A Vicious Cycle? | INFJ Forum

A Vicious Cycle?

Discussion in 'Relationships and Sociology' started by Introvacist, Aug 15, 2010.

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  1. Introvacist

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    I'm sure most people have experienced the high of a new relationship, and the low of being alone. I'm also sure most have probably experienced these feelings many times, until they form a cyclical pattern. I would like to present a similar scenario for discussion.



    The Scenario:



    Let's say I've just been dumped. This, of course, is depressing, but my mood eventually brightens. I become better at being alone, and become more self-confident, self-reliant, and happy.

    Eventually I become lonely, but remain confident and happy by myself. This loneliness grows slowly over time, until I'm utterly miserable. This misery makes it nearly impossible for me to focus on anything or function in day to day life. So, I'm driven to find and start a new relationship.

    I'm over-joyed that my misery is at its end, and I put all the effort I can into this new relationship. In fact, I put so much of my energy into the relationship, it makes it nearly impossible for me to focus on anything or function in day to day life, so it doesn't work out in the end.



    And the cycle goes on...






    A few random notes:


    *Starting a relationship on the premise of "just not wanting to be alone anymore" seems like a horrible foundation for a relationship to me. I certainly wouldn't want to enter into a relationship feeling like I was just using someone purely as an emotional crutch for my own needs. Generally this isn't the case and I genuinely care about the person, and the relationship seems mutually beneficial.


    *I'm the type of person who "gives my all" in a relationship anyway, not just out of fear of being lonely again. I have no problem "committing" myself to someone and I feel that anything but seriously investing yourself in a relationship defeats the entire point of being with someone.


    All things considered, I'm not worried about my motivations when it comes to entering into a new relationship as much as I am concerned about the extreme and self-destructive nature of my loneliness on the one hand, and the over-investment in relationships that I tend to exibit on the other.



    This seems like a real "catch 22" sort of situation, and I'm curious if anyone has had similar experiences or has any advice to offer.


    Thanks.
     
  2. invisible

    On Holiday

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    although the loneliness was unbearable at times i think that after a certain point it stopped bothering me as much and now i could take or leave a relationship. if i was alone for the rest of my life i think i'd be alright with that. i think loneliness by itself (i mean without being accompanied by depression for example) can't exactly kill you and isn't really that bad. there's always a friend or SOMEONE to connect to. i learn a lot about myself by being alone. and being in a relationship isn't really always that awesome, either.
     
  3. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    Somewhere along the line I picked up the concept that if you are going to have any kind of truly meaningful relationships, you have to make yourself vulnerable. Life does not go along perfectly, we all realize that. Somewhere there is a middle road here. Humans are complex and relationships between them can be exponentially complex. This is a good reason to take your time and just refuse to worry too much about things. We tend to over read the subjective in life and this only serves to confuse the issue even more. Nothing blooms into full beauty overnight. In many ways we are at the mercy of the waves of life and that can be very frustrating. The other part of the equation of accepting ourselves as we are is accepting others as they are, warts and all. They are always there. It can be hard to be patient, but do we really have a choice?
     
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  4. INFJrules

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    Introvacist, in reading your post, I thought that the issue is less with relationships and more with how much you let emotion influence how well you function in life. I have had similar issues over the years. I cannot help but fall into depression after a relationship is over, and cannot help but get too excited at the beginning of a new one so that I don't much care about anything else. I think that to some extent these emotions are natural, but the issue is with how fast you can get out of them. I.e. it is possible to be somewhat depressed but not to the point of being unable to function, and also be excited but be able to focus on what needs to be done. Maybe, like all INFJs, since relationships are so important to you, you have never worked much on self-caring skills? These are important whether you are alone or together with someone. You need to find ways to put aside whatever emotion is overwhelming you and find a calm place inside. Overwhelming emotions in general are a problem, but there are workbooks that help with those...
     
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  5. Gaze

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    Sounds like when you're not able to commit yourself to someone and invest almost completely in the relationship, you feel as if you're missing a part of yourself. Gives a feeling of being incomplete. Investing in a relationship allows you to feed or express that aspect of your personality; it meets an emotional need. On the other hand, loneliness has a tendency to fuel a desire to be needed and so it gets easier to depend on filling that need/desire. But there's a very responsible aspect of your personality which questions whether it's good or healthy to invest so much. Which is a reasonable concern.

    I think for one, acknowledge the need you have to be in a connected, supported, relationship. Suppressing/denying those needs is never usually very helpful or effective - especially if you're constantly fighting away those feelings. If you think your relationships are creating an uncomfortable cycle, then try to think about what you enjoy or love about being in relationship which addresses that loneliness which maybe fulfilled in other ways outside the relationship. This can work even if you are in a relationship. When you do this, you may find that you're able to approach the relationship with less anxiety and a more comfortable level of investment.
     
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    #5 Gaze, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  6. Razare

    Razare Community Member

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    This describes me perfectly and I think I stumbled upon the answer.

    In order to achieve happiness and not be lonely, you have to push yourself for this seemingly unnatural balance. I prefer to commit myself fully in a relationship, but doing that may mean sacrificing your perceived power in the relationship. When a woman is your equal in the relationship, you are saying you are willing to make compromises. Once and a while it's alright to compromise, especially if you're totally wrong about something, but here's the thing, in my last relationship I found myself compromising when I knew I was right. Doing that showed how much importance I placed on her, but half the reason she was attracted to me in the first place was that I was playing some games of disinterest and pretending to be interested in other women still.

    As soon as I committed myself fully, she had "won" and the sexual interest was gone for her when the chemicals in her brain began to die down, as they do after the one year mark. Since she knew there was no risk of me leaving, and the chemical attraction was gone, what fun was left in the relationship?

    I'm not saying all women are this way; I'm just saying enough of them are that you should proceed accordingly. There's a way of making things work without being an ass, but also not fully committing. This sort of delicate balance should maintain attraction better for the woman in the relationship, in other words, they'll love you more for it.

    This delicate balance is to put other things in front of the woman as far as importance. I've decided on mine, they are God, any potential children, close friends, plus any unique interest I have.

    When an insecure woman tries to push herself up in importance above these things, I'll tell her no. A secure, mature woman would know better than to try and would accept things as they are OR leave, and that's alright. Afterall, I'm not necessarily #1 on her list either, even if she likes to lie to herself that I am. I'll definately agree that some women don't fit this and they are either crazy or something really special in the world; I wish I could meet one. Until I do, they're a fiction because I know a great couple who are probably going to be together the rest of their lives and they fit the dynamic I described perfectly.

    She's a devout Catholic and he's a Lutheran. She and her family wanted a Catholic wedding and he said no, that he wasn't going to attend one. Did she leave him? Nope, she probably loves him even more for him standing up to her on this point. His life and how he lives it is more important to him than her and it's probably the only healthy way to conduct yourself in a relationship.

    I guess I knew this going into my last relationship, just love made me forget all the rules I was supposed to follow.
     
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    #6 Razare, Aug 16, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2010
  7. freybell

    freybell Community Member

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    This sounds a lot like me. I've always had one really good friend at a time for all the reasons you listed above.. and I just got out of a relationship that wasn't healthy for me. After being with the same guy for 3 years, I realized that I had alienated all my other friends, and had been making no time for myself. All my decisions were us-decisions, and I only ever considered myself as I existed in the relationship... but not just me on my own.

    Sometimes, when you're committed to someone, when you're "giving your all"--you feel selfish when you consider yourself. But sometimes it's necessary to be selfish. Sometimes selfish isn't such a bad thing... and a lot of times it's better than being self-less to the point that you feel like you're disappearing.

    I'm no expert on finding a balance. But I'm trying. And I'm getting more comfortable being on my own every day.

    I think the only way you can really be happy in a relationship is if you can be happy on your own... because that means you're truly happy with yourself. And I don't think that many people can say that... so it's worth working on.
     
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