Autism Program Bonus Lesson #11

Bonus Lesson #11 - How to know if your relationship is really over

Click here to access the audio of this lesson

Transcript of Bonus Lesson #11 Below:

I want to start by addressing the elephant in the room – the concern or worry, that maybe your relationship really is over.

This can be extremely difficult for you to know the answer to.

You no doubt feel quite emotional about the conflict in your relationship and thus it makes it difficult to be objective enough about it to make a rational decision.

Sometimes our mind can get so good at finding all the faults with our partner and get caught up in all the drama of our relationship, or even life in general (which we’re going to address in a minute), that maybe your judgement over whether your relationship is over or not, is not really a trustworthy indication of whether it is over, or not.

I thought I would end this final section of this program with six questions you can ask yourself to determine whether the relationship is definitely over, or if there’s still work to do.

Answer these questions honestly. That way, if there is more work to do, you can just get on with doing it, rather than letting your monkey mind continue to focus on how your relationship might be over.

In today’s society of wanting quick fixes and instant gratification, we are often lazy with our relationships.

We think relationships should just fix themselves or we wait for our partner to step up and give us what we want and when they don’t, we want to leave.

But if you’re serious about having a successful long-term relationship, you’ve got to put in the work, and if you want to leave that relationship, you need to earn your way out too.

What I mean by that, is that you need to do the work to try everything you can to salvage it and repair it, before you can honestly say, I’m done, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that did everything I could.

With that said, no one can tell you when the right time to leave a relationship is.

That decision rests on you, however the questions below may help you to reflect on whether you have in fact done everything within YOUR power to instigate change and earn your way out.

#1 - Have you worked on yourself and your reactions and consistently demonstrated behaviours towards your partner that you would like to see reciprocated?

For example, have you spoken kindly, been respectful, stopped speaking rudely or name calling etc.

Have you taken responsibility for YOUR behaviour and stopped the ‘I’ll hurt you because you hurt me’ game?

Have you done this for long enough now for your partner to be able to replace their old reference points of your behaviour, with the new ones?

#2 - Have you been to marriage counselling, either yourself or with your partner and are you satisfied that you have tried every avenue suggested?

#3 - Have you literally sat down and spoken to your partner in a frank and objective manner about the seriousness of the feelings you’re having within the relationship? Have you communicated that you are at the point of considering a separation?

As obvious as this sounds, you will be surprised how many people have absolutely no idea their partner was feeling the way they did before they left.

As obvious as it may be to you that there are serious problems, it may not be for them.

They may be so used to your unhappiness or what feels like nagging to them, that it’s just become the norm for them.

The mind likes to get into habitual patterns and finds ways to adapt to repetitive situations. It’s possible that your partner has no idea that things have gotten to the point of potential separation.

This could be the candid conversation that needs to occur for things to turn around.

Maybe you owe it to them to let them know the severity of your feelings and give them the opportunity to work on your marriage and repair things with you.

#4 - Have you learnt and understood better communication skills?

For example, learning about how men and women think more thoroughly and practiced trying to resolve your conflict in those new ways, or have you just resorted to the same approach you’ve always used and hoped that it would change? Even if the new communication skills you learn do fall on deaf ears or make no difference to the outcome, what you’ll learn will serve you in every relationship – with your kids, family, friends, work colleagues and potentially future partners down the road if your relationship does end.

#5 - How do you feel about your partner?

Do you still love him/her?

Imagine that your partner is happy in another relationship.

Does it make you feel neutral, unconcerned, or happy for him/her, or does it make you feel jealous, gutted, or sad?

If it is the latter, perhaps you are not yet ready to let this relationship go just yet.

#6 - Are you still angry, bitter or resentful towards your partner?

When you’re at a place of peace over the relationship, you will be at a place of forgiveness.

You will feel at peace with your decision and be leaving because you feel it’s right for you and the kids, not because your partner is a rotten so-and-so.

You’ll be at a place where you’re just recognising and accepting the reality that your priorities and beliefs are just no longer aligned and that sometimes relationships just grow apart.

You’ll have let go of animosity and past hurts and you’ll be ready to move onto a new life in a new way with no residual resentment.

Although this may not be possible to do entirely, you might want to be close to this point, especially if you want the separation to be amicable.

If you still feel like you want to hurt your partner and make them pay, then maybe there’s still some internal work that you need to do before you’re ready to leave.

Remember, coming from a different space yourself where you can practice forgiveness and you’re able to accept the reality of their beliefs and let go of the past, see your part in it, know what you want, and learn how to respond differently to your partner, this can actually be the starting point to healing your relationship, rather than it being the end of it.

Again, I confirm that I’m not advising you of whether it’s time to leave your relationship or not.

That’s no one’s right to do that.

This lesson is about helping you to consider different perspectives so that you’ve done everything in your power to fix the problems, heal the hurts and be personally responsible for the happiness that you create in your own life first.

Sometimes even when we do all this, it is still not enough.

The reality is that relationships are made up of two people and both of those people need to want the relationship to work and be willing to both contribute to the success of it.

One more VERY important point before we close.

It’s a tough question to ponder because it involves some self-honesty.

Are you addicted to your relationship drama or the habits that contribute to the relationship’s problems?

Let me give you an example of how this can occur.

You get out of bed in the morning on the same side.

You put on the same slippers.

You get in the shower and wash your body the same way.

You follow the same breakfast routine – eat the same thing, drink out of the same cup, sit on the same chair or in the same location in your house and you run the same routines.

You react to your kids in the same way – either positively or negatively.

You see your partner for the first time in the morning and think the same thought about them, feel the same feelings, speak to them the same way, have the same argument or prepare yourself to have the same grievances.

The body has gotten into a habitual state whereby it knows the way you’re going to feel about your partner before you’re even aware that you’re even thinking about them, or before any situation even arises that could cause conflict.

You’ve gotten so good at being pissed off with your day, your partner, your life, that you just do it by default, and then sure enough, life will give you the experiences that justifies how you are feeling.

As you learnt right back in the first week, every time you have a thought, you release chemicals into the body.

Those chemicals are our feelings.

Our feelings cause us to then take action, which drives us to think in alignment with how we feel, feel in alignment with how we think and act in alignment with how we think and feel, in a desperate attempt to pursue pleasure and avoid pain.

When you feel the same feelings over, and over, again, the body can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what’s imagined.

All it knows is that it has now become reliant on the chemicals that keep being released by your thoughts – conscious or subconscious and has become addicted to them, just like it would if you were taking drugs or addicted to alcohol, sugar or nicotine.

The body, in this state of addiction, begins to control the mind instead of the mind controlling the body.

Ever forget the pin number to your key card, but when you stand at the ATM, all of a sudden, your fingers remember and enter the pin?

That’s the body controlling the mind. You’ve practiced something so often it’s now become a habit in the body.

You see, this is mind-body connection is also at work in your relationship too, as well as every other aspect of your life.

Your mind LOVES repetition and loves to put things into a box.

It loves to take the path of least resistance.

It’s constantly using the past to judge the present and predict the future.

You’re drawing upon the reference points you’ve created of your partner, their reactions, how you habitually feel about them, how you’ll react, when you’ll react and why you’re reacting.

How long have you been getting up each day and doing the same thing in your relationship that you did yesterday, expecting a different result?

How habitual are your thoughts, feelings, and actions towards your partner?

How much time and energy have you put into learning how to think differently, feel differently (about your relationship, yourself, or life) and then physically doing something differently?

Knowledge is the key to kick start change – knowing how to think differently and consciously replacing those old ‘stories’ with new ones.

When you start thinking differently, you start to feel differently.

When you start to feel differently, you start to act differently.

Apply this to your relationship and perhaps you can create change for the better before it has to end.

Remember that if relationships is an area of your life you want to work specifically on, as a gold member you are able to access my 6 week Truce program or my book ‘What’s In It For Me?’

Today’s lesson will have no homework as it was more about giving you some food for thought, so I’d like to finish this lesson with a little story that comes from my relationship book ‘What’s In it for me?’

It’s called…

TAKING THE HIGH ROAD - One couple’s pathway to a happier relationship

Once upon a time there was a man and a woman.

They loved each other very much.

In the beginning they were inseparable. She adored him, admired him, and appreciated all the little things he did for her.

He loved her like crazy. He would often do cute little things for her to show her without a doubt that he loved her.

He loved doing those things for her, as it was obvious how much it meant to her. He could see it in her appreciation and the respect she showed him.

But over the years, as they began a family and difficulties arose, they forgot the details of their love and respect for each other and they began to be consumed by their individual unhappiness.

She became fearful he didn’t love her, and their relationship was going wrong.

He became fearful he wouldn’t be good enough for her or ever be able to make her happy.

He feared he was not able to provide enough for her and the family – either emotionally or financially.

From these fears they became desperate to protect themselves from further pain.

He started to shy away from her and she began to desperately move closer to him by trying to get him to talk more, pleading with him to spend more time with her, to love her more and show her more support for what she was going through.

But this only caused him to become more distant for it gave him further evidence he was not good enough and he wasn’t making her happy.

She, in turn, became more resentful and more hurtful because of her fear that her relationship, which she prided herself on, was failing and her fear that she was unlovable seemed to be coming to fruition.

This went on for years, progressively getting worse, until one day a magic wizard appeared before them and showed them another path.

He called it The High Road.

He revealed to them how to understand what was happening for each other and to see that,both of them, really wanted the same thing – to love and be loved.

He reminded them that how they started out the relationship was exactly what they needed to get back to – at least in terms of how they interacted with each other.

She needed to treat him with more respect, go back to appreciating him for loving her, protecting her and wanting to make her happy.

He needed to go back to listening to her talk, loving her, proving his love for her, and showing her support and reassurance that she was perfect to him just the way she was.

The wizard took them on a journey down this High Road and taught them the reality of having a relationship is to be able to settle the inevitable disagreements that are bound to occur by respecting the other person’s beliefs and opinions about life.

He taught them to recognise how influential their own beliefs and actions are to the relationship.

He taught them the rules of intimacy and showed them how to communicate with each other, negotiate and compromise so they could become even more deeply connected.

As a result. they began to see into each other beyond the surface of their past behaviours and rediscovered a magic that had laid dormant for too long.

It had been covered up with conflict, hurtfulness, resentment, bitterness, and rejection.

They began to see that taking the High Road was like a ladder that kept them moving upwards, towards a happier life together as the couple they both wanted to be.

Their eyes had been opened.

They could both see the error of their ways.

They could both see the steps needed to bring them the love, approval, acceptance, connection, and appreciation they’d both dreamed of having since the very first time they desired being in a relationship.

Their new understanding of how to have a relationship was clear.

It wasn’t about never disagreeing with each other.

It wasn’t about never feeling upset or disappointed with each other’s behaviour.

It wasn’t about never feeling angry or annoyed.

And it wasn’t about always treating each other perfectly all the time.

They realised the High Road meant accepting one another through thick and thin, working with each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

It was about recognising both of them were trying to be happy and achieve that in the best way they knew how and to help each other to grow, learn and develop as human beings.

They learnt a relationship is about being able to look beyond their partner’s undesirable behaviour with compassion and understanding, as long as it didn’t lead to something that compromised their safety, morals or integrity.

It was about being honest with each other and lifting the other person up when they felt down, rather than stepping on them, and above all it was about giving more love and giving more respect, even when the other person had momentarily forgotten how.

Having experienced this High Road, the couple didn’t want to leave.

They were revelling in their newfound love for each other.

They didn’t want to go back to their usual existence.

They decided to stay and build their new life on this road, teaching their children the same understanding for them to take into their relationships.

The wizard was extremely happy.

He had taught them to understand the key concept that everyone is always asking the question – ‘What’s in it for me?’ and by giving each other more or what their partner wanted, they learnt it would return them more of what they needed.

He had taught them that the answer to their relationship’s success was not about giving up or giving in, but to GIVE MORE!

The wizard had done his job.

He was happy.

He had created a ripple effect of moving yet another couple onto the High Road.

And with that, the wizard disappeared, leaving the couple to continue their life on the High Road, experiencing a reality based happily ever after.

In tomorrow’s lesson we begin our final week to the finish line of this program, by learning how to practice the art of mindfulness.