“Holding an unhealthy relationship close is not love.” Gennon Doyle Melton
You say you love him, but he hurts you, belittles you, controls you…
He brings out the worst in you, causing you to react in unhealthy ways where you don’t even recognize who you’ve become, but “damnit I can’t support myself on my own…”
You say you can’t breathe, but you cannot let him go either.
This is the conundrum you may be facing right now in some way shape or form: You know the relationship as it is isn’t working. You know you’re not happy. You think you can’t leave. And you have no idea how to make it better.
Which leaves you with only three options, as I see it:
1. Leave your marriage…figure out the money, how to not screw up your kids and pray that you won’t be alone forever. Oh, and sign yourself up for tens of thousands of dollars in lawyer fees…because they’re financially motivated to make it as contentious as possible for you and your soon-to-be-ex.
The Problem with this Approach: If you leave, you’re taking yourself with you. So, even if 85% of the problems in your marriage are his issues, you own 15% of those problems (because it takes two)…and if you don’t learn how to create and sustain emotionally healthy and loving relationships with people, you will carry that 15% right into the next relationship and it will either feel a lot like this one or you will unintentionally sabotage it.
2. Talk about it…talk about all the things that are broken in your marriage, all the ways your husband has mistreated you or hasn’t done what he should… talk about it to a therapist for years and to your girlfriends over cocktails….Even talk about it in online forums….telling your story over and over and over and saying “me too” whenever someone has a similar experience to yours.
The Problem with this Approach: All that talk isn’t helping you. As a matter of fact, it’s the very thing that is keeping you stuck:
- Keeping you stuck in feeling helpless and well, stuck…because after all, everyone else feels that way too and my friends agree with me.
- Keeping you stuck in the questions rather than moving into the answers.
- Keeping you stuck in the same story, which doesn’t create the opportunity for a new story to be created.
3. Figure out if it’s an option to make this relationship feel good again. See if it’s possible to let each other off the hook a little bit and take responsibility for making our own selves happy. Drop the guilt and the shame and realize that no one has ever taught you how to be in relationship with another soul and how to navigate it when things aren’t going well. See if it’s possible to re-connect in a meaningful way and create a new kind of relationship together.
The Problem with this Approach: It might fail. It may not work. You may get an answer that you don’t really want. But even if that happens, at least if you walk away, you’ll know you did everything you could so there’s no second-guessing, no guilt or regret. You may even be able to walk-away in love and maintain a relationship where you can love him (or her) from afar much better than you can love him up close.
Your Answer….for Your Life…..
You see, I have no agenda for your life. I have no desire to shape your problems around the specific solution I offer as a coach. That’s just another form of manipulation and disempowerment…and I’m not about that…..
If you want to leave your marriage, if you’re truly done, then let’s just do this in a way that you can look back upon a year or two from now and say to yourself, “I’m proud of the way I handled that.” Let’s make it easy on the kids, let’s lighten the emotional load for you, let’s NOT sign-up for tens of thousands of dollars with lawyers, shall we?
If you want to see if it’s possible to make the marriage work, then let me teach you the tools that no one taught you and what led to you being in this situation in the first place (so that it doesn’t get repeated over and over again in your marriage).
I have clients that leave their marriages and find happiness (not happiness in someone else, but within themselves).
I have clients that stay in their marriages and find happiness (again, within themselves first).
I have clients that have no idea if they want to stay or go when we first start working together, but know FOR SURE what they want for themselves by the end of 8 weeks and are equipped to navigate what comes next, based upon their answer.
What I DON’T have is clients that want to hang onto their pain, their stories, their beliefs that have gotten them to where they are and kept them stuck in the pain (because I won’t work with those people).