All of us grow up and believe that when we meet our person we will live eternally happy. This is a wonderful fantasy. But that is not the reality of most couples.
If you are in a relationship then you know that your relationship started out so great and then became a little more difficult. And that is the story of most relationships. Only we don’t think about this part when we fall in love.
Some of us blame our partners when things do not go right. Some of us even blame ourselves when things are not great. If you blame yourself, this article is for you.
When we live with another and in a close relationship it is very common to think we know exactly what our partner is thinking or what they are about to do. This just happens in many relationships. Sometimes we are absolutely right. But sometimes we are not.
And that is the point of this article. Often we can see that our mate should just do such and such, especially when we are having a disagreement. If they only said or did this then everything would be better.
When I work with couples, I sometimes hear how one partner wishes the other could show more compassion. The person asking for this is often unhappy because they are expecting something from the other person and they are not getting what they want.
Compassion in relationships is essential. Compassion is true understanding of another person’s pain and hurts. And compassion is what leads to healing for all of us.
But how do we learn compassion? If you were cared for tenderly as a child and as a young adult you might have an idea of what it feels like. But even after we have experienced feeling compassion, are we able to give it?
Criticism in relationships is incredibly common. Wonder why? All of us in a relationship like things the way we like them. Including how our partners act. We like them not to embarrass us and we like them to talk to us pleasantly. As humans we prefer things that please us. This is entirely normal.
But as someone who is sensitive to criticism, I know how terrible it feels when someone points out what you do not do well. It hurts some of us to our core. We can’t help it, that’s just the way some of us are wired.
I was talking to a potential client for couples counseling when she asked me if I would be giving her a prescription to follow in order to get better.
I was stunned for a moment and I think in all my years of counseling I have never been asked this. But I do know there is absolutely no way to understand a couple without meeting them, and I don’t have any idea what would be helpful for them, because there is no one size fits all plan for couples.
I read an expression recently. It said, “We fall in love with our heart, we fall out of love with our head.” When I think about this I know it makes a lot of sense.
I have this friend who is sad that her marriage is ending. She still loves her mate, and she is feeling what her love is creating from her heart. She thinks about the good things that they shared, before things got bad and drove them to divorce.
Many of us get mad when our feelings get hurt. This is a very common human feature. A lot of us are wired to express our pain by getting upset, and that’s what we do.
But when we are in a relationship, the anger and the upset can be a problem for our mate. They might take it personally or they might try and fix us, but whatever they try to do to help us usually doesn’t work.
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.