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Trying So Hard To Make a Relationship Work

Having someone special to love and be loved by is one of our most basic human needs. For some of us, the need for love feels just as essential as our need for oxygen. Without this love we feel as if we will die. We want it so much, but love doesnít always come easy. Many of us have never had our basic needs met and that leaves us feeling as if we are starving for love and affection.

Every now and then, someone comes along who appears to hold the promise of being that special someone. But for whatever reason they do not reciprocate our feelings. They may have a very limited capacity to love or bond with another human being or they act in ways that are hurtful. The painful feelings of hurt, disappointment, desperation and fear of getting hurt again can make us extremely vulnerable. We often find ourselves trying to make the relationship work, but in doing so we are setting ourselves up for a fall.

We try to make relationships work for a number of reasons. Many of us have been deeply wounded and are trying desperately to get the love and attention we've never received. Those of us who don't know any better fail to recognize the red flags that would alert us to potential dangers and because of that we fall into the trap of becoming attached to someone who is unavailable or abusive.

People who reenact our early hurts and traumas will invariably evoke more painful feelings and issues thereby causing us even more suffering. We keep trying to fix the relationship or make it right, but the person weíre trying to maintain a connection with continues to do things that keep adding to the hurt and that only deepens our emotional wounds.

We're trying to make a relationship work anytime we chase after another person. We keep calling or emailing even when they don't respond. We tolerate and even justify their lack of interest and abuse. We try so hard to convince the person whose love we so desperately desire to be with us. But all of these things only make us less attractive in their eyes. In some instances, we keep on trying until the person weíre longing for eventually does something hurtful just to be mean or to finally get rid of us. That can cause us tremendous pain and then we find ourselves sinking ever deeper into the hole that we have been digging for ourselves. For many this pattern of crash and burn has become a vicious cycle.

Trying to make sense of all the mixed signals

Vica was married at the time she emigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia to New York City. Vica said she felt dead in the marriage and eventually left her husband because many of her basic needs were not being met. She wants very much to have someone in her life, but has found it very difficult to develop any kind of meaningful connection with a man since leaving her husband.

Vica began to talk about the difficulty sheís had finding a love saying "People I met in St. Petersburg felt more authentic. They tend to be more open and are not trying to create a false image of what they are not. They're not calculating or trying to figure out what they can get out of you. They also hold a much wider range of interests and that makes them easier to talk with.

"I don't know about other parts of America, but people in New York City are much more distant from one another. Most of the people I encounter do not feel very present, and there's very little continuity or spontaneity in the way they are interacting with one another. There's a politeness on the surface, but I feel no real warmth."

In Russia, I know what I'm dealing with. It's obvious if a man or woman likes you and you also know if they don't like you. People who like or find each other interesting will usually get together."

"The way people interact in New York feels very weird and I don't know what I'm dealing with. I cannot make sense of what's going on because people's words do not match their actions. They tell me they will call or they want to get together, but then they do something completely different. I never really know what to think because they don't express themselves honestly by saying what they truly want. I have no clue what the other person is really thinking and I feel lost. It just makes no sense."

"Most of the men that I've gone out with in New York City do not make much of an effort to maintain a connection and I feel as if nothing will happen unless I take the initiative. A lot of them are so self-involved and only seem to want to talk about themselves or their work. Some only care about meeting their physical needs. Others have come into my life for a while only to disappear."

Itís just not working

There will be times when our efforts to connect with another person are not working and we may then we find ourselves experiencing all kinds of painful emotions. Many of us keep trying harder to make things work. We need to be willing to let go if the other person doesn't return our calls, respond to our emails or is being hurtful. It's critically important during these times for us to shift the focus by making a concerted effort to nurture ourselves by working with practices on a daily basis that will facilitate our healing.

I had Vica close her eyes and then asked her how she was feeling in response to what was taking place in her life. Vica said she was feeling a profound sense of emptiness, despair and desperation. I asked her to tell me where the feelings were located within her body. I then had her breathe into these feelings.

I checked in with Vica after about fifteen minutes to see how she was doing. Vica told me she was feeling angry and annoyed because she was having to work so hard. She then said "It shouldnít be so difficult to find love and I shouldn't have to try so hard to make a relationship work."

Vica began to cry and her body shook while she was on the table during the healing session. She said that she craved the physical connection that was missing in her life afterwards. She was also very restless and said it felt as was if she were itching inside. Vica felt physically exhausted for the next three days, saying that her mind was foggy and she could not think straight. She then developed symptoms of a cold and was coughing and sneezing for two days. Her body and mind were processing the toxic emotions and other stresses held within. A good part of the processing was also taking place at night as she dreamed. Vica still feels the longing for the body connection, but the painful feelings of emptiness are now gone.

New York City

New York City is a place that one can go out and buy whatever they want as long as they have the money, but it can be very difficult to meet oneís basic needs for love and companionship. The city can be especially challenging for those of us who tend to be very sensitive and truly want to be in a relationship. I see lots of couples and I also know many people who want very much to be in a relationship, but find it extremely difficult to connect.

Thereís something about the stresses that come with living in the city that causes many people to build walls around themselves and that can make them very inaccessible. Many say they want to be in a relationship, but thereís a very disconnected, flaky and schizoid quality about the way men and women are interacting with one another.

There have been so many instances where I have met women and spent much of the afternoon or evening together. We talk about getting together and possibly exchange a few emails. But what often happens is that I never see or hear from them again. I often found myself just having to let go. Iíve learned to cope by breathing into the feelings of loneliness, emptiness and the sense of starvation I felt within the void.

Flakiness has become the norm within our culture and thatís happening for a number of reasons. Our whole culture has been set up to involve us externally by constantly entertaining us and pumping more information into our heads. We are continually bombarded by millions of visual impressions and advertisements designed to aggressively grab our attention. And many of us feed off of this continual sensory input because we feel so empty inside. Our brains cannot possibly process the overwhelming amount of visual and auditory stimulus flooding our senses and that leaves us on sensory overload. Many of us are exhibiting symptoms of A.D.H.D. because our ability to maintain any kind of focus on what truly matters has become severely compromised. The whole situation is further compounded by the fact that there is very little understanding or guidance to help us get in touch with our internal selves.

Flakiness is also the result of peopleís unwillingness to experience their true feelings and face their issues. Parts of the self fail to grow or mature when people go through their lives avoiding the feelings and issues that they donít want to deal with. People who shut down or fragment emotionally lose touch with themselves. These fragmented parts of the self tend to become very incongruent and thatís why many people donít know what they truly want or need. People who are not being present to themselves cannot be truly present for anyone else.

The incongruencies we encounter in others can make it very difficult for us to know where people are coming from or what their intentions are. People say they will call or meet up with us and then they don't. We start to form attachments with someone we have spent time with and they just disappear. Those of us who truly want to connect often reach out in our attempt to maintain the connection. Itís okay to reach out a time or two, but we also need to be willing to let go when someone doesn't respond to an email or answer a phone call.

Who we attract

We do attract partners who re-enact the hurts and abuses that we experienced during earlier periods of our lives. Who we attract is also a reflection of the collective consciousness within our own society. Many people do not have the capacity to show up and be present or form healthy attachments. They have a very limited capacity to love or bond with another human being. We cannot get the love we need from someone who doesn't have it to give. That can be incredibly disappointing when we feel a strong desire to connect with someone, but there's nothing we can do to change them.

Breaking the pattern

For years I found myself attracted to women who did not reciprocate my feelings. But in many instances I kept trying to make the relationship work until things finally blew up in my face.

I had an instinctive sense that I needed to breathe into all the painful feelings that were surfacing in response to the lack of reciprocation. The feelings that surfaced during these times were excruciatingly painful, but I continued to breathe into them over the course of the days, weeks and even months until they finally softened.

I did much of the practice sitting, but I often went out to walk for hours while breathing into the feelings. The walking meditation helped to stabilize me by making the feelings more bearable. Over time I began to make use of other resources such as deep tissue body work, healing sessions and then I started going on vision quests.

Going through the middle of the pain created an opening within me. I felt a greater sense of connection to the higher power as a comforting presence began to flow from within. I came to a place of acceptance so I could let go rather than trying to force what wasn't working. It became much easier for me to see what was happening. And I became more conscious of the processes taking place within me as I attempted to connect with women I found myself attracted to.

I could feel the parts of me that really wanted to be with someone still trying to make things work at times. But I learned to pull myself back and just breathe into the feelings and sensations I was experiencing within my own body. Going through the healing sessions and vision quests and learning to be fully present by working consistently with Chi Gong and my own breathing practices helped to break up or dismantle the unhealthy patterns of attachment.

I used to blame myself for the difficulty I had connecting and the painful emotions I experienced in response to what wasnít working. I've become much more accepting of myself and I no longer feel the sense of starvation. It has also become easier for me to develop healthy connections. There are still times when I feel sad or disappointed when things don't seem to be working out the way I want them to, but I'm able to get over it much more easily. I'm also experiencing a greater sense of contentment with myself.

Grounding within ourselves

Breathing through the painful emotions helped me to work through the hurt, longing and desperation. It brought me to a place where my sense of wellbeing is no longer dependent upon another person. I'm developing a greater ability to stay grounded within myself whenever I meet a woman who interests me. Thatís making it a lot easier for me to be open and friendly and engage with women I find myself attracted to in a light and easy way without clinging or trying to make the relationship work.

Letting go of all attempts to control

Many of us are trying so hard to get our partner or the person we want to be with to become what we want them to be for us. Healing our own emotional wounds brings us to a place where it becomes much easier for us to allow other people to be who they are.

Breathing into the feelings and sensations that I've experienced within my body when relationships were not working the way I wanted them to has made me conscious of the huge amount of energy I was expending to try to make something happen. Putting out so much energy was depleting my life force. I felt a sense of exhaustion throughout my body as the layers of numbness began to dissolve. I then felt a deeper sense of resignation and futility.

Bringing these feelings into my conscious awareness caused the parts of me that were trying to hold on or control to release their grip. Consistent work with this practice made it possible for me to shift my attention away from the other person and that enabled me to become more focused on what I needed to do for my own my own growth and development.

Understanding the natural flow of a healthy relationship

The pain that I held within my body and the difficulty I had connecting as a result left me feeling very desperate and needy. My need for the other person was like an addiction. The highly charged emotions held within my body numbed me to the extent that I lacked the sensory acuity that would enable me to recognize how the other person was responding.

Working through the painful feelings greatly increased my sensitivity and that made it easier for me to sense how women were responding to me. I began to feel when women were fearful, guarded, caught up in their own issues, uninterested or unavailable. I learned to stop making any effort when I felt resistance, lack of reciprocation or interest. That made it possible for me to just let go and move on.

It became much easier for me to just be open and friendly whenever I encountered women I found myself attracted to. I would make a little effort and then I wait to see how a woman responded. I came to a place where I could disengage if I sensed any resistance or unwillingness to engage. I could feel the extent to which other women enjoyed the interaction and I could tell if they were drawn to me. I would continue to engage by going with the natural flow of the interaction as long as I felt a comfortable exchange.

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