Why relationships fail

I just spent the weekend with someone that I have been friends with for nearly 30 years so I feel like I know a thing or two about how to make relationships last… but I don’t. I do however know a thing or two about how to make relationships fail. I’m been sitting on this knowledge for a while because I’ve been thinking, “Who the fuck am I to be giving relationship advice?”

I really thought it would be a great post. I even had a great title, “The Three C’s of Relationship Failure”. But then, today, I learned of another C and decided I might as well put this out there now before I get any smarter and it becomes too much to write about. Relationships are way too complicated to put in a blog post anyway. By the way, complicated is not one of the C’s that I had thought of.  To me that is not an issue, that should just be a given if you plan on getting into a relationship.

So here are my three C’s: Communication, Compatibility and Control.

I’m going to take on Compatibility first because it’s the easiest. Some people are just not meant to be together. You want different things, you believe different things, you want to do different things; maybe you want to be with different people. That’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean that either of you are bad people. It just may mean that you don’t want to be with each other… at least not in that way. So don’t. If you do work in another way then do that. Not everybody can be everything to everybody but everyone has something to give.

I know that there are many relationships that survive between people who never talk but they are probable between people that never should have been together in the first place. Sorry, some relationships suck even if they stay together. Communication is key to any relationship and communication is not easy. Read my post Lost In Translation. I think that more relationships end because of problems with communication than anything else. I’m sure that there are other problems but the problems wouldn’t seem so big if we could just understand each other. People just want to be heard, to be seen, to matter and if there is bad communication, that is not happening.

The other one is Control and this one is big. We have control over ourselves but when we try to control others, problems are guaranteed to happen. Believe me, I get it. Shit is out of control and so the natural response is to try and control it. It just doesn’t actually make things better. Well, it may make things better for you, but this is a relationship which means it’s not all about you! You can’t MAKE a relationship work. You need to step back and LET a relationship work. I’m sorry if that’s a little Zen for you but it’s true. There are a lot of things that you can make work but a relationship is not one of them.

Okay, and then today I learned about another reason and it really makes sense to me. I call this one Competition. I know that historically relationships have been held between people of unequal status with defined roles. I think that is a totally fucked up concept but it doesn’t matter what I think; that shit just doesn’t fly these days. But competition can still occur in a relationship between equals especially if you are in the same field. In the example that I heard today they were both competing to be the best parent. Yeah, I can totally see that a being a problem. Seriously people, if you both are trying to do your best to care for a child that should be a good thing. Don’t let competition screw it up!

As I’ve been thinking about this subject I’ve come to the realization that there is another issue that is probably bigger than all the others combined. We all mess up in these areas. None of use are perfectly compatible with each other. We all struggle at communication and we all have control issues. It is in our nature to be competitive. If we want to make it work we need to learn to accept our faults and the faults of our partner. I’m not saying that every couple should just suck it up and deal but if you have found someone that you really love… then work on it.

If you have compatibility issues then work on them.

If you have communication issues them work on them.

If you have control issues then work on them.

If you have competition issues then work on them.

Love is worth it!

Advertisements

5 Secrets for a Happy Life

There seems to be a lot of interest in happiness these days. Back when I was growing up no one seemed to worry about such trivial things. We were all concerned with was “how to get rich”, “how to get power” and “how to be successful” so I’m glad to see people focusing on happiness. As a generally happy person who deals with major depression and seasonal affective disorder I spend a great deal of time thinking about how to be happy. Here are a few secrets I have uncovered:

 

Secret #1: There is no such thing as a happy life. There are happy moments, happy occasions, happy feelings, but taken as a whole, life is not exactly happy. If you are paying attention at all you may have noticed that life kind of sucks. Ignorance may be bliss but I’m afraid I can’t teach you that. If you want to have a life you are just going to have to accept that it’s not always going to be happy. Life is full of ups and downs so learn to deal with it or quit.

Secret #2: Oh good, I’m glad you didn’t decide to quit just yet because this next secret is really important. If you’re not happy it’s your own damn fault. Whatever you are doing is not working. You are fucking up. I’ve seen you do it. I’ve seen you do it over and over again. You keep doing the same stupid shit thinking that it is going to make you happy and it’s never going to work. Stop doing it!

Secret #3: Wow, I really thought that I would have lost you by now. You must be a glutton for punishment. Well, let me let you in on a little secret. You deserve better. You deserve to be happy. You have gotten a raw deal and it’s not fair. You have every reason to bitch and complain. Throw yourself a pity party. Send me an invitation. I will show up with bells on. Just know that like any party, eventually it has to come to an end, and you’re probably going to have a mess to clean up.

Secret #4: The pity party is not going to make you happy. In fact, nothing is going to make much difference. No matter what you do or what happens in your life you will probably always be the same miserable or happy-go-lucky person that you have always been. Sure, if you win a cruise or fall in love you may be happier for a little while but before long the thrill will be gone and you will be back to your old self. Likewise, if you lose your job or get in a car accident you may have some pretty shitty days but you will adjust and carry on pretty much unfazed. Some people are just naturally happier than others and there is not much you can do about it.

Secret #5: Are you still reading this? That takes a lot of tenacity. After all that bad news you are still seeking happiness. We let me tell you, you already have everything you need to be happy. Whoever you are, whatever you are dealing with you can turn that into a strength. Whatever life hands you, it is part of life, view it as a gift. If you are dissatisfied with life, use that to drive you for something better. If you find yourself comparing yourself to others and it makes you miserable, find different people to compare yourself to. There are plenty of people doing worse. The point is, whatever you are doing has got you this far. It is working and with a few minor changes, it can only get better. You already know what makes you happy – do more of that. You know what makes you unhappy – do less of that. And while you’re at it, do what you can to make the people around you happier. I do believe that there is something to the theory that happy people surround themselves with happy people. We may not be able to control who is in our life but we can make choices about how we treat them. Treat them in ways that build happiness. It may not create a “happy life” but it will create more happy moments, happy occasions and happy feelings.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are in crisis, seek help. If you are experiencing prolonged depression or sporadic mood changes that put your life or the health of others at risk, seek medical attention. My advice is meant to be along the lines of, “dude, do you really need that third bacon cheeseburger?” If you are having a heart attack, call 911! We’ll deal with your diet later.

%d bloggers like this: