Are you fighting for love " and failing?
Vail CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” The following are observations about why so many intimate relationships fail, and why fighting for a love relationship can be so exhausting, depleting and deflating:
– Your typical person has a wall around themselves. They don’t let themselves get too involved, too close or intimate, too dependent, too emotionally available or too vulnerable to someone else. They’re cautious, held back, reserved. They have a major fear of being hurt, so they’re afraid of very much closeness and connection. They feel pretty emotionally beaten up and have all but given up on the dream of loving and being loved. Your typical person, therefore, offers very little to an intimate relationship. They simply don’t try very hard, don’t put in very much effort or give very much of themselves.
– A fairly large number of people don’t treat the search for a new love as a high priority, so they again wind up putting very little effort into the whole process. They don’t give a potential relationship very much of their time or energy. They say they want romance, but don’t typically act romantic very often ” and may not be comfortable receiving very many romantic gestures. They come across insincere or inauthentic, not because they’re dishonest, but rather because they’re uncomfortable with very much closeness.
– In nearly every troubled relationship, there’s a very small “us” place. “Us” refers to the union between two people, the place where we are looking out at the world binocular rather than monocular. If your relationship isn’t doing very well, you would be wise to look at how you could strengthen and deepen the “us” place. There’s a very good chance that there is too much “me” or “you,” and not enough “us.” You treat the “us” place as sacred when you hold your partner in your heart at all times.
– I will feel valued by you if ” and only if ” you are responsive to what I say matters to me. Therefore, if I say something is important to me, make it important to you. If you don’t do this, you are not offering the love I want, but rather the love you feel like giving. If you are responsive to what I say is important to me, I’ll feel lucky to have you.
– You can’t have a relationship with an unconscious person. One way of being unconscious is by me not knowing myself very well, so I will promise things or make agreements or come across in a way that I am ill prepared to sustain over the long haul. I will also be resistant to you knowing me better when I don’t know myself very well. A second way I can be unconscious is by being substance (alcohol, drugs, food, sugar, tobacco, etc.) addicted. You can’t have a successful intimate relationship with a substance abuser, because the substance will take a higher priority and be more important than will the relationship, and substance addicted people are notorious for breaking agreements and destroying trust in their relationships.
A third way of being unconscious is to not have good control over my anger, reactivity, rage, defensiveness, anxiety or fear. Those emotions will rule me, and will therefore rule our relationship.
– In the beginning of a relationship, we tend to minimize or ignore what we don’t like. As the relationship wears on, we reverse this tendency. We focus on what we don’t like, and tend to minimize or ignore all the things we do like.
– A successful relationship requires us to be allies to each other’s wounded place. What are those wounded places? You must find out the answer to this question.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at (303) 758-8777, or e-mail him from his website, heartrelationships.com.