Why Have Relationships, Anyway?
When I coach couples and individuals about relationships, the question, “why have relationships?” comes up in two very different contexts.
Why Have Relationships At All?
The first context is one of despair. Relationships have been so difficult, so painful, so exhausting, that someone starts to ask themselves, “why do I do this at all?” and, “would I be better off being alone for the rest of my life?” They may begin to think that loneliness is just the price they have to pay for peace of mind.
The second context is one of maturity. After working through childhood wounds, neediness, and attachment, someone contemplates the reality that they can provide for themselves anything they might seek from outside. As the possibility of this state begins to dawn, people are often gripped with a concern that being self-sufficient might remove any motivation they have for being in relationships at all.
Discouragement: When Relationships Are A Struggle
We could spend an entire article talking about why relationships can be such a struggle, but for now, just bear in mind that what makes relationships difficult is the interaction of our own childhood wounds with another person’s childhood wounds.
The long-term solution is, of course, to do the internal work to heal our childhood wounds through therapy, meditation, self-parenting, rebirthing, and other personal development practices.
In the short term, however, there is a practical way to end the apparently eternal struggle; simply stop engaging with people whose childhood wounds trigger yours. If they are relatives or work associates, take some polite distance. If they are friends or lovers, politely take a break from seeing them.
Now, if you have been deep in your habitual patterns, this may mean distancing yourself from almost every person you know. This is not a bad thing. You won’t be alone for long – the world is full of people who don’t trigger your childhood wounds. As soon as you have some time, space, and emotional energy for interaction, they will be right in front of you, ready to have low-drama relationships with you.
Just be careful not to select a whole new crop of drama-triggering friends and lovers. If all your relationships have always been difficult, then you are probably really good at gravitating to people whose childhood wounds trigger yours. You will need to avoid the people you consider attractive, interesting, and exciting, and get to know some of those boring people you have always ignored.
Maturity: When You No Longer Need Anything From Relationships
The idea that we wouldn’t bother with relationships if we didn’t need anything from anyone doesn’t usually arise after someone has completed their healing journey and attained true independence. It is more likely to arise during the healing journey, as an objection to the idea that we can (or should) be meeting our own needs internally, rather than looking to other people to meet our needs.
In reality, once we move out of neediness and dependence on others, we can begin to have authentic relationships for the first time in our lives. A whole new world opens up, with unimaginable pleasures, unprecedented fulfilment, and capabilities that literally seem like superpowers.
The long climb out of the depths of chaos, pain, and confusion is just the beginning. Once we stop grasping at others to save us, to support us, to fill a hole within us, once we are whole and complete within ourselves, then (and only then) can we truly meet another person, soul to soul.
When two complete beings meet in trust and harmony, we unleash the power of synergy – the world in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Instead of finding our “other half” and becoming whole, we bring two wholes together. Like two pieces of nuclear fuel combining to reach critical mass, we fuse together and access the cosmic alchemy by which we become, for a while, something more than merely human.
Written By Jnani Jenny Hale