Over the years, I have encountered many who have endured abuse, betrayal, addiction issues, or withholding of intimacy by their partners for years, and yet they let things ride in their unhappy marriages in order to keep the status quo. I have come to understand that for many the fear of change or being alone is so paralyzing that they just sit and do nothing… until some event interferes with this passive approach to life and causes a change to occur, which often makes me wonder how things might have played out differently if when things first started to go south someone had taken a less passive approach– I bet half the people I see would not wind up needing my advice if they would cease to take the path of least resistance.
In dating, and with relationships in general there is a similar phenomenon, which I’ve dubbed “the path of least resistance.” Here, I see those with a passive approach stay in a comfortable situation, simply because it is just that. Again, I think it ties back to this fear of being alone or facing change, and I understand that when you have been out playing the dating game for a while it is rather nice to take a break with someone half-way decent. But eventually someone will get attached and expect more out of the relationship, and the next thing you know you are feeling pressured to move in together, adopt a dog or cat, and you start playing house. Then the pressure mounts to get engaged, get married or have a baby. The more entrenched you get in your lives together, the harder it is going to be to disentangle, and so for these people that choose the path of least resistance, I see them just settle for what has become easy. Sadly, sooner or later they are in for a rude awakening.
Here is a news flash: life is not easy. Life is full of challenges, and when faced with trying times, it is true love that will be the glue that keeps a couple together– all those that picked a comfortable partner may be in for a shock when that person chooses to bail when times actually get tough. I’m not shocked at all– I see it everyday. I also realize from everything I have seen in my career that we all get sick eventually, our parents start needing extra care, some may die, meanwhile our kids require a ton of attention, just as work gets more complicated with increasing responsibilities, and to add to all of this, everyone these days is stressed about money. As I face all this chaos, there is one thing I know for sure- the person I want at my side will NOT be one whose M.O. is to let things ride.