There are two words that I hear all day, every day and they are stuck and paralyzed. The reason for that is that people feel stuck in paralysis because they don’t know how to stay and make their relationship feel better but they also don’t know how to take the next steps to be able to walk away from the relationship. This just leaves them feeling lost and totally confused. When you are reaching for clarity on a decision as big as this, I don’t think that this is a pros and cons list that you’re making. I do not think that will help you decide but I do think that you need more information.
There are many times when we feel like we need more information in our relationships. When we do, what we do is we go to our partner and we ask them questions. We say here’s what I need, here are the things that I want you to answer. Lo and behold, they don’t come up with the answers that we really have in our minds, or what we want to hear. When that happens we become more frustrated and uncertain and we stay stuck in paralysis.
Since that approach doesn’t work, I’m going to offer you a different suggestion. When you change the way that you engage in the relationship and you change the way that you show up inside the relationship, that’s when you will see your partner’s actions and reactions to you start to change. Those changes are what give you more information to be able to make a decision that you can believe in and take action upon.
Let me give you an example of one of my clients “Ben”. He completely changed the way that he was showing up in his marriage of 20 plus years. He softened, he started to love his wife for who she was, instead of trying to get her to be who he had previously wanted her to be. He dropped the sarcasm and he started really communicating. When he started doing this, he got some more information. His wife was showing him what she was capable of doing and what she wasn’t capable of doing. Throughout this process, he was able to make a decision for himself. He was able to decide if this was enough raw material to work with and to feel really good about inside the relationship. He was able to make a decision and know the best next step for him and his marriage. He did not stay stuck in paralysis any longer.
I had another client “Matt”, who decided that there was no other option besides to separate from his wife. He had talked, requested, fought and cried. All of the things that we try to do to get our relationships to feel better but it had not worked. He did know that he had to start doing things differently and that he needed that space.to be able to take a bit of a breath in his relationship so he decided to separate.
I am sure you have heard that as soon as you separate you are headed towards divorce and clearly that does happen but that’s not to say that it has to happen that way. Inside a separation you’ve gotten out of the day-to-day patterns and that gives you space to be able to enter into the relationship from a very different place. There were several things that happened during his separation. He continued to grow in that space and was able to begin to see his wife and love her right where she was. He got really clear about who he was and what he really wanted and started to engage with his wife differently. When you engage differently, your spouse is automatically going to change and adjust their reactions to you, so it only takes one person to really begin to create that change. Once you do that, that can literally change everything inside the dynamics of the relationship. This is what happened for Matt.
The other thing that happened inside that separation it’s that his wife got pretty uncomfortable. The only time people really change is when they are in great pain, this idea of being brought to your knees or when they have great desire. Those are the two things that can pull you out of this numb, stuck zone. So all of a sudden when Matt decided to rent an apartment and live across town she got really uncomfortable. When we get really uncomfortable, we can open up to the possibility of just doing it differently and learning how to do it differently. So what I can tell you is, they both changed during that separation and when they came back together, what they created was not the same thing they had before. It was very different because both of them were showing up very differently.
We all know intellectually if we keep doing the same thing we’re going to continue to get the same result, so in order to get something different, we need more information. We’ve got to be willing to learn how to do it differently and begin to show up very differently inside that relationship. When you do, watch what happens because you will get some more information that will help lead you closer to clarity and keep you from being stuck in paralysis.
If you would like to learn how to do things differently and see if you can create a relationship that feels good again, I invite you to schedule a complimentary Exploratory Session.