Sometimes good people aren’t good together… and some relationships are total crap!

“When the heartache is over… I know I won’t be missing you” – Tina Turner

I have been in more relationships than should be admissible by law in any country. I seem to follow a pattern that has worked with a 100% failure rate. The practice includes several steps that I have mastered and hopefully, will never use again. To begin with… I enter every relationship as damaged goods. I am always just ending my last one and am carrying so much emotional and mental baggage that I can hardly function.

If the person I’m “courting” is equally damaged … that’s a home run. Together, we can feed off the lies, betrayals, injustices and abuses caused by our last loves. It’s perfect! Together… we can wallow in the belief that we’re… “just people that love too much”. “This time, it’s gonna last… this time, it’s forever”. Please!

To be honest, I could never love anyone as much as I loved drugs and alcohol. They had been part of my life for 30 years… I wasn’t about to let romance break us up! Besides these people didn’t seem to mind staying out all night at clubs or getting naked in a Jacuzzi just before dawn. I was exciting and nothing like their last significant other. I presented myself as a bad boy, and damaged people always want to “fix” the bad boy. Unfortunately, you can’t “fix” a bad boy and if he does comply with your demands … the challenge is gone. There’s nothing exciting in that… time to move on!

It’s easy to develop a connection with a co-worker or a schoolmate or someone who’s always there…even when they’re not adding any real value to our lives. And it’s even easier to stay in those relationships. That’s because old relationships are convenient, and starting new relationships is difficult… it requires work. But so does anything worth holding on to.

We’ve all held on to someone who didn’t deserve to be there. Most of us still have someone in our lives who continually drains us: Someone who doesn’t add value. Someone who isn’t supportive. Someone who takes and takes and takes without giving back to the relationship. Someone who contributes very little and prevents us from growing. Someone who constantly plays the victim. Dear God! I’m exhausted just writing about them …

But victims become victimizers. And these people are dangerous. They keep us from feeling fulfilled. They keep us from living meaningful lives. Over time, these negative relationships become part of our identity—they define us, they become who we are.

Fortunately, this needn’t be the case. Several actions can be taken to rid ourselves of negative relationships.

First, you can attempt to fix the relationship. This is obviously the preferable solution (albeit not always possible or worthwhile). People change over time, and so do relationships. You can change how your relationship works… be it marriage, friendship, or family…  without completely ditching the relationship.

Listen to Rob… just sit down with the person who’s draining the vitality from your life and explain to them what must change for your relationship to work. Explain that you need them to be more supportive, that you need them to participate in your growth, that they are important to you, but the relationship in its current state does not make you happy. Explain that you’re not attempting to change them as a person; you only want to change how your relationship works.This sounds great on paper … but by the time you’ve reached this point, you’ve emotionally detached from the entire situation… (am I right?). But try it anyway.

Finally, ask them what they’d like to change about the relationship. Ask them how you can add more value. Listen attentively, act accordingly.

Most importantly, always have an escape clause… if you’re unable to change the relationship, you can end it altogether. This is incredibly difficult, but it applies to any relationship: family, friends, lovers, coworkers, acquaintances. If someone is doing nothing but draining your life, it’s perfectly acceptable to tell them “This relationship is no longer right for me, so I must end it… I must move on.” 

It’s OK to move on. You owe it to yourself to move on. You owe it to yourself to be happy with the relationships you have. You are in control. Moving on is sometimes the only way to develop new, empowering relationships.

When I released the past, I was able to accept a love that is perfect for me now. I am so thankful I took an action to start living my life with someone for the right reasons…

This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

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