Katheryn and Mathew, both in their 50’s, have been together for two years. Both have been previously married and divorced. When they met, they fell madly in love, which lasted for a few months. Then the conflicts started.
Both Katheryn and Mathew left their marriages because they were with partners who were completely unwilling to open to learning in conflict. They both wanted to find a partner who would learn and grow with them. They found each other at a personal growth seminar.
However, each time a conflict occurs, which is often at this point in their relationship, they both threaten to leave. Katheryn is consistently yelling, “I’ve had it! I’m leaving!” while Mathew yells, “Why don’t you just leave!” They each have a foot out the door.
Katheryn and Mathew are stuck in a typical control-resist relationship system. Katheryn wants to leave because she is so frustrated by Mathew’s constant withdrawal and resistance, while Mathew wants to leave because he can’t stand Katheryn’s constant attempts to control him and make him responsible for her feelings.
Leaving is a waste of time for Katheryn and Mathew. Actually, these two people have exactly what they asked for – someone to learn and grow with. Both Katheryn and Mathew are willing to learn and explore at some point after the conflict. Each is slowly becoming more aware of their end of their dysfunctional relationship system. If they leave, they have no one to come up against, no one who triggers their issues, so their issues will not be addressed until they are in another relationship. Then the same issues will surface.
The people I work with often believe that it would be easier to start over with someone else, or easier to be alone. I assure them that, in my experience, all learning and growing relationships are very challenging – that all couples who desire to create a really wonderful and loving relationship have to go through the trenches of healing their woundedness within the relationship. It may be easier to be alone, but it’s lonely and the major relationship issues never get healed.
If you are a person who deeply desires to continue your emotional and spiritual growth, and you are with a partner who also desires this, than DON’T LEAVE. No matter how bad the fights get or the distance gets – unless there is continued physical violence or intense emotional/verbal abuse - keep at it. It’s too easy to leave, too easy to blame the other person, too easy to miss the incredible opportunity that relationships provide for healing and growth.