When I talk to people about their biggest struggles with relationships, an all too common complaint is struggling to deal with someone who is not willing to go the distance with intimacy and commitment. Each time they feel as if they’re making progress, this person gradually or even very sharply rolls things back to what I call their ‘status quo’ in my book Mr Unavailable and the Fallback Girl.
If you imagine relationships on a scale of 1-10, the type of person who struggles with progression, balance, intimacy, commitment, and consistency – the landmarks of healthy relationships – wants to keep the relationship at 5 and will always find a way to manage it back to their comfort zone. Things get too good and ‘intimate’, they’ll undermine things in such a way that it gets back on their terms but equally, tell them to take a run and jump and they’ll suddenly start blowing hot, have you feeling as if you’re approaching 8 or even beyond that, and then gradually get back down to 5.
It’s understandably frustrating to be in this situation but one of the single biggest changes that we can make to our relationship experiences as well as our self-esteem, is to be more emotionally honest and to basically maintain our integrity.
When we’re in an unavailable relationship, we gradually lose our integrity because if we were truly being honest with ourselves and also with this person, we would not stick around in the relationship for as long as we have and we would ultimately be a person whose actions and words match. We wouldn’t say, “I need this and this and this” and then stick around when it’s clearly not there on the basis that we can see so much ‘potential’. We wouldn’t say that we’re done if certain things don’t happen and then stay anyway because we too afraid to honour ourselves.
How can we expect someone to be honest with us when they’re not even honest with themselves? People who struggle with intimacy and commitment are so used to their habits, they sometimes don’t even recognise their own bullshit!
But equally, if we are not 1) being ourselves and 2) expressing our feelings and opinions, why do we expect the object of our affections and intentions to express themselves from a deeper emotional place?
I’ve been there myself. I think sometimes we are so focused on getting the other party to be and do as we profess to need, want, and expect, that we lose sight of our own emotional and integrity compass. We neglect to recognise where we are not stepping up for ourselves and where we’ve remained silent on things where we really need to speak our truth. That’s why we feel mad because when they don’t step up and we’ve also lost ourselves along the way, it’s a double blow.
There’s that saying, “Water seeks its own level.” If you want the relationship with mutual love, care, trust, and respect and you ultimately want a relationship with emotional availability, you need to be emotionally available yourself. You need to show up with some self-awareness and self-knowledge so that your values and self-care aren’t an afterthought. That’s how you know whether you’re sharing a mutual deep connection – you still have a deep emotional connection to yourself. You’re not hiding from you or them. You also won’t keep trying to get something from someone who doesn’t want to share it with you wholeheartedly and honestly and will seek out and vibrate with like-minded people instead.
- Sofa Outrage – When people get outraged for the sake of being outraged
- When we lose our integrity in a relationship, we lose our ability to be emotionally available
- A comparison site for humans: Is Facebook affecting your BS levels, happiness and self-image?
- ‘Should I say something?’ When you can’t decide if you should be honest about something
- There’s no need to be the BS police