Your Romantic Relationship: A Bliss or a Blah?
When asked, “What are the 3 most important elements of life?” most people name love as one of them, maybe the first and most important. Love has many shades: love of self, love of fellow humans, love of nature, love of family, and the one that can be most most challenging and possibly most sublime, romantic love. Love gives our life deep meaning and exuberant joy. This article will address love between romantic partners. As I said before, this area of love is the most challenging.
When you open your heart to a romantic partner, consciously or unconsciously, all your unanswered needs from your childhood come rushing in and with them, the expectations, the unconscious longing, and images of perfect “love”. This is when the trouble starts. Your partner, no matter how loving, cannot and will not fulfill all your unattended needs and unresolved wounds. Our illusion is that there is that one person who can make it all feel better. They are going to give us everything that we did not get from our parents. Their love will heal all wounds and repair our sense of self.
So…when that person arrives at the door of our life, we pour on them all these unconscious expectations. Imagine two people, pouring on each other a ton of expectations at the same time. Not a romantic sight. Needless to say, both people get overwhelmed and the unavoidable disappointment is bound to happen.
This is what I hear in my practice,
“He never listens to me.”
“She is very needy and suffocating.”
“He does not share. I never know what he really thinks.”
“She is controlling and manipulative. It’s all about her.”
“He is not available emotionally.”
“She is never into sex, I always have to initiate.”
“He just wants to have sex, but never wants to talk to me before, during, or after.”
So, what is the root cause of our difficulties in a romantic partnership?
Expecting another person to be responsible for our inner well-being. In that case we are unintentionally using them to fix us so that we don’t have to do the work ourselves. I have no judgement about this since I did a lot of this in my 20’s. It is human nature to want to be nurtured and affirmed by others…. but really, after a certain age it doesn’t work.
As children, we need to receive love, compassion, and affirmation. Most of us get only a little bit of that. As much as our parents can give. Then, after a certain age, it’s time to take responsibility for our own well-being and learn to be our own best inner parent.
When we are supporting our needs, feelings, and desires we come to our partner, not as a needy beggar, but as a gracious giver.
Yes, we can and should expect caring and support, but we will not be reactive and vicious when they cannot fulfill all our needs. The idea is that we come to them for extra, since we are there, within ourselves, taking care of us.
If two people take care of themselves, they come to each other to enjoy, share, and get the wonderful extra care. The frustration and disappointment level gets lowered substantially.