I see it all the time: Women doing incredible things in business but settling for mediocre relationships.
When a woman in business mentions to a female colleague about a rift in her relationship, the advice I hear from the choir of really well-meaning women entrepreneurs is usually similar to the following:
- Do some forgiveness work to heal that within yourself;
- Men don't change, you need to get over it; OR
- Someone will share her own personal story about how she left her partner and is so much better off because of it.
Abusive relationships are very real and I am not advocating that anyone stays in a relationship in which you are truly settling for less than you deserve. There are also are times when people really do outgrow each other.
However, far too many relationships end prematurely simply because:
We still don't understand as a culture how to get love right.
We still hear advice to heal stuff on our own, that we're co-dependent if we care, and we need to be strong and independent.
Women hear that "men don't change," and while that's true when we continue to demand that they change in ways that are cryptic, critical at best and assaulting at worst, it's no wonder!
"What's the point of trying to change if I'm just going to get it wrong, anyhow?" he wonders.
She sees him as not caring.
The relationship then is at a standstill.
She looks away and puts her energy into something that gives back to her: Her business. She does great things there, and might even get her emotional needs met to a certain degree by other incredible women in her community. She turns to other women and they tell her they have been there, done that, and that it's time to deal with it on her own or move on.
Your only options are not just mediocrity or divorce.
There is a way out of this deep freeze into a land of something so much better.
In the words of Dr. Sue Johnson, the leader of a new love revolution that is sweeping the globe:
"The strongest among us are those who can reach for others."
"Self-sufficiency is just another word for loneliness."
Trust me, as much as I liked to fool myself I could do it all on my own, I can't.
You can't either. Why? Because, like me, you're human.
More than anyone -- more than your coach or your therapist (says the coach and therapist) -- you need to connect with your partner (and you don't even have to pay him).
You need to powerfully own your own experience and share that in a way with him that is honest, vulnerable and open.
To thaw a deep freeze, you need to kick some issues up and start connecting on them.
Own your unmet needs and talk about them.
I urge you not to look away from them as some of your sisters in business may encourage you to do.
If you wind up hitting a brick wall when you try, that doesn't necessarily mean that your partner is incapable of connecting or that he doesn't care.
It just means you don't know how to connect right now.
Layers upon layers of emotions and walls and a whole lot of other junk is preventing you from reaching each other.
This is not a good enough reason to throw in the towel in your relationship.
If I didn't take care of my car for a few years and then tried to drive it and it wouldn't go, before junking it, I'd have someone look at it and try to help.
There are experts in the area of love who are familiar with the new science behind it and are trained to help you make it run properly.
Check out Sue Johnson's book Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships to learn more about this new science yourself, and see about getting that engine running again.