If we have the courage to be honest and direct, ending a relationship can be better for all involved, but why is it so hard to take care of ourselves?
A friend of mine recently announced that she and her long-term boyfriend have decided to have a baby. I was surprised to hear this because they’ve been fighting a lot over the last two years, and she told me just a month earlier they hadn’t had sex in months!
Most people will say it sounds like my friend doesn’t want to face the fact that her relationship is over. Her idea to have a baby is a misguided attempt to avoid facing the painful fact that a split would be a better idea — before there’s a third party in the picture.
No doubt having a baby is a drastic way to avoid facing uncomfortable facts, but I have to admit that I’m guilty myself of bending over backward to avoid putting a bad relationship out of its misery. Instead of just being direct and honest about how it’s not working, I’ll either go into “fix-it” mode (like my friend who now wants to get pregnant) or I’ll do things to sabotage the relationship so the other person will end it for me.
Fixing is my preferred way out. I’ll be the last one standing in the wreckage with a new idea, a new approach, and that “one more time” effort to make something work that just isn’t. And it’s not just romantic relationships — it happens with friends, employees and clients, even organizations.
Other people will let a relationship languish and die from lack of attention — just kind of fade out as they tiptoe out of the relationship and hope the other party doesn’t notice until they’ve disappeared from sight. There’s also the sabotage approach. Be a jerk, consistently, and sooner or later the other person will tell you it’s over, sparing you from doing the dirty work.
Whether it’s fixing, sabotaging or the “grand fadeout,” it’s just a way to temporarily avoid the painful truth. All three methods work, eventually, but why is it so hard to just be honest and direct, to say, “This relationship isn’t working for me. I need to … (move out, give my two weeks’ notice, file for divorce, stop dating you — fill in the blank).”
Avoiding the truth when it only prolongs the pain increases the discomfort for all involved parties — still easier said than done, at least in my experience. As frightening as it is, owning our power with honesty and directness is the only way to really take care of ourselves. Now, if only we could do it!
Copyright © Kim Calvert/2014 Singular Communications, LLC.
Kim Calvert is the editor of Singular magazine and the founder of the SingularCity social networking community. An outspoken champion of people who are living their lives as a “me” instead of a “we,” Kim oversees the creative direction and editorial content of the magazine and online social networking community. She secures contributors and is responsible for maintaining the fun, upbeat, inspirational and often-humorous tone of Singular, a lifestyle guide for successful single living.