Many people are able to get into relationships. And many are able to attract partners who are suitable for them, physically and mentally. But for many people, their relationships do not last much more than 3 months. This is a shocking truth of the dating world. Why does this happen? Why can’t we make it last?
I’ll give you three reasons:
1. Treating a Relationship as a Transaction
You cannot be calculative when it comes to love. Counting who did what for whom leads to the death of generosity. Theoretically speaking, there’s a hidden universal law guiding human relations, which is, “If you stop giving, you stop getting.” And if that’s the way the law is, them we must not stop giving or else the relationship will die. So if you are calculative, you will count to a point where you will say, “Yep, that’s enough. I’ve given my fair share. Now it’s your turn.” But your partner may not feel it’s their turn yet. So don’t calculate. Keep giving generously and you partner will return your love when the time is right.
2. Not Being Patient or Sensitive Enough
Relationships are delicate because human emotions are delicate. You can bring the strongest relationship to its knees with a single quarrel. You don’t even need to do it in person; over the telephone will do. You can end a good relationship with words that hurt, no meeting needed. So if you treasure your relationship, never blow your top. Your partner deserves your best behaviour. And the more love you invest in them, the more they will love you for it.
3. Idealistic Demands
Some people are more idealistic than others. They have a vision in their minds of how they want their ideal partner to be – and they will not compromise. Usually, in life, the partners we end up with do not meet our original criteria. Maybe she doesn’t have the perfect figure or maybe he’s not exactly Prince Charming. But in the end, we still choose this person. Why so? It’s because our criteria have changed. By living long enough, you see different kinds of people. And you will start editing your criteria of what you want in a partner, circling those qualities which are important, and mentally scratching out those which are not. So if a person has a list of rigid, uncompromising qualities that they follow to the dot, they might just kick out the partner that was right for them.
If it were so easy to make a relationship last, our divorce rates would be lower. Even if people do not fall into the three traps listed above, there are other problems such as the possibility of meeting someone more attractive (high chance). What should you do in such a case? Here’s a principle to guide you:
“A great love relationship is not something you find, but something you build and commit yourself to.”
There are tons of beautiful people in the world and many who are physically more attractive than your partner. To some people, the grass is always greener on the other side. So what do they do? They hop over to the neighbor’s lawn! But then the lawn doesn’t seem so green anymore because they see the weeds of the person’s personality. But it looks like there’s a greener lawn next door, so they hop again! They do their partner hopping, dating and exchanging in search of the greenest lawn, but they’ll never find it because a beautiful relationship, like a beautiful garden, must be tended to and cared for. You can have ‘happily forever after’ with the partner you choose, but you must commit yourself to it. Without commitment, nothing lasts.
To sustain love, two people have to choose each other. If either partner defaults or is unsure, the whole relationship falls apart. It doesn’t matter how much you love the other person if they do not return your love. This reminds me of those Chinese drama serials where they are fond of saying, “Ai Qing Shi Bu Neng Mian Qiang De” – translated it means ‘you can’t force love’. And this will be the time when the male suitor will grip his head and cry, “Why! Why?!!”
Then he has no alternative, but to drown his sorrows in drink, and maybe get knocked down by a truck. Then the girl will visit him in the hospital where, with his dying breath, he whispers his last words of undying love… then he dies.
An Uncommitted Partner
Sometimes you might find that although you are ready to commit, your partner doesn’t want to settle. They may be on the lookout for the ideal person who can fulfill their whims and fantasies… some idealistic vision of what a lover should be. Many people believe that they can hold on to their partner and make them stay. But this isn’t true. If your partner wants to go, they will. A lover is not an inanimate object – you can’t ‘hold on’ to them – they are human beings with free will and dreams and ideals of their own. What you can do is realize that each person seeks their own happiness. Sometimes it may be with you, at other times it may not. And if you still care for this person, the best you can do is allow them to follow their dreams. Gracefully step aside and wish them well. The right partner will come along for you one day.
Case Study – “Mr. Y”
Last week we talked to Mr. Y about his hope of winning over a girl who already has a boyfriend. This week, let’s flip it and talk about what it’s like to be the person who’s about to lose their partner.
A reader wrote in regarding Mr Y’s case. She suggests that we put ourselves in the boyfriend’s shoes and see whether we like someone trying to break up our happiness. The reader suggests that Mr Y should take an altruistic approach, where he is happy the girl he loves is happy and well looked after. I didn’t want to agree (an urge to protect my client)… but after serious contemplation, I yielded because the reader has a point. The easiest way for Mr Y to be happy is to realize that he cares for the girl even though she’s chosen to be with someone else. In a way, Mr Y is a martyr who sacrifices his desire to be with her, for her happiness. Could a man do that if he loves a woman? I’m sure he could, but I doubt she would even notice his sacrifice.
“Dagger in the Heart”
Mr. Y said he felt a sharp stabbing pain in his heart when he found out that the woman he loved had recently found a boyfriend. I said, “I understand that sharp pain feeling.” Everyone who has been on the verge of losing a romantic partner has felt this sharp stabbing pain. If you haven’t, then you have not loved with all your heart.
The more you love a person; the more you care about him or her, the greater the feeling of being stabbed in the heart when they betray or cheat your love. Although the normal reaction to being dumped is to go ballistic and tell your lover what a piece of trash they are, your heart feels like a knife has sliced through it. This heart-pain is there because buried under your anger, there is love.
When our partner betrays our love, there are two immediate feelings – the part that feels cheated, and the part that still cares. On one hand, we hate them for hurting us, and we want to hurt them back. On the other hand, we still have feelings for them, so just the thought of breaking up is hurting our soul. So what you need to realize is the deep stabbing pain you feel in your heart is not the pain of rejection, but the pain of trying to hate someone you love. Only when you can admit that you still care, and stop trying to hate them, the two parts dissolve and become one whole. The pain disappears.
If you want to find an ideal partner, you first have to BE an ideal partner. Give your partner first-class treatment – be infinitely patient, loving, and giving. This doesn’t mean you do not settle differences, but that you do it in a calm and gentle manner. Don’t be calculative about giving. Give with all your heart and trust that your partner appreciates the love you give. They will return it to you when you least expect it. Realize that some of your demands are idealistic and unnecessary, drop them or change them. And finally, strive to become the best you can be in mind, body, and spirit; socially, financially, and emotionally because the better you become as a person, the better a partner you will attract.
Good luck and may you build the love life of your dreams.