Sunday, 24 April 2016

What I Have Learnt About Relationship Breakdown (If You Love Someone, Let Them Feel It!)

Somebody once told me that the grass is greener where you water it when describing relationships.  People tend to warn us against the “otherside” whatever that otherside looks like.  I have to say, that this statement is both irritating and, simply put, false.  

When it comes to relationships, whether friendships or romantic relationships, the grass is greener where you water it, but only if both parties are doing the watering.  Too much watering from one side runs the risk of flooding the other side; and the same can be said for too little watering and how that runs the risk of potential drought.  Let’s use a scenario of two friends to illustrate the point.  Friend “A” invests time in making an effort, constantly ensuring that Friend “B” feels valued as both a friend and as a person.  If Friend “B”, who is currently being made to feel appreciated and valued, gives little in return, this will leave Friend “A” feeling unappreciated and neglected - it's that simple and you no doubt get the picture.  Now think about your friendships, or your relationships or your marriage; who is doing the watering and who is standing with a watering can filled to the brim?  Who is the one providing this vital source needed for survival and who is the one not passing on the very nutrients and essential minerals needed for this relationship to grow?  Now, think again; is the grass really greener where you water it?  Or is it only greener on one side of the fence?

The unfortunate reality of these situations, much like the one described above, is that eventually the one doing the pouring, making the grass greener, will eventually run out of “supplies”.  One of the key hardships in these types of relationships is that whilst one individual is being watered, the person standing opposite you may well forget to do some watering of their own.  The person standing opposite you may become so used to what it is like to be standing in a place of drought, that through sheer desperation of trying to avoid drought and the basic need to be quenched themselves, they quickly begin to run out of resources to continue your nourishment, in order to save themselves.

Eventually, and the eventuality will come, the person who has carried on with the watering soon dries up.  So much love, affection, concern and input has been invested in the receiving party, that eventually nothing remains.  The water has dried up.  The well is empty and this time, Timmy has well and truly fallen down the well (an old Lassie quote).

Psychology teaches us about equity theory or social exchange theory when it comes to the maintenance of relationships, but delving into self-help or reading essays on how to save a relationship is well and truly futile unless you are ready and willing to water.  Perhaps beginning the pouring process will require you to introspect with the purpose of self-discovery, or perhaps you are just a natural “filler-upper”, but either way, if relationships are to work, apathy has to be shown the door and quickly - there are no seats at the table of reconciliation for unwanted guests such as this.

I am by no means a relationship expert, far from it, but I have learnt some very sobering realisations when reflecting on my own relationships of late.  My heart’s advice is quite simply this - if you love someone, tell them.  If you admire someone, tell them.  If they are an awesome mother, father, brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, husband (the list goes on), TELL THEM!  If you value what has been placed before you along the path of life’s journey, then let those that matter know that they are valued.

At the end of it all, it is simply down to a pretty basic mathematical equation - if you are investing emotional energy and time into someone, and there is little received in return, that motivation to water will soon dwindle and diminish as time passes.

It is difficult to stand on dry ground whilst you are watering the ground below someone else’s feet, only to notice the dry cracks beneath your own growing with each passing minute.  Desperation sets in, and help is, unfortunately at times, not on its way.



  1. Respectfully, I don't always agree with this. My husband and I have been married for 16 years and we have 5 beautiful children. When I was pregnant with our 2nd child I had a car accident which resulted in me breaking my pelvis. I have had to endure 2 very long, hard pelvic surgeries and recoveries and during these many years my husband had to be mum and dad whilst I had to focus on myself. Not once did he think of leaving as he watered the entire family whilst I was confined to my room. Recently he has completed his degree. A feat which has meant many long hours away from our family stuck in the university library. Now it was my time to do the watering. I think that all relationships have natural seasons where one person does more watering and then it switches. The most important important thing is that both parties are truly invested in the relationship and want it to work. Just my humble (and as it turns out very long, sorry ��) opinion and I am no expert. I suppose it ultimately depends on the individuals and the problems in the relationship.

    1. Hi there "Anonymous"

      Many thanks for taking the time to read the post and to make a comment. Like most marriages, yours sounds like it's had its fair share of challenges. Although it may seem at first that we don't agree, on the contrary we agree far more than you may initially think. There are definitely times when one partner needs to be watering more than the other - yours being the perfect example. For me, you yourself have hit the nail on the head - "both parties are truly invested in the relationship and want it to work". My article was very much talking about relationships where one partner continuously invests, whilst the other is happy to be a passenger, but never the "driver". I couldn't agree more with you.

      Thanks again for sharing and taking the time to read. Wishing you, your husband and 5 little ones the happiest of life together.


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