Take “The End” Threat off the Table
Adapted from Jami Faletti
Have you ever noticed the many number of articles, blogs, and quizzes circulating on social media right now asking you to question your relationship? Just take a look at your Facebook feed and you’ll see it’s teeming with titles such as “Should You End Your Relationship?” and “How to Tell if You’re with the Right Person.” These articles seem to prey upon, pander to, and perhaps even inspire our worst thinking—that we chose the wrong person or are in the wrong relationship.
As Imago relationship therapists, we know that this is the worst place to start if you want to improve your situation. In fact, a primary order of business when a couple comes to see me is to take any and all threats to the relationship off the table.
This isn’t about good or bad partner picking. It’s about what you stand for as a couple, and the operating agreements you have or have not made with each other. If the “end of your relationship” or the “wonder if we will exist” is on the table, you two have a problem. At the base of all couple agreements must be the understanding that you never ever threaten the relationship itself because it’s the boat you sail in, and confidence in your boat is what allows you to make those trans-Atlantic journeys together despite the weather.
The point of a primary attachment relationship is to protect, energize, and manage each other more efficiently than you can do alone. You are better at the job of caring for and fuelling each other when all the death threats to the relationship are removed. Imagine what you could accomplish together if, no matter what (true deal breakers aside), the relationship were safe. No matter who is at fault, you two agreed to lead with relief, calm each other down, take care of each other, and then deal with the issues. Think how this would change your relationship.
This idea of mutually assured safety with another person is entirely self-interested, yet is still pro-relationship. Making this move serves you best. You will do better in all areas of your life, relationship, career, and parenting. You’ll also be healthier if you aren’t worrying about whether your relationship will survive or not. This frees you up to be more creative, productive, present, spontaneous, and loving. It provides the secure base you need to tackle the outside world and accomplish big things individually and as a couple. Taking the “end off the table” makes space for you to feel happier, do better, and go further.
If you haven’t already done so, sit down together today and make the kind of fresh start that will change things for the better. Make each other safe. Declare your allegiance to one another’s well-being, and put the relationship’s end to rest once and for all. Take each other as is and get on with life, fights, annoyances, struggles, and all. Claim your person and be claimed. Stop wondering if your partner is right for you. Instead, put that reclaimed energy toward creating and capitalizing on an environment where you’ll be nourished and nourishing. It’s from here that you will get what you probably need most and quite possibly have never had: a true home in each other.