This is universally on anyone’s mind when a relationship has failed. If the dominant feelings are anger and disillusionment then one will tend to think that it was poor picking. The other person has been a let down and we just didn’t see it coming.
If we are in self-doubt and in distress as to what could have gone wrong, then one will tend to self castigate and think that all the blame is within. All input from the other party will be glossed over and all fault, will be at our own door.
Of course the reality is some of both and a lot of neither! All kinds of relationships are decided upon because there appears to be a ‘win’ for both parties. When relationships are entered upon for the ‘win’ expected or hoped for, there will also be some losses along the way. There is always at least one primary reason to begin a relationship and for it to proceed, along the path that it does.
Each person choses what they will say ‘yes’ to. What they say ‘yes’ to will be something that they ‘relate to’ in the person and the situation. This breeds an internal agreement that they are essentially saying ‘yes’ to. Yes to the look of the person, to the brilliance of the person, to the position the person holds, to the possibilities in the situation, to the prospect of safety or success within the relationship.
If the relationship is within the work scenario, one might have said ‘yes’ to a job because the boss is a parental figure, the work is a stepping-stone, a friend works there or one doesn’t feel there is much choice available. For whatever reason, there are relationships forming in relation to the type and place of work, to the people who are involved and to the concept held about what is available in life. Those are all formats of relating that have been said ‘yes’ to. The hiring person has also said ‘yes’. That person perceives a willing or docile worker, a companion to help the business succeed, a place filled and an assignment fulfilled. He is choosing and saying ‘yes’ to whatever he has decided is important to his job and responsibilities.
If the relationship is at home, one might say ‘yes’ because we are inclined to believe that the other party will be, wants to be and certainly should be… our mate. Each person has found qualities, looks, feelings, and lifestyle that either, are a good connection or at least a good enough connection or is in hopeful naiveté that these will be somehow mystically be fulfilled. The other party is also signing up for what he or she perceives as a ‘win’ for whatever their conception of a relationship can, should and will be.
One then would notice that there were very few factual or even practical parts to the choices made. Most of the ‘wins’ are emotional links that may or may not pan out and are almost never shared expectations. Even in situations where people think they are assessing what they need and want and if the other person can or is willing to fulfill those requirements, most of what takes precedent is actually hopes and desires wanting to be fulfilled, time wanting a companion and necessity creating space.
So, when the relationship foundations begin to give out, it is because the hopes, expectations and dismissals of reason and rationality… were never concurred upon with the other party. Each person has made assumptions…
that what they hear is what was meant,
that the statements from the other person are the truth of whom that person really is and what they actually want,
that what they hoped to gain would be forthcoming and
that what they ignored in the situation, would stay buried and never manifest.
As the foundation of the relationship begins to crack from the weight of all these expectations that were not expressly agreed to, the blame begins to appear. Both parties will have grievance and both will feel that they were either not at all to blame or are totally to blame. However, the reality is that… both are equally to blame… for living within an illusion and for wanting their specific ‘wins’ more than wanting the relating to work well. If they had the priority of the relationship being first and they individual needs being important but secondary, there would have been an open discussion about the priorities of each and how those fit into the needs of the situation.
It’s perfectly natural to have hopes and dreams for your situation, and it is inevitable that the other parties will also have their own priorities. Only an attitude of frank and open consultation and the acknowledgement of the greater good being the only and best service for each person can create wholesome relationship in any situation. If agendas are hidden or hopes are unacknowledged, then illusions are created and disillusionment will follow.
In this there is an even playing field. When the hopes and fears, agendas and demands of each side were not in alignment with greater good, but rather with greater needs, the foundation for relationship is frail and weak. There is no truth upon which to rely. Therefore, it might well lead one to wonder, did you pick the wrong one or were you the wrong one?