Why do relationships fall apart?

The real reason why so many relationships fail is that four minds don’t think alike


“The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.”
—Benjamin Disraeli

You had the good vibes going. You were high from the love potions coursing through your body. You were humming all the crazy-in-love songs you’ve ever heard, and for once they made total sense. You had created the honeymoon effect with the love of your life, and you knew that this time it was going to last forever.

Except, it didn’t!

It all came crashing down, and you were left devastated and obsessed with what might have been. And puzzled: how could something so magical degenerate into endless, bickering recriminations, and if you were married, divorce court?

After all, you wanted it to work. You believed it would work. Maybe The Biology of Belief works for other people, you’re thinking, but it doesn’t for you. Yes it does! But there’s a catch, which explains why positive thinking and believing, by themselves, don’t work.

A relationship created by the conscious mind

The catch is that when you bonded so closely with your partner during those first blissful days and months, your behaviours and actions were controlled by the processing of your conscious mind. The conscious mind is the ‘creative’ mind, the one that acts on behalf of your wishes and desires. So when the conscious minds of two lovers entangle, together they create magical harmony. Because honeymoon partners are operating from their deepest wishes and desires, the outcome of their interactions is… voilà, heaven on earth!

However, over time, your conscious mind becomes burdened with thoughts dealing with the busy-ness of everyday life—balancing your budget, scheduling your chores and planning your weekend. The processing of the conscious mind shifts from creating the honeymoon experience, to the management and strategies, needed to deal with perceived necessities. The result is that the conscious mind relinquishes behavioural control to default programmes previously stored in the subconscious mind.

How our subconscious mind wreaks relationships

When it comes to partners, there are suddenly four instead of two minds involved. And these two ‘extra’ subconscious minds can wreak havoc on happily-ever-after relationships. When our conscious minds stop paying attention to the moment, we lose control over our honeymoon creation because we unknowingly engage in preprogrammed behaviours we acquired through our developmental experiences. For many couples, once that subconscious programming comes to the fore, the honeymoon glow fades very quickly.

That’s not surprising because the behaviours programmed in the subconscious mind are primarily derived from observing and downloading other people’s behaviours [many of them negative and disempowering]—especially those of your parents, immediate family, community and culture. You start seeing a side of your partner [and yourself] that never emerged during the honeymoon. When the conscious mind stops paying attention to the current moment, you automatically and most importantly, unconsciously engage in behaviours you downloaded from others.

Programmes we learn from our parents

Here’s a scenario that may be all too familiar to you.

You’re basking in the honeymoon effect, full of love for your supportive partner who lights up your life. Then one day you ask him a simple, loving question. He’s not thinking about how good your relationship is. His conscious mind is preoccupied with fixing the car or paying the rent, so he responds reflexively and nastily with a tone that says, “Leave me alone.” Shocked, you respond: “Who are you?”

You have just experienced the moment when honeymoons generally begin to fall apart. He responded so unconsciously that he didn’t even notice how nasty he was. And in his response to what he perceives as a personal ‘attack’ on his character, he starts digging in his heels to defend himself to the death. He’s thinking, she accused me of not being me. I’m the same me I’ve always been. I don’t know what she’s talking about. What’s her problem?

Meanwhile, you’re thinking, where is the loving man I married? Your conscious mind detaches from the current moment, to assess the unpleasant situation in which you now find yourself. Unbeknownst to you, you also unconsciously default to your own formerly hidden subconscious behaviours that you acquired from your family and culture. Now it’s your partner’s turn to be shocked, as his once loving spouse shifts into criticism and blame, as well as other less than loving programmes you downloaded from your parents.

As the daily issues of life increasingly occupy your and your partner’s conscious minds, more disharmonious unconscious behaviour patterns begin to rise to the surface. Soon you both shift from appreciating your partner, to focussing on his or her periodic nasty outbursts. Both you and your partner turn defensive and begin to critique the other’s faults: he never cleans up, she never puts the cap on the toothpaste and so on. All the things you ignored in the first glow of love now start to bug you.

If you met through an online dating service, both of you want your money back! He/she didn’t fill out the questionnaire honestly! But actually, you both filled it out in good faith. You both filled it out consciously—and that’s the rub. Your thoughtful submissions from your conscious minds truly represent the people you aspire to be. Unfortunately, the character of the ‘you’ who answered the questionnaire normally expresses itself only about five per cent of the time. What both partners failed to include in their surveys were the sabotaging and limiting subconscious programmes they acquired from others, which all of us unconsciously engage in about 95 per cent of the time.

Trying to find love again

With the appearance of uninvited behaviours, 95 per cent of the time you and your partner have most definitively left the honeymoon and are back on the road of conventional life. If any of these heretofore unseen, destructive and disturbing behaviours had surfaced on the first day of your relationship, there probably would not have been a second day. Now you’re wondering if you should lower your expectations and accept what your relationship has become because “This is the way life is and I have to accept the bad with the good.” Or will the many compromises you make as you adjust to abusive behaviour become so intolerable that your once seemingly unbreakable bond shatters? You say, “The hell with this. I can’t do this.” And then you go out [again] and try to find what you once had.

The culprit for this repeating cycle is invisible: it’s the behaviours programmed in you and your partner’s subconscious minds. Your conscious mind sent you on the quest to find a loving partner and rejoiced when you found the one, yet your subconscious mind is destroying what you’ve created. But once you know that you’re dealing with four minds in the relationship, and once you know how to change the negative programming of your subconscious minds, you will have the tools to recreate what you’ve lost.

Excerpted with permission from The Honeymoon Effect by Bruce Lipton. Published by Hay House

This was first published in the September 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
Bruce Lipton
Dr Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D., bestselling author of The Biology of Belief, is a cellular biologist and former Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin's School of Medicine. His pioneering research on cloned stem cells at Wisconsin presaged the revolutionary field of epigenetics, the new science of how environment and perception control genes. His later research at Stanford University’s School of Medicine revealed the nature of the biochemical pathways that bridge the mind-body duality.


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