Relationship Coaching News
Copyright 2006 by Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved. Feel free to share with others as long as our contact information and authorship is included. U.S. Library of Congress ISSN#1530-3055.
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By David Steele
Our Conscious Relationship tele-seminar this month featuring Pat Love and myself is Why Relationships Fail (and What to Do About It). We originally planned a different program, but then Pat and I learned that we have something important in common... we are both going through our third significant relationship breakup. We decided to use this seminar as an opportunity to share a bit about our own relationship journey and address an area of relationships that, as professionals focused on helping others experience success, we usually don't talk much about- why relationships fail.
This article represents my sharing with you, my colleagues, that Maggie and I broke up earlier this year.
I didn't see it coming. Sure, we had our challenges, particularly in the blended family arena, but in our five years together I never questioned my commitment to our partnership or doubted hers. Then, at the beginning of this year she informed me that she wanted to go separate ways.
As I write this five months later, I've been living in a new abode as a single parent again and the sale of our house was recently finalized. We weren't married, so no legal paperwork was necessary. While this is my third significant relationship breakup, it's a lot easier than my two divorces.
After adjusting emotionally to a challenging situation I'm very good at getting into action and moving forward with my life. What's hard for me in this situation is understanding what happened and her decision to leave the relationship after five years. She has explained her reasons to me as clearly as she can, but I am still puzzled. I guess it comes down to solvable vs. unsolvable problems, and what one person deems solvable the other might deem unsolvable, what one deems workable the other might deem unworkable. She is a loving, intelligent, conscious, relational woman, and I know this decision was not made lightly and was very hard for her. Everyone who knows us is shocked that we broke up, as we seemed like a solid couple who were meant for each other.
After my initial reactions of deep sadness and anger, I'm now feeling more circumspect about my part in our relationship not working out and trying to learn the inherent lessons for myself and my work. Despite being a secular humanist therapist and coach, I'm also a bit of a closet fatalist; I believe there is a larger force at work in the Universe and that things happen for a reason. While I was fully committed and believed that this was the love of my life that I would grow old with, I guess it wasn't meant to be and that I'm meant to learn certain important lessons from this part of my relationship journey.
My Relationship Journey
Here's a bit about more about my relationship journey. My parents divorced when I was a kid and I grew up with a lot of unhappiness and anger around me. I felt confused and responsible, and became a therapist because I wanted to understand what happened to me and my family and make a difference in the world by helping others have successful relationships, as well as find relationship happiness for myself.
I was 21 when I married for the first time, and was determined I would never, ever get divorced. That marriage ended 10 years later, during the year I started my private practice as a marriage and family therapist. Pretty ironic. I learned the hard way that love doesn't conquer all, you can't "make" a relationship work, not all problems are solvable, and a commitment takes two.
A few years later I married for the second time, this time adding a blended family to the mix. Eight years later we divorced and pretty much repeated the lessons from my first marriage- love doesn't conquer all, you can't "make" a relationship work, not all problems are solvable, and a commitment takes two. I was devastated and sure there was something wrong with me that I couldn't accomplish my most important life goal- to have a sustainable life partnership.
My two divorces taught me the importance of the clarity and alignment of life vision and purpose, requirements, needs and wants in making a sustainable partner selection, which became the basis of my Conscious Dating relationship coaching program for singles.
I'd pretty much given up when I met the person I thought was my soul mate. She was very different from my previous partners and seemed equally passionate about conscious, committed relationships. Perhaps this is what my two divorces prepared me for... finally, a mature, conscious, sustainable relationship. We bought a house, moved in together and blended our families. Five years later, at the beginning of this year, she broke up with me. So here I am, feeling again like there must be something wrong with me and wondering if I'm meant to be alone for the rest of my life.
I know I have much to learn and these three relationship breakups are my teachers. It seems to be my destiny to learn things the hard way. I know about learning by falling down, so at this time in my life I'm picking myself back up and ready to continue my relationship journey, but I'm really wondering, why do relationships fail and what can we do to have a successful, sustainable committed relationship?
Please join Pat Love and myself on Thursday May 11, 5:30pm pacific/8:30pm eastern, for this month's Conscious Relationship Tele-seminar "Why Relationships Fail (and What to Do About It)," and we'll find out together!
Subscribers- watch your e-mail inbox for your invitation with access information for this seminar. As always, it will be recorded and made available here
POSTSCRIPT: Support and wisdom from RCI coaches
When I announced my relationship breakup to my community of RCI coaches I was overwhelmed by their outpouring of support. Below are some excerpts. I share them with you to add some perspective in the hope that as a relationship professional this inspirational wisdom from your colleagues might benefit you and your clients going through the ending of a significant relationship.
"Though it seems you're not PERFECT, you are a great person! I wish you well. Thanks for letting us know you're human."
I am blessed. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
© 2006 David Steele– All rights reserved.
David Steele, MA, LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute and author of the new ground-breaking book for singles Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of Your Life in Today's World
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