Many of the people I work with come to see me because of challenges they are having in their intimate partner relationships.
I have discovered from my own experience and others that most of us have grown-up believing in the myth of what the purpose of intimate partner relationships is about. For many of us, we believe that intimate partner relationships, especially marriage, are about finding a soulmate to live happily ever after with. This means that you are supposed to find a relationship (and ideally marry) someone who you are perfectly in sync with - therefore, the two of you never argue (or if you do argue, you make-up shortly thereafter, followed by a session of passionate love-making); you always meet each other’s needs because you are able to read each other’s minds to know what the other partner’s needs are; and, you can easily talk with one another sharing your intimate stories and feelings for hours. To put it simply, you just get each other – like two halves of a whole.
If this in any way resonates with you, then I hope this post adds some value.
The above was the picture and expectation I had, which seems a bit bizarre since I am a child of divorce. Nonetheless, I was naively in search of this. Surprisingly, none of my intimate partner relationships seemed to match-up to this dream. One relationship after the other was a disappointment. None of the guys I met or dated seemed to be sweeping me off my feet or perfectly in sync with me. Most of them had no idea what I was thinking or what I really needed or wanted. And while there may have been some laughing in the beginning - by the end there was mostly yelling or silence.
Even when I met my now husband, from the beginning it was pretty clear he wasn't “perfect” and we were usually not in sync. For instance, he seemed to have no interest in spending hours sharing stories or discussing our feelings and we definitely argued, and even yelled, which more often than not didn’t end in us making passionate love. So, if we weren’t two halves of a whole, what the heck was the point of this relationship?
What I have come to learn and understand is that intimate partner relationships have very little to do with living happily ever after and more to do with assisting us with growing and healing.
While it is certainly important to do our work on our own separate from others, the truth is most of our growth happens in relationships. It is very difficult to be at peace with yourself, when you feel you are completely invisible to your partner and they have no idea who you are or what you need. This is where the purpose of intimate partner relationships comes in - this person is giving you an opportunity to reflect on who you are and what this experience is really all about for you. Your partner has now given you a chance to learn what your triggers are and all the ways you feel you have been unseen, unsupported and ignored throughout your life. An opportunity to reflect on why you think another person should and can meet your needs, and whether or not this is a need you have to meet for yourself.
Most of our wounds and brokenness stem from our unmet needs in childhood. And the reality is we pick people, partners and circumstances that will give us the opportunity to heal those wounded parts. So, when you find yourself being triggered by the person you are in an intimate relationship with, step back and ask yourself the following:
· What am I feeling?
· Why am I feeling this?
· When was the first time I felt like this?
· Who was the first person who made me feel like this?
· What am I trying to get from my partner?
· Is there a way I can meet this need for myself?
· What would be the most kind and loving thing I could do for myself in this situation?
· What would I tell my best friend if this was happening to her/him?
By asking yourself these questions you are deepening the experience and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what your truth is. It can help change your perspective and reaction to the situation, and even change the outcome. You may realize that it actually has nothing to do with your partner and you no longer have that need from her/him. Or, that you have chosen a person who is incapable of meeting that need and you may have to make some different choices.
I would love to hear from you about what your myth was or still is about intimate partner relationships. Please share your wisdom in the comment section below.
My passion is to help people discover their truth, so if you’re curious about how I can help you on that journey, please reach out and send me a message to book a free 30-minute consult.
Looking forward to connecting!