This may not be the most comfortable blog post that you will read today. That is, if you are a multiple blog reader. When you keyword search, "healthy relationships" it is unlikely that you will come up with a tag line about being comfortable with yourself first. Boundaries will surely come up as well as open communication. Being “ok” with being by yourself, all by yourself, does not sound very appealing unless you’re a pure introvert and even then, there are limits.
So, what am I talking about when I say it is essential to be ok being alone to have a healthy relationship?
Over the years I have lost count of how many men I have worked with that are in horrible relationships and stay in horrible relationships. I tell them that essentially their picker is broken, and they laugh and laugh, then go home only get into another argument or they pick up a drink to try and avoid the argument. Eventually, almost as scripted, I hear them say “I just don’t want to be alone.”
The price that is paid for companionship in a dysfunctional relationship in your sanity. Many times, in these toxic relationships, there is so much isolation from outside influences that both parties feel stuck. The reason for this isolation can come from many different places, but most of the time it is because they don’t want others to see how unhappy they are and they want to keep some sort of illusion going. Guess what? They are all aware of the nature of your relationship. Now I could spend a good part of the day writing about why people get into and stay in unhealthy relationships. Instead, I would like to spend a few minutes talking about starting the steps necessary to get healthy.
Identify what parts of you that are being sacrificed to stay in the relationship. (i.e., Sense of humor, friends, family, career.)
Make a list of Must and Must Nots. I have given the exercise many times over the years, and it can be very enlightening. Listing what you feel that you must have to be happy as well as what is unacceptable.
Spend a day “off the radar”. I know this can be tuff but do your best to find a way to take a day away from people, places, things, and just be. A long hike or drive can give a lot of time for reflection. That reflection is going to suck, and I am sorry for that.
Figure out what your part is in the disfunction. Lack of boundaries, fear of conflict, past trauma that needs to be worked through. Knowing is crucial.
Action. If you can change something, then change it. If you don’t know how, ask for help from family, friends, counselors, books. Guess what happens if you don’t act. Absolutely nothing…….
At Mind Works Counseling in Lubbock Texas, we specialize in counseling for men and are willing and able to help you navigate the complexities of your relationships. The point is: you don't have to feel stuck in your relationship for even one more day.
Learn more about the Men's Counseling services we offer.
Contact us to schedule and appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.