Can This Relationship Be Helped?

By

Can This Relationship Be Helped?
Can a relationship be saved or improved if one partner is resistant to change?

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.

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.

This article was originally published at Inner Bonding . Reprinted with permission.
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Margaret Paul

Author

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
Other Articles/News by Dr. Margaret Paul:

Are You Addicted To Love?

By

Have you ever felt confused about whether your feelings in a relationship were coming from a healthy place or from a wounded place? This is Mari's concern: "How would you describe the difference between obsession/addiction and devotion? When you are deeply in love and moved to be emotionally and physically intimate with someone, how can you tell ... Read more

How Do YOU Feel About That? Avoiding Projection In Relationships

By

"I think I'm an open person, but Sarah keeps telling me how closed I am. She gets furious when she wants to talk about our relationship and I don't." Matthew, in his late 20s and married to Sarah for 2 years, had consulted me due to relationship problems and was feeling a lot of confusion about their relationship system. "There ... Read more

Get Over Fights Like A Grown-Up

By

Most couples fight at times. Unless they fight unfairly—hitting below the belt and saying very hurtful things or becoming physically abusive—this is generally not a problem. Couples who engage in verbal or physical abuse need to either get help on both an individual and relationship level or leave the relationship. Ongoing verbal and physical ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.