“As you know, my relationship has been difficult for some time now. He hasn’t been able to hear me and give me what I need. I tell him over and over again, but nothing shifts for us,” says my controlling 30-something client.
“But we have been over this before…You know your work is to learn to be emotionally independent of him and not emotionally needy in this relationship, correct?”
“I know that, and I’m trying everyday, but he has to try as well,” she says.
“No, he doesn’t. He has other issues in the context of this relationship. The emotional neediness is your issue,” I tell her. “Your continued neediness puts a lot of strain on this relationship and it presses his fear of commitment. If you keep up this pressure, you’ll just succeed in running the relationship into the ground.” I tell her. “You really need to take some space from it.”
“Well, funny you should mention that—he just got transferred to L.A.,” she says.
“Fabulous. Now your relationship finally has an opportunity to heal,” I tell her.
“I don’t know how you can say that? Finding quality time for us was difficult while living together, the distance will only tear us apart now,” she shoots back.
“Actually it’s quite the opposite,” I tell her.
Distance saves relationships.
Distance is the great arbiter of justice in relationships. Distance is often introduced into the equation when either one or both parties is not yet fully ready to be in the relationship. It’s a way of preserving space for each party’s personal growth. It helps them to address their issues separate from the relationship and be able to bring their best selves into the relationship when they finally do come together.
“So this distance is giving you physical and emotional distance to learn how to be emotionally dependent on yourself and not reliant on your partner,” I tell her. “If he’s not there for you to control, you’ll have to find that emotional stability in yourself.”
“I hear you, but I don’t know many relationships that have been able to sustain long distance. It’s usually a death sentence,” she says.
“It’s only a death sentence if the relationship is already on death row,” I explain.
Distance is the perfect acid test for relationships.
Distance tests relationships. If both parties are healthy and the relationship is thriving, space will only make the union stronger. But if one or both parties is struggling with their own demons, and unable to use the space to heal themselves, the distance will eventually pull them apart.
Distance is the greatest teacher.
Distance teaches you who you are and what you need to heal in order to be able to be a healthy partner. If you aren’t able to clearly discern your personal issues, your relationship will always bring them up for you and if you aren’t able to heal them within the context of the relationship, the universe will separate you until you can.
Distance gives you a time-out to check back in with yourself.
Sometimes we lose ourselves in relationships and we cannot clearly discern our own issues from those of our partners’. This is where space gives clarity. If you are faced with confusion in a relationship, it’s much better to walk away from it so you can see things more clearly. When you can take the other person out of the equation, you’re only left with your own issues.
Distance brings you closer.
It brings you closer to what’s right for you and pulls you apart from what’s wrong. It also brings you closer to an understanding of yourself and brings you closer to a thorough understanding of your partner. It’s a win-win for all involved.
Distance is never a punishment. It’s a means of giving clarity and saving relationships. If you are doing your work and healing yourself, the distance is readying you for the next phase of your life and your relationships. But if you’re not growing and evolving, distance will cast you out into the cold where you have the opportunity to reevaluate and begin again.
Distance is always temporary and as soon as you’ve learned the lesson that distance is here to teach, you’ll be brought back into a much sweeter union with others.
Donnalynn Civello is a Certified Intuitive Life Coach.