How to Kill a Relationship

There are times when you would never doubt your relationship with someone, yet it’s doubt that injures it …sometimes kills it.  Not your own doubt, but doubt that is induced by the other person.  Sometimes the relationship can be salvaged, and sometimes the doubt is too strong for too long.

I have seen this in myself at times, and often in others.  I have seen it deep and loving friendships,  in idealistic love affairs, and in business or work partnerships.  Whereas a friend, lover, or partner might never do anything to willfully break the trust in the relationship, they do…not with infidelity or cruelty but with their own insecurities and doubts.

I have been happily in relationships–both romantic and platonic–when the other person had a fit of insecurity or doubt.  It wasn’t, for example, that he (or she) didn’t believe in me, but rather didn’t believe in himself.  The response was a sudden pulling back or pushing away, even telling me to go away or that things would never work between us or enumerating all the reasons I shouldn’t care for this person.

For me, this was always a shock.  I’m a very compassionate person who bonds deeply with very few people but when I do, the bond is hard and fast.  Nothing else can shake my belief in the other person.  I will give back incredible loyalty and friendship and overlook flaws and be happy in whatever is there.  Even the standard ideas of infidelity will not shake me in my trust in someone else.

But introduce doubt?  His doubts?

I say “his” as if this were only romantic boy-girl relationships but for me,  it’s happened as often in deep friendships with both men and women.  My rock-solid faith in the relationship suddenly meets with his pushing me away and telling me all is for naught.  Typically, I go off (or am left) in shock to absorb this news and go off to lick my wounds.  But the doubt that I’ve just been stung with is like a venom that eats away at my trust.  The doubt festers in me where there was none before.

And what so often happens is that the other person, now having injected their doubt elsewhere, has a little time to think things over, work through it on their own, and realize that no, things really were pretty damned good and they return with the expectation that all is well.  But it’s not.

The bond of trust has been broken.  Sometimes that can be salvaged.  Sometimes not.  Sometimes the other person returns with daylight and an admittance he’s been a fool and there is still much to work through.  Sometimes the other person takes a while to work through his own issues and return, and that’s often worse because the venom has worked its way through my veins and killed what was once there.  I am too full of doubt…or perhaps I’ve taken an antidote that deadens the feelings and keeps me from being hurt again.  It closes up the old wounds.

And closes me up, too.