Relationships – A Journey of the Heart
When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, your perceptions of each other begin to shift. Both of you project your hopes and fears for the relationship on each other, and you may struggle with differing expectations and beliefs about the relationship.
“This is not the way I hoped my relationship would be,” one or both of you might say.
We usually choose a partner with a different style of relating than we have. For example, if we feel anxious in our relationship, we want to talk and try to resolve our concerns. Our partner, on the other hand, when confronted with a problem, prefers to keep their distance from us, and does not always want to resolve issues in the same way that we do.
Our differing relational styles can cause us to feel isolated, lonely, angry, frustrated, confused and distant from each other.
We may feel overwhelmed when our partner demonstrates certain emotions, because we may fear those emotions within ourselves.
Ultimately, the inner struggle that you experience within yourself, becomes an outer struggle that we project upon our partner.
This is so important.
We can get caught in blaming our partner for what’s happening in the relationship and we feel like a victim.
“I do so much for my partner, and I don’t feel like I get what I deserve, ” one of you might say.
When we ignore parts of ourselves, our relationship keeps ‘pushing our buttons’ and forces us to examine those parts of ourselves that we would rather not look at.
When facing a struggle, couples have a choice. They can insist that their fearful imaginings of each other are a reality, which can become a barrier between them. Or, they can bring awareness to their reactions to one another and use them as signposts to guide them to parts of themselves that they need to integrate within themselves.
During couples therapy, both of you can use your conflicts to relate to and heal old needs and fears in new ways, and decide to develop a stronger, more passionate connection.
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