You spend days together, never wanting to part. You talk all night long. Even when you're separated by distance, you can't stop thinking of the other person. It's not about proximity or convenience, because it usually happens at the least convenient moment possible. It's about chemistry. The unforgettable, undeniable kind. Yet, even with all that, things seem to fade. You aren't sure why. He (or she) clearly liked you, reinforced by not just words, but actions. Neither of you seems insane. You both have jobs. You're both over 30 and stable. And, the sex was off-the-charts!
So, why did "fizzle" replace "sizzle"???
The reason things end when they shouldn't in love-relationships is because the guy or gal you fell for (and, who fell for you!) has a previous attachment--an attachment that's likely created a financial and/or emotional codependency.
"But, he/she said they were single!"
When you're really single, you don't walk around announcing it to the world. So, when a person repeats how "single" they are, you can be sure they aren't. Before you start beating yourself (or anyone else) up, let me remind you that you're not a babysitter! It's not up to you to monitor people's lives or decisions--or, to judge them. You're only responsible for yourself. You know how you feel. And, you know that your feelings were/are validated by the other person. So don't blame yourself when you fall in love with someone who's unavailable. You can only know what the other party tells you. That said, you're in real trouble when the person you've fallen for starts referring to themselves as a "trap." Yup, that's real--I've actually heard it myself. The lesson?
If you pay attention, people will ALWAYS tell you who they truly are, one way or another.
Until Harvard comes out with their telepathy-tech for individual use, you can't read minds. And, even if you could, that connection you felt? It goes both ways, or you wouldn't have felt it. You read the situation correctly, but you couldn't have guessed that there were other factors at play--factors like the kind of mental health disconnects that lead to self-sabotage. You can, however, learn to ID the signs. Some are obvious, and some aren't. No matter what, when you really care for a person, you'll overlook more than you should. That's not your fault either--falling in love washes your brain in feel-good hormones that make you believe everything will work out--even when your eyes or gut (or both) are telling you the opposite.
There's no one-size-fits-all solution in such situations. You know your relationship better than anyone else. You know the potential. And, you know what you're willing to put up with in order to reach that full potential. I suppose that's the crux of the issue--acceptance.
Whatever you choose to accept in a relationship today will be magnified tomorrow--meaning, if he/she insults you, talks about you behind your back (or allows others to do so), doesn't defend you or your honor, consistently lies to you (and about you), attempts to manipulate you and your feelings, ignores you and your feelings, is always focused on negatives, constantly makes excuses for his/her bad behavior, plays the victim card--your relationship is over. And, I'm sorry for it. No matter how old or young you are, no one deserves to find the real deal only to learn that the person it's attached to is, to put it into Psychology terms, "vacant and ineffective."
Individuals conditioned to do nothing more than survive have no idea how to thrive. When confronted with real love, that person often pushes it away. Why? A person who has a victim-mentality is terrified of changing their lives because that would mean taking on more responsibility. "Victims" of a codependency can push some responsibility for their hardships onto their own personal "villains"--the partner they love to hate--feeding into their collective need for drama, or distraction from the reality of their lives. This is particularly true for adult survivors of childhood abuse.
When you are abused as a child, you are forced to accept responsibility for the consequences of an adult's bad behavior. You are powerless to make change when you're dependent on others, or, vulnerable. But when you grow into an adult, you may then unwittingly look for partners who can take on the role of the parent you feel most betrayed by. This way, you can finally "punish" that person through things like affairs, but also, relieve yourself of responsibility for your "bad" behavior, for your circumstances, and, for any hardships or sacrifices you have had to make to maintain the unhealthy relationship.
It's scary stuff. Most people in these circumstances don't fully understand codependency, so can't recognize it, let alone understand their reason for being in it, or, their continued choice to stay in it. Nor, can these same individuals recognize other self-destructive behaviors that prevent healthy relationships from forming in the first place. Hence, the mixed signals....
Being an emotional and/or financial "captive" creates the same psychological effects as being physically held against your will: Institutionalization (or fear of leaving the "safety" of captivity), Learned Helplessness (or giving up after previous attempts to "escape" have been thwarted), and finally, Stockholm Syndrome (or relating and eventually loving and needing the person who is holding you down and back), are all part of the invisible social prisons some of us create and others willingly accept. But the more you understand about the psychology, the better equipped you'll be to make future love-decisions--whether you are in love with someone in a codependency, or, you yourself are a part of one.
My advice is always focused on avoiding self-sabotage in order to live your best life. There are more than seven-billion people on the planet. Yet, connections like the one I describe are super-rare. Honestly, I've only felt it once in my lifetime and I'm over 40. But in no way does the rarity of such an occurrence guarantee its success.
Love should always win. But sometimes, it doesn't. When that happens, the strong partner (or the person capable of making change) will be able to move on at some point--your strength will compensate for the weakness in others. You'll live to meet future folks, one of whom will match your fortitude and resourcefulness. The weak partner (or the person incapable of making change) will never really move on. In fact, you can be absolutely positive a person you've had a real-life relationship with who's maybe abruptly disappeared, is ignoring you, or, quietly blocked you on social media, is 100% obsessed with you. But because that individual has an existing attachment tied in with his or her finances, talking to you, wanting you, loving you, thinking about you is a constant reminder that survival is no longer necessary--thriving is finally within their reach. And, that's terrifying.
Thriving is a huge risk for someone conditioned for failure. When the truth encroaches on reality, addiction inevitably rears its ugly head. For adult survivors of abuse, there are infinite triggers, but no one and nothing can trigger an addict more than they can trigger themselves. It's like that for all who struggle with self-sabotage. Addiction is just one of many manifestations. Debt is another. Not paying your bills. Not opening your mail. Not going to the doctor or dentist. Eating poorly. Avoiding exercise. Isolating yourself from friends and family who truly care for you. It's all part of the same category. And, it all requires increased mindfulness, one day at a time, for the rest of your life.
If you're a healthy adult over 30, yet have little-to-no agency over your own life, you are committing self-sabotage and MUST begin working toward change. If you don't, your risk of addiction, depression, anxiety, insomnia, feeling hopeless and helpless, and, having suicidal thoughts, increases exponentially for every year you do not at least attempt to regain control.
When you think about that guy or girl you fell in love with last summer, and wonder why that unforgettable, undeniable connection (and the hawt sex that went with it!) wasn't enough, you now have at least an inkling as to what was behind the inconsistent (and likely dishonest) behavior. Compassion over judgment! The person you fell in love with is still in there, somewhere. Do not chase a person who rejected you...ever. But it's okay to offer friendship. It's okay to stay in touch. Maybe one day, you can rekindle that fiery connection. Don't wait for it though--the level of psychological damage I'm describing here is incredibly insidious.
The good news? You have the ability to give unconditional love! Even though your heart is probably hurting, it will heal. You can only give unconditional love to others AFTER you give it to yourself. And, when you love yourself, you can also forgive yourself (and others). That means, you don't need anyone to give you closure anymore. All you need is a person who can return the unconditional love you have to give.
Good luck out there! Focus on yourself and things in the romance department will eventually fall into place--including more opportunities for amazing sex. Remember, 2019 is the year of career!!! Everything else is just noise. Except great sex. Though, the good kind is always a little noisy, too....
Got a few minutes??? Check out my YouTube vid below--it's 97-seconds-worth of tips to help you avoid self sabotage in love relationships.
Until next time!
“Hey, Everybody! It’s Dr. Rebecca Housel. I’m coming to you live from my office. I’ve got Little Dog assisting me today (you may see her make a cameo in the background). Jeff (my “real” assistant) is out of the office visiting family—we miss you, Jeff! I wanted to check in—Jeff said there’s been a lot of messages lately (on RebeccaHousel.com) about self-sabotage, particularly in relationships…oh, there’s Little Dog, making her cameo (soft laughter).
When we’re talking about love-relationships and self-sabotage, there are triggers you can look for, or, things that can help you identify a destroyer. One of those things are very thinly veiled insults…I’m thinking of an example: Let’s say there’s someone you just met who’s supposedly interested in you, (but) calling you an 8/10. And, when you ask, “What are you saying???”, that person (implies) they were “just kidding.” That’s someone testing your limits—(by doing so) they’re actually asking you to accept that kind of behavior—and worse (much worse) in the future. And, if this is what’s happening at the beginning of a relationship, what do you think is going to happen somewhere (else) down the line?
So, that’s one of the triggers to look for—the other thing to look for is insecurity. Being possessive and very jealous. That (kind of) stuff has to go away—that’s not the basis of trust or love, that’s the basis of a (destructive relationship). A destroyer, attempting to control you, not protect you (though being possessive is often veiled as “protection”).
Please keep those things (described above) in mind regarding relationships. I’m so thankful to everybody for reading the blog and coming to RebeccaHousel.com. We love you all…148 countries and counting! Thank you so much!!! I’ll see y’all soon…bye now.”