Disposable Relationships? And How to Spot Them!

Oh yeah, one of my favorite topics. The “kick it to the curb, eat ya up and spit ya out, get in, get on, get out,” craze. It feels soooo.. .what’s the word? How about “effing painful.” Well, it can be truly painful if you haven’t learned one of two things: the technique of shutting your own feelings off, or how to spot folks who don’t know how to be intimate and step aside. I have done both, and have much to say on this particular growing cultural psychological phenomenon.

What are you saying, we throw people away?

Yeah. Kinda. The way I see it, relationships have officially become part of our disposable culture: Like diapers, we toss marriages, engagements, friendships, business partnerships, boyfriends, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, children-I’ve even seen Grandmas cut off all ties with their shnuggly little grandbabies. Poof, wad ’em up, toss ’em, they are…GONE. What the…?

All it takes sometimes is one sentence, maybe even one word. Then we take our toys and split. Like little babies. Waaah. We have bred a culture filled with people who don’t know how to stay when they don’t get their way. Folks who haven’t bothered to learn or aren’t capable of learning how to be intimate. Or how to stay! Yes, I have been guilty of this myself. We probably all have; things get hot or don’t go as planned, we leave. The problem is, now that’s the norm, and frankly, if we want to be intimate, there is only one thing to do- grow up!

You might recognize some of these inner modern-day archetypes:

1) The Sociopathippa – You don’t do it for me anymore. Doesn’t matter if you meant what you said or that God heard you say it, “until death do us part.” Or, “I will never leave you.” You simply don’t mean it anymore, too bad for you that you believed me, that is now your problem. Those of us who fall into this category (or have) say things like “I meant it at the time, I’m not the same person anymore, I was young”; the modern-day out-clauses for loss of integrity. These people reinforce the idea that the spoken word can now be considered metaphor and that if you take it otherwise, it’s your problem.

2) The Narcissoli- We want to be free…I gotta be me… This usually happens when people lead with fake, the routine they use to get into or lure you into a relationship. Then they become resentful or feel trapped when you actually think that’s who they are and then they freak and have to leave. Especially when you ask what happened to the person you fell in love with. Ya know, the gal who wanted sex all the time, or the guy who used to be so romantic and open my door. Now, I have a headache or you become invisible. Bye bye!

3) Bipolaraus- I want you to think I mean what I say, but I only mean it when I feel like it; Got that? This is the crazy-maker scenario. People who on a good day really do mean what they say until, maybe tomorrow, when they don’t. And it’s your job to figure that out. They differ from the “You don’t do it for me anymore” folks because they have less stick-to- it-iveness. These folks show their colors pretty quick. If you like funhouses you probably will love this kind of relationship; you never know what you’re going to get!

4) Neurotica (o)- The energy junkies, suckers, vultures and vampires. They give to get, they love you and instantly want to be your best friend, can’t do enough for you and give and give and then they’re gone. AND when they see you they act like they don’t know you. Bizarre? But so true. It’s that they don’t know how to say NO, so they just leave. These folks mean well, they’re just well…neurotical!!!

Most relationships are fragile when approached from our wounds. That’s all. So we don’t have to get mad, sad or even. We just might want to pay attention! Compassion is the rule of thumb. How many of us fall slightly into one category or another. (My hand’s up.) And keep in mind, most of us want to be in healthy relationships, just that many of us don’t know how. I try and stay close to the folks who know how, keep on my path of learning and growing so I can stay in that circle myself, and then try and have compassion for folks who haven’t figured this out yet.

And while some of us crave someone to call us on our crap, keep in mind folks who are deep in unconsciousness might not feel the same. A seeker of truth looks for reflection; they understand that great relationships begin within, and can tell the difference between someone’s projection and an opportunity to explore themselves again.

Shutting down

My mom used to say, “Hurt people hurt people.” Made sense to me. Somewhere in our childhoods, most likely, we decide what we don’t like and make a decision to not put ourselves in that situation again. The problem is, this reinforces being externally referenced, i.e. I experience life from the outside in. Therefore and thus, that person made me feel, whatever. So then I pick and choose my experiences (or so I believe) based on that person’s likelihood to hurt me or not. The alternative? I say, be responsible, have a daily practice of self-inquiry, try to stay awake and learn discernment, the ability to see and feel where other folks are on their journey as it relates to your reality, and continue to seek folks who have relationship skills and know how to use them!

Having said this, I still have teased out some legitimate reasons to change the form of a relationship sooner rather than later:

Some abruptly…

· Someone is physically abusive (one or more times).

· Someone is a pathological liar ( incapable of telling the truth).

· Someone is putting themselves or you in actual danger.

Then I have found some other reasons that warrant departure, after much consideration and attempts to reconcile (or at least part amicably)…

· Someone was unable or unwilling to communicate responsibly.

· Someone was incapable or unwilling to keep their agreements.

· Someone was repeatedly unwilling or incapable of seeing their part in the relationship.

· Someone partook in addictive behavior that created an unhealthy or unsafe environment (either emotionally or physically).

· Someone’s psychological needs became paramount and needed attention beyond the scope of either partner.

· Someone’s behavior was constantly contradictory to the arrangements and agreements (implied or otherwise) set forth in the partnership.

· You are absolutely convinced, based on careful observation and counsel, that regardless of what this person says or does you simply do not share the same reality, and are therefore left to accept that the chasm is too great to create real intimacy.

Take care of yourself. Like I always say, great relationships begin within!

Maryanne Comaroto is an internationally known relationship expert, talk show host and author. Her weekly live radio talk show reaches millions of listeners in the U.S. and around the world. Maryanne’s philosophy is “Great relationships begin within!” http://www.maryannelive.com

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