Are you in the right relationship?

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2007

Situation 1: Catherine was a journalist. She lost her husband in her forties and literally avoided serious dating for fifteen years, claiming that nobody she had dated met her expectations. Then, suddenly, she encountered two men, both of whom she liked and dated. She was attracted to both. She duel-tracked till each of her pursuers proposed a committed relationship leading to marriage.

Situation 2: “We had a really good partnership for more than thirteen years,” says Peter about his second marriage, “but it all went awry when my wife went through an endless midlife crisis.” Two years later they were divorced.

Now in his sixties, Peter reduced his consulting work, took time out for travel and explored a number of relationships. Enjoying single life for a few years, he admitted to feeling quite lonely at times. That’s when he got a call from his ex-wife asking for help because of medical problems. Because they had remained friends, he responded positively and was surprised how much he liked spending time with her.

Over the next six months they gingerly explored getting back together. Then, at a business meeting, he met a woman who intrigued him. The attraction was mutual. Both single and living in the same town, they started seeing each other. Right from the beginning Peter was honest about exploring the possibility of reuniting with his ex. His new friend seemed quite understanding and suggested to simply explore a friendship and give Peter time to gain clarity about his situation.

The conflict and how to resolve it:

Rule 1: For Catherine and Peter to resolve their conflict honorably and constructively, complete honesty and disclosure is mandatory. It is not uncommon that a person finds him or herself in a state of indecision. Asking for time is not an unreasonable request as long as all involved are given all the facts. Consequently, all parties have the ability to decide what feels right for them: continue or exit.

Rule 2: While it seems that Catherine and Peter are in control regarding the ultimate outcome, not so if the truth is revealed. Each involved participant has a choice to make. The issues to resolve for each are based on a deep examination of their feelings. They all need to sit back, look within, listen to their inner voice and hear what it says. Actually writing down what the “gut” reveals is crucial. Feelings don’t lie.

Rule 3: Ask the right questions. What is it that makes me happy? What activities, what pursuits, conditions would make my life whole? What qualities do I admire in a partner, what can I not live with? What are the elements that make me feel secure, cared for, trusting and comfortable? What are my needs and expectations and are they realistic? Can I be a true partner to the person I hope to share my life with?

Write down the answers and review if that’s what you really feel. Overruling your inner voice with your brain will probably lead to making wrong choices.

Inner exploration is not easy, and may be more difficult for men.

There is nothing wrong in sorting things out with an objective friend or seeking professional help. Most importantly, be sure you’ve gained clarity and understand what your feelings tell you. Then go with your heart to create the loving life you seek.

Jacqueline Brandwynne has worked in the health and beauty industry for more than 25 years and is creator of the Very Private line of products. Visit her at http://www.veryprivate.com.

Categories: Very Private

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