Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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does your relationship feel dead and broken?

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Are you confused and angry when your partner keeps calling and wanting contact after  breaking up with you? Have you found yourself insisting on a clear single message so that you can get on with your life? You probably haven’t been successful in that goal for good reasons. It all depends on your experience and expectations of breakups.

How to get over the initial shock of the relationship breakup.

Should you give in to the part of you that never wanted to break up in the first place and risk being rejected again, or should you be the one to make the clean break in order to get some stability and certainty again? Can you bear to be ‘friends’ who show affection and occasionally sleep together?

Barry found himself in just such an awkward position. He thought his long standing relationship with Isobel was for life. He believed that they were committed to one another and fitted each other perfectly. It was a massive shock when Isobel told him that she couldn’t live with him anymore and wanted to break up. He was angry that she hadn’t given him any warning or time to ‘shape up’ so that he could discover the ways in which he was failing her and take appropriate action.

Moving out and living on his own was very distasteful and unwelcome to Barry. Every step that put them further apart was another nail in the coffin of his vision and expectation that they would grow old together and never need anyone or anything else.

Amid the sadness and dejection, Barry was confused but delighted when Isobel called to make sure he was okay. He was thrilled and energized when she initiated physical intimacy when they met up. In fact it was better than ever, and he more desired than he had in a long time.

If things were so good when they were apart, why did they have to breakup?

Why did things have to change?

Why did Isobel have to put him through his only to come running over for sex, affection and talking about her stuff?

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Looks strong and firm but has stunted growth

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Three myths about what breakup- but stay in contact relationships

It isn’t that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

It isn’t that you only realize what you have when it isn’t there any more

It isn’t being indecisive or sticking to a personal goal or resolve

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Looks good for a short time and then dies off

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Three truths about breakup but stay in contact relationships

1.    Break ups happen when the relationship was based on fear of change.

Barry and Isobel stayed fixed in a bubble of taking care of one another in ways that didn’t allow for their personal development. Isobel became stifled and weighed down, and Barry stayed needy and dependent. Yes she did want someone to devote her life to at the beginning of their relationship, but as that need was satiated, she was ready to explore other parts of her life. She couldn’t do it if Barry was the only thing allowed to be on her radar. Breaking up gave her that space, but it didn’t mean she didn’t still want Barry in her life.

2.    Breaking up doesn’t mean that love has died or given to someone else.

Isobel wanted to continue loving Barry but in a different way. Just as when you are sad at having to leave home but thrilled and full of pride that you can be independent. You don’t stop loving or missing your family just because you have chosen to add to your life. Isobel was adding new repertoires to her life but she still loved and wanted to stay connected to Barry. It was a change in the way she loved him, not an ending to the relationship. Barry was given the chance to widen his horizons and grow too, but he misinterpreted it as being pushed out of the nest.

3.    Sadness and regret are compatible with feelings of happiness and satisfaction

Isobel and Barry were both sad with the alterations in the way they related. It is normal and natural that we acknowledge and mourn the loss of change, but simultaneously look forward to enjoying a newer and healthier phase of the relationship. As Isobel expresses herself in other ways than just being Barry’s care taker, she has more room for healthy rather than stifling love. When Barry is nudged to develop himself and his birthright to have many people in his life to relate to, the natural stages of life are fulfilled and provides elasticity, strength and endurance to the connection between Barry and Isobel. They get to continue loving and relating.

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flowers last, die but come back season after season

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Dealing with a breakup

Breaking up is not a onetime severance like a death. It is a bending, shaping, stretching and realigning that enhances the relationship. It had to come from a break up because the relationship was in a false bubble which had to be burst before it could exist and breathe in a normal healthy world.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Disclaimer: this article if for informational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any feelings you may have while reading this article or implementing any of the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr.Raymond.

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