Love experts teach that relationships are a series of compromises and require consistent positive efforts to succeed. The astronomical rate of divorce seems to indicate that couples aren't able or willing to do the work necessary to maintain their union.
Certainly, many couples fit the above description, but there is another cause for rampant relationship failure that no amount of compromise and effort will cure: hardwired blindness.
Well over half of the emails I receive contain some variation of the following:
A is interested in a relationship with B. B has some affliction (a history of infidelity, current addiction, ongoing alcoholism, anger issues, serious financial trouble, volatile ex's who are still in the picture, an inability to commit or other emotional unavailability etc.). A sees B's shortcomings, recognizes the potential for harm, overlooks it and rationalizes that things will be different when they are together, pressing forward in all attempts to woo B.
It is extraordinarily difficult and unlikely to build a strong union on such a fragile foundation. Yet, somehow even after gaining a full understanding of what a future with this person will hold, A still wants to get involved. Something is overriding her good judgment. When asked why, she says it's because she's, "in love".
Beneath the mask of "love" is a deeper cause, a need within, that isn't about the other person at all. It's about us. If we find ourselves repeatedly drawn to people with certain types or categories of problems we must turn our search for love within. Something needs to be healed and released.My experience with hardwired blindness was born of my married (to someone other than my mother) father leaving my life before I was born. Beneath the surface of my conscious awareness, I took it personally. I grew up repeatedly placing myself in situations with unavailable people believing that if I could get them to choose me, it would prove my father was wrong to abandon me.
At nineteen, after dropping out of 9th grade, having a child and being abandoned again, I recognized this cycle. I didn't have the resources for therapy and I likely wouldn't have gone. I already understood why I was putting myself in harm's way. I knew that I needed to take responsibility for myself and use my brain along with my heart.
I still remember the powerful charge I felt when I met someone who was unavailable but drawn to me. It was titillating and I was often tempted to give in to, "This time will be different" thinking. It took discipline to remind myself that my feelings weren't born of some mystical love force, but rather they were the electricity emitted by the charge of connecting with one who touched a deep wound.
Gradually, I learned to take responsibility for my beliefs. My story changed from, "My father left because we weren't good enough to make him stay" to "He left because it was the best he could do with what he had and it was never about me."
As forgiveness and my new beliefs set in, I healed. My relationships became honestly passionate, adoring and enduring.
When we find ourselves drawn to people or situations that will likely harm us, it is a call to embark on the journey of healing. We must learn to protect and actively love ourselves. We deserve this, it is our birthright.
From the place of healed and self loving wholeness, we choose other whole beings and dramatically increase the likelihood of having truly fulfilling relationships.