A vital relationship key
Me and You (and a dog named Boo)…
Managing conflicting needs and desires is without a doubt one of the most challenging areas of relationship. It can often feel like a fight to the death, or at last the death of the relationship. However with the right understanding and skills, the ‘me and you’ in relationship can also offer some of the greatest joys.
Connection & Self in relationship don’t need to be mutually exclusive.
They can be instead a dance of deepening connection between the two.
It seems obvious, but it is so easy to lose sight of.
When we first get together our focus is on the romantic ideal of getting closer and closer to each other, to the happy ever after, to never being alone again. Our desire to merge with another is an innate powerful and primal drive for physical, emotional and even spiritual wellbeing.
Initially we can be happy to give up everything for the sake of our relationship. We drop friends, other commitments and interests because it seems like the relationship offers us everything we need. Over time this singular focus on closeness begins to feel like boredom or claustrophobia. We start to resent what we’re giving up, or the intimacy we experience no longer feels like it is ‘enough’. This sense of unsatisfying ‘aloneness’ whilst in a relationship is one of the most painful feelings we can experience.
Resentment and Frustration can be a healthy sign.
If any of this is happening for you, it’s not that anything is necessarily wrong with your relationship. It’s simply that your individual sense of Self is seeking to re assert itself and this is a healthy sign. Maintaining our authentic sense of Self, often the first thing we give up in the romantic stage of relationship, is a vital key to keeping ourselves flourishing and the sexual flame burning for the long run.
The games people play
When we understand and take ownership of this dance of intimacy, relationship becomes easier and richer, we can dive deeply yet we’re less at the whim of our partner. For in the dance of intimacy we subtly change our behaviours in order to get either our partner’s approval, or our own needs met. For example by doing too much, being nice instead of real, making promises we can’t keep in order to get laid or ‘keeping busy’ to avoid uncomfortable intimacy. These are just a few of the many, many games we play in intimacy, it’s normal and we all do it in one way or another.
We can also adopt unconscious roles in relationship that deny our authentic selves – roles such as the caretaker, the provider, Mother, Father, Child, rebel, good girl etc. These roles eventually stop working for us and we start yearning for something new.
What are some of the ways that you are behaving currently that might be at the expense of your authentic self?
Layer 1: Our own needs and desires
Initially we can get away with these behaviours as they help us get our immediate needs for love and approval met. But over time our forgotten Self begins to get resentful and pushes back. This is a challenging time in relationship due to the level of vulnerability it creates.
The real danger at this point doesn’t come from the situation itself. It comes only from blaming our partner ie. getting angry when ‘Mummy or Daddy’ isn’t there for us, or our relationship for not giving us what we want. By covertly looking outside of our relationship for our answers ie. focussing on the children for intimacy, having an affair or going online for sex.
The answer is looking within
If we can instead look inside of ourselves, see what is lacking for us and do something about it from within the relationship where it is openly acknowledged, the relationship will flourish. How can I meet my own need or desire here? How can I be the adult rather than the child? Can I learn adult to adult intimacy, or sexual relating skills rather than looking elsewhere to get my needs met?
Layer 2: Our partners needs and desires
Another dance of intimacy is when our partner’s needs and desires challenge and bring fear or resistance in us. Rather than squashing our partner to protect ourselves it is more helpful to see that the challenge actually lies within us, as a marker to something that is incomplete in ourselves asking to be explored.
Layer 3: The deepest layer
Beyond this there is a part of us that our partner, no matter how loved and loving, can never fill in us. This is the part of us that is about being in our Essence. This is being the love that lives within us, a place where we can feel like we’re ‘home’, no matter what. Once we get this the dance of intimacy comes with greater ease, the more intimately connected we are with ourselves the more ease we have with each other and ourselves.
Independence and authenticity create desire
Being connected to ourselves is also how we remain sexually desirable to our partners as sexual attraction relies strongly on a sense of otherness and separateness in building the desire to reconnect. Sharing our uniqueness with our partner does the same.
A pathway of growth
Intimate relationship is the best personal development course we can ever do as it challenges us to look where we otherwise might not as we:
- Learn to be ourselves whilst being with another
- Learn to answer our own needs and desires rather than relying on our partner
- See we’re still ok where our partners are different from us
- See our differences as growth points
- Learn to show up fully in ourselves when challenged
- Learn to enjoy moments of being ‘at one’ with each other
- Also be able to be totally separate yet still feel connected.
The most important thing about this dance is to recognize it is happening, not to make it wrong and seek to understand it instead.
To see where we create our reality by what we choose.
This is where relationships stop dying and start to grow new life.