Monthly Archives: July 2017

Decide When to End a Long-term Relationship

What if your relationship is pretty good, like a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10? Should you stay, openly committing to that relationship for life? Or should you leave and look for something better, something that could become even better?

This is the dreadful state of ambivalence. You simply aren’t sure one way or the other. Maybe what you have is good enough and you’d be a fool to abandon it in search of a new relationship you may never find. Or maybe you’re seriously holding yourself back from finding a truly fulfilling relationship that would serve you well the rest of your life. Tough call.

Fortunately, there’s an excellent book that provides an intelligent process for overcoming relationship ambivalence. It’s called Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay by Mira Kirshenbaum. I read this book many years ago, and it completely changed how I think about long-term relationships.

First, the book points out the wrong way to make this decision. The wrong way is to use a balance-scale approach, attempting to weigh the pros and cons of staying vs. leaving. Of course, that’s what everyone does. Weighing the pros and cons seems logical, but it doesn’t provide you with the right kind of information you need to make this decision. There will be pros and cons in every relationship, so how do you know if yours are fatal or tolerable or even wonderful? The cons tell you to leave, while the pros tell you to stay. Plus you’re required to predict future pros and cons, so how are you going to predict the future of your relationship? Who’s to say if your problems are temporary or permanent?

Kirshenbaum’s solution is to dump the balance-scale approach and use a diagnostic approach instead. Diagnose the true status of your relationship instead of trying to weigh it on a scale. This will provide you the information you need to make an intelligent decision and to know precisely why you’re making it. If you’re ambivalent, it means your relationship is sick. So discovering the precise nature of the disease seems an intelligent place to begin.

Each question is like passing your relationship through a filter. If you pass the filter, you proceed to the next question. If you don’t pass the filter, then the recommendation is that you end your relationship. In order to achieve the recommendation that you should stay together, you must pass through all 36 filters. If even one filter snags you, the recommendation is to leave.

This isn’t as brutal as it sounds though because most of these filters will be very easy for you to pass. My guess is that out of the 36 questions, less than a third will require much thought. Hopefully you can pass filters like, “Does your partner beat you?” and “Is your partner leaving the country for good without you?” without much trouble. If not, you don’t need a book to tell you your relationship is going downhill.

The author’s recommendations are based on observing the post-decision experiences of multiple couples who either stayed together or broke up after suffering from a state of ambivalence related to one of the 36 questions. The author then watched how those relationships turned out in the long run. Did the person making the stay-or-leave decision feel s/he made the correct choice years later? If the couple stayed together, did the relationship blossom into something great or decline into resentment? And if they broke up, did they find new happiness or experience everlasting regret over leaving?

I found this concept extremely valuable, like being able to turn the page of time to see what might happen. The recommendations are based on the author’s observations and her professional opinion, so I don’t recommend you take her advice blindly. However, I personally found all of her conclusions utterly sensible and didn’t find any surprises. I doubt you’ll be terribly surprised to read that a relationship with a drug user is virtually doomed to failure. But what about a relationship with someone you don’t respect? What about a long-distance relationship? Or a relationship with a workaholic who makes 10x your income? Would you like to know how such relationships tend to work out if the couple stays together vs. if they break up?

Kirshenbaum explains that where a break-up is recommended, it’s because most people who chose to stay together in that situation were unhappy, while most people who left were happier for it. So long-term happiness is the key criteria used, meaning the happiness of the individual making the stay-or-leave decision, not the (ex-)partner.

If you’re facing a “too good to leave, too bad to stay” dilemma, I highly recommend this book. You’ll breeze through most of the filters, but you’ll probably hit a few that snag you and really make you think. But I recommend this book not just for people who aren’t sure about the status of their relationship but also those with healthy relationships who want to make it even better. This book will help you diagnose the weak points of your relationship that could lead to break-up and allow you to consciously attend to them.

Relationship Dynamics

One of the areas in which I had early glimpses of these realizations and lessons in energy is that of relationships, especially romantic relationships. It goes without saying that relationships are very important to most of us and represent an extremely important aspect of our human experience, as Trine and Gandhi above so articulately expressed it. So of course most clients will want information on this area of their lives.

I’ve looked at many, many relationships over the past several years, including those a client was involved in at the time of a session, those from a client’s past, and future relationships. I’ve also looked at nonromantic relationships, including those with friends, parents, children, other family members, work colleagues, etc. I have increasingly gained insight into how relationships work (and why they do work at times and often do not work) and what the causative or contributing factors to the dynamics operative in this aspect of our lives may be. Over time, I gradually saw several factors that I feel influence the dynamics and viability of relationships.

Early on in looking at romantic relationships I was primarily sensing how people’s energies resonated – or didn’t resonate well – and how that energetic resonance between the two of them affected both the dynamics of the relationship and the positive or negative aspects of what the people in the relationship were experiencing. Some people’s energies resonated quite well. Other people’s energies quite simply abraded.

For example, I’ve seen relationships in which one person’s energy was overwhelming the other’s energy. This often leads to the latter person feeling overwhelmed and powerless or constrained, certainly not a pleasant way to feel in a relationship. I’ve also seen relationships in which one person’s energy is warm and expansive and the other person’s energy is cooler or indifferent and/or contracted or narrow. This is also not a good interaction of energies. As telling as these dynamics of energy resonances were, I came to learn in time, however, that there were factors involved other than just the resonance of energies that contributed to whether relationships were good, workable, or true partners or “soul mates.”

Learning Relationships

“How savage is love that plants a flower and uproots a field; that revives us for a day and stuns us for an age!”

-Kahlil Gibran

I soon came to see how people’s inauthentic stuff – their issues – affected the dynamics in a relationship. Because the inauthentic overlay contributes to and affects one’s general energy, this inauthentic stuff will often be part of what is resonating (or abrading) between two people’s energies.

Often the pull between two people will be their “stuff” resonating, rather than who they really are. For example, one of the more common manifestations of this type of resonance occurs when a dependent person who may also be sensitive emotionally and/or come from some sort of abusive background is romantically involved with someone with strong and controlling energy; or when one person who is open emotionally and needs to connect and communicate openly with his/her partner is involved with someone who is closed down or withdrawn emotionally and thus neither available emotionally nor oriented towards truly openly connecting with someone. I have seen instances in which two people’s “stuff” is so complex and mutually resonating that they appear to fit together like a complex system of reciprocal keys fitting into each other’s locks. Often a condition of button-pushing and/or mutual interdependence in an unhealthy manner results from this type of resonance. (Hence, the term codependence.) Relationships of this type often exemplify a mixture of contradictory energies; they may be love/hate relationships or be full of volatility – and are rarely “clear sailing.” They are also frequently quite painful and can be emotionally draining.

This type of relationship, that is based on the inauthentic stuff resonating is often, as you may suspect, doomed to failure. I have seen many clients who were in this type of relationship and who may have stuck it out for years because they have both resistance to and inertia over getting out of the situation. Other clients may extricate themselves in a shorter period of time. If, how, and when these relationships are resolved is usually a function of the individual’s process and growth and his/her readiness for or resistance to change.

Usually when the decision is made to leave the relationship, it is because the person initiating that change has grown personally to the point where the personal lessons from the relationship are learned and the relationship no longer serves a purpose or feels the same. In other words, the resonance is no longer there. (This latter instance is representative of the common phenomenon that, as we learn and grow, we may grow past the people we’ve been close to, if they are not also evolving and growing. Kristen Zambucka described this phenomenon when she stated that, “We outgrow people, places, and things as we unfold. We may be saddened when old friends say their piece and leave our lives…but let them go. They were at a different stage and looking in a different direction.” This can be disconcerting to us, especially if we don’t realize that, if our energies are no longer resonating, any former feeling of closeness usually evaporates – and if we further don’t realize that this “changing of partners” is indicative of something positive in us, i.e., our personal growth.)

Over time and through repeatedly seeing a number of this type of relationship, I came to realize that these relationships that are based on the partners’ inauthentic stuff resonating are what I now call learning relationships. In other words, we often enter into some relationships primarily to learn and grow by working on our inauthentic stuff, and this purpose of learning tends to be the primary raison d’être for this type of relationship. This is distinguished from the soul mate or partner relationship in which we may be stimulating each other’s growth, but it’s not the sole purpose for the relationship.

The Potential of Any Relationship

At the moment any pairing occurs, a new dynamic is produced which is termed a relationship. Relationships occur on so many levels: parent and child, marriage, boss and worker, teacher and student, siblings, in-laws, law and criminal, doctor and patient, stalker and victim, clergy and parishioner, to name a few.

Regardless of how many people we meet and the circumstances under which we meet them, in a split second of time a unique relationship is formed, one that did not exist prior to that moment and will cease to exist if the two people involved choose not to pursue it. Some of these meetings are brief such as a waitress handing you a cup of coffee. Some last a lifetime such as family members or marriage partners.

The bond that occurs between a mother and a child at the moment of birth is unique. After many years of refusing to allow the father to be present at the birth, the medical establishment currently encourages the father’s participation. The split-second bonding that the mother has always experienced is now available to the father. Yes! Nothing can equal that incredible moment and nothing can capture it once it has passed without the father’s participation. The mother really does not have a choice at childbirth; her participation is mandatory.

Suppose I have ten friends. Each pairing provides a unique friendship. This takes nothing away from my other nine friends and enlarges each of our lives because of those friendships. I am bettered and my friend is bettered by our friendship. If I am a better person because of that friendship, I will be a better person to all my other friends, family, co-workers, etc. Whatever adds to my personal dimension in a positive fashion affects everything I do and everyone I touch with my more positive self. Conversely, if I am in a relationship that is negative, that negativity also affects all other relationships in which I participate if I am in any way diminished or compromised in the experience of that one relationship. I have been lessened therefore I am less than what I could be with all whom I come in contact.

To me there seem to be parts or stages to relationships in general. There is an initial introductory part… the beginning. Next comes the process, duration and nature of the relationship. A third stage might have to do with endings or finality. This would translate loosely to a beginning, a middle and an end. I am sure there are other divisions or stages to explore. Each stage has myriad possibilities for experience as each relationship is unique. Astrologically we can easily look at the potential of any relationship (the beginning) and we can also look at the reality of the relationship (the middle and possibly the end).

At times the potential and the reality of a relationship work harmoniously. What we see is what we get. At other times a relationship does not live up to its potential. What we see is not what we get. It would be helpful to compare both possibility and reality to determine which relationships have a better chance of success in real life terms. In this article we will examine the potential of the relationship using the composite wheel. The reality of a relationship will be covered in a companion article.

The method by which you construct a composite wheel is to start with the natal (birth) wheels of each of the two individuals involved. Briefly, there are 13 major points that are traditional when reading astrologically: the Sun, Moon, and the eight planets, the ascendant, midheaven and lunar nodes. Thirteen points are primary out of a possible 360-degree circle for each person

At this point you must do a very unusual thing with your mind. You must stop thinking of the individuals involved and keep your focus on the relationship as an entity. This wheel is not about the individuals, no matter how much one individual wants to slant it in their own direction. This map is about the potential of the relationship that is formed not the individual people involved. I am repeating the word potential for a reason. Because of the mathematics involved, this artificial wheel assumes that the two people involved will meet each other half way on all issues, 50/50, and that is not remotely possible in any society. There must be give and take between the two people involved in any relationship but equalization on all issues is a fantasy. The composite allows you to see the idealized potential but may not fit the actuality of the experience over time. Why?

At the beginning of any meaningful relationship, the people involved really have high hopes for the relationship and are on their best behavior to ensure that the relationship continues. This is an unnatural behavior because none of us can be on our best behavior forever. Sooner or later we will relax into normalcy (for us) and that produces change in the relationship. It is not faking or intentional, it is natural. Most of us will do whatever we must to cement a relationship and then we relax. Over time the potential that enticed us may not turn out to be our actual experience. This can be disillusioning and disappointing but it may not be deliberate. Eventually we each will be true to our own selves as the “ideal” gives way to “reality.” If we have made the mistake of putting one another on pedestals this could be devastating as one or both fall off those pedestals. The repercussions from such falls can get very nasty.

New Relationships

What do you think might happen if you started creating new relationships on purpose? And what if you attached an immediate dollar amount value to each of those new relationships?

That’s what I did several years ago and my results have been nothing short of amazing. I know it might sound cold and calculating to think like this, but bear with me.

It all started one evening as I was doing an Internet business seminar for a local S.C.O.R.E. chapter. I was talking about how to increase the value of email in your business. I looked down and, by chance, in my materials, I had one of those thousand dollar bill bookmarks you can buy at your local bookstore. Hold one up and it looks just like a $1,000 bill.

I wanted to impact the audience on the importance of building their email list so I told them they should treat each email address as if someone just handed them a $1,000 bill and I held up that bookmark.

Then I said, ” How would you like to build One New Relationship A Day. And how many of those relationships would you like that each one puts an additional one thousand dollars in your pocket?”

The reaction was immediate. Some audience members sat up. Some smiled broadly. Many whom I thought was asleep began asking questions. What I had discovered was the value label I attached to their future relationships that could begin with an email dialog made sense to them. They no longer just saw an abstract email address. They saw potential income.

I knew I had stumbled on to something and so my little “on purpose” relationship income experiment began. I started thinking what would happen if I purposely viewed every email relationship I created as a potential income stream that was worth a minimum of one thousand dollars and worked toward that goal. Of course, I believed each one would have to be a win-win and without a doubt there had to be real value for both parties involved.

So, from that day forward, every time the phone would ring, when I met someone new, received a referral or an email request I began to feel the anticipation as if I had just earned another one thousand dollars. Some days I would make cold calls or go to places out of the blue with the intention of meeting just one person.

From then on I started each day knowing I was going to meet someone new and create another relationship on purpose. Some days the momentum is so great I created multiple new relationships with. It’s became quite remarkable. I started attracting more people who wanted to work with me and give me money. Imagine that.

At some point I begin to track daily the purposeful creation of these new relationships. With each one I had a short conversation to discover what they needed and how I might be able to help them. Each time, in the back of my mind, I knew we would each at some point put a thousand dollars or more into our respective pockets.

To help you better understand this concept let me familiarize you with two terms I created for my experiment. They are Relationship Value and Relationship Income.

Relationship Value and Relationship Income

RV is the abstract value that you place on a new relationship. RI is the actual income that comes to through new relationships you create on purpose.

I know not every relationship manifests into one thousand dollars in RI from a client or customer, but it doesn’t matter. I just know that each new relationship will eventually lead to one that does. So each new relationship actually increases my RV.

Every day it happens. It’s incredible to watch as one person leads to another. New situations that create new income. Each new relationship somehow puts RI or trackable relationship income into my pocket.

Now I know the idea of building new relationships is nothing new for you, but perhaps focusing your intention on purposely defining one new relationship a day is.

I personally define a “new relationship” as having that initial conversation that helps outline how the relationship will develop. For me those are usually phone calls that last about 20 minutes or an email dialog that goes beyond one or two emails. That’s enough time for me to realize what I need to do to begin the process with that new person.

I make a physical note of the day, how they came to me and the talking points from our initial conversation. I don’t do anything else. I just continue my day and move on to the next relationship if there are any more for that day.

What makes this concept so amazing is I’ve gone back through my tracking sheets to see the results of these new “on purpose” relationships. Over the last 18 months there has been a dramatic increase in my actual income, my resources and my business holdings. I can attribute much of it to my creating one new relationship a day on purpose.

Most of us have learned to understand the value of relationships, but until I started following the path and tracking new relationships I never realized how much control I had over the income that would come from “purposely focusing” on creating new relationships.