Developing Lasting Relationships


 Christopher Easton

Relationships are one of the the most talked about and analyzed topics in the world.  How To Books are written all the time on the do’s and don’ts.  So how does a person develop a long lasting relationship with someone.  Most relationships start with you constantly thinking about the other person.  Desiring to be with them all the time.  Liking everything about them. Then as time goes on you begin to have less and less desire for them.  Things that you once liked about them now drive you crazy.  You find you spend less and less time with them.  So what has happened to the fire that was present in the beginning?  Why does it seem like it is barely a flicker after a certain amount of time?  There are a number of reason why we tend to believe that the the relationship is headed to an untimely demise.

One of the first things that happens in all relationships is that we believe that the other person is the cause of all our feelings.  “They make me feel_______.  I feel like ________ when I am with them.  When they aren’t with me I feel like______.  All of those statements put the creation of your feeling on the other person.  This is a false belief because the only person that can make you feel anything is you.  We are the ones that create the feeling(s) that we then link to the other person.  We then conclude that they are creating our feelings. All of this can be avoided if you are willing to take responsibility for the creation of your thoughts and feelings as well as expressing what is going on for YOU in the moment.  No one can make you feel or think anything.  Only you can do that.  Once, you understand that you are the one creating your feelings and thoughts then you realize you can have those wonderful feelings and thoughts no matter how long you have been in relationship with someone.

Another trap we fall into in relationships is we stop looking at our partner as an ever changing person.  We stop looking at them as brand new every moment.  The tendency is to start taking them for granted at some point in the relationship.  This leads us back to the belief that they create our thoughts and feelings.  Which heads us down the road of complacency and we begin to drift apart.  Take the time to really look at your partner every day as if you had never seen them before.  When you do this you have to let go of your past.  If you bring your focus to the moment and really look, you will have the opportunity to have a different experience then you normally do.  

Probably the biggest roadblock in any relationship is the lack of true expression.  What is meant by this.  It means expressing what is going on for you in the moment while eliminating blame.  Which takes us back to what was stated before which is YOU create your thoughts and feelings not the other person.  The problem with this is that we tend to be very vested in being RIGHT.  From the point of having to be RIGHT there is no room for anything else.  Which means you are driving a wedge into your relationship.  At some point you will have to drop the addiction to RIGHT in order to make any changes in the relationship.  

How do you stop your play with RIGHT, well you have to let go of the fear of being WRONG.  You see the only reason we desire to be RIGHT all the time is to avoid being WRONG.  In most relationships both people are so afraid of being WRONG that they will hang on to their righteous position even if it means destroying the relationship.  The thing we all have to realize is the RIGHT and WRONG are not really the issue, they are just covering up something else that we are unwilling to look at.  What is it that we are covering up you ask?  Well, that is the million dollar question.  You will never know until you begin to relax your addiction to the RIGHT/WRONG.  The best way to begin is to express that you are playing with RIGHT/WRONG and that you would like to do something different.  Express what else is going on as well.  At first this is may cause you to feel very vulnerable, this is because you have stepped outside your normal defense mode.  IF you allow yourself to stay in that vulnerable space you begin to feel an intimacy with yourself.  By taking yourself out of the RIGHT/WRONG game your partner has nothing to battle against which will begin a shift in them as well.  This process takes courage and a willingness to feel yourself on a much deeper level.  It also opens you to an infinite number of options as opposed to just two when you play RIGHT/WRONG.  This whole process has to be started by you.  If you wait for someone else to do it it will never happen.

The key to the whole process is expression minus the blame.  Once you can express what is going on inside of you without the need to blame someone or something else you can begin to make space for a different outcome than what you are normally use to.  What that means is you can take the polarity of RIGHT/WRONG off of your expression and begin to see that there are numerous possibilities other than RIGHT/WRONG.  You can also begin to look at what the R/W is covering up.  Once you address what you are truly feeling and express it, then true transformation can take place.  As long as you are vested in being RIGHT you will miss the opportunity to change how you relate to yourself and those around you.  

This process involves letting go of your story about the other person.  This means every time you relate to your partner you have to stop running the stuff in your mind that is telling you how everything is going to play out.  The “patterned” response you have to them.  As soon as you meet someone you begin the creation of your story about them.  At first everything is wonderful.  You may notice those irritating habits but you tend to gloss over them.  “We can fix those later” is usually the way we look at them.  As your relationship grows your story about them grows as well.  You begin to believe you “know” how they will react/respond in just about every situation.  This causes you to stop seeing them in any other light other then your story of them.  They stop evolving in your minds perception of them.  As well as the story about them you create a story of how the two of you relate to each other.  There are also the sub stories that are developed over time as things happen in the relationship that you don’t like, misunderstand, don’t talk about, etc.  These stories supplement the original story and help you make a case for all the things that bother you about the other person.  

The problem with our stories is they are illusions.  They are just what they are which is a story.  Once we are vested in our story we stop the evolutionary process from being evident to us.  What happens then is we miss the fact that we, as well as the other person, are evolving.  We just can’t see it because we are stuck in a story.  Now, if you have two people in relationship and the only way they relate to each other is through their story you will end up with two very unhappy people.  If one or both people in a relationship change enough so that they no longer fit in the other person’s story something has to give. That is when you realize you really don’t know the person you are with.   Now at this point most couples call it quits.  The other option is to realize that you have been living in an illusion and begin the process of seeing who the other person really is.  This may not be easy at first because you have spent so much time and energy believing they are the person in your STORY.   If you are willing to move from a point of truthful expression around what is going on with you, take blame out of the equation and look below the surface you might be surprised at what you will find.

One way of starting the expression piece is to do reality checks.  What this is is when someone says something to you, rather then going into reaction, tell them what you heard and thought they meant by it.  Then let them express what it was that they said and meant.  Then move from that point.  We so often make multiple assumptions about what others are saying without checking, which causes us to miss what is really being said.  So the more you are willing to ask the other person what they meant by what they said gives you the opportunity to run less STORY.

One of  reason we play in the illusion of our story is to keep ourselves from finding out who we really are.  We only use stories to keep everyone in a nice little box so that we don’t acknowledge that they are changing.  In doing so we can play with the illusion that we are staying the same as well.  We do this because we “know” that if we were to allow ourselves to grow and evolve we would not be able to handle it and we would loose everything in our illusion, which we believe to be real.

The starting point for change is to realize you are the one that created the stories in the first place.  You were the one that decided to put yourself on auto pilot and let the stories guide you rather then taking responsibility for what was happening in the relationship.  At this point you could start to play with Right and Wrong, the problem with that is it just helps you create another story.  It also helps you avoid what is really going on and allows us to blame the other person. The best thing to do is begin the process of expressing what is going on for you with out linking it to the other person.  This means stating how you feel without blaming the other person for your feelings.  Your feelings have nothing to do with anyone but you.  Once you get that, you begin to realize that you can have any feeling in any situation or with any person that you chose to have.  This tends to be a little difficult at first because we have spent so much time blaming everyone and everything for how we feel or act.  Once you take responsibility for you feelings and actions you can begin the process of finding out what it is you have been hiding from yourself. 

The process of stepping out of our stories, letting go of Right /Wrong, being in the moment and beginning to express what is really going on for us can be a tough undertaking.   Yet as we begin the process of changing we will begin to see our partners, as well as ourselves, as new and ever evolving.  This will allow us to begin to realize that what is happening in our relationships is completely of our own making.  As we come to that realization we will then see that it was never about the other person but about us all the time. 

                                                                                                                         Breathe In & Beyond ©                                                                                                                                                                

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