The Keys to a Thriving Relationship

With relationship stability being one of my favorite topics, and something I dealt with for what seemed to be far too long, I thought I should write about my experience, what I learned from it, and to show how others can strengthen and expand their own relationships with this knowledge.

During and after a particular break-up of mine, my ex had never shared what exactly it was that manifested the steady decline of his interest in our relationship. I never (even to this day) received closure, so I couldn’t help but think “maybe it was my aggressive personality,” or “maybe it was my lack of desire to keep up on my appearances.” I could only help but blame the latter, knowing subconsciously that it wasn’t the truth. If it was, I guess I missed the big, yellow sign before me which read “BEWARE: SHALLOW WATER.”

Over time, the truth arrives. Whether it be an epiphany or external perspectives, the dots begin to connect. For my own sake, and the readers, I will share what I learned was actually to blame for my failed relationship.

(I use the term “failed” very, very loosely, and only to express the ending of the relationship- it was not a failed experience.)

Inevitable Growth. In my perspective, things came to an end when we began to grow apart, as opposed to growing together, in harmony. This is not to say “we must do the same things, share the same exact passions, and do the same work.” Harmony in growth, for me, is having a mutual understanding of the goals of one another, what we both intend to learn, and the path we decide to take. Without having this harmony, it can create a lot of confusion and failed communication.

Maturity levels, in correlation with age. When my relationship began, I had only known “love” in a toxic manner. I had been in three or four “longer” relationships (spanning between 6 months & 2 years) throughout high school, but rarely ever did they end the way a relationships should. This meant that I hadn’t learned enough to create or find balance between my significant other and myself. The relationship paradigms I knew and exercised were extremely condescending and selfish, which is all too common in adolescent relationships.

Lack of self-understanding & self-love. It is insane to look back on who I was only 3 short years ago. Egotistical, aggressive, ignorant to the bigger picture, and very, very confused. After my relationship ended, I decided to redirect the energy I was contributing to my relationship into studies of anything ethereal or artistic. I began painting, studying reiki, psychology, and philosophy, and devoting myself to figuring out what I enjoyed.

People often wonder why their relationships or marriages came to an end. This is usually a result of missed warning signs, miscommunication, and dishonesty. What’s even worse is having lack of closure, which can leave us feeling crazy, and it only creates more insecurities. (For me, it was thinking I wasn’t beautiful enough, which is quite naïve to assume. Unless the man or woman you were with is as shallow as a kiddie pool, never assume it is solely due to your appearances.)

If you want to know why your relationship ended, with the intention to learn from it, you’ll want to take a step back and analyze your behavior (as well as your ex-significant others.) Ask yourself these few questions, and you’ll start to connect the dots.

1) The last time you were in an argument, did you acknowledge your significant others position?

2) What do your arguments usually consist of? Find the pattern. Both will need to make compromises to find resolution in whatever the issue may be.

3) Have you been listening?

4) Have you both laid out clear-cut boundaries? This is vital in having a mutual understanding of the “do’s” and “do not’s” in your relationship.

5) Are you reacting on emotion? (Often for this, you will need to analyze the emotions you’re experiencing and come back with a full understanding of your own perspective, as well as the others.) Reacting on emotion can cause an escalated argument, which results in more hurt and confusion.

It is absolutely agonizing to admit that it took me well over a year to finally forgive myself and the man I constantly blamed for “breaking my heart.” I believe this is only true because of how much was to be learned from the heart-wrenching, yet beautifully evolved experience. I found missing pieces to myself, put them back together, and expanded on every beautiful aspect of who I am.
I can, very honestly, say that I am proud of who I am today, and I can only say THANK YOU to the universe for guiding me through it and thank you to the individual who, originally I would blame for destroying me, but actually opened the door for me to discover a greater version of myself.

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