Sometimes we may feel as if we are stuck personally, or that our relationship is stuck. The connection may feel flat, unexciting, boring, or any number of unsatisfying descriptives. We may ask ourselves if it is worth it. We may be indecisive about our relationships, trying to decide if we should try to work to make them better, or abandon them because we believe ultimately that they will contribute little value in our lives. We may just want to "jump ship", and think about the "Fifty Ways to Leave Our Lover". We know there are always consequences for our actions, and there is the potential for pain and suffering no matter what we decide. There is also the possibility for happiness, joy, and a more satisfying life. I have heard some people say that we live in a "Throwaway Culture". If something doesn't work we just throw it away and get something else to replace it. Sometimes items that we buy would cost more to have them repaired, so we put them in the trash and buy another because it is more cost effective. When I was a child we would return empty soda bottles to the store and would never throw them away. The television would be taken to the repair shop or it would be repaired at our home. It may well be that this mentality has had an impact on other areas of our lives, and personal relationships might be an area that has been impacted by this type of throwaway thinking. Our lives have become very transient, family members often live in different parts of the country, and sometimes even in other countries. Life for us is much different than it was a hundred years ago when we knew our neighbors more intimately, and may have lived in smaller communities where people knew each other for years. In many of those communities, everyone knew everyone else and we may have lived in those communities for our entire life. We may have been more careful regarding our behavior and decisions. In our current environment, we never know when a family member or friend may be transferred to another place or country. Severing relationships may be a bit easier as we adapt to these changes and feel less connected to our communities. We frequently leave relationships just to find ourselves in new relationships which seem to have similar problems and challenges. Sometimes we even jump out of the frying pan and into the fire. There seems to be research to support that when people divorce or leave a relationship they tend to blame the other for the failure or difficulties faced in that relationship. This seems to indicate that we do not accept much relational accountability. I suspect that if we learned something about ourselves from our relationship, it might be difficult to frame the experience as a "failure". If we learned nothing that would be unfortunate. For most of us we would probably be better off trying to take a closer look at the relationship, and try to identify our contribution to the conflicts and dissatisfaction in the relationship. It would be invaluable to learn what we can do to contribute to making our relationships better. If we orient ourselves in this direction or take this path, we can develop valuable learning that will do us well in the in the years to come. We can learn things that will not only help us in our intimate relationships, but can have an impact of improving all of our relationships, and if it doesn't work we leave knowing that we have done our best, and did not hurt someone else or ourselves needlessly. We spend so much time and money on many things, our cars, our homes, our lawns, but unfortunately we invest very little in improving the quality of our intimate, and family relationships. Why do we seem to value things much more when they are no longer there?
Can We Learn to Create More Satisfying Relationships?
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