“You complete me.”
Tom Cruise was on my TV screen saying that line to Renee Zellweger in the movie Jerry Maguire, causing women over the world over to swoon.
But not me. “It’s more like you deplete me,” I mumbled to myself.
If you’ve read my book Jump…and Your Life Will Appear, you already know everything you need to know about my marriage. “Depleting” would be a very generous way to describe it, so it’s no wonder I reacted this way to such romantic schmaltz on TV.
It took me years to stop thinking I needed a permission slip to be myself and do what I wanted. Years to discover that my life is my own and that I don’t owe anything to anyone else. Years to get free from believing that the only way to get love is to buy it, by bending over backwards with people-pleasing. Years to live life from my own inspiration, motivation, and agency—rather than in response or reaction to anyone or anything else.
Here’s one of the big lessons I learned: Each of us is the common denominator in all of our relationships, and we’ll always draw others to us who will activate our deepest emotional issues. This is true in work, friendship, and family life, and it goes doubly if we’re talking about intimate relationship. There’s simply no way to prevent “our stuff” from following us around until we’re ready to deal with it.
While my ex-husband and my current boyfriend are very different, there are ways in which they’re frighteningly similar. And it’s the ways they’re similar that activate my “core wounds,” which are my deepest hurts from childhood. For example, Aaron has abandonment issues, while I have suffocation issues. When it gets hard, I want space, and he wants more closeness…which triggers my need for even more alone time, which triggers his need for even more interaction. See how our wounds fit together in perfect…um… “harmony”?
Crazy enough, that’s the nature of any healthy relationship. Which goes completely against everything we learn in the Disney-style fairytale version of relationship, where everything is supposed to be sunshine, butterflies, and sweet little songs all day long.
And it’s the basis of The New Relationship Blueprint.
The OLD relationship model was based on putting the other person first, then the relationship, and then yourself.
In the New Relationship Blueprint…
… You take care of your needs first, and your relationships are stronger for it.
… Open and honest communication are at the foundation of your relationships.
… You no longer project your past onto the present.
… You can be deeply in love without losing yourself.
And I have a news flash. Your issues don’t just go away because you decide to take a break from dating. Even if you avoid romantic relationships forever, they’ll show up in your friendships, family dynamics, or even at work.
So are you ready to kick the OLD relationship model out the window?