Are you living in a bubble of your own creation?
January 20, 2018
Meet Steven. Steven is in pain.
His girlfriend told him she needs space. She doesn't like how he focuses on her flaws and not his own. She says she's tried telling him, but he doesn't change.
This definitely got his attention. He realizes something needs to be done (although he's not sure what).
"She's confused" he tells me, "I know she loves me, she's just scared. I just need to give her some space."
I've heard it so often before. I try to explain to him that "needing space" is often a prelude to the end of the relationship. It's a softer way of telling someone you want out of the relationship.
He's not ready to hear it.
"What's your plan?" I ask him, "You give her space... and then? Until when? What happens after?"
"I need to work on myself" is his answer.
Probably true, but at this point he hasn't defined what that means.
I can tell he feels like he's the only one that understands the situation. "It's complicated" he tells me.
But you know what? It rarely is.
If you want to be together, you try to BE together and you try to work out whatever is preventing you from doing that. If you need to work on yourself, you work on yourselves TOGETHER. You grow TOGETHER and TOWARDS EACH OTHER.
Sometimes you can't be together. It hurts. It can be difficult. But it's rarely complicated.
When you say it's complicated it's often because you yourself don't understand and can't explain what's going on OR because you haven't made a decision whether it's worth fighting for or not.
You can't understand what's going on without looking honestly at things as they are. And often we don't want to see things as they are because we want to hold on to an alternative reality that feels more pleasant.
We are not ready to accept that maybe this is the end of the relationship -- because we weren't expecting it to end. Not now. Not like this. Not this soon.
Our mind tricks us into keeping this alternate reality alive. It blocks out outside opinions by convincing us that no one understands. It tricks us into holding on by offering explanations for her behavior, after all "she's just confused", "not thinking straight" or "scared".
We create a bubble for ourselves and make it impenetrable so that even our loved ones cannot pop it for us.
But, even though the people around us will not fully understand everything that's going, they are able to give us little reality checks that can help us construct a more accurate view of our situation.
It's only until after my relationship came to an end that my friends were in a position to tell me that they didn't like the way my ex treated me or they didn't like where the dynamic between us was going.
The first time I heard that, it came as a shock. But then, it slowly started to make sense. As time went by after breaking up I realized more and more about the alternate reality I had been living in.
Talk to the people around you, your friends, your family. They won't have a full understanding of the situation -- but they don't need to to give you valuable advice. They don't need to know everything to know that your relationship wasn't healthy for you.
Even long after your breakup, you can still be living in a bubble that your relationship was great and your ex was perfect. The sooner your burst that bubble, the better you'll feel! And the easiest way to do that is by getting feedback from people around you.
What alternate reality have you been living in? Let me know in the comments.