Struggling to Hold On to A Relationship? This Might Save Your Relationship

Lately, I’ve been getting more and more emails from men and women who say my advice has helped them move things to a point where they are in regular contact with their ex, and things even seem to be heading towards getting back together. But for some unknown reason, their ex is still confused about how they feel and what they want. Many of the emails are asking me whether in such a situation one ought to be trying to get back together with their ex or just give up. One person asked me if it’s even possible to fight for the relationship and at the same time allow it to happen naturally.

When it comes to relationships, there is having a relationship with someone and there is struggling to hold on to a relationship you want.

What’s the difference?

When you take an object and wrap your hands around it tightly, you are communicating that you want to keep it. You are also communicating that you do not wish to let go of it. The (this is mine) energy going into holding tightly is one of control, possessiveness and constant fear of losing what you have in your hand.

This is what “struggling to hold on to a relationship” feels like. Though the fear is disguised as “I love him/her very much”, the energy in the relationship is one of anxiety, worrying, over-analyzing, needing to control or manipulate things to keep someone from leaving.

Despite your trying so hard to make the relationship work, make the other person feel loved and/or manipulate their emotions (i.e. make them jealous, use guilt or ultimatums), in the end, they end up leaving.

When you  open your palm and let the object rest on it, you are communicating that you want to keep it. You are also communicating that you are willing to let go of it, if you have to. The energy is one of openness, ease and effortlessness.

This is what having a relationship in which you are not struggling to hold on to someone feels like. The energy in the relationship is one of openness, ease and effortlessness. The words “I love him/her very much” are devoid of fear or need to control, possess or manipulate to keep the other person from leaving.

How do you know you are struggling to hold onto a relationship versus having a relationship?

  • You feel anxious more often than calm and relaxed
  • You worry about the relationship (and the other person leaving) more often than feel confident about the love you have for each other
  • You over-analyze (and scrutinize) the relationship more often than going with the flow
  • You feel the need to control or manipulate things more often than letting things unfold naturally
  • You are in “can’t live without but can’t live with” type of relationship
  • You are more of relationship coach or couple’s therapist than a lover and partner

Sometimes the simple act of loosening your grip on a relationship is what turns struggling to hold on to a relationship (and to someone) to having a relationship with them.

Don’t just take my word for it, try it for yourself – and for your relationship.

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54 Comments

  • My ex broke up with me because she felt the “spark” was gone. She also said she wasn’t happy with me anymore. I genuinely believe that she still loves me but her fear being hurt again is holding her back. What do I do to help with her fear?

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  • This site is really helping. This is our third breakup. The first time we broke up, it lasted only a week and we got back. The second time, slightly over a month. This last breakup I told her I dont want the old relationship and that we should take it slow and date again. The breakup happened because we were constantly arguing. We both said some hurtful things to each other but have since made amends. Progress is slow but I’m not the type of person to give up and want to walk away without knowing that our story is done.

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  • From our very first date my ex told me she knew I was ‘the one” and told me she loved me only 5 days into a relationship. We spent every single night together and were very honest with each other. But 3 months into the relationship I noticed her pulling away. She didn’t respond to my texts and always had excuses why she was not able to see me. I was confused and deeply hurt and one day I showed up at her house and there she was entertaining another guy after telling me she needed to sleep early because she had to be up early for work the next day. I stormed out of there and didn’t speak with her for 6 weeks. She called me insistently asking for my forgiveness and I told her I can forgive her but she has to earn it. A couple of days ago I found her profile on a dating website she had posted only a few days earlier. I confronted her about it and she said she didnt want to talk about it. I love this woman and want to fight for her but I don’t know what to do.

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    • I admire your capacity to put up with her infidelity, but in this I don’t think that there is anything you can say or do that’ll stop your ex from “looking” elsewhere for whatever it is she is looking for.

      She needs to deal with her issues before she can be in a healthy relationship, and you need to face the reality of what’s really going on.

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  • I thought everything was going to be better because of the time apart, 3 months of NC. Since we have been back we’re fighting to exhaustion. I’ve tried everything to stop fighting with him but he knows which of my hot buttons to press. We love each other very much we just can’t stop fighting. My question is this, is this relationship worth fighting for or do I need to just let things go?

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    • Contrary to what most people believe, just time apart doesn’t change anything. What would have changed things for the better would have been for you to learn skills for stopping disagreements before they escalate into a full-on fight

      I don’t think it’s too late for you to do just that.

      If after following the steps you need to take to stop a fight before it starts, you are still fighting, it’ll probably be best to turn in your fighting gloves and go your separate ways.

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  • Yangki, I can see the mistakes that I made and what I could have done to make things better but my ex will not give me a chance to make things right. He says he is done with our relationship and doesn’t want me to set myself up for disappointment. He does not want any contact at the moment. I haven’t lost all hope yet but I don’t know what else to do either.

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  • Yangki, we were together for 4 amazing months. There was nothing wrong between us, she decided she wasn’t ready for another relationship because she wasn’t over what happened with her ex. She said I was a great guy and she wished we had met at a different time. I text her once in a while and she responds immediately. I just want to get an idea if there is even a chance for me or if I am wasting my time.

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    • It’s hard to tell without knowing more about what happened with her ex… if it’s something she can get over, roughly how long that will take… or even if that’s the “real” reason she ended the relationship.

      Sometimes, “I am not ready for a relationship right now” is the easy way out. One of those “it’s not you, it’s me” excuses that people use when they’re afraid to tell you the “real” reason, or don’t want you to hold up hope.

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  • I did ask her if there was any other reason and she denied it, but I think I have a pretty good idea. Her family never liked me. She has told me a couple of times that her family compares me to her ex and it makes her so mad. They think I am not good enough for her.

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    • That can create conflict in one’s mind. But if they’re happy with the relationship, the family will eventually come around.

      If they have their own doubts or concerns about the relationship, the family “pressure” will get to them, and they’ll find all kinds of reasons (“I’m not ready for a relationship”, “I need time to focus on myself”, “We should take a break and see how things go”. etc) , to end the relationship.

      Focus on removing her doubts or concerns so that she’s so sure she wants to be with you, and her family will see how happy she is, and accept (or tolerate) you.

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  • I wish my ex had fought for me and for our relationship. We were together for 8 years and broke up last November. He lost his job and went from being this kind and loving person to being angry and withdrawn. I tried to stand by him but he was not doing anything to help himself. I told him I loved him too much to see him do this to himself. The next day he initiated complete no contact. I haven’t heard from him since. I sent him a Christmas card.

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