Recently, a girl I sponsor in recovery came to me with a relationship dilemma. After many years, her high school boyfriend came back on the scene and the two began dating long distance. It seemed a fairytale come true, except for the fact she constantly needed to board a plane to see him.
Over the past year, she called me every couple months to complain about a dynamic between them. Minor facts would change, but the basic problem remained the same. She did not feel she was a priority in his life and whenever she vocalized her upset, he felt pressure.
Having trouble expressing her upset in a calm way, her requests came across as demands and her boyfriend would shut down and not call her for days on end. Past abandonment issues rose to the surface. In despair, she called me to figure out what was wrong with her and how she could make the relationship work.
"The relationship is exactly as it should be," I said. "Relationships exist to help us heal from our false ideas. If you examine your resentments and behavior now, things will change."
"But how do I get him to understand how his behavior affects me?" she replied.
"You don't. It's not about him understanding you. It's about YOU understanding you. If you do a personal inventory on the real cause of your anger, you will come to see your part in this problem and the outcomes will change."
Like her, I spent many years focusing on the man in my life and how to change him so that I would be happy. It took over a decade in sobriety for me to realize the man in my life wasn't preventing me from happiness-my expectations were. When I stopped expecting men to bring me personal fulfillment and I looked for ways to express my good, the picture rearranged and I found happiness within.
P.S. If you want professional help doing a personal inventory, contact me for a consultation.