Motives Matter

It’s a hallmark in criminal procedurals for detectives and prosecutors to determine if a suspect had motive for a crime. I think of motive as trying to guess the “why” someone did something. It’s something that I spend a lot of time wondering about with clients who are in stay or go situations in their relationships.

In relationships, our partners have their motives and we have ours. My experience is that we spend most of our time, energy, curiosity, and anxiety wondering about their motives. It’s far more difficult but ultimately more fruitful to invest in understanding our own motives in our relationships.

Why do I stay? Why do I want to go? What are my needs? Are my expectations too high or too low? What am I afraid of? Do I give too much too easily? These are just some of the questions that we might ask ourselves when we’re facing a stay or go decision in our relationship.

Thought about our partners’ motives are not totally useless. It’s especially worthwhile to examine and clearly see the evidence of our partners’ behavior.

Do they act maliciously or not? Do they act mostly or only out of self interest? Do they treat you the way you want to be treated, mostly? Be honest about your experience with them. It matters.

Invest the most in understanding yourself, however. See your partners clearly. If you need it help is available.