There is nothing like the rush of a new love – agreed?
We experience a surge of positive emotions including euphoria and increased motivation. These blissful emotions have often been accused of blinding us from some important truths about the charming new person in our lives.
Charming indeed! Feeling aroused, energized, elated and focused, don’t most of us put our best foot forward in the early stages of new relationships?
Here – please let me introduce you to my “representative”, he’s/she’s the best version of me that I can possibly rustle up….but ….I’m not sure how long my representative plans to stay.
What happens when our “representative” abandons us, what is left behind and how well do we make that transition? Sadly, lust and romantic love are time limited, our energy returns to normal levels and the “representative” sneaks out the back door.
Why does our representative leave us stranded?
Our drive to be our authentic self will always force the representative out the door. In many ways this is good news, this transition provides us with the opportunity to focus on developing a strong sense of WHO WE are whist maintaining a strong connection with our partner. This can be much harder to achieve than we think and difficulties with finding the balance within your relationship can be at the source of many long term relationship problems and ongoing conflicts.
Relationship difficulties are often much more than poor communication. Most people who have been in a long term relationship eventually hit a point of emotional “gridlock”. Emotionally gridlocked partners are at each other’s throats, arguing about everything and there seems like there is no way through.
When anxiety and tension between a couple reach “gridlock”, the tendency is for each partner to blame the other. While we are focusing on our partners and waiting for them to change, accommodate our needs, treat us better, we completely miss the opportunity to reflect on how we can confront ourselves.
Long-term relationships tend to teach us more about ourselves than we really wanted to know and by the same token we end up getting to know more about our partners than they would like us to know. That’s why it so easy to blame your partner because you have been gathering the ammunition for years!
It’s easy to get lost in a relationship. At times we sacrifice our own needs to accommodate the needs and wants of our partner or family. Overtime, this can result in becoming fused with our partner and we neglect our own dreams, values and goals. Others might feel that they have to protect their sense of self so tightly that they distance themselves from their partner and become isolated.
So how can we find the balance between “being ourselves” and staying emotionally connected to our partner?
This is where couples counselling can be helpful.
As it can be difficult to isolate patterns of behaviour when you are within the relationship, couples counselling can assist by identifying the level of anxiety and tension and how each person in the family responds to life’s challenges.
Life presents many challenges for couples over a life time. We are expected to navigate our way through parenting, health issues, grief and loss and a range of successes and setbacks. Many couples find reaching “gridlock” unbearable and they choose this time to end the relationship. Couples counselling can help you see that there is a way through “gridlock” and that making it through this juncture will not only strengthen the relationship bond but also enhance you individual level of self development
Concepts adapted from Dr David Schnarch