How often does a person see someone they think is fine or at least interesting, go out a couple of times and then before you know it, they’re in a relationship? Reminds me of that old joke: Question: What does a lesbian bring on the second date? Answer: a U-Haul.
Too many times, we jump into relationships before we really know anything about the person. Or we do so before we really know anything about ourselves. We haven’t asked some important questions such as, what does this person bring to the relationship? What do I bring? What are the expectations? What may need to be revealed or healed? What do we really want out of the relationship? Are we in it to win it?
As a result, we allow ourselves to become entangled in “conflama;” that’s conflict plus drama – either theirs or our own. We get caught up in a tangled web of unresolved and unhealed stuff, popularly known as baggage. We find ourselves in a codependent trap: “I won’t call you on your stuff, if you don’t call me on mine.” And, even when we become aware, we aren’t necessarily equipped to deal with it in a healthy way. Problems arise that neither person knows how nor is willing to resolve. And the beat goes on.
For example, there is a woman who experienced 19 years of what can be called serial monogamy – three or four years with one person, one or two years with that one, and on, and on, and on. Ugh. It wasn’t until there was a willingness to get clear within herself and to set some boundaries about what she was and was not willing to accept or settle for, that she was able to create a healthy, loving, and long-sustaining relationship with her now wife of 27 years.
Ideally, when we enter into a relationship, we want to do it with:
Of course, these are some foundational things that contribute to strong relationships. There are other things that help us build healthy and thriving relationships. For now, do your own independent investigation and begin within. Ask yourself, “Am I in a relationship or an entanglement? Do I need support in shifting if the answer is the latter?” We get to do our own inner work to produce the outer results that we desire.