I hate living with you… so I think I’ll stay!

I’ve spent my life living in high rise buildings so I know a lot about relationships… none of mine work out … but I know exactly what’s wrong with yours!

From my Hollywood apartment balcony … I watch the lives of three couples unfold daily… there’s the gay couple that sit on a balcony smoking each night at sunset, a Mexican couple that make dinner together each night at 7:00 p.m. and there’s “that” couple. “That” couple lives in a building across the street and provide me with wonder and delight. I watch their lives unfold like an unscripted reality TV show. Through there open windows and sliding glass door I hear the rage and anger that develops when things have gone wrong. Sometimes I put on Cher’s “Believe” and watch them move as she sings … “I don’t need you anymore!”. At first, I was concerned for their safety then I realized that is how they’ve chosen to live… so I watch in amazement as it continues. I lived that life for two decades … I understand it … it sucks!

We all know that one couple. Whether it’s your sister and her boyfriend, your best friend and his ball and chain or those two screaming people you call your parents, they’re that couple that’s just that miserable.

They fight and talk behind each others back and say they absolutely “hate” the people they’re so in love with. Many times, they will cheat on each other or talk nonstop about how much they’d like to. They bitch, moan and point out the others’ flaws in attempt to prove exactly how much they suck. It’s like they’re waiting for you to give them the I-promise-not-to-testify-in-court-if you-kill-them nod. But if you dare pose the “b word” — dare acknowledge that they could live a happier life without them, broken up — they act as if you just shot them both.

They get defensive, protective and alarmingly confused at the absurd idea you just slammed on the table. Break up? Why the hell would I break up with the person I want to kill? Why would I end it with someone I’m not happy with? Their double negatives are palpable, yet we continue to appease them.

“Oh, sorry. Just sounded like that was the simple answer to your question,” is what you’d like to say back, but instead you just nod and listen to all the reasons they would never end it with the person they love to hate so much.

“I mean, at the end of the day I do love them,” is the most popular response. The most popular hidden meaning is: “I’m scared of being alone.”

I believe the main reason people stay together in bad relationships is exactly this, fear… the fear of divorce… fear of being alone… fear of being broke!

People would rather settle for inadequate relationships than be single and open to something … or someone … that could make them happy.

I’m not sure where this aversion to happiness came from but it kept me chained to unhealthy relationships for years. It’s this antiquated notion that I’m not validated until I’m in a relationship. It’s this ingrained idea that being single is bad and being a couple is worth the tension. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Being single isn’t worse than being in a bad relationship. Being single isn’t guaranteed unhappiness. Being single is not just liberating; it’s the only way to get to a better relationship.

Being alone is better than sitting next to a lover and feeling lonely.” Loneliness is a state of mind. Just because you are single and alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. Loneliness occurs in crowded rooms just as easily and often as it does when we’re by ourselves.

Fear and guilt come naturally for me… those are two emotions that controlled my life for way too long… I don’t let them out to play as often as I once did… and I’m happier for it!

Staying in an unhappy relationship may keep you from being alone, but it will not keep you from wishing you had someone who didn’t make you feel so lonely.

Fear of being on your own is just fear of being alive. We weren’t born together and we can, indeed, survive without one another. It’s natural to be on your own and to get through life as a single entity. Just because you don’t have someone to call yours doesn’t mean you, by yourself, are no longer valid.

Fear is something we create for ourselves. We’re scared of being alone because we’re not used to it. We’re scared because we think we’ll never find someone again. We’re scared because we’d rather be complacent in our unhappiness than risk change for something greater.

Staying in a relationship out of guilt is just as bad as eating an entire plate of brownies so no one will know you had just one. You will end up with a pain in your stomach and a ton of angry party guests.

When you stay with someone because you feel bad for them, you are unconsciously — and sometimes consciously — hurting them from the inside. They will pick up on your distance and feel the strain of the relationship. Your decision to stay will be a daily reminder of your absence — rather than one swift blow.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If it’s broken beyond repair, stop wasting money and accept that you need to throw it away.

There are some things that will get better with time. For those couples who made the commitment to get married, breaking vows should only come when all is permanently lost. In a relationship that’s easy to walk away from, one must evaluate the severity of the problems and if they are worth the time and effort to fix.

If you find you are just two incompatible people, the problem isn’t something that’s going to improve with time, but only increase your hatred over time.

This is what I believe…. This is my journey… this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

Why does this crap keep happening to me? Accept it or Change it …

My life was miserable in Florida. My marriage was over… my kids were leaving and my friends were gone. Everyday I waited for night to come just to fall asleep. I cursed the sun because it represented a new day … a day that I had no control over… Nothing was happening for me because I was allowing everything to implode around me. It eventually collapsed with me standing in the center of it! Bing… Bang… Boom! It was finished…

Life can be a hard pill to swallow. On a daily basis, we are consumed with regrets, failures and insecurities that plague our minds and control our actions. We are overwhelmed by situations we cannot change and things we wish we could take back. We experience heartbreak, loss and fear, along with betrayal, jealousy and bad memories.

Life doesn’t have to be so hard. There’s an art to learning to let things go and leaving the worries of the past to yesterday. Because in life, we’re all carrying the same load, yet what differentiates us is how we choose to carry it. Those who go through life with a seemingly unaffected attitude are the people who understand the angles of life and the differences between what can be changed and what cannot. In understanding those differences, they are able to move on and enjoy life as it’s presented.

It’s the people who don’t get worked up when their plane is delayed or when they didn’t get the promotion they wanted. It’s the people who can move on effortlessly from one heartbreak to the next. They don’t fret about the inevitable and move on to bigger and better things before they have time to cry about the past.

You shouldn’t be choking on life. All you need is water, a good mindset and an understanding between the things that can be changed and the things that must be accepted.

Accept your imperfections, change your idea of beauty.

There’s nothing you can do about your long arms or your elbow knees. You can’t fix your big ears or your even bigger feet, but you can change how you feel about them. Your imperfections are only imperfections as long as you make them so and it’s up to you to accept yourself… flaws and all.

Beauty is a standard that we make up ourselves and no one can define it objectively. Tell yourself you’re beautiful and let your imperfections become defining qualities rather than flaws you wish you could get rid of, because you never will.

Accept your family, change your friends.

You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends. Even if you have a great family, it’s important to maintain a friend group that’s like family because we all know that in the game of life, you need good friends on your side.

Because sometimes family just isn’t enough to assuage the pain of loneliness and the hardships of life. So whether you have a great family or one you’d rather get away from, choose your friends wisely because they have a tendency to become another type of family.

Accept your losses, change your earnings.

Things you’ve lost in the past, whether it be a lover or a priceless piece of jewelry, can be hard to let go. However, the ghosts of things and people past have no room in your present and will only haunt you as long as you let them. Don’t let the memory of things departed become part of your life any longer. The only thing you can do now is make up for your losses. Find a new lover, a better piece of priceless jewelry or a hypnotist who can help you forget it all.

Accept your situation, change your outlook.

What’s happening to you here and now is not something you can change, but you can change how you respond to it because there’s nothing worse than someone who doesn’t know how to “go with the flow.” Life is too short not to be making the best out of situations and fretting over things that cannot be changed. Learn to adjust your expectations and change your outlook so you don’t waste moments that could have been great ones.

Accept your fate, change your journey.

Whatever happens, happens. It’s a simple saying, but it’s a simple concept. The things that happen in life cannot always be explained or changed, but you can change the path you take to them. Fate has a weird way of showing us that we aren’t always in control over what happens to us, but it does tell us that we can make our own paths, even if we can’t see where it will lead. If you want to change what’s happening to you, change your path.

Accept where you are now, change where you’re going.

You may not like where you are now, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the power to change where you’re going. Only the weak let their current situation determine their future one. The strong and the passionate take charge of their futures and don’t let their surroundings stop them from getting somewhere else.

Accept the choices you’ve made, change your next ones.

Holding on to regrets is like bringing a jar full of bees into your house. There’s no need for them and they will only end up stinging you when you’re trying to watch TV. It’s irresponsible, dangerous and downright stupid. Accept your regrets as moments passed that have nothing to do with you now and stop bringing them into your life. You can’t change your past mistakes, but you can change how you make up for them.

Accept those who hurt you, change who you surround yourself with.

Hurt you once, shame on them. Hurt you twice, you’re a masochist. If someone hurts you, there’s nothing you can do, but use the pain and the knowledge of that pain to refuse to let it happen again. Surrounding yourself with people who are only going to hurt you is like deliberately cutting yourself. Pain is supposed to teach you a lesson, to keep you from making the same mistake twice. Learn from those who did you wrong and choose the next person you let into your life with trepidation and the knowledge of that pain.

Accept the things you can’t change, change the things you can’t accept.

There are some things, like the weather and the stock market, that you cannot change. However, there’s always something you can do. If you hate the cold, move to Hawaii. If you hate losing money in the stock market, start a company that will get you big earnings.

If you absolutely can’t accept something, then you must make bold moves to change it. However, the sooner you start accepting the things you cannot change, the happier you will be. The more you change the things you refuse to accept, the greater person you will become.

This is what I believe …

This is my journey … this is my life!

Rob Cantrell

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