Are you in a relationship and desperately want things to improve but are consistently disappointed and upset because your relationship doesn’t seem to get any better? Of course, relationships always have ups and downs, but if you find yourself in a state of constant despair, you may want to closely evaluate whether you can move forward as a couple or whether it’s time to lovingly let go.
We stay in unhealthy relationships for a myriad of reasons. Children are an important reason to try to make the relationship work (as long as they are not your partner!). Sometimes we have businesses together, share financial obligations or find ourselves feeling powerless, hopeless and/or afraid of being alone forever.
However, we are not on planet Earth to imprison ourselves, or our mate, and be unhappy. We desire a soulmate, not a cellmate.
To improve our relationships, we must have:
- the motivation to change, and
- the capabiity to change.
Often people have the capacity to change but not the motivation. Conversely, there are times when people’s capability to change is compromised due to wiring in the brain and a mental disorder (e.g., psychopathic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, etc.).
Too often I see partners stay in the relationship because they believe they can change their partner, or even “save” them. Why try to save a partner who does not want, or feel the need, to be saved? “All I need to do is provide my partner with all of the love and safety they need to reach their full potential.” Often, the rest of the sentence that goes unstated is the assumption that if they provide this to their partner, then they will get the same in return.
Another common tendency is for people to feel guilty about potentially “abandoning” their partner and to feel responsible for their partner’s well-being. This can lead to enabling the status quo and unhealthy behavior patterns. If people do not choose to do their own personal work, they have already abandoned themselves and the relationship.
In addition, I often hear, “If he loved me enough, he would change.” It is important to note that your partner’s behaviors may not have anything to do with you. Unless long-term dysfunctional patterns of behavior are understood and healed, these behaviors will continue to present themselves across relationships.
In relationships, we have blind spots. This can come from idealizing our partner, romanticizing about what the relationship could be, and from our unconscious projections that stem primarily from childhood. Levoy states, “If there is terror of the dark because we cannot see, there is also terror of the light because we can see.” What are you afraid of seeing?
Notice what you are receiving from your partner in the present moment. Notice how they are “being” with you. What is your sex life like? What goes on in the bedroom is often a microcosm of the entire relationship. Who is the giver? Who is the taker? Who initiates? Is it detached, open, controlled, communicative, playful, adventurous, boring, serious, soulful, loving. Does it ever happen?
I would not do the work I do if I did not believe that people can change! The great majority of people naturally grow and change! We must also be aware that our partner is starting from a place that is different from ours and that they may not want to change with us, for us or for the relationship. All people progress at their own pace and for their own reasons.
Of course, we first need to look at ourselves and what we are doing that benefits and hinders the relationship. We need to look at our own motivation and capacity to change and uncover the unconscious thoughts, wounds and motivations that can inadvertently kill any relationship!
Below are signs that your partner may not change:
- Your mate does not demonstrate a desire, willingness or effort to work on the relationship.
- Your mate doesn’t value your values and priorities, and you don’t value theirs. Don’t expect a person to change their values.
- Your mate is consistently defensive, chooses the victim role, plays the blame game and is rarely accountable.
- Your mate is unreasonably self-absorbed. This may be demonstrated by their failure to show empathy, disregard for your opinions, and their need to be understood but not to understand. It’s their way or the highway…
- Long-term signs that your partner has difficulty attaching. Attachment disorders show up in the relationship when:
- you feel like a yo-yo (one minute your partner is with you, then they run, and then they are back again)
- your partner is consistently unavailable and you can’t count on them
- your mate is overly needy and controlling
note: Healthy attachment occurs when partners are interdependent (not overly dependent or so independent that you never see each other).
- Your partner is resistant to personal growth and won’t go to counseling or workshops, read or try new ways of being.
- Your mate is more concerned with being right, or being in control, than with collaborating and focusing on a win-win.
- Your partner chooses numbing behaviors over being fully present. This may be demonstrated through addictions, whether drugs, alcohol, sex or workaholism.
- The same issues keep repeating themselves over and over and never get resolved!
- Your mate is unwilling to forgive the past, and anger pervades.
- And last, a tell-tale sign that your partner won’t change is when they tell you, “I’m not going to change”!
How would your partner answer the above descriptors about you?
What have you noticed in completing the assessment above? If many of the descriptors describe your mate, or if there is just one behavior that is so severe you can’t live with it, it may be time to take action and stop the pattern.
When you value the relationship more than yourself, it may be time to self-empower. Put your oxygen mask on before assisting others! If you are unhappy, your partner is unhappy. As a reminder, you can love others only to the extent that you love yourself!
Are you having trouble deciding whether to stay in or leave your relationship? Call me at 303-506-6745 to gain clarity, improve the relationship or lovingly let it go.
About Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.
I am an intuitive therapist. I am known for my “uncanny intuitive gifts” and blend this skill with transpersonal psychology and counseling to help you gain insight, awareness, healing and growth in love, work and life.
Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, I have counseled and educated hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. I help people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.
Do you need clarity and peace of mind? I am here to assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. I also provide intuitive and self development classes.
I have been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and have been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. My work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education, mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.
I graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human-performance improvement technologies.
I provide counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.
To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.
Copyright © 2016, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.