Of course, there are exceptions and most people are happy for a time, but, in the end, a lot of romantic relationships fail. We may not want to admit this, but we all know it is true.
I would like to suggest something that may seem a bit cynical on the surface but, from my experience, is not only true but ultimately hopeful. Most relationships do not fail because they end but because they never worked to begin with—even if the people involved in them believed they were working. This is why so many people wake up one day and say, “What happened? It was all going so well.”
The thing is, it was not going well. We all just think it is going well, which is not
the same thing.
From my research and experience, Here are four things I’ve found to be true in relationships:
1. Most relationships are based on attachment.
The reason a lot of relationships do not work because they are almost all based on attachment. They are based on taking love and not giving it.
When a healthy person truly loves and respects themselves, they are able to meet other people who love themselves and form amazing relationships of cooperation, accomplishment, love, and joy. When a person does not truly love themselves, they have no idea how to have a truly healthy relationship with another and instead attach to them and expect to get love from them.
When we expect to get love from the person we are in a relationship with, we are attached to them.
This is not the same as giving love. It is described in contemporary psychology as codependency. However, what is generally referred to as a condition that affects a small number of people is, unfortunately, in reality, the norm.
2. Most relationships are based on getting love—not giving it.
This may seem like a shocking statement, but it is what most of us experience. Most relationships are codependent to one degree or another. They are at least in part based not on giving love but on needing it from another.
Why is this? It is because we live in a society where we are not taught in adolescence how to love ourselves.
We live in a society that values other things over self-knowledge, self-understanding, and self-love. Unfortunately, these are the most fundamental building blocks of who we are and what we will be able to accomplish in our life. When we are not instructed about how to learn to know ourselves, we are at a severe disadvantage in life. One of these disadvantages is that we are not able to have healthy romantic relationships.
3. Modern society doesn’t teach us how to love ourselves and others.
Traditionally, all human societies had an initiation process at adolescence that taught people many aspects of how to be an adult, not least of which
is how to know and love yourself. This is especially true in Western cultures.
In many cultures, adolescents spent a year or more being educated exclusively in this area, being taught such things as communication skills, how to interact in romantic situations, how to learn who you are, and how to love yourself. Many indigenous cultures still taught these skills until fairly recently, but most of these cultures now no longer exist in their traditional form.
Our current culture teaches people almost nothing at all in this area, and therein lies the problem. If you do not know how to love yourself, which almost none of us do, then you are destined only to attachment and codependent relationships.
I know, this all sounds pretty grim. We may be prone to dismiss this information simply because it is so hard to hear, but things are actually more hopeful than they may appear.
The truth is that the skills you need to learn to love yourself are now readily available and easy to learn.
4. Women are better prepared than men.
Women actually fare better in this way than men do. Women do get some low level of initiation. Women discuss their emotions with each other and are able to learn some of the fundamental relationship skills.
In order for a person to love themselves, they must first have some emotional awareness, and many women are fairly emotionally aware. Most men, however, have little to no emotional awareness. There are even many men who pride themselves on not feeling sad, not crying, not “giving in” to emotions. This is not a great situation.
When we deny our emotions, they do not cease to exist; they simply go underground. We learn to suppress and repress them, and the energy of the emotion is then stored in our body. With men, it will sometimes then burst out, generally in a fit of uncontrollable anger, simply because it cannot be stuffed in anymore.
What is being missed here is that when you allow your emotions to flow in a natural way, as many women do, you are aware of them and able to deal with them. When you deny and bury them, as many men do, they then control you without your knowledge and you end up making some terrible choices. In fact, the men who accuse women of being controlled by their emotions are the ones who are, in reality, controlled by their emotions without their knowledge. This is a dangerous situation.
The fact that most men are not aware of their true emotional state is a real problem. In many cases, the woman in a relationship is somewhat aware of what is happening, but the man is completely unaware. This is why men so often become confused and have no idea what is happening in their relationship. Of course, there are some men who are more aware—but they are the minority.
How do you fundamentally improve any romantic relationship?:
Both people in the relationship need to take time to learn who they are. This can be done through having a daily practice of some kind. There are many practices available. Try a few and see which one is the best fit for you.