Question: My boyfriend and I have been together a good 5 years. But the last one and half years have been really hard on both of us. I started to sense that he was checking out of the relationship by noticing small things like I was the only one who called, the only one who made plans for the weekends, the only one who initiated talks on our relationship. I told him how I felt and things seemed to improve for a while but not like the way they used to be. We have our good days and even some good weeks but most of the time I don’t feel like we’re in a relationship at all. It has reached a point where sometimes the only communication between us is the casual “How are you?” Our sex life is pretty much gone and when it happens – which is very rarely – there is nothing there anymore.
I move from feeling let down by him one day and the next feeling like a complete failure for not being able to make him want me. Only God knows how hard I’ve tried and continue trying to save this relationship. Everywhere I’ve sought advice I’ve been told I should just end the relationship and move on. I’m not one to run from my problems or when things don’t go my way. Sometimes I feel like he is waiting for me to end it because he doesn’t have the guts to. I love him so much and don’t want to lose him. I just feel that there is something more I can do but I don’t know what. Please help!
DJ Statix’s Answer: First up, I admire and respect you for being true to who you are and not listening to the “move on” crowd. People who run away from problems or when things don’t go their way do so out of fear of failure or because it’s a familiar reaction when things don’t go their way. Nobody ever became successful at anything by running away from it – and once a quitter, always a quitter.
The tendency for many people when they feel that the relationship is slipping away is to hold on even more tightly – cling, nag, complain, criticize, spew biting sarcasm, get angry, give ultimatums, threaten, etc. One, this does not help make things better and two, it just makes things worse.
If you really want to turn this relationship around or at least try to, my advice is for you to let go – on a mental, physical, emotional and spiritual level. Nothing kills attraction faster than “trying too hard” and nothing ends a relationship faster than trying to control it.
Letting go mentally means stop all the planning, scheming, calculating, over analyzing, worrying and obsessing about the relationship. Just stop! Stop trying so hard to force the outcome you want. Accept that there is nothing more to DO and allow yourselves to be together without trying to control the experience or the outcome.
Letting go emotionally means letting go of fear – fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of what other people will say etc. The reason you need to let fear go is because fear distorts reality and while you might be “doing only God knows” to save this relationship, your very actions which are being driven by fear are creating what you fear most. To be able to let go off your fears, you must face your emotions and allow them to inform, teach and help you. The best way to do this is to ride each wave of emotion with patience.
Letting go physically means letting your body release what it wants to. Physical activity (gym, sports, walking, dancing etc) helps. If you need to, go somewhere safe for you to scream, shout, yell etc. Let yourself go, let it out!
Sometimes letting go physically may require you to physically walk away from the situation at a time when you feel you must hold on. But do not walk away out of anger, fear, an attempt at emotional blackmail or some other weak energy. This usually backfires. Explain to him why you need time alone and offer reassurance that you’ll be back. Even if he does not see it your way, give yourself permission to do what is right for your well-being.
Letting go spiritually means believing that good things can happen anytime and even the things that look bad if you can open yourself and allow the experience to unfold will move you to a better place -whatever that place IS.
And how will letting go save your relationship?
When we’re threatened with the possibility of losing someone we love, we often don’t see the things in front of us including how our own words and actions may be more self-destructing than helpful. This is especially true when you feel like what you worked hard to build (and keep) is slipping through your fingers and there is nothing you can do about it. You feel powerless, overwhelmed and out of control so you desperately try to regain a sense of control.
The sense of having control (and power) in a relationship is very important. But in order to BE in control you have first to let go the need to control.
Doesn’t make sense, right?
It actually does when you think of letting go as releasing what no longer fits or works, or what doesn’t advance you towards your goal in order to create space for what fits or works, and what brings you closer to the desires of your heart.
Then why do most of us hold on to what no longer fits or works, or what doesn’t advance us towards our goal?
Because letting go is scary. For many of us it means giving up or giving in. Giving up or giving in means loss or defeat. If we give up then it means that’s it. It’s gone – possibly forever. And if we give in, we accept defeat and open themselves up to being controlled by another. Giving up or giving in is just not an option.
Because of the fear of “being out of control” or “being controlled” many of us are quite reluctant to let go. We hold on to the belief that the only option we have left is to try harder, scheme better, play mind games and manipulate where we can, force, push, resist, and if that doesn’t work, run and hide. We cling, nag, complain, criticize, spew biting sarcasm, get angry, give ultimatums and threaten, and if that doesn’t work, we sabotage the relationship (and ourselves), break up with the person before he/she rejects us and cut off all contact (more self-sabotage!).
Breaking up does seem like regaining that sense of control (and power) because it somehow stops us from feeling the loss or frustration with our current situations, or at least so it seems. But then, the pain from the end of the relationship takes over and you once again hold on, afraid to let go of the pain (anger, resentment, regret, guilt etc) because if you let go of even that, then you have nothing to hold on to.
In holding on to what no longer fits or works, or what doesn’t advance you towards your goal, in manipulating the outcome of things, in pushing harder and/or resisting the inevitable, you keep yourself trapped in a reality that you most wish to change. Most people become intense, easily irritable, cold and/or bitter making them unattractive and not much fun to be around.
Letting go does not necessarily mean giving up or giving in. It doesn’t even necessarily mean moving on (forget the relationship and find someone else). Letting go means clearing away unnecessary thoughts, expectations, belief systems etc; it means releasing your attachment to how things should be or how your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse should behave; it means getting real and acting from a place of authenticity; it means allowing time and space for things to happen/unfold without trying to manipulate the outcome to your favor; it means being optimistically open to possibilities, opportunities and to the (yet) unknown. This is letting go.
And when you let go like that, a new reality appears. The choices available to you become clearer. The actions that you must take towards what you really want and need become more specific. Even more importantly, by taking the pressure off both of you, you change the energy you’re working with and in turn change your reality. A more relaxed and mellow you is a more attractive and more relatable you!
This is in alignment with a principle of Psychology: If you step out of the way, the power of the subconscious will take over.
If you move yourself (ego, unnecessary thoughts, expectations, belief systems) out of the way, the power of love will take over. You can only realize the power of love when you realize that to let go is not to give up control but to be in control through conscious turning yourself over to something greater than your preconceived notions, limited perspectives, false beliefs and inconsistent optimism; and seeing clearly and listening to what it is you truly want and need. It’s that ability to be still (stop the hassling and DO-ing) and allow yourself to go with the flow of how things are right now – in the present.
In fact if you can fully master conscious letting go (moment -by-moment), you’ll realize the true control and power you have over all your relationships – and life!
Letting go is a choice – a very powerful and effective one!