Relationship pain…… do we KNOW when to hang on or let go?

Obviously people only consult with me when they are lost, or stuck, or have problems, or questions they hope can be answered. Sometimes the whole lot applies! It is the nature of the business. So, it stands to reason that anyone who contacts me with regard to their love life has issues or doubts, which are over and above the ‘usual’ relationship challenges that most of us face periodically.

Broken heart

There are certain situations that come up again and again, regardless of where people are on the planet, and regardless of their culture. It seems that there are only a small number of potential ‘hazzards’ we are likely to come up against, and that we tend to have a limited number of possible approaches or ways of responding, where relationship issues are concerned. Of course, to a heartbroken or angry lover, that won’t cut any ice, because he or she feels as if it is only them who are hurting so badly, at that moment in time. And often this heartache and anger renders the sufferer ultra – sensitive to anything they can’t bear to hear, face or take – on board, until much further down the line.

But DO relationship problems have to mean that all is lost, and can never be found again? Of course not……but it really, really depends upon the nature of the problems, AND the circumstances that led to those problems. There is a dreadful condition that can strike human beings, one that infiltrates the heart and mind, taking control and creating emotional mayhem: I call it ‘romantic – reality – blindness’. The good news is that it usually runs out of steam……..eventually. The bad news is that that can, on occasions, take longer than is healthy. And the REALLY bad news is that sometimes it DOESN’T run out of steam at all……it just transfers itself to any new relationship the bearer becomes involved in. The good news there is that the bearer CAN, anytime they choose, make a genuinely concerted effort to recapture control of the heart/mind centre, forcing out the emotional dis – ease that is romantic – reality – blindness……..freeing him/herself again to attract a mutually happy and healthy relationship……that comes with all the ‘normal’ warts of love, of course! 

The question is, though…….how do we KNOW whether a relationship that is going through a rough phase……OR a relationship that is more about conflict and resistance than love……actually holds any real potential for healthy, long term commitment? If that question was easy to answer, there wouldn’t be so many people hanging onto incredibly painful situations, for so long.

are you the one

I think that first of all we need to decide what our personal version of love looks and feels like…….and what we believe a relationship ‘should’ look like.This is a biggie, because if we say we love someone, whilst also believing that they need to change quite a lot about who and what they are, in order for us to be happy with them, it may be we want different things……and a different kind of partner.

So, if one person really wants commitment and all that it involves, but the other half isn’t ready for it, or says that they are whilst behaving as if they AREN’T, who wins? What would love do, under those circumstances?

If one person has turned their back on a relationship, either completely or partially, whilst the other half still wants it wholly, who wins? What would love do, under those circumstances?

If one person comes on strong with another, either promising ‘more’, or implying genuine interest……only to disconnect, either completely or partially……who wins? What would love do, under those circumstances?

If a couple are more in conflict than in harmony and agreement, if one or both refuses to compromise, to behave in an emotionally mature way, point scoring and undermining……who wins? What would love do, under those circumstances?

If one person has a ‘double’ life, who wins? What would love do, under those circumstances?

If we are hanging onto the ‘good times’ we shared in a relationship, even if they ended years ago, who wins? What would love do under those circumstances?

If billions of people are able to attract and maintain relatively balanced, acceptably healthy long term relationships, why can’t everyone? Is it luck? Is it timing? What else is involved? And what do we believe?

Do we believe a relationship should be about being inseparable from one another?

Do we believe a relationship should provide material security?

Do we believe a relationship should always remain in the intense, ‘honeymoon’ period?

Do we believe that real love is edgy, unreliable, exciting, and requires self – sacrifice?

Do we believe love will make us happy, fill a gap within us?

Do we fear love, distrust it, whilst craving it?

Do we desire love, whilst not wanting anything to change our lifestyle, or asking too much of us?

Do we confuse need, or fear of rejection, or familiar patterns, with love?

Have we learned to tell the difference between:

someone who genuinely cares for us, has regard and respect for us, even if, for whatever reason, they are behaving out of character or struggling (temporarily) with life


someone who clearly does not care about how we feel, who talks the talk but whose consistent actions provide no evidence of commitment, who picks us up and drops us down


someone who hasn’t been in touch for weeks/months/years

And if not……why not?

REMEMBER, there is one fact many of us lose sight of, especially when afflicted by romantic – reality – blindness: LOVE has to start with ourselves. If we don’t understand how actual love behaves, because maybe we never really experienced it in childhood, we won’t be deeply familiar with it. There are other reasons, of course, for human beings not developing a genuine awareness of what is loving, and what isn’t, no matter how it is dressed up. But it is never too late to see love in a different light.

miss piggy

I would say that:

If the object of our desire continually makes promises they do not keep, especially from afar, they have no real respect or love for us. Attraction, maybe……casual affection……but not love.

If the object of our desire has not instigated real, quality – type contact with us for months or years, they have no genuine interest in, or love for, us. We are not on their radar.

If the object of our desire also has another relationship, they may well care for us, but they come with a lot of potential problems……and if we look beyond exciting, romantic love, to the bigger picture of the ‘real’ future, would both parties have enough genuine love and emotional strength to withstand all that permanent togetherness would demand……AND to survive the ongoing fall – out that would inevitably follow?

If we have interest in more than one person as a possible partner, or have someone we ‘fall back’ on whenever we are without a love interest (or if WE are the one someone else falls back on!), is love involved?

If we are honestly and truly experiencing more lonely days/nights than satisfying ones, if we are consistently analysing and chewing things over, if we are always waiting and wondering, if we are spending more time fretting about our love life than any other area of life, if we are unable to plan ahead, if we long to feel ‘normal’ and be in a ‘normal’ relationship, if we find ourselves becoming defensive and reactive (or secretive) about our love life, if we go to one psychic, tarot reader or intuitive consultant after another, asking about our love life…… is unlikely to be love.

And if we know, deep down inside, that we are doing something, feeling something, allowing something to continue, something we would hate to see a friend experiencing……..if we find ourselves avoiding certain people because we know they are going to challenge our actions, concerned for our well – being…….and if we say things like “Yes, but WE are different to other people…….this really IS love”, or “It MUST be love if I feel this intense/connected…..and I am prepared to wait forever for him/her to recognise that I am their soulmate”,…… is unlikely to be love.

If we believe love demands emotional pain, conflict and self – sacrifice, that it has to be earned and proved, in order for it to be REAL love……IS it love?

Broken heart 2

You know……I reckon, deep down inside all of us, we do know when a relationship is worth sticking with, even when it is going through a bad patch……as much as we do know when it ISN’T. And it is the second knowing that hurts the most, leading us to hang on with both hands, furiously defending ourselves along the way. It is the second knowing that causes us to forget to love ourselves, first and foremost. To be able to give someting, we have to have it, in the first place……time, energy, money…… Showing love to ourselves shows the world that we believe we are worth loving………not ignoring, not avoiding, not being lied to, not being made second best…..but LOVING.And it is never too late to start!

Love you




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