“But what about my part?”
“It takes two to create a bad marriage.”
“I haven’t always been the perfect partner.”
I hear these words often, when a woman is considering the idea of divorce or separation. They have deep shame around the idea that they could have done something better. Tried harder. Loved better.
This shame can often be paralyzing. Not only does the feeling of inadequacy sting, but it’s easy to slide into the belief that perhaps we owe it to our partner to stay and continue to try to do better.
Ironically, these words and deep self-doubting are overwhelmingly coming from a person who has bent over backwards for her relationship. She’s gone to counseling and attempted to drag him with her. She’s taken all the courses. She’s read all the books. She’s attended groups and every kind of self development activities she can think of to finally FIX HERSELF. She’s racked her brain to “find her part”, often finding blame in herself when it didn’t even exist. She’s tried to entice her partner to care about their relationship in ANY way and has been willing to do everything shy of actually holding the pencil in his hand while in a relationship oriented class.
Meanwhile, her partner has been absent, dismissive, entitled, and completely unwilling to give any of the effort she has so readily given. He has never had the same hunger for a healthy relationship. He has never sought out classes, courses, coaching, or counseling. He hasn’t ever picked up a relationship book. He’s never listened to podcasts or speakers, desperately seeking to find something to improve his marriage. He has never sought to improve HIMSELF. A healthy marriage is something he has only been interested in if it was something he could obtain CONVENIENTLY.
And ironically, she’s still trying to find her part. She’s still wondering how she could love him better. She’s still thinking his lack of relationship investment is HER failure.
Because, if it’s her fault, then maybe she has the power to FIX it.
So, what IS her part?
What if her part was not seeing his true colors for what they’ve been all along?
What if her part was trying to do all the work FOR him, instead of acknowledging they didn’t actually have a partnership?
What if her part was allowing him to take advantage of her effort without any reciprocation?
What if her part was not holding any requirements and standards to have the privilege of being in a partnership with her?
What if her part was never holding him accountable for HIS part?
What if her part was actually hoping her own self betrayal would make him care?
What if her part was failing to see when an ending was necessary and the most loving thing to be done?
Is it possible you have been conditioned to take a disproportionate amount of responsibility for the success of your relationships?