in: Dating & Relationships

5 Reasons NOT to Run When You Two Hit a Rough Patch

What once seemed oh-so-promising now seems to be the source of all your bad moods; before you run, pause. And let this rough patch be a source of growth.

Here’s what we know: Relationships can be hard. And messy. And painfully disorienting.

We also know they can enrich and expand our lives in directions we couldn’t even consider on our own. The goodness of new relationships makes us grateful we held out for ‘the one,’ and inspires us in the hope of happily ever after—or something like it. Like Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” and what are our relationships if not life at its most essential?

For better or worse, relationships call us out to our edges; they shape and teach us; and they inform the ways we show up in the world by bringing our issues to the surface and by triggering our flight responses once the honeymoon wanes. Relationships can also bring up the best that’s in us, can heal our wounds, and blow the lid off of our old notions of love.

In the early stages of new love, the first waves buoy our spirits and renew our faith in the possibility of healthy partnership. When it’s smooth sailing we more or less know what to do: we stay (unless we’re in self-sabotage mode). But what happens when the waters turn choppy at the first signs of trouble—the first time the romantic soundtrack skips and you find you’re not only not on the same page, but you’re in different books altogether? 

The first realization that your relationship isn’t perfect—ie your partner doesn’t in fact read your mind, walk on water, or require ‘no maintenance’—most likely means it’s normal and will therefore require work. In those situations that jar our sense of kismet and perfection, it would seem there are suddenly plenty of reasons to cut and run, but there might also be just as many arguments for sticking with it. 

Make no mistake, if you have reason to believe your new partner intends to do you or the both of you harm in any way, then there’s no negotiation: leave. But if you’ve endured that first sobering wave of relationship reality and still feel there might be even a sliver of a chance at success, then suit up, team! If you can find at least one good reason to stay in your relationship rather than run at the first signs of trouble, then you’re likely to find others. 

To keep you going—and staying—here are five more good reasons: 

1. Because your relationship isn’t a rom com.

Just because we cheer our favorite heroines on the big screen when they defiantly say their piece, turn on their blistering stilettos, flick their hair and stride boldly out toward their newfound independence without rumpling their power suits doesn’t mean we should take our cues from them. For one thing, those people aren’t real. No matter how big your shoe collection is, or how many orgasms and cocktails you have, reality is larger than a one-liner. Storming out and walling off is for drama queens who get paid to do it. Mature adults, on the other hand, understand the importance of effective communication, compromise, and consequences to our actions. All of which are skills we’d do well to practice.

2. Because your partner isn’t your past—or your parents.

If you go into a relationship vowing not to get hurt because your parents’ example soured you on the idea of long-term commitment, or because of that emotional spill you took with he or she who shall not be named, there’s a good chance you’ve got some unresolved issues to address. Approaching love halfheartedly—or with your dukes up—will only distance you from the real connection you seek. Penalizing your partner for sins of relationships past only aggravates your pain and keeps you stuck in a loveless shuffle. Find productive ways to heal and release old hurts in order to come to love wholeheartedly.

3. Because you’re not an island.

Whether you’re on the job, in a classroom or composing a masterpiece, forging ahead with your own ideas is to be expected. Blazing a trail of efficiency, creativity or forward-thinking is praised. But it’s not always the case when it comes to intimate relationships. When facing challenges early on, it’s more important to work together toward answers rather than making one-sided decisions that can do more harm than good in reinforcing your connection. Adopting a collaborative ‘we’ mindset keeps you open to your partner’s input and to the possibilities of creating new experiences together.

4. Because you get to choose.

If all we had to rely on at the first flashes of trouble in our relationship was the old brain response of fight or flight, the human race wouldn’t have made it out of the Dark Ages. Our brains—and certainly our egos—are wired to protect us at all costs and anything appearing as a threat to our survival puts us on alert. In our relationships, the urge to cut and run can be overwhelming when we feel misunderstood or unappreciated. But here’s the good news: we did survive the Dark Ages and we’ve got more sophisticated tools to choose from—like talking, listening, being kind, compassionate and authentic for starters.

5. Because love grows us.

To love someone and to stay engaged in relationship can require tremendous resolve—and faith. Here’s where I defer again to the wise words of Hellen Keller, who said: Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.To say that love tests our limits, exposes and challenges us is an understatement. Entering into a relationship can be dangerous to our notion of who we think we are because, for all of our sophisticated tools and education, there’s simply no guarantee of success or long-term security. Enter in anyway.

[image: via Vinoth Chandar on flickr]

About the Author:

Kriste Peoples

Kriste Peoples is a healing arts practitioner and writer who shares her take on the intuitive seeker's life at her website, Honey Help YourSelf. She thrives in Colorado.


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