There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. –Nelson Mandela
Truthfully, this is a good post for men as well since both sexes suffer from relationship complacency; however I think that women will probably benefit a lot more from what I’m about to write than men will since in my experience it is more common for a woman to think that what she has is as good as it’s ever going to get. So, if you’re a guy reading this post, just replace the word ‘woman’ with ‘man’ and the word ‘women’ with ‘men’. More importantly, keep reading. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
So… relationship complacency. Why do I speak of such a thing as if it is a disease? Because, in a way, it is a disease. Only you don’t catch relationship complacency from the guy you’re sitting next to on an airplane who just can’t seem to cover his mouth in time to catch his sneeze. No, you volunteer for relationship complacency. ‘I can’t do this anymore!’ you say, sticking out your shoulder for the impending injection of relationship complacency. The nurse chuckles a little, knowing that you just said the five words that would save you from both your torment and the shot, but shrugs and gives it to you anyway since you asked so nicely.
Once infected with relationship complacency there are a varying number of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may include the feeling of being bored, lack of passion, lack of excitement, lack of love, lack of meaningful conversation, lack of commitment, lack of sympathy, lack of any sort of genuine concern for your partner. Oh, and one sure fire symptom that almost everyone has when they are infected with relationship complacency is this: You know you have relationship complacency. You know that the relationship is not going anywhere and yet you just can’t seem to get yourself to leave.
Okay, tongue-in-cheek comparison’s aside, I’m going to tell you flat out why staying in a relationship you know is going nowhere is a bad thing, so that you are sufficiently motivated once I start telling you how to get out of said relationship and move on with your life.
So, first thing’s first.
Why relationship complacency sucks
Refer to the symptoms of relationship complacency.¬† If that’s not enough, there’s many more reasons why you should move on:
First of all and most importantly, you are wasting your time.
If you secretely know that you are not being fulfilled in your relationship the way you want to be fulfilled, but that you think that what you have is likely as good as it’s going to get then you are wasting your time in your current relationship.
‘But this is as good as it’s going to get!’ you say.¬† I understand you think that now, and we’ll address that in a minute.¬† But even if that’s what you truly believe, you’re still wasting your time.¬† If you’re in a relationship that you know is not what you were ultimately looking for in life and you’re fine now, try to imagine how you’re going to feel five years from now.¬† Not bothered yet?¬† Try ten years.
Still holding strong?¬† Try the rest of your life.¬† Really think about it.¬† Are you okay with that?¬† Are you going to be okay with that once the five/ten/however many years have gone by?¬† What if ten years down the road you realize that you’ve been making a huge mistake and that if you had only left you could have started pursuing someone you really wanted?¬† What will you do then?
Well, you’ll probably want to leave your current relationship, and you’re probably going to wish you had done it ten years earlier.¬† Hell, you’ll probably wish you had done it one year earlier.¬† But instead you’re going to be ready to leave and realize that you wasted ten years of your life in a relationship you didn’t really care for when you could have spent that time not only searching for a relationship that would really fulfill you, but IN a relationship that was really fulfilling you.
Of course, the far more likely result of you realizing you’ve wasted ten years of your life is not for you to suddenly up and leave ye olde complacent relationship but to get scared.¬† And then instead of leaving, you’re going to make the same mistake you’ve been making for ten years:¬† You’re not going to do anything because you’re afraid.
But this is as good as it’s going to get!
No, it’s not.¬† I’m not going to hit you with a line like “There’s someone for everyone” or “We all have soul mates” because I don’t have enough experience (Nor does anyone) to give you an realistic perspective on that.¬† But, I know that if you do have a soul mate out there, you’re not going to find them by staying in a relationship that does not staisfy you.
If and when your soul mate walks around the corner, what are you going to do if you’re still in a relationship that’s not satisfying you?¬† Are you going to up and leave that person and then throw yourself upon your perspective mate?¬† This seems to be the strategy of many people, feeling that they can avoid being alone if they just stay in their current relationship until someone else great comes along, and then they’ll just jump from one relationship into the next.
I can tell one thing about whoever it is that is out there and is perfect for you: They will not be impressed by that kind of behaviour.¬† Furthermore, I can almost guarantee that whoever you jump to is going to be wondering how long¬† it will be until you next jump ship.
Even if there’s no one on your horizon or you can’t see any path towards finding a relationship that would be perfect for you, you should still end your current relationship if you’re not satisfied.¬† Most people don’t realize how miserable they are in a relationship that has no passion left until they actually leave.¬† Then they realize that they’re actually a lot happier being alone than being with someone who they are not compatable with.¬† Which brings me to my next point.
But I’m scared of being alone!
If this applies to you, it’s pretty unlikely that you’d actually say this, or even think it.¬† In my experience most people who are scared to be alone are also scared to admit that they’re scared to be alone, because they worry that people will reject them if they were to find out.¬† But those of you who are scared to be alone nonetheless know who you are.¬† All it takes is a few moments of thought on the topic to discover whether or not you are truly afraid.
If you jump from relationship to relationship with no break in between then you are probably afraid to be alone.¬† Consequently you are hurting most of the people that you’re with because you refuse to let go of them until you’ve found someone else.¬† Your relationships drag on, and if the other person genuinely cares about you they take the breakup about a thousand times worse when they find out you haven’t really cared about them for a long time.
Don’t waste their time and don’t waste your time.¬† If the relationship is dead, it’s dead.¬† Walk away.
If you are really and truly scared of being alone then the very first step you need to take is to take some time out of the relationship game and be alone.¬† Face your fear.¬† After all, if you can’t take being around yourself all the time, how will anyone else?
That sounds really harsh, but it’s true.¬† The fact is that spending time alone helps you look at yourself more honestly and improve things about yourself that you don’t like.¬† I promise you that no matter who you are, you have value and that people do want to be around you.¬† Even if you’re feeling like being alone is the most terrifying thing on the planet, if you just do it for a little while, you’ll get used to taking time for yourself.¬† You’ll become a stronger person, and one who is not so desperate for another’s presence.¬† Learn to be self-sufficient before you try and live and have a relationship with someone else.
Think of it this way:¬† If you had this rubix cube you had been working to solve for years (That’s you.) but hadn’t been able to succeed at completing, would you go and pick up another rubix cube (Your partner.) and hope that somehow it would all work out?¬† No, you wouldn’t because that doesn’t make any sense.¬† Neither does being in a relationship when you don’t yet have a handle on yourself.
I’m not saying you need to be completely self-aware and have your entire life squared away before you are with someone, but you definitely should be secure in your identity before you go looking for someone to share your life with.
Is that realistic?¬† Not always.¬† Some people are secure in their identity by 20, others are still searching in their 50′s.¬† A lot of the time your partner can help you find what you’re looking for by being supportive.¬† But what they cannot do is TELL you who you are and what you should do with your life.¬† That is something you have to do alone.¬† So if you’re still trying to find yourself, but you’ve found someone you love, don’t shy away from the relationship.¬† Just keep your expectations on the level and know that there are certain things in life that you have to do for yourself.
Furthermore, do not go looking for someone– anyone– who will help you get through life by being in a relationship.¬† It won’t make you feel any better in the long run, and it won’t make them feel any better either.¬† In fact, it’s very likely to make you both feel worse.
No!¬† No more but’s!¬† There is no good reason to stay in a relationship that is not making you happy.¬† If your partner is happy and you are not happy, you need to leave.¬† If you are happy and your partner is not happy, you need to leave.¬† If neither of you are happy, you need to leave.
Yeah, leaving sucks.¬† It’s hard on both people involved in the relationship, but it’s infinitely easier than it would be if you stayed.¬† Being upset for a month or two about a bad breakup is crappy, but staying in a bad relationship for two years is a hell of a lot worse.
Have the strength to be alone, and have the strength to not settle for less than what you want.¬† Be comforted by the fact that you are a lot more likely to find what you’re looking for if you’re available.¬† And finally, know that you will be much, much happier out of a bad relationship than in one.¬† It is possible to find who you’re looking for if you don’t settle.¬† Believe me.¬† I did.