How many failures does it take to find happiness in relationships?


By Staci Welch-Bartley


Another round of those deep sick feelings began to build in the pit of my stomach, along with the need to crawl in a hole somewhere quick. And then came the sleepless nights as my mind refused to shut up with thoughts of “how did this happen?” and “I thought this one was different?” What was wrong with me? Would I ever get this love thing figured out? And then the original thought of emotional escape came to me. Maybe I should call that guy I met at the coffee shop…he said all I had to do was call. No no, bad idea! So I decided to just give up, and forget about relationships…they never worked out anyway.

I took a breath, closed my eyes in spite of the tears, and attempted to re-gather my thoughts. I asked myself what each of my relationships had given me, was there anything more than the pain that I was feeling?

Here is the conversation I had with myself:

“OK. Well there is Rex, he gave me a place of refuge and a sense of belonging when my sense of safety at home was compromised, so grateful… And let’s see…Quinn taught me about the different levels of passion, when I kissed him it was like kissing my brother and I finally called it quits! Dale was so extraordinarily different he expanded me physically, mentally, emotionally, intellectually, and gave me incredible children. He is also the reason that I was not allowed to stay in the safe cocoon of my religion.  Shit it use to piss me off when he would come home after a few day binge and blow my perfect happy religious family paradigm sky high! Because of your contribution to my life Dale, I finally realized I had a choice…GROW or DIE!  Thank you, thank you.

Shane, blessed me with humor, connection, and showed me I had value and worth. He would tell me, ‘You’re a princess, don’t you ever let anyone mistreat you!’

Oz gave love and support to me and the kids when we needed it most. Oz also taught me so much about business and life…oh and then he gave me a beautiful son. I had expanded my capacity to love myself and others.

Troy showed me what unconditional love feels like, and was masterful at creating fantastic adventures for us to explore and experience. I was finally able to embrace and express my creativity and accept all of me. All my good parts, all my messy parts, and let go of the greatest parts of my heavy and cumbersome baggage. How lucky was I to have something that made saying goodbye so hard.”

Oh hey wait, I was beginning to feel better, I saw that I didn’t have any failed relationships just a personal journey that created me.

And my next partner who you will all know as Tom…he takes my breath away and is the pinnacle of my life’s work!

There are no failed relationships.

By Staci Welch-Bartley 

Anyone over the age of 30 has more than likely been involved in a significant romantic relationship with someone they believed was their soul mate. Only later to have life take a sharp turn, finding themselves single with a shattered perception of love, a broken heart, and a heavy feeling within that allows them to begin carrying around a lot of guilt, shame, and anger into all of their future relationships. I myself spent many years wondering why I could not find the right person to love for a lifetime.

I definitely experienced times where I would feel the thing that told me I had found the one and only person I was going to love forever. Only to realize months or years later that I needed to get the heck out of the relationship and that it wasn’t going to work. It appeared to me back then that everyone else seemed to be great at relationships and I was the only one failing.

I have now come to a larger understanding of this whole love thing.   

I realized one day while asking “why me?” once again, that all of my relationships contributed to my life, and taught me something about who I am. They had given me increased clarity about what I truly wanted out of relationships, and showed me a real demonstration of what worked and what didn’t in regards to my behavior. 

When I made this realization, I asked myself how my past relationships could possibly be considered failures when they had contributed so much to my life? Who and what says my past relationships are a failure? What is the measuring stick that is used to judge successful relationships? Perhaps these questions would give me insight into why I was not hitting the mark.

After this research, I realized it was time! Time is the measurement we use to determine success in relationships. How long did the relationship last? People always ask, "How long were the two of you together?" If it lasts for a lifetime, we say, “Great job, you’ve succeeded!” And if it doesn’t, “You failed, try again!” It is crazy when you really think about it, isn’t it?

Here are a few more things we believe about relationships that I have found are just not true:

1. When you have chemistry and attraction with someone it does not mean you are in love.

2. When you find someone that you want to build a relationship with it does not mean that it will work out forever.  Things change.

3. We expect to get relationships right the first time we fall in love. And yet, to become masterful at any task or skill, we have to practice, practice, practice and practice some more.  Why would building healthy foundational relationships be any different? 

When we throw out the time measurement and look for the contributions of valuable experiences and new growth a relationships is given us, there is no such thing as a failed relationship.  There is only personal growth and evolution.  Which are two very good things!