Limbo in love (or business or anything really) can be a very difficult place to be.
The uncertainty of being “on the fence” is unsettling for just about anyone.
A solid and secure romantic relationship is like a safe haven, but when it’s threatened, everything about life becomes more difficult, and it can be hard to know whether to stay or to go.
Dr. Sue Johnson uses the metaphor of being hungry and looking at a giant feast of food with a glass barrier over it when you’re in a relationship but disconnected from your partner.
It might just feel easier to call it quits and turn your back on each other. To say, “forget this, there’s no way I’m going to get the glass off that food, I’ll just go find another feast.”
But something (love? familiarity? hope?) might keep you hanging on.
Yet because that glass is there in the way of connecting, you’re in purgatory. You may be unwilling to leave, but still a million miles away from your ideal life and love.
Limbo, as much as you hate it, keeps you safe.
It prevents you from having to face either the consequences of truly separating yourself from something (or someone), or doing the work that’s required to make things right.
Limbo keeps you stuck, small and in a standstill.
You might not like to hear this, but it’s also a choice.
For every one couple that takes necessary steps to reap the rewards of truly connecting at a deep and soulful level with each other by working with me or another professional to help them succeed in love, there are countless others who quietly live subpar existences and just endure mediocrity in limbo.
It’s almost like the relationship is not bad enough to do anything about it, but at the same time, there’s not much of a relationship to speak of.
Dr. John Gottman has found that the average couple who winds up getting professional help has put it off for 6 years. That’s 6 years of distress, disconnection and misunderstanding.
When they finally do get assistance, it takes longer to get back to their connection because of the years of destructive patterns that have eaten away at their bond.
We’re not even referring to the couples who never get help.
Couples endure this purgatory, until they are ready to step out of it, and are ready to risk losing each other.
The work of a good couples counselor, therapist or coach involves turning emotional processes inside out and helping partners get emotionally in touch, honest and naked with each other. It involves helping partners express their emotional needs to be seen, heard, felt, understood and valued, as well as helping partners express to each other how much they value and care about each other.
It is downright sad that things have to often reach a breaking point before many partners take the necessary risks by revealing the truth to each other about how much they do matter to each other.
It’s even sadder that many more couples never even do that.
Are you subtly suffering in purgatory?
I’m writing this to remind you that limbo is a choice.
We haven’t been taught as a whole how to get love right, but thanks to research in fields like psychology and neurobiology, a road map actually exists to making love work, for ANY of us, not just a lucky few.
My warning cry to you is not to settle for mediocrity and not to endure something in love that doesn’t feel right.
You don’t have to.
Honor yourself and do something about it, NOW, before you reach a breaking point.
Do not settle for limbo in love.
Educate yourself on what love is really all about by reading Sue Johnson’s Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships, or by grabbing my book right now.
Or perhaps things are at a breaking point?
Maybe you need more help than a book can provide.
Cheers to thriving in business & love,