Ever found yourself in a situation where the person you are with is doing something that affects you negatively, only they don’t see it as a big deal?
If you’re wondering whether what someone is doing around you should be a deal-breaker, this video will help you figure it out once and for all…
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I was recently told a story by a client who was having a massive fight with her boyfriend over the fact that he was texting another woman consistently, who he’d met not so long ago and he said was a friend and wanted her to be okay with it. This created a massive rift in their relationship.
It’s very easy, of course, for us on the outside to look at that and go, “Oh my God, she’s being daft if she puts up with that.” But, of course, in a relationship, everyone has different rules, don’t they? People have different boundaries. One person could say, “It should be no problem for him to have friends of the opposite sex and to be texting them regularly.” Another person might say, “That’s disrespectful for the relationship and opens the door to either a real threat, or, at the very least, is not a nice thing to do to his partner.”
Sometimes arguing about what’s right or wrong adds too much complexity to a situation. What we can do instead is, number one, return to our own truth: Is this right for me? Rather than judging that person and saying, “They’re objectively a bad human being,” simply returning to that ancient Greek maxim, “know thyself.” Is this right for me?
Of course, we could even get into attachment styles here and say, “Maybe I have my attachment style and I need someone who nurtures my attachment style, who soothes my attachment style, not someone who exacerbates the worst elements of my attachment style. If I’m a little anxious by nature, should I be with someone who amps up that anxiety by doing things that make it worse instead of making me feel safe and secure in the relationship?” So know thyself.
Number two, assume that they won’t change. Don’t go forward on the basis that this person is going to stop doing this behavior. Jacob M. Braude said, “Consider how difficult it is to change yourself and you’ll understand what little chance you have of changing other people.” Do not go forward thinking that one day this person will cease this behavior. Assume they won’t and then ask yourself, can you be happy with that?
Number three, is there a workaround? This behavior, this pattern is causing you pain, is there a workaround? And importantly, when you’ve looked at what the workaround would be, is the workaround something that causes more trouble, more pain than it’s worth – more pain than the relationship creates happiness? Does the workaround represent too much of a departure from who you are, your values, your true nature? Does it separate you from yourself in order to be okay with this thing?
Now, of course, when someone comes to me with a problem like this, and there’s even the suggestion that the relationship may not be workable, the pendulum will immediately swing in the other direction. They’ve started the conversation by talking about how they’re deeply unhappy and this thing is causing them pain, but then they swing to, “But this person is so amazing, and I really love them, and they love me, and we have so much in common, and there’s so much that is right about it,” and that will be the justification for them staying.
Now the desire to continue a relationship can be beautiful on one hand, but it can be extremely dangerous on the other. The passion and the optimism we have for the relationship, for its potential to actualize into what we want it to be, is the greatest founder of unchecked optimism, of our blurring of the facts. We start selectively focusing on what this person is saying and doing in order to create a narrative that this relationship can still work.
We have to get very sober about this and see it for what it is. And this is so important because it forces two fundamental questions. Number one, can I be happy within this relationship? And number two, if I can’t, do I value this person more or do I value my happiness more? Because it would appear that in this relationship I cannot have both. Only you can decide the answer to that question. I’ll see you next week.
Real quick, before you go, the Virtual Retreat is coming up. It is upon us. If you haven’t yet signed up; if you watch a video like this and you go, “My God, I wish I had the bravery to actually do what I needed to do;” or if in any part of your life, outside of your relationship, you’re thinking, “There’s so much I want to do. There’s so much I want to experience. There’s so many ways I want to hit reset on this difficult year I’ve had and not squander it. I still want to turn this year into a beautiful piece of art that leads me into next year powerfully” – then please, come with us. There is a link right here. Go to that link, speak to one of our Specialists, ask all the questions you want about it, but, by God, be there, because it’s going to be a very special event. Three days, live, my Virtual Retreat. Go to that link. I will see you there. And thank you, as always, for watching.
7 Replies to “Is Their Behavior a Deal-Breaker?”
What if it’s an ex girlfriend that became his friend and she’s a friend of the whole family and they miss her?
I sound like a broken record. But I will say it again, for the millionth and one time: Matthew, you give the BEST advice, not just about relationships, but life. I don’t know one other person who gives better advice than you!
What you are saying is very deep and insightful, as usual! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
I think Matt should do a video on dating ptsd. I’ve dated A LOT since my divorce. like A LOT. Took a tiny break but started dating again and now I’m dating a great guy and I’m internally overreacting to little shit he does because it “reminds me of something someone else did and that didn’t work out then so this is not gonna work out now and I should get out before they get me.”
I’m keeping a lid on it so far but I’m afraid it’s making me hypersensitive, hypercritical, paranoid and pessimistic. I’m gonna sabotage this relationship. Makes it hard to see what a real deal breaker is or am I the breaker here. LIke I”m always looking for a pattern to follow that will make things clearer but it’s making me cookoo birds. lol.
I know what I have to do. therapy and meditation but it would be nice to hear matt’s take on it.
Spot-on. I’m learning this now.
Wow learning alot from you this days which I have not thought about before ever in relationship awesome
This is amazing advice, completely agree. I’ve been in this situation before and it took me a while to come back to what worked for me and away from the trap of why couldn’t I be happy with this great guy. Even though he had lots of amazing qualities he wasn’t a good boyfriend.
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