All we really want from the one we love is to know that we matter, and we are special to our partner. It is a very specific feeling that we must receive from the person we love. Because we love them so much, we must feel they love us just as much. And we feel it so fiercely when we don’t get it.
And when that happens we end up feeling as if our mates just don’t care enough. I saw this recently in a client. She was hoping to see her beloved for a special day but the partner had other things to do. On any other day, this might have been OK, but not on this day.
One of the most common difficulties I witness when I meet a couple is that one of the partners can’t show his emotions. And maybe that’s because in our culture men are encouraged to “tough it out” so many are not used to even knowing they are feeling something in the first place.
This works of course, especially when there is business or other financial or important dealings. Not feeling or knowing what you feel has its place. But when it comes to relationships this system can be a problem.
I was walking the neighborhood recently with a friend and we passed by a car parked on the street. The windows were down so I could hear a young couple sitting in the front facing each other and having a discussion.
I heard a few words from the man. He was explaining something to the young woman about how his feelings were hurt. I could feel his earnestness, even after just a couple of moments. I also could tell that he was trying really hard to get her to understand him.
When we love someone and we get our feelings hurt, all of us do something about it. We cope with it differently. Some of us yell at our person to make things better. Some of us leave the situation when we feel hurt. And others freeze up and remain silent waiting for everything to pass.
I often talk about the first two, yelling at our partners or leaving after an argument, but I seldom give any thought to what silence from a mate can do to a relationship. But after working with a couple recently it’s clear that silence, however well-meaning, can have a detrimental effect on how people feel.
People in relationships want to be happy and peaceful. Couples all over the world share that wish. So why are relationships so fraught with difficulty and confusion? This is common too, and it’s something we can all do something about.
Unfortunately, most couples have one track for solving their problems—and it usually doesn’t work. Here’s why.
Being unhappy in a relationship is pretty common. Having an affair because of that unhappiness is also pretty common. When people feel lonely they will do almost anything to relieve the loneliness, including starting a relationship with another person.
I have counselled several couples where one of the mates turned to another to relieve whatever they were feeling. Usually they think they will never be caught by the other, but it often happens that the other already knows.
All relationships include someone being disappointed at some time. There is no escaping this feeling. This happens because you and your partner are different. You may want to do something that you like and your partner will say NO.
This leads to disappointment. I have experienced this feeling so many times I could not count them. And I have had to understand some of the things about this interaction to not take the experience personally.
I was talking to a friend recently and she was telling me about something nice that happened to her. She gave one of her teachers a gift and in return she received a plate of homemade cookies. As she was telling me this story I felt this warm feeling spread across my chest. And I knew instantly it was the feeling of love. My friend felt love for her teacher and he wanted to reciprocate.
Earlier today my little old dog was sleeping next to me on the chair and she put her paw on my leg. Again I felt that spreading warmth wash across my chest and I knew instantly that I was experiencing a feeling of love.
Do you have a list of things your partner does that makes you a little crazy? I know I do.
When I asked my husband about my quirks he pointed out a few too. So, you see, it’s pretty common for each of us in a relationship to like things the way we like them. And if you live with another person who didn’t grow up in your family to learn how to do things your way, they will probably do things very, very differently. And sometimes that can be annoying.