It’s Time for Me to Leave My Partner

Yes, no doubt, you’re feeling like you can’t take one more minute and that, “It’s time for me to leave my partner.” It may be well to call it quits if your relationship is completely dysfunctional and filled with abuse, then, by all means, you have to do what you have to do. But you might be jumping the gun if you feel like your connection is waning, you’re feeling like you have less and less in common every day, you’re feeling like you and your partner are growing apart on different paths, and if you’re just not feeling the love anymore, then you might be thinking, “It’s time for me to leave my partner.”

When nothing could be further from the truth.

In most cases, when two people are feeling like they are growing apart and feeling like calling it quits, this could be the worst thing you could do, if you are on an expansive path of personal growth and/or a progressive spiritual journey.

On the surface, that sounds whacked, but you must know that this feeling between two people is a marker, a huge blinking neon sign that begs you to, “Dare to Love More!” This feeling is the gateway through which you must pass to make it to the next level in your love vibration.

It is very likely that you and your partner are not as far apart as you might think, only that you are expressing yourselves in different ways, which should be celebrated, not eradicated.

Sure, your growth and expansion may look different, but you are both growing, changing, and expanding together, even though you might be using different distinctions, words, and phrases in an effort to communicate your expansion one to the other.

Let’s say the woman loves to practice meditation and yoga, while the man would rather play a team sport and also engage in watching team sports on television. You might think this to be an incredible mismatch.

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Even though the symptoms look quite different, and the words and phrases sound very different, both members of this relationship can actually be growing in spirit and truth even though it looks quite different.

You might be surprised to know that team sports are very spiritual, and when athletes are engaged in team sports, they often get themselves into a spiritual state commonly referred to as “The Zone.” In this state, the brains of the teammates can co-create, communicate and access source energy, not unlike one might in meditation, prayer or in a group spiritual practice. This state of spiritual elevation is the same, though it looks very different, and it was accessed in very different ways.

When you are feeling as though things are getting difficult, or not feeling right, this is a clear indication not to look at your mate, to blame your partner, or look at your relationship as deteriorating. No, this is your sacred challenge to look inside yourself and realize this is a divine invitation to dare to love more and expand yourself.

If you feel as though your partner is annoying you, or up to no good, ask yourself why you feel that way?

The highest form of love is unconditional love, which usurps, “I love you no matter what.” Could you dare to entertain the idea of loving your partner unconditionally? This is your true calling. This is what this life is all about.

But it doesn’t start with your partner. In fact, it has nothing to do with your partner at all, except for your partner is provided to you as a tool, a mirror, reflecting back those areas where you have unresolved issues with you. Again,

Why do I feel that way?

Why does this or that drive you crazy?

If you’re doing meditation and yoga, it’s because this is necessary for you to grow and expand. It is clear that your partner doesn’t need to do those things. Your partner is managing his or her growth and expansion in a completely different way, and that’s okay.

It’s likely your partner has been trying to tell you this over a period of time but you’ve been able to understand him or her due to the variance in vocabulary. It’s as if you’re saying the same thing but in different languages, it’s no wonder it was difficult for you to understand, though the misunderstanding is understandable.

Maybe it’s time to listen with your heart and not be so quick to pass judgment. In fact, to do so would be hypocrisy. No one path is more right or wrong than another, and to suggest that your partner must grow, expand and express him or herself in the same manner as you is nothing less than spiritual arrogance.

There are many ways to achieve connection, you must allow everyone to find their own way and not condemn them for doing it in the manner which suits them best at any particular time and place.

Your divine mission of love is to love yourself first, then to the degree that you are able to love yourself, you can love others. You must love yourself for who you are, all your weakness, idiosyncrasies, all your missteps, and failure, as well as all your gifts, talents, and strengths.

Your challenge is to grow in love, to love yourself unconditionally, then, and only then, will you be able to love your partner, and others unconditionally.

You love, and allow them to be free, free to be whoever they may be, freely expressing themselves in the world which is perfect and different for each and every human being on this planet.

If you dare.

Buried Treasure in Fighting

Conflict in relationships is part of the growing and expanding love opportunity. You can choose to join forces support and heal each other through each conflict, or let each successive conflict tear away and erode the relationship until there is nothing left to fight for.

If you as a couple unite and allow for conflict to be a tool for advancing your love, creating deeper meaning, connection, and intimacy in your relationship, you will find the buried treasure in fighting and are very blessed indeed.

To effectively approach conflict in its most positive and powerful form, it might be good to understand what fighting is all about.

1. Fighting is Not about Us

When you’re in the midst of a passionate discussion, conflict, or fight, try to keep in mind that while the surface message may be an important message about you, your relationship, some circumstance or situation surrounding your relationship, honor and listen to this surface message, but the passionate delivery or rage, has little or nothing to do with you or your relationship.

2. Fighting is about Fear

A useful part of our physiology, the brain’s secretion of the danger cocktail (a combination of Adrenaline, Cortisol, and Norepinephrine hormones) disconnects all resources that might be used for conducting thoughtful rationale in exchange for the focused struggle for survival, a definite advantage when encountering man-eating lions, tigers, and bears. And fear is the trigger that sounds the alarm, overriding our nervous system.

The “fear” may not be what it appears to be on the surface. You will notice this when your first reaction might be, “Why are you so upset?” because the subject doesn’t seem to match such an intense emergency response. In this case, most likely, the fear is anchored in your partner’s past.

We all accumulate fears from the time we are born, and they routinely express themselves as we walk through our adult lives (often at the most inopportune times) and link themselves to something which triggers the emergency response and you are prepared to fight or run as fast as you can to avoid peril or impending doom.

3. You as a Couple are Allies

Remembering that you are in this together is a key component. When you are facing an obstacle, challenge, or emotionally charged threat to the relationship, remember it is not you against your partner. It is you and your partner linked side-by-side heart-to-heart against this invisible adversary who is trying to come between you.

You and your partner are committed to each other and this relationship. You wouldn’t intentionally do anything to hurt your partner. You love and support him or her and would do anything to help him or her.

And if you can clearly see your partner overreacting to an issue and spinning out of control emotionally, this is a sign that your partner needs your help. So, stay calm, don’t let yourself get lost in the drama, be the strong support that your partner needs in this vulnerable and sensitive state.

4. Pay Attention

Listen and pay attention to what might be represented as unspoken content or underlying fear. Honor the surface message by clearly understanding what your partner is trying to communicate and seek clarification and acknowledgment that you are understanding correctly while continuing to look below the surface for clues.

Our fears, which hold us back and block us from our highest potential have accumulated and followed us from birth, and these fears are normally anchored to our relationship with our parents (like fear of loss, or abandonment) or other childhood traumas.

If you are attentive and fueled by the love for your partner and his or her best interests, you might be able to uncover the hidden connection to his or her fear(s) from the past. This is when you,

5. Find the Buried Treasure

The buried treasure in the conflict.

An example might be,

You and your partner agreed to (driving in separate vehicles) meet in the parking lot of a restaurant. When you showed up ten minutes late due to a traffic jam, you met with your partner’s outrage. Let’s say, you did the right thing, did not get defensive and help the space sacredly for your partner’s outrage, letting him or her get it out.

You let your partner know that you understand that he or she is upset because you were late and rather than take the time to let him or her know that you might be late, you decided to focus your efforts on getting there as quickly and safely as possible.

You reinforce that you wouldn’t do anything to hurt or harm your partner, your heart is filled with love for him or her, and you would do anything to protect your partner and be there for him or her to the best of your ability.

Then, after a while, you might query, “Is there a time when you can remember in your life, in the past, when someone showed up late?”

You can see the rage start to build as your partner tells the story about how he or she was left to wait alone in the school parking lot, waiting for his or her father to pick her up after school. The father had forgotten and she waited alone, now in the dark, for four-and-a-half hours!

Bingo! You found the buried treasure!

Now that you and your partner recognize this, you can move through the process of your partner’s healing about this traumatic episode from his or her past.

You guys are a super team!

You have supported your partner and helped him or her face his or her demons face-forward and come out on the other side victorious! Nothing draws a couple closer together or engenders greater intimacy than that.

Kind’a makes you look forward to the next fight, ’eh?

Oh, by the way, in honor of the surface message, after apologizing for being late, you also agreed to call ahead if at all possible (more possible now, with cell phones) if you’re going to be late out of courtesy, love, and respect for your partner, which is something that his or her father never got to do.

Note: This example was a pretty direct conclusion to arrive at. In other circumstances, it could take a lot more investigative work on your part as you collect data from a past fear expressing itself repeatedly before you are able to properly detect it.

Empathic Understanding

Connection via empathetic understanding is the real connection between two people and is the most endearing act of love and honor which one can present to another. This connection is the most meaningful part of any relationship. You know it. You remember when you’ve felt it. When your friend finishes your sentences, when you’ve had a strong bond with a teacher or mentor, you felt connected, understood.

You know this. Yet, surprisingly, I see a lack of empathetic understanding as the underlying indicator of trouble ahead in the most important relationships, between lovers. Maybe you felt a connected and/or understood in the beginning (though that was likely a more powerful driving force than connection) but after a while, you realize that the connection you felt was simply you projecting your desire to be connected and understood onto your partner.

When you’re in the projection mode, you see everything interpreted through your special lens which is rose-colored and sees synchronicity in all things. Following the passing of time, things that used to be “cute” are becoming annoying, and you’re no longer feeling as though you are connected or understood, as you once thought you were.

When you’re projecting your feelings onto your interpretation of another person, you feel as though they are feeling your feelings, even when no such connection exists.

It is this feeling of another’s feelings that Stephen Covey refers to as his, “Habit number 5: Seek first to understand then to be understood” in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This is the connection which exemplifies the highest integrity and connection between two people, whether used in business relationships, or more importantly, at home. It is a powerful connection which promotes and deepens respect, trust, and intimacy.

This simple method of joining the worlds of two people into a united vision felt by two is the secret of the most successful relationships. Sometimes it just happens organically, and the two people don’t even know they are doing it. For the rest of us, we need to first understand the concept before we can even think about attempting such a thing. And it’s on you to proactively take the first step.

Understanding is not giving advice, being over-protective, or fixing things for another person. Empathetic understanding is simply the process of actively listening, inviting them to dig deeper, and even more deeply, until they have gotten it all out, while you are using your imagination to feel what it might be like to be in that other person’s shoes, empathizing with him or her.

Empathetic Understanding

If you’re unaccustomed to this higher level of listening, it may take some practice. Creating a safe and sacred atmosphere can be an important component when someone is sharing something close to their heart, so eliminating distractors, such as the TV, music playing in the background, or retreating to a place where more privacy can be established are excellent ways to honor your partner’s sharing.

Nodding your head and looking them in the eye indicates you’re listening, while you are resisting your inclination to interrupt or interject when they are sharing. Let them speak their piece and listen carefully. When they pause, simply try to restate what they just said in your own words, starting with, “Let me see if I get what you’re saying…”

Then ask them if there’s anything more they’d like to say about that? And let them continue. Repeat this as many times as necessary, until they’ve announced that’s all they have to say.

Rather than give in to the urge to counsel or help him or her fix something your partner is concerned about, after first imagining what he or she might be feeling, feeling it as though you were feeling them yourself, offer up validation of your partner’s feelings. Something like, “Wow, you must have felt devastated.” And allow them to either agree with you or reclarify what they are feeling about what they were sharing. If they reclarify, imagine what it would feel like from that perspective.

If you have different opinions about something like your partner was terrified by a ride at the amusement park and you found it exhilarating, you can validate your partner’s feelings while agreeing to allow each other the right to their own experience. For instance, you might say, “I can feel how terrified you must have been on that ride,” (empathy, and continue) “but I was having the time of my life.” It’s okay to have different points of view, but very important to deeply understand where your partner is coming from and honor them by allowing them to have their experience any way they want to.

If they’ve intimated their story to you devoid of feelings, it might be helpful to lightly probe and encourage them to share their feelings by simply asking, “How did that make you feel?”

I think you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level.

An Affair of a Different Technology

When trust is lost in a relationship, how are you to recover from the broken sacred bond between two people?

In my work with couples, I have seen breaches of trust, that may not look like much on the surface but left to itself, like droplets of water over time, can erode and naturally cut a canal between a couple’s otherwise potentially healthy terrain.

One such subject of erosion is tied to emerging technology which is greatly impacting our lives and may be causing our real relationships to erode as we seek more temporal relationships found via social networking and cell phone communication.

There is an addition to this emerging media which allows people to bond with other people without the risk of a face-to-face component, reducing the fear of rejection or failure that is ever looming over a live interaction between two people. The technology buffer helps to protect us, and give us a false sense of safety, as we carry on online or via cell or another device.

You see the erosion in a coupled relationship begin (albeit barely noticeable at the outset) when one of the parties begins to spend more time communicating and engaging with their virtual friends or mates, than their real-life partner.

When examined, it all seems so innocent, as it’s just a bit of sending funny pictures or videos, just exchanging jokes for a little laugh, nothing really harmful in itself, while some of them may well be members of the opposite sex, and may also be a threat to the current partner, or not.

When approached or challenged about your virtual relationships, if you protest and justify your actions with,

“It’s not like I’m having sex, or anything…”

then there’s a pretty good chance you’ve already compromised your current relationship, and if you continue, it will only get worse.

Why do you think your partner queried you about your virtual relationships?

Could it be that he or she feels that your virtual relationships are a threat to the sacred bond which holds a committed couple together? Why do you think he or she might feel that way?

And why are you so defensive about defending your right to carry on with your virtual relationships?

I will tell you why, because in that moment, when you defend your virtual friends, you further compromise the relationship, by indirectly stating,

“My virtual friends mean more to me than our relationship.”

I know it sounds crazy, but think back to the early stages when you were developing the relationship that you’re in now; what kind of things did you talk about with your prospective mate?

When you move this intimate communication component to relationships outside of your current one, the effects are equivalent to having an affair. While the affair may not possess a sexual component yet, and may never go there, the emotional breach has already taken place and can be even harder to recover from than a sexual transgression.

So, when you’re reaching out to your virtual friends with conversations about your problems, or the latest happenings, observations, concerns and struggles going on in your life, this is robbing your real-life relationship of the glue which bonds the two of you together. As it continues to deteriorate, and you reach further and further outside your relationship for comfort or connection, the relationship deteriorates and falls apart.

I’m not saying all casual relationships turn into a wild, sexual affair, only that in a relationship between two intimately connected individuals, the connection is broken when you turn your attention about the intimate (not necessarily sexual) details of your life away from your partner and toward someone else.

Think about this; when you get wind of a good joke, catch a meme that tickles your funny bone, hear a good bit of gossip, or catch a breaking news headline, who do you first report it to? Virtual friends, or coworkers? If so, you’re giving away your relationship adhesive. Even if you feign the attempt to share it with your partner after work, you’ve told and retold it enough that it has lost its impact or flavor, it once had when it was fresh.

Do you enjoy a little harmless flirtation with members of the opposite sex at work, online, or via text?

Have you ever shared intimate details about your life, or your relationship, with someone of the opposite sex, in person or via other communication devices?

If you have, the adhesive is continuing to erode. If this energy was turned toward your partner, you know it would bring you closer together, but now you’ve basically turned your back on (or at least your attention away from) your mate, and putting this energy in the hands of someone else.

Even if nothing transpires physically between you and this other person, you have compromised your bond and transferred the bonding agent to someone else.

I have been helping couples for years, and even though current technology makes this sharing of sacred energy even easier, believe me, there are plenty of other ways to give your energy away, and it’s been going on for as long as there has been coupling, its nothing new.

The only way to keep it from destroying your relationship is to stop doing it.

And if the mere thought of giving up this innocuous relationship seems offensive to you, that in itself is proof that it is not as benign a relationship as you might think. Not to mention that a key component of grooming someone is to develop a deep, non-threatening emotional attachment over time (which is a whole different subject altogether, but does rear its ugly head in circumstances when the attention of one of the individuals in a relationship allows their attention to stray).

“But,” you say (they all do), “There’s nothing going on here, this person is meaningless to me and it is not damaging my relationship.” Okay, if that’s true, then just stop it.

Stopping this type of emotional affair and returning your attention to your partner, could be the most important thing you could do to save your relationship from its being reduced to little more than ash.

Out of Control Fighting in Relationships

I know, you’re committed to this relationship, you love your partner but occasionally things get insanely out of control and the whole thing gets crazy and you can’t seem to help yourself in that moment.

What happens is your caveman or cavewoman danger chemistry is activated, you feel like you’re going to be some dinosaur’s lunch, and you’re fighting for your life. In that moment you’re out of control and incapable of rational thought because your amygdala has taken control and your rational mind is shut down.

This is actually an incredible opportunity to uncover buried treasure hiding beneath the surface, but we’ll address that later. For the moment, let’s just get you through this panic and irrational conflict, so that it doesn’t do more harm to the relationship than good.

First off, realize that if your partner is sounding off, like this, there’s something extremely ancient and sacred taking place and honor it and respect it. Understand that through this process which can look like outrage, your partner is trying to communicate something of importance to you.

The last thing you want to do is to take it personally, or get riled up yourself. If one of you is out of control, there is hope, if both of you are out of control, the relationship will suffer damages that may be irreparable. If you can, try not to lose your control, and if you feel like you’re about to lose your cool,

Stop It

Call a timeout. Of course, you both have to understand and agree to invite the timeout process into your relationship in advance and you have agreed that when one or the other initiates a timeout, you both agree to stop talking for a period of time, no more than 20 minutes.

Center

Those precious moments need not be wasted, take the time to center yourself. There are many methods to center one’s self. If you don’t have a method, you might consider this technique used on trauma patients. Imagine a copper cord that goes from the center of the top of your head, through your body to the center of your stomach. Then focus your attention as a small soothing electrical charge moving all the way up and down the copper cord. A few minutes of this and you’re centered.

Review

Collect your thoughts about what you want to communicate and try to think of the best way to present it to your partner. It’s helpful to have something to write with.

Chemical Process

Your brain has released a chemical cocktail that has put you into a state of panic. These chemicals are still moving throughout your nervous system, but their effects are dwindling during the break. About 15 minutes, or less is all it takes to return your body’s chemistry to a more normal state, without further stimuli.

Re-engage

After you have centered and gathered your thoughts you are ready to resume your attempt to communicate. If you were the one charged with unbridled emotion, you can return to that state if you feel it necessary to get out your pent-up feelings, frustrations or pain.

You’re in Good Hands

Your partner has your back. He or she has agreed to partner with you in this process to provide a safe and secure environment for you to express yourself and he or she will do everything he can to correctly understand what it is you’re trying to say.

Expect to be asked questions for clarification, and reiterate or rephrase your ideas so that your partner can correctly comprehend what it is your trying to say concisely.

If You’re Both Out of Control

If you’re both out of control, this is very unfortunate. Whomever has the first moment of clarity or consciousness must find the wherewithal to call for a timeout to stop the danger ahead which is waiting when both of you are out of control.

And you might have to take turns, following one’s rage, after clarity of the subject matter is clearly understood, the other partner may need to have a go at it. Now it’s your turn to hold the sacred space for your partner to freely express him or herself.

Rules of Engagement

You agree to following the rules to the best of your ability and they are

1. Don’t take it personally

Your partner must have the safe space respected and protected by you to express him or herself in any way necessary. Try not to take it personally, even if some disrespect might be directed to you.

2. Seek to understand

Separate any rage from the value of the message being communicated. While your partner may be over-reacting due to raging chemistry as he or she is in fight or flight mode, keep this in mind as you listen and ask for clarity.

3. No threats

Agree in advance that respecting and protecting the sacred space for your partner’s expression means that at no time will either partner threaten the relationship. Avoid using statements like, “if you keep saying that, I’m out’a here.” Don’t start throwing around statements inferring that either one of you will be bailing out, compromising or ending the relationship prematurely. If you are married, using the D-word (divorce) is strictly verboten and you are to refrain from accusing your partner of wanting to end the relationship when no such statement has been made.

Threatening the relationship will only threaten the relationship and is will cause mistrust and promote personal withdrawal and separation.

Honor the Relationship

Even when the going gets tough, and things get out of hand, you know you are together, committed and in a loving, supported environment, if you and your partner can approach potential out of control conflict in this manner.

You got this.

Couple Connection and Difficult Conversation

If you want to connect, communication is the gateway to a deeper connection which will enhance the longevity and intimacy in any relationship, but before you expect to have a truly intimate connection, you must have these two things as your firm foundation. They are,

Trust

Before you can truly open up and expose those most intimate and private parts of yourself, exposing yourself far more than your naked body, you must be able to trust your partner.

Trusting your partner means that you feel as though you can rely on his or her performance, you know if he or she says something, you can expect it will come to pass based on your experience.

Not having trust, or breaking trust, can be destructive, even more damaging than an affair. Lack of trust destroys more relationships than affairs. Whether you’re unable to trust or be trusted, if there is lack of trust there will be no intimate, open and honest connection.

Besides, trust, you will also need an equal amount of,

Appreciation and Gratitude

Life is moving so fast, we can take our partner for granted, forgetting why we fell in love with this person in the first place, and things can just start to deteriorate. You must make time and find ways to express appreciation and gratitude if your relationship is going to not only survive but thrive.

If you’ve let the appreciation and gratitude slip in your relationship maybe it’s time to take action. You can start by asking yourself how your life might be if your partner was no longer in it. What might you miss?

Remembering all the sweet things about your partner that were so endearing in the beginning of your relationship could help take you back in time, feeling those original love vibrations, and when you come back to now, you can bring those vibrations with you into the present moment.

Having the firm foundation of trust, appreciation, and gratitude can give you the firm foundation to approach any situations or circumstances that may approach and/or threaten your relationship. Keep in mind that many challenges which threaten a relationship can come from within. In those moments you will need this foundation to successfully navigate your most

Difficult Conversations

You know, this is when you’ve let something go for a while, and now it’s come to this. It’s time for you to have a serious talk before things go from bad to worse.

How can you best prepare for a crucial conversation?

Taking time to prepare for a crucial conversation will be highly beneficial. Every minute spent planning will eliminate 3 minutes of extraneous drama and unnecessary conflict.

1. Clearly Define Your Concern

Take a few minutes, or as long as necessary to clearly define what your concern is. Reduce it to its simplest, shortest and most concise form before even thinking about scheduling, “The Talk.”

Once you’ve done so, ask yourself if this is “Critical” or “Negotiable?” Your definition should come with the determination of knowing in advance if this is critical or a deal breaker, or negotiable, something that can be compromised. Most sources of relationship angst are comprised of the 97 percent of issues which left to themselves are really no big deal but because they’ve been swept under the rug the pressure has built to intolerable when a simple compromise could have avoided all that pain and disconnect.

If the concern is centered around the three percent of meaningfully important core issues that can destroy a relationship, then continuing to have a crucial conversation is prudent.

2. Look Within

In my experience with couples, more often than not when one partner is feeling a great deal of angst about the other partner, it is because he or she is reflecting back inadequacies of the complainant, who is refusing to see his or her shortcomings in the relationship.

You can avoid this step, experience all the drama and relationship breakdown, only to discover it later in counseling or relationship coaching, or you can head it off at the pass by asking yourself the question,

“How might I be doing the same thing?”

If you feel like you’re not getting something, you might be surprised to see that you’re not giving it. In the event that you realize this, you can avoid any unnecessary relationship drama by giving that which you desire. When you change and give what you want, your relationship changes and you start to get it in return.

If your inner search comes up empty, then you can continue to plan our talk.

3. Schedule an Appropriate Time and Place

Find out from your partner when would be the best time. Keep in mind that men are better equipped to have a serious conversation late in the afternoon, and not too late at night.

Give your partner the space that he or she needs to select a time that is good for him/her. Keep in mind, you may want to talk now, but tomorrow afternoon or this weekend might be better for your partner to properly engage in an important conversation.

Select a location that is not the “scene of the crime.” That is to say, for instance, if your concern is about sexual intimacy, do not conduct this crucial conversation in the bedroom, etcetera.

Side by side is an appropriate, non-threatening posture for a crucial conversation, rather than across from each other, which is more adversarial. Walking and talking (especially in nature) can be a healthy environment for an otherwise heavy conversation.

4. The Difficult Conversation

Start off by issuing a positive statement (or up to five declarations) about how important your partner is and how much he or she brings to the quality of life that you enjoy with your partner.

Then you can express what you need or want in its best possible light, such as, “It would mean so much to me, and I would be so full of love and gratitude, if you could…” (fill in the blank). Pick a statement that you feel comfortable but let it represent how it would make your heart soar, if only…

Avoid the use of apocalyptic fighting words, like, “You always,” and “You never.” Nothing good ever comes from a sentence which starts with either of those as they accuse and attack your partner, only promoting defensiveness. Plus, you know it’s not true. Rarely, if ever, is anyone “always,” or, “never.”

Avoid inviting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to join your conversation. According to the Gottman Institute, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are (1) Criticism, (2) Contempt, (3) Defensiveness, (4) Stonewalling, and these are the primary predictors of relationship failure.

Remember, this not about me against you, or who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about wanting love, to love and be loved in a manner which is pleasing and respective of both partners who desire to raise their love relationship to be the best it can be, and even more.

If your partner is male, try to avoid pushing him into a condition which is referred to as, “Emotional Flooding.” This is when they lose cognizance as their emotions take the driver’s seat. It’s a real thing, and they are likely to lose the ability to consciously rationalize and communicate as they are overwhelmed by rampant emotion.

What if it gets out of control?

You can take a “time out” and reel it back in.

It’s a good idea, when there is no conflict or need to have a serious talk, to establish a signal which can be offered up at any time by either partner, which indicates it is time to take a break. It can be as simple as making a timeout “T” symbol with your hands and actually saying, “Time out!” or some other signal or saying that you both can agree on.

Once this signal is initiated by either party, you both have pre-agreed to stop everything and take a ten to twenty-minute break. And if you want to maximize your time out, you can use this time effectively by writing. Write three things, what you’re frustrated about, what you think a good solution might be and a list of the things you absolutely love about your partner.

By now, you should be calmer, more centered, have a plan, and are ready to re-engage for love’s sake.

You are deserving of love, but it often does not come easy because we have so much negative self-talk that goes on behind the scenes that limit your ability to accept love. These love-limiting beliefs include phrases, like,

All men are “dogs”
(or their shirt-tailed cousins,
jerks, babies, cheaters, liars, losers, etc.)
Nobody loves me, nobody cares
I am broken and undeserving of love
I will never have great love
I can’t-do it, love is too hard
If it’s not perfect, I don’t want it
Love means one of you must give up everything

You might feel unworthy of love and/or feel like you must accept the plight of the martyr to have any hope of maintaining a “successful” relationship. You, just like anyone else, are totally deserving of love, and you might have the full potential to have it all in this moment in time, if you just reach out for it.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your underserving or asking for too much. You’re not. And most likely, your partner desires to be there for you in a way that honors your highest and best love, if he or she only knew how.

It’s up to you to find ways to express your needs and desires and allow your partner to find ways to give you what you want in his or her own way.