Our relationship has become difficult because we are both trying to heal ourselves. Do I stay or go?
The questioner's philosophy
I have been with my partner now for almost 5 years. It has been one of the most emotional times of my life. Since I had met him I was overcoming anorexia (he sort of helped me find a safety that I had not felt before with any thing else) and then when our relationship blossomed I slowly became bulimic over time. In the past few years we have over time, become what I would say is the worse of ourselves.
He was always a quiet person with other people but since a few things happened (his mum suddenly died was one huge impact) he has become more and more withdrawn and has anxiety about lots of things. For me, I had issues of rage which I felt all of a sudden during our relationship with him. There was a lot of shame for me, that I had such anger and would even hit him, but he always forgave me. I often think that I was taking advantage of his love and over time became less respecting of him, and more controlling.
So we have had a lot of problems in our relationship and I continually really want to get better and over come my eating disorder. But I find it really hard, because I react to his insecurities and it's hard for me to stay 'feeling good' when I sort of feel pulled down with his negativity. It seems that the things which I felt at first which attracted me to him (sense of humor, quiet but gentle nature, generosity and love) are all getting smaller and smaller in our relationship. I have talked to him about how we have our own problems to manage and I believe that he will work on his and me on mine. But so my question remains, do I stay while we are both trying to heal ourselves?
Having said that, I can offer some helpful guidelines on whether you should break up with someone or not:
1) Are you growing?
Relationships can be easy or they can be difficult - this is not the issue, the issue is, are you growing while in this relationship. If you are, then there is love present. If not, then love is not present and the relationship serves no purpose. It is not alive, it is dead. In which case why care for a dead thing!
2) Have you lost your heart connection?
Relationships are of the heart. They are about love. For this to be true you need to feel a heart connection with your partner. The nature of this connection is difficult to put into words because in essence it is a soul connection and therefore beyond description, but I think you will know what I mean.
3) Have you lost your mind connection?
Perhaps you have stopped communication on issues that appear just too complicated and painful. As a result you no longer know what your partner is thinking or what his intentions are. When this happens your mind can begin to make up all sorts of "stories" about your partner which are completely untrue. The presence of such "stories" only add to your feelings of separation.
4) Have you lost your physical intimacy?
Have you stopped giving one another hugs and surprise kisses? Has intimacy vanished from the bedroom and you lay beside one another strangers in the same bed? Physical intimacy often suffers when the relationship stops growing and the mind and heart connection is lost.
5) Are your difficulties temporary or permanent?
When your relationship has stopped growing and you have lost your heart, mind and physical connection the next thing to discern is whether this is a temporary state or a permanent one. Knowing this boils down to one key issue - are you prepared to fight for your relationship? Fighting for your relationship means being prepared to do whatever it takes to re-establish your heart, mind and physical connection and get the relationship growing again. Doing whatever it takes includes a deep and profound soul searching for errors you have made and a willingness to apologize for them, a reaching out to your partner with love, despite the hurt you feel, taking the initiative to open up meaningful conversations with your partner about the most fundamental difficulties between you and continuing to communicate until these issues have been successful resolved. It also means re-establishing your physical expressions of love for one another - rekindling physical intimacy. Doing this will re-establish your heart, mind and physical connection and will kick start huge personal growth and healing.