In Need of Support on Long Term Relationships & Spiritual Practice

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    In January, my 7 year relationship came to an end. I was gutsonthefloor-heartbroken. This devastating experience led me to find spiritual practice again. I joined a women’s spritual circle, I have been meditating daily, reading every book that falls in my lap and writing my little heart out. I have been diligent in finding a new way to live life more peacefully, with less fear and less doubt.

    While the experience was so painful, I feel that it led me back to the place where I feel most comfortable and most at peace and I find myself grateful for the pain. I feel as though my authentic-self is resurfacing. I truly feel that there was a devine force in my life leading me to each of these tools and encounters. Spiritual practice has been a large part of my life in one way or another but only in waves, fits and starts… regrettfully, the pattern shows that I have shied away, in most instances, when I was beginning to feel my best and be the most connected with my intuition and inner guide.

    I am at that place again and I am full of fear. I don’t want to lose this inner-peace I have found again, I don’t want to give up on it… ever again. I feel connected and I feel so at peace in so many areas of my life but one. The 7 year relationship has resurfaced. Originally, I thought this was amazing. A second chance with him. A chance to “do it right”. A chance to let go of all of the past resentments and hurt and start new. While I had my doubts, I convinced myself that there was no “right” or “wrong” that this was my choice, to try again and let the cards fall where they may…

    I felt very confident that my practices and changes would help the relationship be more fulfilling because I would concentrate more on myself and the focus would be less on his faults and the pressure would be off allowing him to work on himself too. This was, of course, at the word he had given saying he knew he needed to change certain things in his life to feel better about himself as well. I believed him, I empathized with him, I trusted that he was ready. We both admitted that a lot of our struggles had stemmed from personal insecurities we both posessed. He promised me he would work on the things he knew weren’t serving himself or our relationship and I thought that in supporting this, I was choosing Love over Fear.

    Some time has passed now and many of his old habits are still a problem. While I’m not fully engaged in his life (we are no longer living together) I can see how his own inaction is affecting his moods, behavior and how he sees our relationship. I feel that without those things truly changing and the lack of effort that has been revealing itself I know that there is no way I can move back in with him or have total confidence about the relationship. I keep waiting and I feel the resentment building, I keep asking Why? Why did he promise me these things with what seems like no intention of fulfilling.

    Regardless of the pain and insecurity, there is no denying a deep connection and love for one another. I felt that in relinquishing some of the control that I felt I always needed and allowing him to work on himself while I worked on myself that the universe was guiding us to get to the relationship we always promised each other.

    I am so scared that I am giving up on true love and that maybe there is a way to get over this mountain of a hump and there is a true partnership on the other side. That is what I really want… not only love but a true partnership. I keep praying for guidance and I am receiving — while there is a huge part of me that wants that statement up there to be right — that we’ll get over the hump, everything else is telling me it’s wrong, that I need to let go to truly live my life in the way I am meant to. There is a part of me that keeps telling me to be patient and to work harder on not letting his actions affect me. But it keeps coming back to me knowing that there must be an easier way than this. He himself has said the words that my needs are not unreasonable and I deserve better, but yet I cannot let go. I cannot find the words inside of me to agree with him and walk out the door, for a second time.

    He says he loves and accepts me for who I am yet he is constantly hurt when I tell him his actions don’t match up to the words. The love between us is there, though and that’s what keeps tripping me up. I keep thinking that if I change my thinking that he won’t have to change, that I should just accept him for who he is and allow myself to be loved by him, because i know that feels so good… however i know that feeling only shuts off the lack, disappointment and hurt that I feel in other areas of the relationship. I know that just focusing on the love part hurts both of us and creates a lie that I believe my ego feeds off of.

    I know i’m supposed to learn from this, but he is my family — it feels unnatural and wrong for me to just think of him as a “lesson” or to not give him the time he needs to change the things he says he wants to change. The signs are everywhere. My sanity and true joy should not depend on someone else changing even when they promise me that they will — I know deep inside that I am not receiving what I want out of this relationship and that my continuing to rely on empty words is only hurting me. I can see very clearly how all of these questions and confusion with him truly move me in the wrong direction from my practice and peace.

    I am begging for a way to accept this and move on and to be able to properly communicate this to my partner of nearly a decade without any more pain and confusion then we’ve already experienced. I am opening myself up to the guidance but I hope for something more, I see the signs, now I need the strength.


    When I first separated from my wife (about a year ago) I read a book called Forgive For Love by Fred Luskin. He talked about something called the Unenforceable Rule and it really struck home for me. Basically the Unenforceable Rule is that you can want somebody to do something, but you set yourself up because you get angry or upset or whatever when they don’t do what you want. In your case, you have created a “rule” (wanting him to change certain things in his life) that he doesn’t want to do for whatever reason. And now, you are upset because you can’t enforce a rule when he really doesn’t want to do it. So you beat yourself up and get upset because he isn’t doing something that you have no true control over.

    At the end of the day, you may need to make a decision- is his refusal to make those changes enough to derail the relationship or is it something you can learn to live with? Chances are really strong that he won’t make any serious changes until he truly wants to do it for himself and not just to please you or make you happy.

    Thinking about the Unenforceable Rules made me come to terms with the idea that I couldn’t make her change what she does or thinks. All I could change was whether I got frustrated with her lack of changing or not.

    I hope that makes sense. Luskin describes it far better than I can. Good luck to you.


    I am unsure whether this can help but I find the pages on here and reading others advice so helpful myself. I have split with my husband, we had been in a eleven year relationship and nearly 5 year marriage. Every minute of every day I think about going back and am desperately trying to work out whether this is an attachment to my old life and him or whether this is love. Its truly so difficult even when it was me making the decision to leave and even when he promises me he will change.

    Maybe you are like me so frightened of something new so comfortable with the old shoe so to speak that it feels so torturous to try and push through and let go. It seems to feel so much easier to hope for change and go backwards. My husband was my best friend and the greatest love, but that is rose tinted glasses speaking he is also stubborn, deaf to my needs and wants and prevented our life from developing. We were not a team simply a him with a me that would do anything to keep and love him. The thing i find so hard is seeing my future without him in it. I wonder whether I can accept him as he is and put up with all the problems or whether in order for me to live fully I have to fly.

    Re reading your message, I feel your words about the signs, about truly knowing deep down and most importantly to me, the feeling of being moved away from your own inner peace that going towards him, even though you say he is family and it feels unnatural to not allow him to change, feels wrong. I am driving myself mad from this same confusion. Losing your true love. Sometimes we can see it clearly from an outsiders perspective. sometimes not. You are lucky that you do seem to have an inner power and strength, that you are able to express what you feel, something I am only learning to do. Maybe it helps to know that you are not alone that these heart aching problems exist for many people. Perhaps it is the acceptance of the feelings you have deep down about the relationship that is more important than the acceptance of him not changing. I don’t know. The only thing I know is that its really hard to let go and to learn to fly solo but being honest and true is the only way forward. That is what I am working on.

    Good luck in your search for strength, you just have to tap into it because its there inside you already.


    V, Rowena, Jeff,

    30 year marriage. Been out of the house almost 3 years, waiting on final Divorce decree.

    My experience is so similar to what you have described.

    Losing my best friend. I signed on the dotted line with the whole ‘death do us part.’

    Rediscovering my spiritual practice and returning to my authentic self. Finding a supportive group of people. Avoiding the blame game.

    But there has been a death. The marriage, the relationship, the promise of happily ever after has died. Feelings of failure, grief, fear, anger, hurt, betrayal are all in the mixing bowl. I have like you embraced these emotions and found new strength and clarity.

    The old shoe. Familiar, but not necessarily comfortable. Confusing.

    What I have discovered in these three years of intensive work is my dysfunction, my addiction to certain roles and behaviors. Her dysfunctions and addictive patterns were perfectly dovetailed to fit with mine.

    In that way we were perfect for each other. There was and still is a lot of love there. Always will be. The old shoe was too tight. Familiar, but when I took it off, realized the relationship was over there was an emotion that surfaced beyond the suffering.


    As I grew outside of the relationship, I finally decided that I was no longer willing to go back. Decidere Latin to prune, cut away. Yes I love her. Yes I miss her. Those are authentic parts of me too. But at the core I knew. Deciding not to continue didn’t make the hurt go away, but my direction became clearer.

    I have moved beyond the single bullet theory of relationships. I am willing to risk that vulnerability in another relationship. My prayer is that I have the wisdom to chose a partner that I can grow with. I also have discovered that just because I fall in love with someone doesn’t mean I have to marry them.

    My hope is that by sharing some of my journey you will find continued strength in yours. These are common threads in our humanity and it is reassuring to know that I am not alone.



    Thank you all very much for empathizing and offering some guidance and support as well as sharing some of your own personal experience that I know is difficult to rehash sometimes. I’ve downloaded the book that was reccommended and I feel so much strength and love having a community where I can reach out like this and communicate with others who have been on a similar journey. Ultimately, I know the decision will need to be made at some point — to stay or to go. And whatever happens, I trust that I am taken care of as long as I continue to stay on the path where spiritual practice take precedence. I continue to pray for strength to make the decision in the most loving and positive way. Right now I take comfort in the way of thinking that I don’t have to “figure it out” just yet and eventaully I pray the best possible outcome will reveal itself. Thank you all again, I wish so much love and peace to every one of you and your continuing adventures in life and love. <3



    Yes, what a wonderful place this is to share and be strengthened. You have found your path and you are so right about not having to ‘figure it out’. Sometimes the mind plays tricks and gets in the way.



    I’m thankful that I came across this thread. I’m going through the same experience with someone I love yet am not sure I can continue with.

    V, These words of your post stood out greatly,

    ” I can see very clearly how all of these questions and confusion with him truly move me in the wrong direction from my practice and peace.”

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