When to Work On a Relationship and When to Leave
You may have heard of the term "emotionally available." I wasn’t aware that there is a two-sided viewpoint of this until one day when my therapist explained this to me:
- When you are emotionally available and fully aware of the good things about your relationship you may find yourself desiring your partner more than ever. Being conscious of your partner's good qualities will actually help with appreciating them better.
- If you are not focused on what you really want in life you may find yourself wasting time with inappropriate partners. This may be due to a lack of emotional availability.
As you can see, there are actually two sides to the concept of Emotional Availability. It's important to be conscious of our partner's good qualities. However, it's equally important to recognize when we’re involved with the wrong person. Otherwise we may waste time with someone who doesn't fit the image of the person we actually want to spend our life with. When this happens, we tend to look for faults.
The first point is important because once we recognize we are with someone special, then we'll know for sure that they are the right one for a long-term relationship. We'll appreciate them and we won't look for faults.
The second point above means that it's just as important to know when to let go, if someone is not right for us. Relationships such as that will most likely end eventually anyway.
Being Emotionally Unavailable Can Hinder Communication
Being unavailable emotionally can cause you to just let time go by without moving forward with a decision. You might end up staying in a bad relationship, never discussing the issues.
Those who are emotionally unavailable may miss important considerations that would help them make a decision to stay in a good relationship or to leave a bad one.
They may find themselves lacking the desire to communicate and discuss the issues. Feelings may be held within and never shared. The result is that things drag on until something major happens that either ends the relationship or forces the parties to finally sit down and talk.
Which one of these things happens is all a matter of how good both partners are with their ability to communicate. Being emotionally unavailable can hinder any attempt to share thoughts and feelings.
Are you in a relationship you're not sure about but letting time just drift by?
When one is available on an emotional level, they are aware of both good and bad qualities of the relationship. More importantly, they are willing to talk and discuss those issues that may stand in the way of moving forward.
The two-sided concept that I introduced at the start of this article explains how “moving forward” can mean either continuing, or ending, a relationship.
As I mentioned earlier, lack of emotion can actually cause one to stay in a bad relationship or in one with the wrong partner. I know a lot of friends who never dealt with the issues and ended up getting married to someone they were unhappy with. Each one of them ended up getting divorced in later years.
Exercising complete emotional availability involves being attentive to what is going on.
Pay Attention to the Positive Traits About Your Mate
Many people often ignore the good things about their mate. They forget the wonderful things that happen in their relationship and they observe and remember only the negative.
Every relationship will have difficult periods from time to time. Everyone has different views of the world and of events. We each have different habits and beliefs. These differences can cause insecurity in a relationship.
Even worse, it can lead to arguments. The problem is that we tend to remember the bad experiences more readily than the good ones.
This can confuse our thinking when dealing with relationships. Bad feelings have a stronger effect on decision making than good feelings. We may even become judgmental based on bad memories.
Do you tend to remember the bad things and rarely focus on wonderful things your partner does?
Focus on Communication and Trust
For the sake of building a better relationship with love and respect, we need to have communication and trust. We need to share all our feelings, both the good and the bad. When feeling bad about our mate, we need to try to remember the wonderful things about them.
If we just remember the negative issues, we'll have a resistance to acceptance. If we truly are emotionally available, we will keep both sides of the equation in our conscious mind.
Discussing all our thoughts and feelings is important to have a clear understanding of one another. This will also help with realizing if the relationship is a workable one for both partners.
On the other hand, if we stay with someone who is not right for us rather than moving on, then we are not allowing ourselves to be available when the right one does come along. I made this mistake a few times.
There are many reasons why we may stay with someone who is not right for us. Maybe for sex - maybe for companionship - maybe even for reasons related to unresolved issues we had in childhood.
Do you trust your partner enough to be willing to talk about difficult issues?
Be Attentive to the Relationship
Staying with someone who is not a positive influence in our lives may have a negative effect on our emotional health. Why be in a relationship with such a person?
Try to be emotionally available in every respect. If we don't stop and think then we are just letting time pass without leading to anything positive. We need to be attentive to our own needs and desires, but we also need to be very attentive to the needs and desires of our mate.
This concept of attentiveness also refers to “being available.” It gives us the ability to understand why we may be choosing to spend years of our life with the wrong person. With that we will come to terms with the reason for our decision. Then we can accept it and love our partner for it, or let him or her free.
How to Know When You're With a Wonderful Person
As you can see, “being available” also means having the courage to move on with our life and letting someone go if it’s a bad relationship.
Notice that I referred to this as a "bad" relationship. This is in contrast to simply being with the "wrong person" as I mentioned above.
We may be able to live a happy life with the wrong person as long as it's not a toxic situation and as long as we recognize why we are choosing to hold on.
I see with some of my friends who are in this kind of situation are forgetting that they are involved with a good person and that they are in a good relationship. They just end up focusing on the negatives and complaining about their partner. They are fooling themselves and missing out on enjoying life with a wonderful person.
When we recognize the reality of what we have, we will appreciate it and be able to experience a better life with an outlook that is more in line with our dreams and our desires.
We may already be with our soul mate and not realize it. Emotional availability will help us realize how we really feel about our partner. Just remember to pay attention and recognize his or her good qualities.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2009 Glenn Stok