My Brother Is on His Third Divorce. Here’s What I’ve Learned.

Image by photosforyou from Pixabay

1. A long relationship doesn’t equal a secure relationship.

Years of history are just that—years of history. So many people conflate having a past with someone as an indictor of future security with that person, and it’s simply not.

2. Unaddressed childhood trauma will haunt every relationship.

This one seems like a given, but I am frequently amazed by the amount of adults I encounter who do not realize that childhood sets the stage for all future relationship dynamics.

3. Patterns will be repeated until the loop is closed.

My brother has repeated the same cycle on a loop for over twenty years. To any onlooker, it’s easy to pinpoint why—the underlying pattern has not been addressed.

4. Requiring validation from a partner is a recipe for disaster.

Whether it’s sexual, emotional, or mental validation, leaning on a partner to provide it is a dangerous game. Even in instances where a partner’s love language is specifically geared toward providing this validation, the day they are unable to do so may capsize the entire relationship.

5. Where there is no self-love, resentment festers.

Resentment-rich relationships occur for one reason, and one reason alone: at the root of it all, neither of the partners love themselves.

6. People are not who they say they are.

People aren’t who they say they are—they’re how they behave.

7. “Love” is less important than compatibility.

“But I love them.”

8. Unhealthy people will seek out unhealthy partners.

This is the most important lesson of all, and by far, the most difficult to reconcile.

If you can do just one thing, it’s love yourself.

If you want to dramatically increase the quality of your romantic (and platonic) relationships, love yourself. Invest in your mental health first and foremost, directing your resources toward therapy, a spiritual practice that you love, and a strong support group of people who are smarter and healthier than you. A strong mental health foundation will naturally evolve into health in every area of your life.

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Amanda Dollinger

Amanda Dollinger

The highest purpose of words is that they be used to connect one another.