Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Crossroads at sunset

Question

Thank you so much for providing the reading material, which I’ve been receiving over the last few weeks. The content has made me re-evaluate my life by assessing the areas where I’m most unhappy. I’d like to take you up on the offer of submitting a question I have.
Your opinion would mean a lot to me. The following are my thoughts, exploring my options for moving forward. I have not acted on this yet, as I am understandably afraid of the consequences.

Just a bit of background, I’ve been married for 8 years (been together for 13 years) and I am wanting to move on with my life as I am unhappy with my current situation.

I’ve learned, however, that you cannot always derive the happiness you crave by keeping the people around you happy, you need to also create your own happiness.

I need to get out there and find the happiness that I think I deserve. Over the last few months I’ve felt obliged by vows, family and reputation to try to make it work, but I feel that I am only fooling those around me by “pretending” to be happy.

This is no way to continue living, as I don’t want to grow old and regret not making the changes that I’m entitled to make.

I have decided that I now need to do something for myself and my own well-being. I do not want to lay blame on [my husband] for my decision to move on as he has provided very, very well for me. I am extremely proud of how hard he’s worked to get to where he is.

But our goals and priorities in life are vastly different and we have grown apart emotionally over the last 13 years. These are very important foundations for a long-lasting marriage, and without them, there is no point in moving forward.

I hope not to be pressurized into staying or trying to work it out as this decision has taken a lot out of me emotionally and by trying to negotiate it’s just going to send me reeling backward only to start all over again.

I’ve done enough analyzing for myself to realize that this is what I want.

Most people spend their entire lives waiting for others to make them happy, that choice lies within us, not with others. I sincerely others will understand and not feel hurt and disappointed. I am praying that in time, they will accept my decision”.

My question is: is “unhappiness” a good enough reason to end an 8-year marriage?

My Response

I found an old tape set, I had years ago, the other day and listened to a bit.The tape set was the E-Myth Manager by Michael Gerber. And in it he argued passionately that most businesses were dysfunctional because they relied on the people at the top being able to see the whole picture clearly and plan for every possibility. Since all of us are to some extent dysfunctional our perspectives and views are dysfunctional. In other words, none of us can see every possible outcome months down the line. We can’t plan for every eventuality and so businesses that are designed from the top down, always screw up and wreak havoc on the lives of the people who work in them. This creates the politics, the bitching and all the nonsense that happens in big companies that make people’s working lives a misery. Well, this is exactly what Governments, religions and every kind of organisation, that seeks to design from the whole of Society down to Individuals do. Yes, I know that they often intend good and are useful and helpful to many.

But…I’ve said this in many different ways, but from the emails, people send me I can see they misunderstand, so I’ll try to be as clear as I can.

Nothing.

No society.

No group.

No Ideology.

No State.

No Religion.

Nothing at all can ever transcend the Individual.

The Individual matters more than Society.

The Individual matters more than the Organisation.

The Individual matters more than the Marriage. All wars. All conflict that the world has ever seen. Every conflict you have ever experienced. Every feeling of stress… doubt… fear…envy… greed… anger… and frustration. In fact, every negative emotion you have ever felt comes from one source…

The belief that something is more important than you.

It’s easy to look around the world and feel small. Leaders of State and Leaders of Thought cultivate grandiosity and importance. Ceremonies, rituals, certification and all that nonsense exist only to lend an air of gravity and authority. Let’s think about this logically, though. The world was not created by politicians. Nor can it ever be controlled by them. Or they would never be voted out of power. Or found out in their corrupt conspiracies.

Nor was it created by Experts in any field. Or they would never be surprised by events and get them wrong. Religions and Cults do not have a special relationship with God. No-one has, or ever has had, a relationship with God, the Universe, Life (or whatever you want to call it) that is not open to you, NOW.

Haven’t the recent Tsunami’s, Hurricanes and so on demonstrated how little control we really have over the world? Life just happens. It unfolds according to its own dynamics. There’s no master Blueprint. Just a general exploration and expansion. And we are all just stumbling around trying to make sense of it, the best we can. But all our problems begin when we mistake our interpretation of life… for the real thing. It’s like when people mistake a television program for real life.

Yet we do this all the time. We set out rules for living that have nothing to do with God or Life and then say we must live according to God’s Laws.

If God has Laws… you cannot NOT live by them.

When Man makes Laws… you cannot live by them.

But they are inherently screwed up. Here’s where it all goes wrong. Someone gets a gem of an idea. They fall in love with it and decide that this is the idea everyone should live by. Maybe they set up a political party and lobby for certain Laws. But just as likely someone comes up with a nutritional diet. An exercise routine. A spiritual path. It’s like someone unearthing a diamond and deciding all other diamonds are now worthless. Or you’ll get someone with a great insight come along. They’ll try to explain it to the world, but you can only understand what you are ready for.

You can be given the greatest pearls of wisdom, but if you are not ready to take them in… they are wasted. So these great geniuses share what they have discovered, only for their followers to take some other meaning. And then they run off and try to institutionalize their messed up version into rules.

That’s why Karl Marx said that he wasn’t a Marxist. He saw what people had done, misinterpreting his ideas. And I believe the same thing has happened to every religion. And to every political party. And to every great organisation that has outgrown and outlived it’s Founder. Or someone comes along and notices a way of doing something better than it’s been done before. The idea catches on and soon the Creator of this service trains others to do the same thing.

Sooner or later, t to keep control of the idea or to keep competitors at bay, the Creator sets up an Association. Now you have to be Certified to do what you do. Certificates are just pieces of paper. You can either do what you say you can or you can’t. I’ve sat in the same room as highly qualified Psychologist’s and Therapists who didn’t have the first clue what they were talking about. I’ve been treated by Doctors whom I suspect weren’t much better. And I’ve come across hopeless professionals in many fields. Yet they all had certificates.

My point is that in all of these forms, Governments orExperts, basically are fighting for control of your beliefs and actions. Often to genuinely help, but nonetheless mainly to add strength to their movement. But no-one has enough wisdom to guide your thoughts. And equally, no-one has the right to control your actions. You see, Life just is. Then we try to make some sense of it from our limited, but arrogant, viewpoint.

And so we superimpose our own world on top of what is really there. So what we think of as real life… isn’t really. In other words, Governments do not really exist. If you were to strip the world of people would a Government exist?

Of course, not. They are just an idea, a tool to use, a way that we fool ourselves that we have control over the world. And one day we will grow to not need such organisations and so they will no longer exist. Neither do any of our societal structures really exist. They are just ideas we clutch to like a security blanket. Yet these are the ideas and rules by which we guide our lives. That’s why we get so lost. Because we place more value on these shifting ideas – that change fashion from era to era – than we do on ourselves. Yet if you stripped the world of all its Governments and Customs would you exist?

Of course.

So every group, from the Nation State to the Marriage doesn’t really exist. All that there is… is the Individual. Whenever you try to transcend the Individual, you will always create trouble because nothing beyond it exists… except as an idea in our heads.

These ideas are covered more fully in my video

‘Be In The World, But Not Of It’

I’m not saying all this because I’m against marriage. I’m married myself. I’m saying it because until you understand this, people imprison themselves in ideas that don’t really exist. And you can never feel happy while you feel trapped.

This pre-amble is to explain where Judith’s unhappiness comes from. Not from her marriage… but from the idea and beliefs that make her feel trapped in a marriage.

Marriage vows are only an idea. You can’t make a decision and then be held to that forever more. That idea is based on a belief that you are never going to change. That the person you are at 20 or 30, can understand and know every possibility between then and death.

It’s an unrealistic expectation. And that’s what happens when we design structures for the whole of society, that Individuals are then expected to live within. The result is that Individuals feel restricted and restrained. The only thing I am concerned with… is what makes individuals happy. I’m not here to uphold any moral code that is based on the idea that everyone will run around like savages unless they are kept in line.

But neither am I here to knock these ideas. Your husband does not create or block your happiness. You could be happy with him or without him. It’s not marriage that makes you unhappy. It’s the way you think of your marriage.

No one person can ever meet all your needs all the time. That’s why we bump into so many different people in our lives. Nor do you don’t need to have the same priorities and values for a relationship to work. No two of us in the world are exactly the same. There’s great value in our differences.

It’s the friction between us all that keeps us, and the world, progressing and growing. The key is how you feel about those differences. In a new relationship, you adore certain characteristics in someone. Five years down the line, the same characteristics drive you mad. It’s not really about the person or what they do – or don’t do – it’s all about how *you* feel.

Everything has good and bad elements to it. When you feel good… you see the good elements. When you feel bad… you see the negative side. Everything in life is only ever about *your* relationship with the source of Life.

When that relationship is going well…everything goes well. When that goes badly… everything goes badly. Without changing that, you could walk into a new relationship and have exactly the same thing happen over a few years.

Here’s what happens a lot of the time to people.

Two people are in a relationship, the novelty wears off. And the day to day grind of their life starts to get them down. Friction sets in and without healing that friction… it starts to grate more and more.

This wears them down and pushes them apart from each other… seemingly. But what it really has done is distance themselves from Life- the source of energy. And now they have little energy, enthusiasm and excitement for life. It looks like the other person has made them feel like that, but really it is that by focusing on their differences they have made themselves feel worse and cut themselves off from their source.

Then when you feel tired and down the relationship doesn’t look so good. That seems to be where the problem is. But if you were happy and full of life… the relationship would automatically seem brighter and more positive. Whatever you experience… is Life coming through you from the source. Say you turned on the tap and the water that came out was murky and tasted foul. You wouldn’t try to fix the water would you?

You’d look at the pipes to see what was causing the water to get dirty. Same thing with your life. Clean the pipes, which is another way for saying, get your relationship with the source of life straight. And how do you know if you’ve done that? Because you feel great. That’s why it’s so important tobe happy. Happiness is what happens when your pipes are clean and so life flows through you cleanly. And so it seems that everything is working out great for you. Either way the way forward is always to move upward emotionally. Then whether in this relationship, or another, you change the dynamics and so your experience.

One last thing. When you decide either way… do it. The worst thing would be to go… and wonder what if you stayed. Or to stay… and wonder what if you’d gone.

Go or stay, but commit 100% to your decision. That doesn’t mean in months or years you can’t reverse your decision. It just means don’t have a foot in both camps. That’s a sure route to misery.

5 thoughts on “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”

  1. So when a person thinks they have a problem eg no life partner, is that the problem or is there much more under that? I recognise lots of reasons I resist having a new partner. So are you suggesting breaking the problem down into parts. Eg I would like a life partner because …. then resolve those aspects?

    • Hi Sally, I had responded, but had a problem with the website and lost the comment.

      I think there are always different dimensions to a problem. We tend to focus on external problems. For example, not having a life partner might be a problem, but really what most bothers us are the internal problems.

      It’s what having – or not having – a life partner means to us, that is the real problem.

      External problems are really just the stimuli that life gives us to trigger a response from us. How we feel in response to that… our internal problem… is all about our inner makeup. This is what I call our human operating system. It’s the combination of temperament, experiences, observations and habits that make up our beliefs and outlooks.

      What seems to be the problem is really just the stimulus for us to be made aware of the flaws and vulnerabilities of our operating system.

      How do you deal with it?

      It’s about self-awareness and brutal honesty. Seeing through our own bullshit and dealing with the reality of life and not the story of life we want to protray or believe.

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