Sunday, September 20, 2009

Strengths-based approach to relationships?

I am in a very different place today than I was weeks ago when I first began this blog. As I've continued to process the past couple weeks I have come to realize much about myself and my most recent relationship. Before the breakup, my family and some of my close friends had shared with me concerns about how often we had plans and spent time with his friends and also noted is unwillingness to make accommodations to help me when I needed him. While I acknowledged that this was true I was willing to overlook these things. I have since realized that he is extremely immature and selfish, and was within and throughout our relationship. So, I wonder why I put up with it? Why did I accept it? And what I've come to realize is the extent my field of study has influenced my daily life. Within the family studies, youth development, and education fields we tend to employ a strengths-based approach, focusing on the potential in families, youth, and students. And it seems that I employed this same framework within my relationship. I focused on his strengths and potential rather than his flaws and weaknesses. However, I did so to my own demise. So how do I find a balance between viewing the potential and strengths in a relationship without allowing them to overshadow the inadequacies in a relationship?

I have also come to realize that his immaturity and selfishness were the basis for much of the turmoil in our relationship. I have come to realize that I accepted too much responsibility for our "tiffs." Even after our relationship ended, I analyzed what I could have done to prevent this. And I came to realize that this had absolutely nothing to do with me. This has to do with the fact that he is not ready to be in a committed relationship. This was an empowering realization. However, I am still extremely disappointed in him and the lack of respect that he has showed me through this process. But regardless, I have found serenity in the realization that I am better off now. I deserve better. I deserve a guy who will put in an equal amount of effort into 'our' relationship as I do. I deserve to be with someone who will make me a priority, even when its inconvenient. I deserve to be with someone who will make himself as vulnerable as I do (and will not take advantage of that vulnerability). I deserve to be with someone who deserves to be with me.