Many of us seek love from another person. That kind of explains why we couple. We look for the right kind of mate so we can feel good about ourselves. This is very human. But the more I learn about myself and other people, the more I understand that when we are fully ourselves, and only ourselves, that is when we can feel love.
Let me explain. When we find our partners we feel complete in some way, as if we have been missing something and after finding them we now feel whole. But if we always need to feel this feeling with our person, when we don’t feel it, we might start to feel less than—like we lost something important.
To love is to misunderstand. No matter how much we love our partners, we still won’t always understand them. In fact, most people in relationships spend lots of time trying to understand each other. And there are reasons for that.
When we couple, we are often completely taken with the person who is right for us. They give us a feeling of knowing each other in a way that is so inviting. It might even feel as if we have finally come home.
This is the most beautiful feeling ever. But after a while we start to see that our perfect mate does not understand us as much as we thought. Then the challenges begin. We might even get mad at our mate because they don’t get us the way we thought they did.
Communicating feelings in a relationship can be hard. Clients sometimes ask, “I tell him how I feel! Why doesn’t it work?” Let’s look at some differences in how we communicate and the best way we can reach each other.
Some of us are very good at speaking what is happening to us when our feelings get hurt. I know I grew up that way, always saying what I needed to say and hoping someone would listen and help.
This is probably a lifelong habit that many of us are very used to. But some of us in this world are not talkers. Maybe you are partnered with one. I am. He is great at a lot of things, but he doesn’t need to talk about what is happening to his insides. I do.
Sometimes in relationships there is a mixture of two people who respond in opposite directions when there is a problem. Some of us try and fix the problem or point it out and want to talk about it right away. Others may have a tendency to shut down when there is difficulty.
There is no problem with how we are individually wired. The problems come when we couple because it is very common that, whatever our pattern, we will couple with someone who is the opposite.
And when the person we’re with goes in pulls in or pushes, in the opposite direction we want to go, we often get frustrated, annoyed and angry. It just goes with the territory. So, what can we do about it?
I had an interesting session recently. I had been working with this couple. I felt we had made progress, but the last session I wondered if we had. They were very mad or disappointed or cut off from the each other. But these feelings didn’t prevent them from telling the other what they felt.
It went back and forth and I ended up putting my head in my hands and wondering aloud if I was helping them at all. That’s when one of them got up and said, “It’s not helping, and I am going to leave.”
All of us at one time or another will feel as if we are the only person in our relationship. This is a feeling that many of us have and it is very common. But it doesn’t feel good even though lots of us feel it.
And it can come upon us in a flash. We are just humming along in our relationship and then wham! We are struck with thinking and wondering if our partner even cares for us. We might have had a disagreement and feel all alone and don’t know how to get back to the connection.
All of us in this world have basic kindness, compassion and insight. These are human traits that we all have inside of us. Sometimes, though, when there is a fight between partners, we forget our goodness and make our mates the enemies or tell ourselves we are at fault.
This always creates hardship in a relationship between two people. We all couple with the one we love so we can have a good life. We are always drawn to the person who makes us feel alive and at home in a good way.
Sometimes in relationships one person is the boss and the other person kind of just follows what the boss wants and says. This can work, and in some cases it can work very well.
But sometimes some of us bristle at being told what to do by the boss. I had this experience recently, not from my mate but from a friend.
All of us expect things to go right in our lives. This is definitely the way humans are wired. We play out our expectations almost minute by minute. We select the food we want to eat and expect it to taste the way we remember. If it doesn’t then we might get upset or disappointed.
Well, we play out this system of expecting things in our relationships too. We simply expect to be happy with the person we love. Isn’t that the way the fairy tail ends? Living happily ever after? Only real life is not a fairy tale, and what we expect is not always what we get.
All of us get mad at our mates. Most couples wonder whether it’s normal in relationships. It is. But so many people think that if they fall in love with someone, they will always feel that wonderful feeling and it will never change.
I call this problem the “happy ever after” condition. Somewhere in all of us, there is this idea that when we meet our person, we will be happy forever more.