In my counseling practice, individuals often come to me for help wondering if it is really possible to save or improve their relationship. Perhaps their partner is totally uninterested in working on the relationship. Perhaps their partner is an alcoholic or drug addict. What are their chances of saving their relationship?
Since two people always get together at their common level of woundedness, here is what I say to the partner who has sought my help: "As long as you choose to remain in this relationship, there are things for you to learn. Each partner contributes their 100% to the relationship. While it is often easy to see what your partner is doing that is harmful to the relationship, it is often difficult to see what you are doing. Yet until you learn about your part in this relationship system, you will take your own dysfunctional behavior with you into another relationship. It's generally a waste of time—unless there is physical or emotional abuse—to leave a relationship before healing your own end of the system.
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The time to leave is when you have learned to make yourself happy regardless of what your mate is doing (other than in abusive situations). When you learn to take 100% responsibility for your own feelings and needs, and if your partner is still behaving in ways that are unacceptable to you, then it's time to leave. You need to discover how to respond to your partner in ways that are loving to yourself and that support your own joy and highest good."
When the partner who is available to counseling does his or her inner work, one of two things occur. Either the other partner likes what is happening and becomes more open, or the relationship becomes more distant and difficult. I tell my clients that it is a 50-50 deal—half the time things get better and half the time they get worse. They need to be okay with either outcome. If fact, I encourage them to let go of the outcome and just be in the process of learning how to take loving care of themselves through the consistent practice of Inner Bonding.