I was working recently with a couple that loves each other. Each one was trying to hold on to the amazing connection they felt when they were loving with each other. Only when they came in they felt separate, not loving, and stuck in what they always feel stuck in. This is what I call their pattern.
Some people call this system of relating when there is a problem a habit, or a routine. I don’t think it matters how it is labeled, but I do think it matters what it creates for the couple. This system is how two people communicate with each other when their feelings get hurt.
Most of us in relationships get disappointed. Some of us get disappointed a lot. I believe that if we feel let down by someone it’s because they didn’t know what we wanted. But when we are involved with another person it’s easy to just believe that since they know us so well, they will always know what we want.
We usually only notice that things aren’t right when we didn’t get what we wanted. Then we know how to react, we get mad. “How could you have done that?” “Why didn’t you think of me?” These questions are important. They tell the partner they blew it. But sometimes in relationships the partner is left wondering how this situation even happened.
I remember the first date I had with the man who would become my husband. It was many years ago, but I still remember certain things like they happened yesterday. We were a fix-up by one of my friends.
While on the date, when the two of us were sitting at dinner, I listened to him talk about his children. He was separated and had two young ones, ages 6 and 9. I remember hearing about his wonderful parenting skills and how he loved his children. There was no bragging; in fact he was very humble. Even so, he seemed like a really good, loving person, a man I liked being close to.
I felt something different, and it felt important. But being in the dating world, which I had been for a while, I am sure my face revealed nothing about what I felt. I am sure I was just putting on a good face, doing that impressive thing I used to do to get someone to like me.
Making up after you have been in a fight with your mate might be the most important skill you can learn in your relationship. For most of us it would seem like we should already know how to do this, but believe me, as a couples counselor this is one of the hardest things we learn on our relationship journey.
So if you are looking for guidance, here it is. First off, this is not easy. If it were simple we would all know how to do it already. Second, you can learn how. You have learned so many things in your life this is just something else to put in your tool box. Third, everyone can learn it.
All of us who are in a relationship have many things in common. First off, we all probably want it to work. We most likely want to live peacefully with the person we love. Another thing we probably all agree on is that we don’t want to fight. We just want to get along and experience good feelings with each other.
Yes, I believe we can all agree on what we want. Now here’s what we don’t want. We don’t want to get our feelings hurt. We don’t want to get mad at our mate. We don’t want to feel bad about ourselves or work too hard for our partner. I bet we can all agree on what we don’t want too.