I’m often asked if couples ever successfully reconcile. While it’s not my job to assist in this regard, I do occasionally see people who decide to stay together. They actually succeed sometimes, if they’re willing to do the work, and if they choose to be patient with each other. And patient with themselves.
Reconciliation typically involves some sort of forgiveness. And that, I believe, is the tricky part. Forgiveness is a conscious choice, day by day, and sometimes even moment by moment. It’s also a commitment that has three benefits:
Benefit #1: Adopting the belief that people can actually change when it’s by their own choice. If you’re receiving specific messages that change is happening, you’re on the path to forgiveness.
Benefit #2: Once you’re on that path, I’m pretty sure you’ll feel happier. A burden will have been lifted off your shoulders and you will feel free to move forward.
Benefit #3: You’re exercising your emotional intelligence muscles by showing empathy. If the situation was reversed, wouldn’t YOU like to be forgiven?
If reconciliation is a concept that you cannot fathom, you might just have to decide to get off the roller coaster and determine, finally, that enough is enough. If you’ve ever been on that ride, it’s not exactly fun. In fact, it’s completely exhausting to allow your emotions to run amok, and it’s natural to blame the other person because it’s a lot easier than taking responsibility for your own consequences. You can choose to stay on the roller coaster and live through the emotional ups and downs, or you can choose to get off the ride. It took me many months to make that choice in my own life, and once I finally did, it was more liberating than I ever could have imagined.
On the other hand, some people like riding an emotional roller coaster. No judgment from me whatsoever; provided that you are sincerely and authentically enjoying the experience. If you are letting someone else control your emotions, it’s not fun anymore, is it?
So, how do you know if you’re better off apart?
- When you’re dealing with a person who’s displaying a pattern of negative behavior, as opposed to an isolated incident.
- When he/she is refusing to get help, whether for an addiction, or for anger management.
- When he/she insists that change is possible, but your instincts tell you otherwise.
- When those closest to you are gently or firmly telling you to face the facts.
If you’ve decided to end the relationship, please take three more minutes to gain a bit of insight. (Click here: Before You Ride Off Into The Sunset.)
Whether you’ve chosen to forgive or you’ve decided that enough is enough, please be accountable to yourself first. Tell yourself the truth in the kindest way possible. Regardless of the direction, I urge you to reward yourself for making the decision. It’s a giant step.