“What is wrong with me?” – the second most popular question that sounds in the office of a psychologist after my favorite “Why doesn’t he call?” And both of these questions are very related. Because both are about relationships.
Which began beautifully and promisingly, but disgustingly and quickly ended. Or disgusting and long. Or they haven’t ended yet, but they last so that it would be better if they didn’t exist at all.
All these stories have different details, but one general pattern – everything seemed to be normal, not bad, even good, and then suddenly “he packed his things and moved, now he doesn’t even answer my calls”, “he has another woman” , “I found out that she has been sleeping with my best friend for six months”, “we only met for three months, started dating, it was the man of my dreams, but now he has disappeared and I don’t understand why.”
So why do relationships break up, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste in the soul? Why, after a relationship that lasted only six months, do you need another two years to go to psychotherapy? And the next two years shudder from the ghosts of the past. And after the collapse of a five-year relationship, it’s generally scary to go to psychotherapy, because it’s all about relationships too. Or the psychotherapist becomes the only person with whom the relationship is not frightening. Consider a simple diagram:
Part one. enthusiastic
The two met. No matter where. And How. It doesn’t matter who the two are. It is important that this period is accompanied by total euphoria and love.
Neither euphoria nor falling in love have anything to do with a real person with whom we met and are building relationships.
During this period, we love the illusion of love. And, of course, the one or the one who gives this illusion. We do not see a real person, but our ideas about an ideal relationship and an ideal partner. Everything that does not fit into this ideal, we either displace or attribute to it a different, complimentary meaning – “no, he offers to split the bill in a restaurant, not because he is mean, he is principled and does not want to seem sexist”, “she is late for two hours every time, not because she doesn’t care that I’m waiting for her, but because she wants to come to meet me as beautiful as possible, and this takes time”, “no, he got drunk and rowdy in a restaurant not because he is a drunkard and boor, but because he has such stress at work, and he trusts me, so he took the risk of relaxing in my presence.
But no euphoria can last forever if it is not fueled by stimulants. In three or four months, maybe five, the first real colors begin to seep through the caramel-marshmallow shades in pink glasses – “somehow we constantly share bills, and you won’t get a flower from him, and he kicked me out of his apartment in the rain, without even giving money for a taxi”, “beautiful is important, but it’s not plastic surgery she does every time before a date that she’s two hours late”, “somehow often he “relaxes” after stress at work, the last time I dealt with the police when he punched the waiter.” At some point, there are so many alarm bells that it is impossible not to notice them. But “people need legends”, so we immediately jump to the next stage.
Part two. optimistic
With the zeal of the first colonists who set foot on the soil of America, we say to ourselves: “We will fix this, and we will remove this altogether.” “It was without me that he was like that (she was like that), but with me everything will be completely different. And yes, smart books on near-psychology teach us “relationships need to be worked on.”
And we plunge into the work with our heads. Especially women. We begin to adjust the partner to our beautiful picture of love. With the help of insults, moralizing and claims. At the first stages, sex somehow reconciles with the imperfection of the partner. But soon he starts to unravel. Which is not surprising. After all, the virus “he’s not the way I want,” and all this sediment after quarrels spreads to the bed too.
It’s funny how a lot of people don’t give up. “Sex is not the main thing,” they decide. And they continue to fight against the “windmills”. The next phase is coming.
Part three. Separated
So, in the relationship from the very beginning, everything was bad, even sex, and that was bad or there was almost none at all. And then we spent so much effort on correction, on fitting, on working on relationships. But all in vain, he or she has not changed.
Here comes either an explosion or a quiet “drain” of one of the partners. And of course the question “What is wrong with me?” And regrets “I spent so much effort”, “I spent so much time and money.”
This whole scheme is clearly visible when you work with the wives of alcoholics. They come in the phase of sharp accusations and resentments “and he, the cattle.” What follows is a long and terrible list of how the wife, children, and parents suffer from drinking binges of an alcoholic. Or quietly crying “why am I being punished?”. But when you start asking how the relationship began, it almost always turns out that from the very beginning the man was drinking. But at first she didn’t notice, because she wanted to get married so much, then she believed that she would fix it, then she corrected it herself and with the help of the birth of children, and in the end ended up where she was, at the point of impotence and disappointment.
So what to do? Don’t fall in love? Sift everyone with a fine sieve? Throw everyone who does something wrong that we like?
No. You can and should fall in love. But healthy relationships differ from unhealthy ones in that partners from the very beginning say what they suddenly do not like in a friend. Not only do they speak, but they also hear others. When he slows down, because she asks him not to drive, because she is afraid of speed. She stops using harsh perfume because he is allergic to its smell.
When he buys her not just a bouquet on duty, but her favorite flowers, because he wants to please her, and not tick the “ritual completed” box. When she doesn’t cook buckwheat or makes him another side dish, that’s why he doesn’t like buckwheat since childhood.
Don’t be afraid to part with someone who doesn’t hear you. Hearing each other is the only possible work on relationships. Everything else is a deception, an illusion.
Deception is also something that can change another person. Habits can be corrected, but essence cannot be changed. If a person drinks, then with you, without you, he will drink. If a person is a boor and rowdy, then he will swear and fight, no matter how much you take him to the conservatory.
Don’t be afraid to be alone. Keeping a difficult and painful relationship in order not to be alone is stupid. They will still fall apart. Only the more you get stuck in them, the more devastated you will come out. Self-sufficient people are resourceful. The resource is always attractive.
Never stay in a relationship “for the sake of the kids.” If your partner was a good parent, then after the divorce, he will remain so. If he was bad in marriage, then what is the point of keeping both a bad spouse and a bad parent?
Love each other, not your illusion of love.