This is why we break up!

By Jens W. Pedersen

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Read a new and surprising view on why you cannot maintain your relationships for very long.

The author of this post, Jens W. Pedersen, coaches and consults on dating and love. Read his refreshing thoughts on why so many of us jump from one relationship to the next and what you can do instead.

Today many of us find it difficult to succeed in relationships, and there may be several reasons for that. Some therapists point out, that it is due to traumatic experiences that instilled a fear of being let down and thus we no longer put our faith in love.

But I would like to suggest a different reason that is rarely spoken of: It may be that your preoccupation with relationships and marriage is on the decline, so that being a couple is not the most important thing in your life anymore.

That phase is, in other words, about to be over and done with in your case, and therefore no longer holds such a strong grip on you. This is why you will lose interest in the partner. What should have been a lifelong interest and partnership, turns out to be nothing more than a short intermezzo, or a faint reflection of the romantic dream that you had hoped for.

Content in your single life
However, if you lack a good substitute for the life-content represented by romance, you might easily hang on to the past, and so, you repeat it by trying yet another partner and investing your feelings in that new love.

Nowadays we have consequently what has been named serial monogamy, where we periodically change our partner and start over. In this way, we go through the same phases of a love relationship repeatedly, but we find it hard to move on from there and attain a new sense of meaning.

The case may be that being two alone together is no longer enough for you. This does not mean that you completely wave farewell to having a relationship in your life, but you must supplement it with something more.

If you place a one-sided emphasis on the life content that your relationship or marriage might give to you, you expect too much from romance and so you are disappointed time and again.

What is your passion?
If you repeatedly find that your relationships are crumbling, I therefore suggest that you consider whether your preoccupation with relationships is in reality somewhat artificial or exaggerated?

The failed relationships may be an indication that you are moving out of the zone where being together as a couple meets all your dreams, and then you need to look for a new, alternative life content.

It might be another passion or a greater kind of love where you are thinking of doing something for others, i.e. charity, altruism and compassion. Below you get more ideas.

Consider what your new life content is, for example:

  • Give your children a good start in life
  • Enrich the lives of others by becoming a capacity within your line of work
  • Create great music, art, architecture, literature, etc.
  • Immerse yourself in a great hobby or interest
  • Spread happiness around you with your fine sense of humour
  • Fight for a better world with your political messages
  • Fulfil your mission in life by …?

The search for new life content may well be fumbling and hesitant. That is quite natural. Transition phases are hard. When one era is over and life is about to take a new turn, it can be experienced as a loss of meaning or a sense of inner emptiness that persists until we understand what our life is now going to be about.

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Are you a single no. 5? Be true to yourself!

By Jens W. Pedersen

Do you really want a sweetheart or is it something you imagine in order to feel normal?

Author and coach, Jens W. Pedersen, wants us singles to leave behind the who-do-you-think-you-are attitude* and get better at listening to what we actually need:

In my Danish book “Dating, desperation og selvudvikling” I listed five different types of singles:

1. You are a happy single and do not want anything else.
2. You imagine that you are happy, but basically you want to live in a relationship.
3. You are unhappy, but passive. You do nothing to get a sweetheart.
4. You are unhappy and active – you venture into meetings with the opposite sex.
5. You imagine that you are unhappy and try to find a love connection. But in reality you do not want it.

No. 5 is rather a queer fish (m/f), because he is trying to have a girlfriend, although he doesn’t really want it.

Today we have a lot of “serial monogamy”. When so many of us jump from relationship to relationship, it may be because we are singles no. 5: we want a relationship, yet not after all. Or at least we don’t want it enough for it to become a lifelong relationship and marriage.

If you are one of those who do so, do not degrade yourself for that reason, but remember to maintain a good self-esteem.

Believe in yourself, single!
One of the main sources of self-esteem is to realize that the psychological processes we pass through are both healthy and natural.

Unfortunately, the prevailing opinion and norms sometimes work against us, and we feel wrong or flawed – and therefore ought to seek out a psychologist to be cured of our misery.

Recently I read a book on dating and relationships in which the good therapist at every other page invited the reader to seek out a therapist. He, he. This may not be what you need. Certainly you don’t need to perceive yourself as guilty or wrong if you are not really interested in a relationship. Instead look at yourself with appreciation, often this is all we need.

Breaking up is not a weakness
When a relationship dissolves it hurts, and we would rather avoid that. But contrary to what many psychologists, family and couple therapists preach, I see no signs of weakness or error. We do not need to perceive breakups as indicators of bad morals, bad communication or childhood trauma.

It may be something else: we may experience a natural process due to less hunger, i.e. that our appetite for a relationship is simply not that big and thus we cannot maintain a real interest in each other over an entire lifetime. Maybe a couple relationship is not the very meaning of life for us.

Loving single culture
I believe that we need a culture that supports and promotes self-esteem – including for singles. Rather than “You’re not to think you are anything special” I say:

  • You should not make less of yourself and follow the herd.
  • Do not think that you are flawed, just because you do not fit into a traditional couple relationship.
  • Be true to yourself and believe, that what you want and what you do is right.

If you would like a lot of love in your life, there’s only one thing to do: show love for yourself and others – in that manner we will have a culture where self-development can take place without undue criticism and condemnation. It is a culture that promotes your self-esteem.

In fact it is also a culture that enhances one’s ability to be in a relationship. If we avoid making ourselves and each other wrong, there is a greater chance that we can maintain our relationships and enjoy the benefits that come from them.

*The who-do-you-think-you-are attitude corresponds to what we in Scandinavia call The Law of Jante. Paulo Cuelho describes the saying of that law very well: “You aren’t worth a thing, nobody is interested in what you think, mediocrity and anonymity are your best bet. If you act this way, you will never have any big problems in life.”

This was taken from his blog: http://paulocoelhoblog.com/2012/02/03/the-law-of-jante-3/