Question 1/27 from Maria:

How can I tell when a relationship becomes too strenuous and can negatively affect my health? And, how would I deal with ending my relationship?


Answer from SkillfulDoc:

Despite how we wish things to be, at any one point our relationship is a work in progress. If, as a couple, you can accept this reality and make a point to periodically redefine your goals, you will have a good chance to maintain the shared vision which is critical to long term success. The tyranny of the ego has no place here and fantasies must be amended by a working reality that supports the couple while maintaining the necessary environment for each individual to remain connected to their own personal sources of nourishment. Certainly, much of this is inclusive, however there are practical realities that involve a certain degree of independent growth. Often relationships fall apart when one or both partners fail to appreciate the importance of loving cooperation or do not honor the practice of “space in togetherness.”


In considering space in our togetherness, we must start with the issue of maintaining closeness while preserving individuality, and we must examine the aspects of intimacy, both physical and spiritual. If despite attempts to create the necessary openness and support, one starts to feel isolated and lonely, this is a serious sign that you are at risk to develop wider health concerns. And, as you might in other matters, this is a time to seek guidance and support, often from professionals who are well trained in this area. It is always interesting to me that so many people will see a doctor if they have the slightest tickle in the back of their throat, but the pain of a lonely heart can go unaddressed for decades.


When all else is exhausted, there are times, then, that the best thing to do might be to separate. This is a very complex and personal decision, but is occasionally the right choice to make. If that is your decision, I would make sure you prepare yourself for the new, often unanticipated, challenges that will require additional work before you find complete peace.


Whatever path you chose or however well you handle the reorganization, change is always difficult. Many of us find it disturbing and perplexing. Often, it comes about suddenly and without warning, throwing us for a loop, steering us of course. The fact is, anything we view as fixed or immutable, sacred or inviolable—people, institutions, ideas—will one day be something else. And while we know that change is necessary for survival—how else could a caterpillar morph into a butterfly, or as I write in my book, Skillful Living, “Without change how would my young daughter grow to become a beautiful woman?”—we often resist it.

Few things challenge us as much as the reorganization of our personal relationships, even when we know that doing so is healthy, warranted and may open the door to new and exciting possibilities. The best we can do is to keep it in perspective, continuously looking for the lessons that help us achieve the peace of mind, vitality and even the essential partnerships that we seek.




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