Knowing whether to walk away or stay and fight for someone can sometimes feel like an impossible decision to make.
This week’s video will help you cut through all of that anxiety, uncertainty, and stress.
I’d love to hear your comments on this video. What’s a “dark pairing” you’ve experienced that made life really difficult?
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Are you struggling with the decision of whether to stay or go in your love life right now? Maybe you are worried about whether you should continue dating someone who’s already shown you some things you’re not quite sure about, or maybe you’re at the end of a relationship and wondering whether to leave or stay in it. You could even be after a relationship where you’ve had a breakup and you’re wondering whether you should go back or continue forward and meet someone new. This video goes deep on three very specific questions you can ask yourself to determine whether the right decision is to stay the course or to leave and find somebody else. All right, let’s get into it. I had someone come to me recently and say something interesting, slightly painful, and something that well was slightly painful because it also reflected a fear I have. This person was a fan, big fan of all of my work, but she said, “I sometimes think if I had followed all of the advice, I may never have said yes to giving things a go with my partner.”
I have felt like that at times, that the danger is that it’s very easy, the easiest position in the world to take when dispensing advice is leave. If a woman goes to her friend and says a guy did this and her friend says, ugh, leave, don’t go on another date with him. Or a guy says, “Oh, she did that? Ditch her. “We imagine that friend to be someone who’s wounded, don’t we? We imagine that friend themselves to be someone who’s either bitter or defensive or all too willing to write people off quickly. And I sometimes worry that in my advice over the years I’ve made too many people write people off too quickly based on some perceived red flag. And the truth is we love hearing about red flags. There’s a reason that red flag videos do so well on YouTube is because there’s something gratifying about it. Isn’t there?
There’s something about dating someone and seeing something that’s a bad sign, seeing something that’s a red flag, and then immediately getting to write them off in a righteous way. You did this? Ugh, move aside, I’m going to keep looking. The danger, of course, and I think part of the allure of looking for red flags in other people is that it’s also a distraction from our own red flags. God help us if everyone ditches us at the first sign of a red flag, because we all have them. The question of course, becomes which red flags are too dangerous to ignore and which ones are worth negotiating with. I have come to believe that relationships are incredibly complex, that we should have compassion when we look at other people’s situations from the outside. It’s a particularly easy thing to do when single to judge someone else’s relationship from the outside, because we don’t have our own complexity to compare it to.
So it’s very easy to say I can’t believe he or she puts up with that. I can’t believe they’ve put themself in that situation. I can’t believe that they’re okay with that because we have the righteousness of someone who has no complexity in their lives in that sense. It’s far harder to judge somebody else’s relationship and not have compassion when we ourselves have negotiated complexities. When we ourselves have overcome some mess to be where we are right now. When we ourselves have had to invest and figure out a way through. And in some ways, it’s hard to judge other people’s relationships if we just love people or like people. If we happen to like people, then we don’t so quickly write people off all the time because of a way that they’re different from us or because of some trauma or demon that’s coming out right now because we love people.
And we’re able to see behind those things, whether or not that makes them a good choice for us in our life is a different story. But we’re able to have a capacious enough heart for the differences between people. The things that they’ve gone through that have led them to be the way they are today. And also perhaps the acknowledgement that people might be doing their best and probably are doing their best, even if their best isn’t great in this moment. And that people would all change if it were easy to change, if there were a change light switch that they could just flick and be better, they would, but it’s not easy. And of course, the acknowledgement that some people are able to heal. I don’t like the idea that people can change because that seems dangerously close to dating someone in the hope that they’re going to be someone different a year from now.
And that’s precarious to say the least, and everyone’s had bad experiences with that, but people can heal. There are three questions I want you to ask yourself to help determine whether you should stay or go in the situation you are in. And you might be in a situation where that means should I keep dating someone, it’s in the early phases and I don’t know whether to continue knowing what I know about this person and their behavior, or you might be in the position of finding it very difficult to let someone go and fully make a break from someone that you’ve been in a relationship with and you’re trying to use this video to decide whether to go back or not. Number one, is their big flaw offset by a truly redeemable quality? Something negative we may bring to the table can be offset by a beautiful quality or trait.
So for example, there are some universal redeemable traits. Humility is a really important one. If someone has self-awareness, then they are aware of the thing that needs to be worked on. If someone has real empathy, then they’re able to see how this part of them affects you negatively and feel that and use that as inspiration and motivation to change. If someone values teamwork, then they have the desire to be a great partner to you and see healing themselves as part of being a great partner. If they’re growth minded, it means they have the fuel, the impetus to actually do the work that’s necessary to heal this part of themselves. And there are more, of course, kindness, compassion, these are traits that can do an awful lot to offset the negative effects of that flaw. If somebody doesn’t have the neutralizing counterbalance to that negative quality or that demon let’s call it becomes what I think of or call a dark pairing.
If you followed my work for a long time you know I use the phrase a lot unique pairings in a positive sense. Unique pairings are the pairings of qualities in a person that make them irresistible, that make them someone we never want to let go of. So it could be that someone is both funny and sexy. That’s a unique pairing. Dark pairing is when you have two qualities that together make for a very dangerous cocktail. So for example, if someone is anxious, if they’re an anxious person, but they are also defensive, that makes for a difficult pairing. Because now when you get anxious, you are unlikely to own it, to take responsibility for the fact that your anxiety is taking over here. So you’re going to now defend yourself and make it my fault. You may even go on the attack, especially if your anxiety is paired with a tendency towards aggression.
If you feel afraid, if you feel threatened, you might say something really spiteful. You might try to make me insecure in order to put me on the back foot so that you can feel good again, because you’ll feel safe if you can knock me down a peg. But if someone is anxious, but you combine that with a true kindness, a self-awareness, a humility, then someone is able to acknowledge their own anxiety and say to you I know I need to work on this. I’m feeling scared right now and I don’t want to feel this way, but something that just happened, it flared me up and I want to work on it, but I could use some love right now. Now you have a great antidote to anxiety. It doesn’t make this anxiety an easy quality to deal with all of the time, but it does counterbalance that quality in a way that helps to neutralize it.
And this is an important point, I don’t mean do they have an awesome quality at the same time as having this really difficult quality? That’s a very different thing. If you said to me, they are incredibly selfish, but they’re also really charismatic. So difficult quality, great quality, I’d say yeah, but the great quality does nothing to neutralize this difficult quality. All you’re saying is I’m using their charisma as an excuse to ignore their selfishness. For those of you that are struggling with whether to go back to someone that you had a relationship with, maybe that person keeps reaching out and you’re struggling to let go. There are these moments where you feel weak and you want to go back, one of the common things we do is we look at the negative quality they had that drove us away. And we go, well, yes, they were like that, but they also had all of these amazing qualities and you miss the amazing qualities, of course.
And then even with the negative quality, you look at it and you go and you know what? Yeah, they could be selfish sometimes, but I’m selfish sometimes. And am I really going to be that judgemental about that? And you start justifying and rationalizing over that quality, but the truth is, we rarely end it with someone based on just one thing, it’s normally a cocktail of negative traits. These dark pairings that make something so difficult, so toxic, such an erosion to our confidence or our identity or a situation where we truly lose ourselves, that we can no longer stay in it anymore and have any self-respect or stay sane or be happy. And we forget that there’s a cocktail of things going on.
By the way, while you are here, I’m really curious about this, because I think this would be, if nothing else, a really interesting exercise, what is a dark pairing that you experienced in a previous relationship or maybe even right now with the person you’re seeing or in a relationship with that made life really, really difficult? What two qualities together made for a really dangerous dark pairing? I’ll give you another one. If someone is highly ambitious, hyper-ambitious, and they are not present, you are away from them a lot which means that when you’re with them, what you need is really concentrated quality time, but they’re not even there when they’re with you. It would be easy to say that ambition was the problem but the bigger problem is not even feeling like they’re there when they’re there. Another one, insecure and victimized, meaning this person feels incredibly insecure about themselves, but doesn’t see that they need to grow.
They need to improve their mindset. Everything’s wrong with everybody else. Everyone else is to blame, you’re to blame, the world is to blame. They are the victim. Let me know in the comments, what is a dark pairing you have encountered in the past, or maybe even a dark pairing that you have had to get over in yourself because there were two dangerous qualities combining. Question number two in this should I stay or should I go debate, “Is it getting easier?” I have heard from many different people that if a relationship is right, it should be easy. Now I understand the sentiment of that. What concerns me about the nature of that phrase is that it seems very broad. In other words, if you have two people who have done an incredible amount of work on themselves and come to each other, having done a lot of healing and growth, then it may well be smooth sailing from the beginning in their relationship.
But that’s often not the case. We meet each other at different stages of development. We still have healing to do. Not everyone who meets and gets married is fully formed as a human being. To an extent, none of us are, we all are work in progress. And if we’re a work in progress, there will be times in a relationship or in dating that are hard. And of course, there are versions of hard that we have to be careful of, right? I’m not talking about abuse here. I’m not talking about something that is so radically in the wrong direction from the beginning that why would you bother trying to fix it or fix this person? I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about there will be people that come to you who are awesome, but they have things they need to work on, as do you.
And in those situations we have to say to ourself, okay, I am comfortable being with this person while they work on this, which means communicating to this person that it’s something that you want to work on with them that you expect to try to heal together. But the question always is, is there progress? If the relationship remains just as difficult, if it gets worse, that’s a problem. So I think that there’s a pairing we have to have, which is compassion for the way that someone is, but a standard that says if something’s not optimal about our relationship and it’s something that genuinely affects my happiness, then this needs to get better. I need to see progress with this. I’m compassionate towards this part of you and I’m here to provide space for this to improve, but it has to improve. So this is compassion allied with a standard, which is a beautiful unique pairing actually.
It becomes a dark pairing if our compassion is allied with a lack of our standards around what we will accept. Compassion without standards is a recipe for masochism. So number one, are there red flags offset by a redeeming quality? Number two, is it getting easier? And number three, what decision do I feel drawn to in my wisest moment? Now I don’t want this to sound too lofty like you need to have this enlightened moment where everything makes sense to you, but there are moments where things just make more sense. When I say wise, I mean the part of you that’s really connected to what’s important in life to the right things, as I think of them. I believe that our life gets easier when we drive towards the right things, our life gets predictably worse when we seek the wrong things.
The wrong things can be someone making us feel better about ourselves because they’re super attractive and we want to get them for that reason so that we can prove something to ourself and other people. The wrong things can be driving after a relationship that has giddy highs and terrible lows because we’re addicted to the emotional roller coaster of it and we’re constantly chasing that high. We can spend our lives chasing the wrong things and it will never make us happy. There is I believe a wise part of us that is grounded, that is connected, that in certain moments finds a moment of quiet and is able to go this isn’t right, this isn’t what I should be looking for in life. A part of you that connects to the values that are really important to you, the culture that you want to create in your relationship, the things that you expect from someone that you can build that kind of culture with, what they need to value, not just what you value.
Notice, I’m not using the word strongest moment because strongest can easily lead us down the path of the moments we feel the cockiest, the moments we feel so self-assured like I should be getting someone like that. I shouldn’t be putting up with this, that’s ego. And notice I also didn’t say the most compassionate moment you have, because if you’re not careful focusing just on your compassionate moments, might have you martyring yourself in service of making somebody else happy. When I say wisest, I mean wisest because it’s the part of you that is really connected to what energy you want to create in your life, both for somebody else and for yourself. Notice, I also didn’t say the most in love part of you, because if you trust the most in love part of you, then you’re just trusting the part of you that is at its giddiest and saying, what does this part of me want to do? Well, that part of you is always going to go be with this person forever, even though that has terrible lows with it potentially and it’s a kind of drunken state.
When you are centered and when you feel really connected to what’s important in your life, what does that person want? And what does that person want to be driving towards in the long term? And the conclusion of that, by the way, might mean short term pain. But the answer is incredibly significant because it comes from a place of groundedness, it comes from a place of connection. Now, accessing that voice is not always easy. In fact, a lot of people find it incredibly difficult because it’s always lost in the fog of fear, not knowing what I would do if I lost this person. Being afraid of never meeting anyone else again, feeling like I’m not good enough, or I’m not worthy of those really important right things you speak of, or it can just be that it’s lost in the fog of addiction, being addicted to somebody, being addicted to the highs of this situation that I’m in.
Being addicted to the lovey feeling that I get when I’m around this person, even though I’m deeply unsatisfied in this relationship, if I’m honest with myself. My needs aren’t being met, it can be very, very difficult to access that voice. But I believe in my bones, a peaceful and happy life, I don’t mean a pleasurable life, pleasure comes and goes, to a certain extent happiness comes and goes. Peace is a truly profound and I think underrated emotion when it comes to our lives. Jameson, there was this really good quote. I think Eckhart Tolle said “Joy is vibrantly alive peace.” Which is so different from the pleasure that we seek by trying to get someone and trying to feel love all the time, vibrantly alive peace. Isn’t that what we all want? Well, that’s something that is my hidden mission to help you get to by tapping into that voice in you that knows what the right things are, and then has the strength to drive after them.
Instead of continuing to feel this gravitational pull towards things that may feel known to you, but make you deeply unhappy and dissatisfied and rob you of your peace. I would love to invite you to be part of a process that does this. Many of you have heard of this, it’s my Retreat program. I will say it to you until you get there, because I know what it does for people. And we have one more Retreat this year and that’s it. It’s a Virtual Retreat. So you can do it from wherever you are in the world. We’ve had people everywhere from Australia to Japan, Canada, Europe, all corners of the world do this from their home, but it’s live. And I spend three days with you immersed in your world and helping you to build that sense of A, confidence, and B, that real sense, that definitive idea of what the right things are to you so that you do not get distracted by the wrong things. And of course, having the tools to stay on that path because I promise you, your life is not a sprint, it is a marathon.
And your long term happiness relies on you consistently staying in line with the right things on that marathon instead of sprinting out of fear towards the wrong things, or because you’re panicked or because you think you’re running out of time or because everyone else is getting ahead of you, this is the cycle we have to get out of. And if you come to the Retreat we’ll do it together. There is an early bird ticket that offer is almost over. The early bird ticket means that the Retreat is far cheaper than it is at any other time this year. But that offer is about to close. It also comes with some fun bonuses as well. I can show you those on the page, but if you go to MHVirtualRetreat.com, you’ll find out all about it. I’ll see you over there. MHVirtualRetreat.com. Thank you so much for watching this video. I’ll see you soon.