I hope you don’t reach this point in your relationships, but I know that for many of those who are unable to manage their conflicts, there ultimately comes a time when the pressure becomes too great. Don’t panic!
Perhaps the passive partner is pushing for more of a commitment or is insisting on more accountability. Whatever the reason, you, as the active partner, may feel as though you are gasping for air or experiencing a full-blown phobic attack.
All you can think about is reducing the discomfort, and to you that means getting away. However, even at this stage you’re probably unsure because you still have so many feelings for your partner.
Remember, this level of conflict can be directly attributed to the depth and closeness of the relationship. Despite your ambivalence you and your your partner may share an intense emotional involvement. When we interview people about about their commitment phobic relationships, we always ask them to describe the ending.
An amazingly large number of people describe almost identical scene: The active partner, the partner responsible for the breakup, is sobbing, feeling sad and talking about how much love he or she feels for the person who is being rejected.
In other words, even though the relationship is about to be finalized, the conflict hasn’t diminished. If you have active commitment conflicts, your relationships tend to end in one or a combination of the following three ways:
All these options are hurtful, and none are honest. if you have reached what you believe to be the end of a commitment phobic relationship, before you do anything, we would like to ask you to consider the following suggestions:
You need to think seriously about whether your behavior will accomplish what you want. You may think you’re escaping from your partner, but you may actually be running away from your expectations, from your projections, from your fears, and from yourself.
Maybe ending this relationship is the answer. But there is a chance that it’s not. You need more information, and you need it immediately. If you’re going to run anywhere right now, we firmly believe that the first place you need to run is to a place where you can get help with your conflict. Ideally this means finding an understanding therapist.
This is not the time to jump to conclusions. Once you have engaged yourself in the process of self-exploration, you may see a way of working with this relationship that you couldn’t see before.
Or you may truly understand why this relationship could never work and you may learn how to establish better relationships in the future. Whatever the outcome, at least you won’t be swinging wildly in the dark.
I can’t make you go for help. That of course is your decision. But I can ask you to minimize the kind of hurtful behavior that typifies these endings.
We realize that you may be feeling much too guilty to want to face ending your relationship honestly and directly. Under these conditions it’s very tempting to drive your partner into doing the dirty work.
If you propel your partner into drawing a line in the sand, you can pin at least part of the blame on someone else. No guilt, no responsibility – it become the perfect scenario. Right? Wrong!
Your partner doesn’t want to end the relationship, you do. Pushed to the wall, your partner may end it, but that’s clearly not what this person wants. It’s what you want.
Later, when you’re feeling relief, your partner will be feeling horrified and thoroughly confused by what has happened. Your partner will be filled with doubts and regrets wondering whether he/she may have jumped to conclusions or not been understanding enough. Your partner may even feel guilty.
Here are some do’s and don’ts: