Romance is for Cowards, Go Where it Hurts

Clay and I get bombarded with emails everyday from people who are experiencing relationship turmoil or general dissatisfaction in their relationship. They’re either going through a tough breakup or at their wits end in trying to rekindle a failing relationship.

Every situation is different but what most of our reader’s emails have in common are the anguish and fear that they’ll never fix their relationship.

I remember what it’s like crying into your pillow at night because of the stabbing pain in your chest from a broken heart.

Or the daunting sucking-the-air-between-your-teeth fear of losing your partner. I also know that dreadful feeling that your relationship has met its expiration date as thoughts of leaving your partner slowly creeps into your mind.

If you’re on the verge of pressing the “eject” button in your relationship or if  you’re desperately clinging to getting your relationship back as if it’s your life preserver on a sinking ship, here are a few things I think you should know about why many relationships don’t have a shot of succeeding.

Losing Sight of Why You’re in a Relationship

Just like any other person, I love being in love. However, when I lost sight of why I was in a relationship in the first place, my relationship with Clay began to really suffer.

When you and your partner were in the beginning stages of dating, you both only wanted each other then…you didn’t need him or her to make you feel complete. You both were riding the blissful waves of falling-head-over-heels-in-love.

Eventually when the sea calmed down and life got back to normal, many people were left wondering, “what the heck happened to us? We used to be great together. Is this the beginning of the end of our relationship?”

Life happened. You and your partner entered a different phase in your relationship where you both had to learn to coexist with one another and try to maintain a thriving relationship.

22 thoughts on “Romance is for Cowards, Go Where it Hurts

  • February 1, 2012 at 3:19 pm
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    Hi Mika,
    So timely for me. I used to feel bored and restless in relationships. It would not creep in or come on gradually though. I would be head over heels happy go lucky in love and then bam! Wake up one day feeling as though the love had been sucked out of me overnight. From that point on, for about 6 months usually I would feel guilty for having no apparent reason for wanting to leave. I would wait to find the “right” time to bail and eventually I would. I now realize that what I thought was love, boredom, restlessness were names of feelings I was using in order to avoid deep self reflection. I had no idea what I wanted, what my own dreams were, my passions…etc.
    So the pattern continued for 3 relationships.
    Now that I have been actively self reflecting for about 2 years, my 5 yr relationship feels genuine and full of deep love and respect. My FEAR is that the restless freight train will come barreling into my life again and I will bolt. My self awareness helps me in my those moments of fear but it is still very scary for me.
    -Tali

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    Mika Replied:

    Isn’t it mind-blowing on how amazing your relationship can be when you’re self-reflective and take responsibility for your OWN emotions?:)
    My suggestion for you Tali, is to stop focusing on the restless freight train. You got something REALLY good right now, focus on that and the future between you and your man. I know that when I start focusing on my negative thoughts and fears, I’m actually digging a deeper hole for myself. Positive focus will really help prevent you from acting on your fears. Remember, what you focus on, you create your feelings and your feelings create your behavior. When I realized that the more I focused on what I DID want… the more pleasant, happy and positive the direction of my life is going.
    Much love,
    Mika

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  • February 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm
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    My relationship is already on lifesupport unfortunately, but with children, I’m going into overtime because I believe we all, our family, deserve a shot at making this work and I’m bringing everything to bear to that end.
    It means addressing my fears, including rejection again, the possibility of mistrust on my part if we can come together again, and that I won’t have addressed all the issues that I have now that we are separated: It’s amazing what I discovered about myself, and us, as soon as our relationship fell apart.

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    Mika Replied:

    VM,

    You got guts. It takes courage, bravery and strength to go where it hurts. I applaud and 100% behind you. Even if you and your partner are separated, you still have a shot at making it work. I don’t know your exact situation, but don’t give up because only with adversity and challenges can you (and your relationship) evolve into something so much more:)

    Hang in there,
    Mika

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  • February 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm
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    Hi Mika,
    Your advice is very concrete. I admire the time and effort that you have put into researching and developing advice for people with relationship struggles. My fear…which is a very long story… is that by “working” on the relationship I am creating a “status quo” situation ALL over again due to the fact “well, you got married, so you must have love somewhere for your spouse.” so, by staying in my marriage and “working it out” is only creating something that may not be “real.” I have been looking inward for 2 1/2 years(maybe longer) and focusing on myself and my issues as well as changing “my way” of thinking to accomadate my “control” over my own emotions and my own happiness as an idividual. Yes, I’ve been to couseling by myself, and with my spouse. No one seems to see my side of the story and not one counselor understands my situation, so i really don’t have a choice, but to stay and have things be “status quo.” There is no way out for me. My spouse and I get along Extremely well…we NEVER have fights. I have NO complaints about him not being helpful around the house, nor can I complain that he doesn’t take care of me, and I know he loves me. So, there really is no “he said, she said” reason for counselling or for me to even consider leaving for. The thought of leaving for me goes beyond all of that…I got married basically to “hide,” to be with someone who could “take care of me.” so, now, 20 years later…I’m stuck with it. The last few years have been difficult…trying to “find myself within my marriage…doing the things that you say, and other counselors. (i’ve done my research too). It all comes down to the same thing… “You got married….SO…stay married! Your spouse is HAPPY and WANTS you to stay…he couldn’t imagine his life with out you…SO… STAY MARRIED! Doing things for SELF…really doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t improve my relationship…just causes guilt! And we both know…living with fear and guilt..not a good combo! So, I can’t live for ME!

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    Mika Replied:

    Cindy,
    My question in all of this is… do you love him and do you WANT to STAY married to him? From what you said, you got married for the WRONG REASONS and now you’re having a difficult time living with the decision you made. Everyone is telling you “well, you made your bed, now lay in it” but you need to figure out whether or not you even want to “lay in it.” If not, than I think you know you’re answer… being married to someone you don’t love compromises your integrity and when you compromise your integrity, you’re going to feel like shit. Perhaps that’s why you’re struggling to save a marriage… do you genuinely want to stay married with someone whom you married for the wrong reason. Did you think that, maybe you’ll fall in love with him eventually? hmmm.. these are just thoughts to ponder.

    -Mika

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  • February 1, 2012 at 6:20 pm
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    I agree with your post, but I have a question: how do you cope with being the one who’s walked out on because the other person wasn’t interested in being in something that wasn’t in the infatuation stage any longer?

    My boyfriend recently ended our relationship, and I’m so brokenhearted and miss him so much. But I also feel stupid for being the one left, for feeling like the relationship was something worth cherishing and working on, when he wasn’t interested in something that was challenging.

    It’s cold comfort to know that I wasn’t cowardly and that I didn’t give into boredom and restlessness or anxiety when I’m just as alone and miserable as I would have been either way.

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    Mika Replied:

    Hey Alison. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. Your situation reminds me of an article Clay wrote a few months back. You should check it out here. It’s on how to get over a broken heart. Also, you might be interested in reading my post on the Depths of Despair which I think will help you out.
    Much love,
    Mika

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  • February 2, 2012 at 1:20 am
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    I think my wife is afraid that I will not be there emotionl for her.how can u convince someone that you really understand what they want out of the relationship

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    Mika Replied:

    Kerry,
    Make sure you show up 100% for her when you’re trying to assure her you’re going to be there for her. Be in the present moment with her. Not sure why your wife doesn’t trust you enough to be there, but do your best to be there for her when she needs you. Also, it’s hard to try to convince someone of your feelings for you if they don’t believe you. The only thing you can do is show her through your ACTIONS that you really are 100% behind her.

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  • February 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm
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    Hi Mika,
    I liked a lot your advice here. Actually my relationship is very healthy but I can understand you point and messages because I was there many times in my life.
    Go where it hurts….that hurts! That is the reason why sometimes we avoid doing this. Nevertheless it is the right thing to do to save a relationship.
    Have a good day!

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    Mika Replied:

    Lenia,
    Thank you for your insightful comment. I definitely agree with you that so many of us tend to avoid pain… but I believe that in many cases, it will get painful before it even begins to get better:)

    Thanks for stopping by, Lenia!

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  • February 3, 2012 at 3:54 am
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    Hi Mika,
    I was on the brink of ending my relationship due to “boredom” when I ready your post. You are right. I was going to take the easy way out. I kept looking for problems in the relationship to give me an excuse to exit. We are both single parents and don’t get much time together. We do alot of combined family activities but I miss the one-on-one time we had in the beginning of our relationship when we went out of our way to make time for each other. I guess I was hoping for that all the time when I know realistically that won’t/can’t happen.
    I understand what you mean about “go where it hurts” because I know I need to work on my self-love and self-esteem. It’s easier to find fault in the relationship when really I need to work on myself.
    Thanks for the timely article,
    Ren

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    Mika Replied:

    Ren,
    These busy times, it’s hard to even get solitude to refuel much less time to spend with your partner. That’s why it’s sooo important to MAKE time just the both of you– for the sake of your relationship and the sake of your kids. I know a lot of people say to put the children first,but to a certain extent I agree with that, but having a healthy and loving relationship with your spouse or lover I think is JUST as important (especially if you have kids.) The way you relate to one another, work or not work together or treat each other will impact your children’s lives. I know from first hand experience that growing up in a household with two parents who who could barely stand each other put a lot of pressure and stress on the children. I’m glad you enjoyed my post, and I hope you and your partner take the necessary steps to transform your relationship:)
    -Mika

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  • February 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm
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    Thanks for the helpful post…

    We all have to learn to stop living in a fantasy and believing a relationship is going to be perfect and easy. When the infatuation wears off in a relationship and in order for it to continue productively, Love needs to kick in. Learning to have an unselfish relationship is not the easiest thing to do, but is absolutely worth it. Just consistently apply some of the steps in this post, and it can be attainable.

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    Mika Replied:

    Barnett,
    YES! You took the words out of my mouth. The common misconception about relationships is that a successful relationship is always going to be filled with happiness… Like I mentioned above, we’re all humans and with that comes a WIDE RANGE of emotions– good and bad. We must be able to express all of our emotions and strive to maintain a healthy and loving relationship. This is the part when a relationship evolves. We all grow individually but when we can grow together with our partner, our relationship transcends:) Thanks for your comment!

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  • February 5, 2012 at 6:41 pm
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    This was an excellent post to help get over the emotions that cause people on the verge of ending their relationship to stick it out.

    And as you quite rightly said Mika, letting the storm pass can in the end be the best decision a couple might end up making.

    Thanks Mika.

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    Mika Replied:

    Hiten,
    Thanks for your comment. Other than certain circumstances (like abusive relationships) I think a relationship is only over when you allow it. I know some people may be shaking their heads at this (because things may seem hopeless right now) but if they go where it hurts and fully commit themselves, they can actually make radical changes within their relationship:)

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    Hiten Vyas Replied:

    Hi Mika,

    I understand what you’re saying.

    Although it isn’t the same (as there is another person involved), its not all that different to when we work on ourselves to deal with our own personal fears for our development. In this instance we will do what is needed to overcome our fears. If we can do it with ourselves then surely we can do it with our relationships too.

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  • March 1, 2012 at 12:02 am
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    Helo mike, i somuch appreciate your write ups, particully on this issue. Am in a relationship going to four years now. But i don’t seem to comfortable with him. Though we see once in a while because of distance. I love him very much, but i don’t seem to be free with him. Please advice me. What is wrong

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  • March 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm
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    I completely agree with all the relationship help information. I have been single all of my life. I have watched all my friends have some kind of termoil in their relationship. I have never given up on having a healthy relationship and unfortunatly, most people are not willing to put the effort into salvaging their relationship. One of the reasons is becuase they are not aware of the tools out there to help or are afraid to try them becuase of the cost. No cost is too much if you really want to make things work. You have this blog that I am sure helps many people vent. There are products out there, that can help couples to get to know each other better such as adult games. Also there are many sexual aids for the willing to try for their sexual health. I have been doing a lot of research on these products for the benefit of my friends and other trouble couples. First you must start with yourself and get yourself healthy before you can expect to heal a relationship.

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    Mika Replied:

    I completely agree with you. Trying to fix your sex life with tips from Cosmo, or buying ebooks that promise to “save your relationship” is absolutely futile if you don’t first begin to look within yourself. I think if you notice a pattern in your life that your connections or relationship tend to fall apart of wither away, I think that’s a big indication that it’s time to stop looking on the OUTSIDE to make you feel good and start to become introspective on your choices, your actions, your thoughts and beliefs that may set you up for failed relationships.

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