Late on a Thursday evening I received a call from a distraught woman whose partner had just broken up with her out of the blue a few minutes prior to our call.
The woman was sobbing uncontrollably. For a few minutes into the call she talked about her pain – expressed how her heart was literally aching from sadness, her fears of never finding the “right” person and her anger at her partner for leaving her in spite of all the love she showered on him.
“What should I do?” she asked me after several minutes of grieving, expressing her anger, fears, love, hatred and frustration – all in one breath. I asked her to pause for a second and tell me what about the relationship made her happy? She had to think for a good minute. “I guess the security” she said finally, “or the comfort of knowing I’m in a relationship”. “Really?” I asked. “How did he make you feel in the relationship?” “Not too great” was her prompt reply. “He was verbally abusive, disrespectful, never really understood my feelings” she continued. “I see” I offered. “What made you stay on then?” I asked, genuinely interested.
She paused for a second, as though she had never thought of that one. To her a relationship probably meant hanging in there even when things got bad. “Umm…I don’t know” she offered, truly stumped. “I understand…still, any ideas?” I pushed on. She thought for another few minutes. “You know, I think it was fear. I was afraid..didn’t want him to leave. Does that make sense?” She asked after another pause. “It does” I offer, having seen this trend in many clients prior to this. “But you know I have to tell you this, I’ve been unhappy all along in this relationship…now that you bring it up…I don’t think I’ve ever felt really happy. But rather I’ve always just waited and hoped for things to get better. And you know now that I think about it, it never did get better”. She paused some some and I took the opportunity to say..”Let me ask you this, did your relationship feel nourishing and nurturing?” “Nope…not really” she replied immediately. Another pause. Then she asked…”wow….why do you think I was in the relationship then….?”
Over the next few weeks we slowly uncovered many of the deep rooted issues that had kept her in the relationship..the very important “whys” for her letting herself get into the situation that she let herself get into.
So the question I want to pose to you today is “is your relationship nurturing and nourishing?” And if it’s not what is keeping you in the relationship?