Filling The Hole Within
It’s Shae here to talk about something a lot of guys can relate to; getting stuck in relationships for too long.
Oftentimes it’s something that can be hard to catch in the moment. Even if you can identify the point when the scales shifted and you realized this relationship wasn’t serving you as a man, that awareness typically comes after the relationship ends.
Why does this happen? It’s something called ‘co-dependence’. The idea is that you feel a sense of lack within yourself, that you’re not good enough, not worthy, not safe. In order to compensate for this you’ll seek out relationships that give you a sense of wholeness.
To use an example, imagine that you have a dog that you love. You play with it all the time, take it for a walk in the park every day, and it’s always excited to see you. One day you visit the Doctor for a check-up, and he tells you that you have to have that dog around you all of the time in order to be ok.
If you separate yourself from the dog, you’re going to be in danger, perhaps even get really ill.
Your perception of the dog, and your relationship with it, will change. You’ll feel like you always need to be around the dog. You’ll start to feel disappointed when the dog doesn’t want to be around you. The idea of leaving the dog, or being without it, fills you with terror.
Co-dependent relationships work in the same way.
The Over-Attachment Epidemic
Both men and women are prone to staying in relationships for too long because, even if they’re noticeably unhappy in those relationships, the alternative can seem much worse.
Instead of being able to acknowledge the infinite resources of the world available to you, you’ll believe that leaving the relationship will mean you being alone, desperate and miserable.
Everyone goes through this at some stage in their life, including myself.
For some, it might not be with relationships. People can get incredibly attached to their careers, or their children, because those are the things in their life that provide them with a sense of meaning and purpose in their life, helping them to feel ok.
What’s common amongst all of these arrangements is that people keep doing it until they’re sick of doing it. In relationships one person will finally admit to themselves that the idea of being alone and without a partner is easier to bear than staying in a co-dependent relationship.
The downside is that it can take years to reach that point, and if there are marriages and kids involved, it can get really ugly.
So how can you avoid codependent relationships?
Zooming Out To The Big Picture
I’d say that you need to shift your perception of women being the whole picture, to just part of the picture.
Think of your life as series of compartments, or files on a computer, each having its own category. Health, Career, Relationships, Friends, Spirituality, Hobbies, and so on.
Having a balanced life means that you’re paying equal attention to each of these areas, because they’re all important in their own way.
You might meet a great woman one day who rocks your world, but it doesn’t mean you should stop working out, or stop seeing your friends, or give up on your spiritual pursuits (any of these sound familiar?)
The best place to start is to make yourself strong in all of the areas that make you independent. Some of these areas, like friendships or relationships, require other people to achieve some level of success and sustainability.
Yet you’re free to pursue your fitness goals without needing other people around. You can meditate or do yoga without relying on others. If you’ve always wanted to try meditation, James has put together a 5 week course called the Marshall Meditation Method which is specifically designed to give you a practical, no-nonsense foundation for daily meditation. Not only will it improve your general well-being, but also give you the insight you need to identify which relationships in your life have fallen into the ‘codependent’ category.
These simple acts bolster your sense of independence, creating a feeling that you don’t need others in order to feel good about yourself and the life ahead of you.
In the grand scheme of things you might one day meet a woman who isn’t looking to you to fill that gap within herself. A lot of men have their hearts set on finding a woman who is confident, beautiful, intelligent, down-to-earth, self aware…you get the picture.
I can tell you straight up that if you walk into a relationship with a woman like that and make her the centre of your world, you’re going to depolarize the relationship.
You’ll be giving your power away to her, shifting her into the role of masculine in order to take care of you. Not only will she not want that, but she’ll also want to get away from that. You need to start by getting strong on your own terms.