? How can you fix things when one love partner
outgrows the need for dependence and begins to noticeably relish the freedom that
their new-found independence offers?
When you no longer feel exclusively special to each other; when you no longer
feel recognized by the other or wanted or appreciated or perhaps you feel taken
for granted, what can you do?
When the heart no longer beats faster in anticipation of the sexual intimacy you
once shared, what then? How can you mend a broken heart?
Most people resist change until they are backed against the wall; until they feel
that there is nothing else they can do.
Change takes courage. It means taking responsibility for your relationship and
being brave enough to take that first step toward change while you are still
Change takes effort. You must do something different. Sometimes it is important
to accept the fact that you may not be able to do it all by yourself or even with
your love partner. If you need help, ask for it.
To speak of how others should change, in order to heal our world of its growing unkindness, without first looking into ourselves
to see where we are a part of this pain, is worse than hypocrisy. The voice of this deluded self finds it easier to condemn the
darkness spreading out from its own feet than to embrace the Light that lives just above it: a Light that alone is capable of
revealing and healing the source of this secret rift in the soul. - Guy Finley
Love partnerships die of neglect. Money, sex, and family problems are only
symptoms, they are not the cause. If we value our relationships, we must learn
that they require lots of love, attention to detail, time, dedication and
The changes that are required to maintain an intimate and healthy love
relationship are often bigger than both love partners can manage by themselves.
When there is a desire to move through the rough spots that all love
relationships inevitably experience; when love is present, and the desire for
change is mutual, it is time to talk about working things out. . . together.
There are many ways to help us heal the hurt. Study after study has shown that
when love partners have difficulties, first they consult their friends and
relatives and the most common professional they approach is their medical doctor
and in some cases, their spiritual leader.
It is unfortunate that many people often associate the seeking of the services of
a professional marriage and family therapist as an admission of failure. So what?
There is no shame in taking care of yourself. Therapy is one of the choices. It
can make clear the way to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
So, you can now make a choice. To sit around, knowing there is a problem and not
doing anything about it can be as painful as staying in an unhealthy love
relationship because you are afraid of being alone again.
Studies say women are more likely to seek counseling than men. I am a man, so I
can say this. Sometimes men are jerks! We often feel that we must maintain our
ego-centered macho image by refusing to admit we may need help. What nonsense!
Men are human beings, too. Human beings have problems. Some men often view
seeking help as a weakness. What a crock!
To seek the advice of a professional when things are falling apart can only be a
sign of strength. We use that same argument to justify why people should use our
own professional services in our everyday work, yet we are too afraid or too
stubborn to admit that we need help. We feel that we are "man enough" to work it
out by ourselves.
Face it, men. We need help. All we can get!
We are afraid. We are afraid of what it will look like to our friends if they
discover we are having relationship problems. We are men. We are supposed to be
in control of things. Who says?
We are often more afraid of what people will think, than how much we value our
relationship with the one we say we love. To me, that's stupidity in action.
We must first learn to acknowledge that we have a problem, then do whatever is
consistent with our commitments to our relationship. A problem is anything that
gets in the way of our commitments.
When you place a high value on your relationship; when you really love each
other, seldom can any problem ever be too difficult to solve. Both love partners,
however, must be willing to do whatever it takes. They must have a similar level
of commitment to the recovery process.
To go to a therapist or a relationship coach OR watch the slow, agonizing death
of your relationship? That is the question. Successful relationships thrive on
love. They do not self-correct. They must be worked on. Without love, your
relationship weakens and dies.
When considering the option of therapy, some people are willing to put aside
their preconceived notions about what works and what doesn't work. They love each
other and can't seem to work things out by themselves so they finally come to the
decision that to delay seeking assistance may cause irreparable damage to the
relationship. That's smart!
They make a choice to care less what others think and with unconditional love as
their goal, focus on what must be done. They are able to break through their own
self-imposed barriers and look for the opportunity that psychoanalysis and
psychotherapy may offer.
Occasionally, self-discovery needs a boost. Therapists and relationship coaches
are excellent boosters. The good ones boost with questions that become guides to
self-awareness, a commitment to personal integrity, self-confidence and overall
self-discovery. Perhaps this is the very best way to become aware of what you
didn't know you didn't know. This may be the number one reason to consider
therapy. What do you have to lose? It may be a better choice than what you are
now doing, which may be nothing, which as you know, isn't working!
So you have decided to go to therapy? Good decision. You must now decide to
participate in therapy. Notice. I said participate. If you refuse to participate
in therapy like you may have refused to fully participate in your relationship,
you will find you will get the same results you now have in your relationship.
Not fully participating does not work.
When you trust your heart, any decision you make to participate in therapy will
be okay. Your heart only speaks the Truth. That's one less thing you have to
worry about. Any decision you make with your heart will always be in your best
interest. You can count on it!
You must learn to distinguish between head-talk and heart-talk. You will want to
only heed the voice of the heart. Some call it intuition. Some call it the voice
of God. Call it whatever you want. Only learn to recognize Its voice.
Refuse to listen to your head feeding you its varied menu of conversations of the
past. They are designed to keep you somewhere in the past. Isn't that what you
are now running from? There is no future in the past. The future love
relationship you have dreamed about is before you and cannot be driven to advance
itself by a daily diet of messages from the past.
It is my opinion that you can best be served by going to therapy or relationship
coaching for questions, not answers. You may get a few fresh ideas or new
perspectives (you can call them answers if you choose), but generally speaking, a
relationship coach or therapist who asks a lot of questions will soon help you
get back on track. And it is only my opinion.
Other forms of therapy also have redeeming value and work equally as well in most
cases. However, 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander' may not always
be the truth. Different strokes were invented for different folks.
The answer is most often found in the question. A good therapist or coach will
ask many questions. Until you are ready to make some changes you may not be ready
to deal with what you know needs to be done. It may also be difficult to
understand that you already know the answers.
When you are in the midst of worry, pain and the fear of separation, it is tough
to focus on the answers you already know. You allow fear to keep you from
mustering up the courage necessary to face the truth of what must be done. The
carefully designed questions of a skilled therapist can assist you in uncovering
the answers you didn't know you knew.
When you discover answers to a therapist's questions given from a professional
perspective and your answers are grounded in a commitment to personal integrity,
you experience a sense of personal achievement and a feeling of self-confidence.
You have experienced a breakthrough of the heart! It's that voice we were talking
Go to therapy together. . . hand in hand. Put aside your differences in favor of
a future together, anchored in unconditional love. Therapy works best when love
partners who are searching for solutions to their difficulties and are willing to
support each other in the process, see the therapist together. It is a
demonstration of love and support for each other that is recommended and
When you go to therapy only to appease your love partner or when you view therapy
as a waste of time or just another phase in the relationship that will pass with
time, you may be wasting your time and your money. It's like taking a step in the
right direction for all the wrong reasons. You are only fooling yourself.
Further, you may find that your lover will choose therapy in spite of you. They
may discover the answers they were looking for. Because of your resistance to
self-discovery you may feel left out in the cold. You may find yourself
out-distanced by your love partner's own personal recovery and may experience the
feeling of being left behind. The danger of actually being left behind could
become a reality.
If, for any reason, going to therapy together is not possible, begin the journey
alone. It is far better to be on this path alone, than to hold back because your
love partner refuses to go, and as a result, you delay making a connection with
the information that could assist you in the healing of an often painful and
unhealthy relationship. Making YOU your number one priority in this
scenario is a healthy choice.
Therapy and writing have assisted me in working through the denial, loneliness,
guilt, rejection, grief and anger. I highly recommend Bruce Fisher's book,
Rebuilding When Your Relationship Ends, to assist in this process.
Stepping into the therapy arena must be done with love and an attitude of
expectancy for positive results. Having an open mind is a good idea. When you
love someone and have a desire to work things out, it is essential to put your
ego aside and do what must be done.
Therapists are trained to assist you in moving beyond the anger, resentment and
criticism to acceptance, forgiveness, understanding and the fulfillment of mutual
needs. Therapists have no magic answers, only helpful questions and a few
suggestions offered as possibilities for choices. They can assist you by asking
questions that lead you to discover your own answers that point out how these
needs can mutually be met.
In therapy, a wise counselor will not take sides with either love partner. They
are not there to judge or give advice, but rather to help identify the problems
and initiate an inquiry that both sides can participate in to reach their own
Therapy can effectively move you through the paralysis that problems with money,
sex, family issues and many other issues cause in a relationship when you let
them. You will be encouraged to listen to what your love partner has to say; to
really listen. This is not a time to continue arguing about; it is a time to
listen for what's missing in the relationship.
Obviously, both love partners have differing opinions. Part of the therapist's
task is to help you find the common ground from which you both can begin to
rebuild or repair your love relationship. Both love partners must be motivated to
preserve the relationship.
Enrolling in therapy to seek questions re-enrolls you in your love relationship.
It requires getting back to the basics. You get active in the relationship with
yourself. You become excited about what you are learning about you and who you
are becoming. For me, this style of therapy suggests that we already know what
must be done and we have but to discover this Truth through individual inquiry. A
skilled therapist or relationship coach can assist you in getting to the heart of
the matter. I value this lofty ideal for the Truth it is. It will always set you
free. . . often in more ways than one.
Therapy personal relationship coaching promotes lasting personal development. You
remember most and cherish most dearly that which you discover on your own. You
begin to see some possibilities. You discover a zest for living. You become
excited about life once again! Therapy is truly an adventure in self-discovery.
Achieving this state takes diligent effort, a commitment to be your best and a
strong belief in the benefits of the desired results, both to you and to your
You feel the need to share your personal discovery with anyone who will listen. .
. perhaps even your love partner. Isn't that a novel idea? It's like giving away
love as fast as you receive it. What you give has a profound effect on what you
Putting more love into the relationship, in most cases, will create more love in
return. Love is the answer to all questions. I have discovered that my universe
works best when I acknowledge and am grateful for the Truth of this Divine
Egos aside, a common excuse for not going to a professional therapist is money.
Some insurance policies will cover part, if not all, of your investment in
therapy. If you have no insurance, find a way! Therapy doesn't cost. . . it pays.
To obtain the rewards of therapy may require sacrifice. Giving up something in
favor of having your relationship work demonstrates your commitment to
Healing and growth take time. Remember, infants want things now. Mature love
partners can wait. Building healthy love relationships is a never-ending process.
Don't rush things. Patience is required.
Another thought. Often counseling is considered as a last resort. After talking
with friends, relatives, a medical doctor or spiritual leader, and sometimes
anyone who will listen, many often feel they are at the end of the proverbial
rope. There is nowhere to turn. They come to therapy after exhausting all
In some cases they come to therapy to validate their own idea that they truly may
be incompatible. The unfortunate thing is, if you wait until you reach this
point, it could be too late. It is rarely too late if the commitment to spiritual
and personal growth is present.
Preventative maintenance is also a good idea. This can serve as a wonderful tool
for supporting love partners in a healthy love relationship. It is wise to review
and assess your relationship at regular intervals.
Attend workshops and seminars. Read books designed to have love partners working
together to foster the restoration of integrity in love relationships,
unconditional love, better understanding, forgiveness, acceptance and all of the
values we cherish as part of a healthy love relationship. We must consistently
work together to change our past behavior.
Where do you go for good therapy? My suggestion is to call your local Mental
Health Association. They can offer referrals based upon your needs and ability to
pay. Now, now, be careful that you don't become turned off by the words mental
health. The truth is, everyone is a little crazy anyway! We are all crazy about
different things at different levels.
Acknowledge your responsibility in the matter and be wise; stretch yourself. Seek
assistance. Now is the time to put aside what you think and do something. Every
love relationship has difficulties at various levels. That's right. Every
Men and women are different. With so many variables in a relationship, it is a
wonder that men and women get along as well as they do.
So, if you want to work things out, dump your preconceived ideas about what
people will think or what your love partner will think if you choose to pursue
therapy on your own. They are going to think whatever they think and there isn't
anything that you can do about it. Besides, it doesn't matter what they think.
It's your problem. You must do what you must do. At least, you will be taking a
brave step forward; a step that, with time, can dissolve the obstacles that are
currently preventing you from the healthy love relationship you so richly
Just do it!
Copyright © - Larry James. Adapted from the book, "How to Really Love the One You're With."
It's time to make a choice.
Choice is your greatest gift. If you need help. . . ask for it. If not,
Larry James is available for personal relationship coaching (by telephone) for
high functioning singles and married couples; people who are committed to "doing"
whatever it takes to make their relationships work.
Go to our Personal Relationship Coaching
page for details.
Remember: "Relationships are something that must be worked on ALL THE TIME, not
only when they are broken and need to be fixed."
Call now to arrange an appointment for personal relationship coaching. One hour
and half hour rates are available.
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