Selections from the
Blue Ribbon Singles Column
By Amy Owens, The Singles Coach
Here’s something I’ve seen happen a number of times among my clients. A single man or woman will enter into a dating relationship with someone who appears to have long-term potential for them.
The relationship will go well enough that they commit to it. At an appropriate time, my client meets their partner’s extended family members who turn out to be nice people. Very nice people who really like my client and welcome them into their fold. My client is invited and participates in that family’s holiday and milestone celebrations, fitting in as though they really belong there. The family makes it known that they are happy to know them and very happy that they are partnered with their family member.
All is well – or so it seems.
Here’s the rub: If the dating relationship isn’t really a great fit for my client, they may be seduced by the family to remain in the relationship. It’s not that the family does or says anything to my client. In most cases they do not. Fairly typically the family has no idea of the mismatch or the struggles the couple is having. It’s just that my client becomes reluctant to end the relationship in part, or in large part, because they don’t want to mess up or lose their relationship with the family. It’s a matter of, “If I break up with my partner, I have to break up with his/her family, too.” A double loss. If there are children involved, the loss is even greater.
A thought I often share with my clients after a break-up of any kind it to keep in mind that the quality of our partnerships tends to improve over time, i.e., later partnerships tend to be better overall than previous ones. If this one didn’t work out, the next one may. For now, the tasks are to grieve, heal, and stay the course until the right one comes along.
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