There’s no such thing as “One Last Chance” in a Relationship.
Relationships can be amazing. They can make you feel loved, safe and secure. But that’s not always the case. Relationships can also be full of conflict, emotional turmoil and stress. The golden rule of thumb in a relationship is the good times need to outweigh the bad times.
When there are more bad times than good times it means that something has shifted in how you feel about your partner or how they feel about you. Conflict becomes the normal way of communication and everything that once was good is now – not so good.
When it’s out of balance you’ll know because it feels like:
- You are walking on eggshells
- Everything you say or do is wrong
- Everything feels hard
- You would prefer to stay at work than go home
- When you are home you try to avoid everyone and say as little as possible
- You want to drink more, eat more or smoke more
- You talk more to your friends than you do with your partner
- You feel really miserable
If a relationship is out of balance, then a decision needs to be made of what to do next. Instead of getting help or learning and understanding where you are both coming from, most people will give up or give in. People believe that giving the relationship one last chance might be the answer.
One last chance is not going to help you grow your relationship into something special because it means there is a time limit on the improvement of your relationship. A time limit equals pressure and remember “one last chance” means only ONE chance.
In my book The Secret Sauce of Loving Relationships, I talk about the 4 stages of a relationship and what happens in each stage. Stage 3 is the conflict stage and if you can get through the conflict you will reach stage 4 which is the stage of resolution. Now that’s all well and good but somehow you need to be able to get through the conflict so that you can reach resolution and continue on to happier days.
When couples can’t do this between themselves they call me for an appointment and I help them work through their issues and give them the tools to be able to do this in the future when then they need it. Communication is the glue that will keep you together through good times and bad times. Communication needs to happen everyday and that’s why the “one last chance” won’t work. You can’t communicate once and think it’s going to solve everything.
The reasons why some couples can’t work it out themselves include:
- They are too close to the problem and can’t see any answers
- They are too sensitive and emotional
- They are focusing on the problem and not the solution
- They are too busy being defensive or blaming each other instead of actually listening to each other
- They are so sick of trying to talk about it and trying to fix it that they feel it’s easier to fantasise about leaving the relationship and being on their own
Now when someone reaches breaking point they talk about wanting to leave – they feel they are done and they are over it. With those statements comes a sense of power and a sense of control for a short time. It feels like a solution has presented itself. It doesn’t actually mean that they want to leave – they just desperately want the conflict to stop.
For the other person, they feel the effects of the other persons power and they start to panic. They don’t want it to be over and so they start the bargaining process where they will do anything to keep the relationship. It’s no longer about whose fault it is, it now becomes about saving the relationship because a real threat has presented itself.
Here’s some of the reasons people will use when they are trying to save the relationship when the other person wants to leave:
- We’ve been together for too long to end it now
- We have a house together (other financial things)
- But, when our relationship is good it good – we can get over this
- What about the kids they need a mum and dad
- What about our families and friends
- We have had happy times
- It’s all my fault – I will change (even though they know it’s not the truth)
- I won’t drink, smoke, go out etc (basically they won’t do anything except be with you)
And then comes the biggest negotiation of all:
“Please, can we give it just One Last Chance? And then if it doesn’t work we will break up”
Now when someone asks for One Last Chance in a Relationship they are actually asking you “Can you just stay longer.” One last chance doesn’t have any solutions attached to it.
So what actually happens is that both people will be on their best behavior for as long as they can, which is usually just a few days. Then, as soon as something happens to bring back the conflict, everyone loses their shit and they want to break up – for good this time. But they don’t actually break up then either. This process can go on and on for months and even years, depending on how long a couple has been together.
My point is that One Last Chance does not solve any issues, it’s just 2 people committing to perfection which is not realistic.
Instead of asking for One Last Chance, ask instead:
“What is it that you need from our relationship that you are not getting?”
“What am I doing right in this relationship?”
“What can I change that would make you feel good/loved/safe in this relationship?”
Start getting some real answers by asking the tough questions because that’s where your happily ever after lives.