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  • Writer's pictureJulie Kurtz

How To Break Free From Zombie Relationships

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

May 5, 2016

Julie Kurtz

George – Dentist

What would make George, man with the perfect family; successful career, beautiful and supportive wife and a gorgeous home cheat after 20 years?

Even while in therapy with her for 9 months at her insistence to work on the marriage did he lie by withholding his affair until she found the journal entries on his password-protected laptop. He gave it all up for sex with a 35-year-old coworker.

Jenny – Executive Management High Tech

Why would Jenny choose to sneak Internet sex behind her husband’s back and occasional meetings with strange men on Craigslist? He was such a sweet, honest man and so supportive!

After feeling guilty and sharing this with her husband, they hit bottom, then got into therapy and now seem to have a new-found healthy relationship.

Finally, why are all these couples breaking up and finding someone else? Do they actually think they will find paradise on another relationship planet?

Are they seeking the love drug to wake them up from their disconnected and zombie state of existence?

Will this love drug simply lead them back to the same abysmal and loveless existence of cooking, cleaning, fighting, rarely having sex, losing passion and then having another relationship?

Most couples in America are so disconnected from themselves, they end up in Zombie Relationships. Constantly seeking the next external fix in an attempt to find happiness, only to once again hit a dead end and start over.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, welcome to the Zombie Club! You have found the path most traveled.

The Road Less Traveled

The dilemma is what I call Zombie Relationships! Most Americans walk around in a robotic or zombie-like state.

Growing up in a country where the “me” is emphasized, material possessions, keeping up with the Jones’s and an obsessive focus on the external rules the roost.

When the focus is always on the external, how does one learn to go inside and find purpose, passion and joy?

Our lives are filled with so much business and chaos that we rarely find the time to re-evaluate, reflect and redefine who we are in the world, where we are going and what personal goals will lead us to a life of purpose and meaning.

If this resonates with you, then you fit right into the “in” crowd. Like most of us, you are sleepwalking through life and slowly find that you’ve wondered deeper into despair, and only then capitulate or force yourself into a state of disruption in order to innovate out.

Hitting bottom becomes your heaven because it helps create a clear path out of the hell you have created.

Word of Wisdom

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

The history of our country has emphasized the individuation required to succeed, the looking outward for happiness.

Simple Steps to Relationship:

1. Write down the following

My life purpose, three things that bring me joy, in one year I see myself…. And In 5 years I see myself…

When one has clarity of purpose and goals, then one can take life by the reins and use that navigational tool when faced with the multitude of choices they are faced with.

Confronting each situation with intentionality, rather than simply reacting, can help. Especially when your purpose has become clear.

In relationships, clarity of purpose and passion keeps one connected and creates a barrier or resilience from unconsciously falling into the zombie state.

The zombie state arrives with self-forgetting and when one lets the chaos of daily living guide path and purpose. Take control of the reins, define who you are, what you want and put it down in writing.

2. Always take time for reflection.

Whether it is meditation, yoga, therapy, journal writing or long walks.

Find the time to continually reflect on your life purpose, passion, joys and how you are progressing towards your goals. When you go within, you become connected to a part of yourself that has all the answers.

These include who you are, what you desire and a connection to the universal truths of love.

Those who stay connected to their inner world and emotions are more readily available to express their needs in a relationship, to also identify and hear another person’s needs.

You fill your car up with fuel every week to keep it going, so do the same in your life. Reflection creates the fuel needed to keep going in the directional path you have defined and written down.

This reflection requires alone and quiet time.

3. Go to the mountaintop and look down on your life.

When you fly up to the 50,000-foot level, it is easier to get out of your head, your situation and create perspective.

With perspective, problems seem less intense, fleeting and solutions are more accessible.

When you respond to life in a reactionary and primitive way (fight or flight) it perpetuates an erosion of your self and the relationships around you.

Self-reflection is an extremely beneficial exercise, but using a friend, therapist or mentor can help give you even more perspective.

Pick someone who supports your vision and dreams. This reflection requires someone to mirror back to you a perspective at the higher level so choose wisely in order to promote growth.

Breaking free from the Zombie?

Once you have achieved the average state of human existence, also known as the Zombie it is an uphill road to break free. To change, your brain has to rewire and create new pathways.

To create new pathways in the brain and subsequently change your behavior, it takes a lot of practice! You need to disrupt the current programming to innovate to the REFRESHED and NEW YOU.

Since it is no easy task, I highly recommend you create a plan of action. Putting your intention in writing is a first step and creates accountability.Getting help from a professional (therapist for example) is another way to create structured time for creating your new goals, purpose statement a detailed plan of what you want.Practice, practice and more practice leads to success.

Then you are on your way to a healthier you and the magic comes when as a result of creating a healthier, happier you then everything else falls into line including your relationships.


Julie Kurtz is the Founder and CEO at the Center for Optimal Brain Integration®. For more information visit

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