It is tough when someone close to you is hurting. It is even tougher when they choose you to be the person in whom they confide their pain and suffering. There are times when you can muster nothing more than " I know how you feel" or "I am sure there is a grander design in all this and when you are out of this immediate pain and suffering, you might even be thankful that this happened this way" or some such lame platitude. You know that the other person looks up to you for a solution which you don't have nor are capable of thinking up one. You do want to help but feel powerless as there is no single formula for successful relationships. I found myself in this unfortunate situation recently and was quite happy to serendipitiously find some sound advice on the issue of "Letting go of Love" in this article. Ironically, the author is someone I had seen on the Oprah Winfrey show while surfing channels.I had always found it disconcerting that couples would choose to go and discuss their marital conflicts publicly with strangers aware of being watched by millions across the world. But I did find his advice on this issue quite sensible and useful. It helped me help my young friend see exactly what she needed to see. There is usually a tendency to excessiviely romanticise break-ups (influence of films? Devdas syndrome?)in such situations but this article takes the romance out and knocks some sense which is the best way to handle such situations. You can read the full article here.

Here are some excerpts:
"Are your standards too low? .."What is it about you that causes you to settle for somebody that you know will cheat on you, know will lie to you, know will make a commitment and then break it? What is it about you that you believe about yourself that you're willing to settle for that?" Recognize that you're settling and that you deserve more. Set a higher standard for yourself."

"Does he really even make you happy? (...) "There are times when you break up with somebody and you start missing them and you start thinking about all the good things. And then you're back with them for about 10 minutes and you go 'Oh yeah! Now I remember why I hate you!'" Don't kid yourself about what it was really like or glorify the past."

"Don't wait around because you think he's going to change. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so the chance that he's going to ride in on his white horse and do the right thing is pretty slim. (...) "To the extent that there's some history, you don't have to speculate, you just have to measure."

"Ask yourself: Are you hiding in the relationship so you don't have to face the reality of being on your own? Don't stay with someone because it's comfortable and safe. It may seem more secure, but it's not healthy for you and it certainly won't help you get to a better place."

"If you want to be in a relationship, know that getting hurt comes with the territory. You just have to decide that you are durable enough, that you have enough confidence in yourself that you can handle it."

"Don't invest more than you can afford to lose. While it's important to move forward, you need to take things one step at a time. Don't put so much out there that you'll be emotionally bankrupt if things go south."

"Listen to what he's saying. If he's telling you that you want different things out of life and there's no way you can work as a couple, don't turn his words around into what you want to hear."

"There's a 50/50 chance a marriage is going to work if both people are head over heels in love, passionate and willing to climb the mountain, swim the river and slay the dragon to get to each other. That's with everybody crazy in love and running toward each other in that field that we see in the commercials. The problem you've got here is he's running the other way in the field! So if it's 50/50 when you're running toward each other, what do you think it is when the other person is running out of the field and hiding in the woods?"

After reading the Statistic above, whenever I look around and see people in successful relationships for long periods I begin to wonder if successful marriages are really "made in heaven"!
15 Responses
  1. it takes 2 to tango & only a person involved in a relationship will know what makes it tick. if it has reached a breaking point, again outsiders can only advice.. only the persons involved know abt the stakes

  2. Usha Says:

    ITW: This was post brea-up trauma. The relationship had snapped but she could not accept it.Of course I agree it is only upto the individuals in a relationship to decide what to do. Noone else can decide for them.

  3. Paavai Says:

    It's never the case when both parties at the end of an argument or a conflict decide to break up. (wish at 10:00 am on a Sunday morning, both say let's split and work out the logistics of separation.

    Even if both are unhappy it is one person who initiates the split and it is painful for the other person to accept this, since they feel let down and the ego is hurt, 'how can I be dumped' sort of thing. Over time, when both realize that it is over, only then they move on.

    I know of people who have waited for 10 years hoping the other person would come back. Another reason is the human nature that makes it difficult to move out of comfort zone, most relationships whether we like it or not turn into a habit more than anything else.

  4. Usha Says:

    I am not relationship expert but of course all of us have had our share of good and bad experiences and difficulties letting go of a friend.
    My 2 cents worth based on my experience is that I think most of the time the trouble with letting go even after knowing that it would never have worked out is that people regret what "could have been"(which in reality could never have been given all the problems and exists only in the person's imagination). Secondly, there is a tendency to cry over the good aspects of the relationshship while ignoring all the problem areas. And you are right,it is a great blow to one's ego to feel dumped or walked out on.

  5. Inder Says:

    true. we all know that devdas was a fool. but still we takd devdas avatar when we are into broken relationships. pity.

  6. Paavai Says:

    me no expert either as you can see from some of my posts - lol - just gave my two bit worth

  7. Anonymous Says:

    1)“ There is no single formula for successful relationship”. Absolutely correct. If such a formula is available, many of the broken relationships could have been mended.

    2)“The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour” - Not necessarily. Many a times, change in course, either for the better or worse, is possible.

    3)“Hiding in a relationship” - i.e. using the relationship as a comfort zone. The moment the other person realizes this, the comfort will disappear.

    4)“Getting hurt comes with the territory”. That is a sound advice. Complertely shorne off romanticism, this realization ensures that the hurt does not become lethal.

    5)Successful relationships are evolved in heaven. One needs password to access success in relationships and those who are successful, have hacked their way in, perhaps.

    My Blog has developed a technical flaw and therefore am not able to use my Blogger identity.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    ya,its true.

  9. Usha Says:

    nder:Yes, grief is something that we have to go through and come out of. And each grief is personal and unique and one cannot learn from other's experiences.

    Paavai:This is an expertise that we pick up on the job right? there doesn't seejm to be a manual of instructions for the "right" way of doing things!

    Mahadevan: I found most of his advice sound and applicable for other types of situations as well.
    As`for past behaviour being a guide for future, I think he is right in cases of repeated lying, cheating etc. In such cases,it is better to accept those rather than giving them another chance and another and another an facing hurt. Well, tn again it all depends on the individuals involved and the length of the rope they are willing to give the other person.
    (Yes, I got the message when i tried to access your blog. Hope it is rectified soon.)

    Biotechnologist: Isnt it? I thought so too. :)

  10. MJ Says:

    Some knocking sense is really required
    for one to be out of emotions and think of the things in a practical way.The worst part is when one feels so depressed and calls it the end of his/her world when relationships break.This does happen with every other person.

    But thinking a bit logically will definetly help either party to be at peace ultimately.Its always wise for one not to be so attached.the commitment toward the relationship and the love, which now has become a syndrome,should be true.I really don't understand when poeple say-"sorry,i don't love you anymore".How can one simply fall out of love so easily for once he/she has crossed oceans n did lot of adventures for the same love.

    Its the responsibility of the other party in such cases to feel responsible for his/her life after the breakup than cribbing.Becuase the person whom you love has made his/her point clear.When the other can live without you and has declared it so happily why cant we be smarter in living our life.Its all in the mind....:)

  11. Will read the article soon.I understand the discussion here is about what makes a relation tick, how much should you endure before u call it quits etc but on a slightly different note I have this to say about relationships that have appeared to survive. It is only now that our culture is beginning to change. Men, women know they have a choice, there is an understanding of the possibility that the relation may or may not work, it is o.k to split and move on. But this makes you wonder how the millions of arranged marriages in India have appeared to work for all these years.We must definitely be the most tolerant culture in history....being married for eternity sometimes to even the most obnoxious of humans! Is it because the matches were made in heaven or is it simply a lack of choice and a silently enforced societal norm or is it true selflessness that beyond a certain point it is not about you anymore but just about the kids that need you? So, putting things in perspective atleast one has a choice now!

  12. Usha Says:

    If you have given a lot to a relationship, it is that much harder to overcome the loss and let go of the bitterness. Everyone reacts according to their ability to cope. That is where these professionals come in as they are able to see it in an objective manner and "knock sense". Otherwise even the best of friends react with subjectivity even though they are trying to help.

    Orchid: There is always a choice but whether a person chooses to exercise it or not is up to them. Many times the alternative seems so bad that people decide to endure suffering. And sometimes patience pays off too and the relationship settles down to a workable arrangement. As`they say not exercising choice is also a choice!

  13. Artnavy Says:

    I should link this to my older post" Till death do us part"

  14. Anonymous Says:

    My take on the whole thing had always been - Whatever it is between the wife and husband, let it be there. Resolve it between yourselves, the minute the fight goes out of the bedroom door, the respect on the marriage is lost!!!

  15. Anonymous Says:

    Exactly the comfort zone which humans so dearly cherish, which makes people to hold on;;
    I guess in this situation this quote fits perfectly
    "Misery of certainity is better than uncertainity of misery"

    There was a similar blog right about the same time. And maybe I repeat what I wrote there also. It so happens that we all are looking for that perfect companionship; deep down we are lonely; nobody speaks out loud; we are desparate; and whoever bumps into we try to hang on that straw, although I always thought that love is an over extension of friendship, but in our society I sometimes feel its just another placard; a refuge an escape a shoulder we seeked. In reality there is no difference we elevate IT when that union complements and lament when not..