I receive so many blog questions, and also work with so many men and women who are in relationships where on an average day, they fluctuate between should I stay or should I go, should I fight for him/her or should I give up.
One day they write me telling me they do not think the relationship is going any where, they are not happy, they do not feel loved by this person and can not get him or her to open up. They are ready to quit because they believe they deserve better – deserve to be loved.
The next day I receive yet another email saying they love this person so much and think things will work out. They tell me their ex is trying and they know (in their own way) he/she loves them. They want to give the relationship another chance.
But two days later, I get yet another email saying “It’s over. I can’t take this anymore”. The email is this long and very emotional. It all about how angry they are with the other person for “leading” them on or how angry they are with themselves for loving someone who obviously does not love them back. Some of them go as far as saying the person they are with is not capable of love because he/she is selfish, narcissistic, emotionally cold, has serious issues from childhood, is insecure, is a jerk, is inadequate in bed, in not intelligent and all that stuff…
By now you know the drill, one week later they are so much in love and want to fight for the person they love…
What makes people do this to themselves?
People who have an emotional need for love and acceptance while fully aware of their needy words and actions often think they are acting that way because of the other person. In their minds, if only the other person wasn’t selfish, hadn’t been abused as a child, wasn’t on depression medication, and sometimes if it wasn’t for the other man or woman, etc,everything would be okay.
Many of these people feel like they are at the mercy of the other person or of their circumstances. Some have had a lifetime of feeling emotionally helpless or powerless, and as a result do not know how to make their needs known or ask for what they need without coming across as entitled to the other person’s time, attention, support, love and affection.
Others have discovered that there are benefits to feeling sorry for themselves, and for blaming others or external circumstances for their needy actions and reactions. It means that they do not have to take any responsibility, change, take action or do anything to change their current situation.
Instead they try even harder — focusing exclusively on the other person’s “issues” or needs. They turn themselves inside out to make the other person like or love them, and give more “love” than the other person wants them to, or is capable of. When this does not work, they become contemptuous, mean and even hostile. For many this is the time they tell themselves that they are ready to quit because they deserve better and want better. That only lasts a few hours, days, weeks or months. The craving for attention, affection or love eventually comes back, and they go back to the only person they think can give them what they need and try to squeeze the love out of their ex. But when that does not work… should I go on?
What do you then do if you find yourself in a love-hate relationship with your ex?
You can do one of the following:
1) Cut off all contact with your ex, and hope that this time you’ll really walk away for good. Or;
2) You can try to make the relationship work.
I’ll probably get a lot of grief from “victims” of selfish, emotionally detached, emotionally unavailable, jerk, narcissist, gold-digging etc exes, for even suggesting that a love-hate relationship can actually work. But I know first hand that they can — and they do.
If you feel that you don’t want anything to do with your whatever-ex, that okay too. Just keep in mind that this article is not for you. This article is for those people who want to make it work.
Love-hate relationships are hardest to make work or walk away from, because love and hate are probably the two strongest emotions known to mankind. They are also the most passionate, and addictive.
The probability that the relationship will survive a love-hate phase is very low, and it takes a lot more work to make these kind of relationships work.
On the other hand, if you can make it work, the probability that your relationship will be more fulfilling than starting with someone new is very high. There is just something about overcoming great obstacles together that makes a relationship even more “special”, even feel like “it was meant to be.”
So if you are not yet ready to walk away (for good), and are willing to give your relationship a real chance, here are four steps that you need to follow:
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