What happened… We started so well. We were having so much fun. Nothing could be easier than being with you!
Then one day something changed… Can’t always put your finger on it. Can’t say exactly but little by little it happened. We started fighting more frequently. You became annoying. You didn’t clean up. You left the towels on the floor. You didn’t bother to put your dirty clothes in the wash basket. You stopped asking me how I was. You got annoyed by any question I asked you. It was never the right time to talk. You were always tired. You never initiated sex. You never want to have sex with me anymore. You spent more and more time at work, on the phone or on your computer. I couldn’t do anything right. I was spending too much money. I didn’t bother dressing up anymore. I didn’t cook anymore. You didn’t find me attractive anymore. You never wanted to show me any affection. I felt like I was giving and giving and you never gave me anything back. I felt alone.
Relationships are complicated. It seems like it should be easy. It seems like it should be instinctual. Just like how relationships are initially formed. Easy, fun and carefree. Love is always easy at the start.
Relationships are a skill that nobody taught us.
When you are in the thick of it, it is hard sometimes to pinpoint a time or event. Sometimes it is a clear event. Like an affair but even then an affair is not straight forward as it may seem. However, for most it is an accumulation of little things. The looks, the remarks, the snaps, the silence, the secrets, the sulks, the insults, the tempers and the nothingness.
What we are not taught in most of our families or in our formal education is how to know a person really well. Let alone how to care for a person really well. Not all of received the care we deserved as little ones. We survived to become adults and we generally think we can do things for ourselves now. We are independant. We have a job, earn money and can pay the bills so we no longer need or are needy as in our childhood or youth. It is reasonable to think this way because it is right. Physically we can live and survive on our own. However, most of us crave to be in a relationship with someone. Most of us don’t want to live the rest of our lives alone. Yet most of us do not want to be considered as needy. This point gets a bit blurred because we want to find someone special to share memories, fondness, affection, intimacy and to just be with, we want connection. When we do find it, we are ecstatic because we found the ONE! And at last our blissful life has begun. And we dream. We have our internal dreams, the dreams we share with our friends and sometimes with our family about our new partner and dreams we share with our new partner.
Then at some point you start to notice things. You have your first argument. It blows over and you are back to bliss. Then somewhere the arguments get more intense, more frequent and you start wondering who is this person. They don’t seem to care or listen anymore. And on it goes and doubts start emerge. This is such an important point in a relationship. This can happen at three months or in twenty years. This is a point where usually couples start thinking about maybe it is easier to be solo or to meet someone new because this isn’t working anymore. The fighting is more than the loving. What do you do?
What happens is because the skill and knowledge of relationships are not taught nor are they necessarily handed down, couples may miss certain steps in forming their relationship. One of these steps is getting to know your partners internal world. It is common that couples will share their past with their new partner right at the start. This is vital information that needs care and attention. Unfortunately, many a times this information is viciously thrown back to their partner in an argument. This is not helpful. Instead this is vital information that can help heal wounds that have not been healed. For some people this is a sticking point and they will call out their partner as having ‘baggage,’ or they will give their partner an ultimatum to seek individual help otherwise they will no longer continue with the relationship.
Relationships are complex and for now I’m going to follow this line of of when one person in the relationship says, ‘Go and get therapy because you need help.’ Let me break this down.
- There is a power difference. ‘I’m alright but you’re not.’ It might not be said explicitly and it might even be said in a caring manner. However, how different would it be if you said to your partner, ‘We need help,’ instead of, ‘You need help.’
- You are in a relationship together. You are in it together to help each other and to learn together.
- When you learn about each other and how to care for each other you can grow closer and have better connection.
- Seeing a relationship therapist together helps when you can’t see through or make sense of what is happening.
- A professional relationship therapist can help you understand, heal and get back to working towards your dreams together.
- Relationships are a skill and when you know more about relationships you can help your partner sing when they have forgotten because life is unpredictable and love is about emotional care and support with your partner.
What we deeply desire from our partner is an upgrade from our initially caregivers who didn’t know better or may have deeply hurt us when we were at our most vulnerable. As adults what we do have is a voice and an ability to ask for what we want, what we don’t want, to speak our fears, and to dream our dreams. We can choose to negotiate our own terms with our partner. We also have a new caregiver. Yes, you read that right, caregiver. As a child we were relient on certain caregivers like our parents to feed, shelter and give us emotional support. As adults we still need all the same things. While it is possible to live physically solo our social brain will inevitably seek another attachment. Emotionally most of us deeply crave connection. Here is where it gets tricky because our adult self in a western culture says one thing yet our deepest desires says something else. We are in a world of self sufficiency and instant gratification.
How can we have the deep connection that we crave with another while being stoically self sufficient? How can we feel safe with another when the threat of departure is looming constantly? Western culture has easily adapted to a throw away society. We buy cheaply and throw away when it no longer works and buy a new one. Is this paralleled in our relationships? If so how can we feel safe to ever be our true self?
“To love someone is to learn the song in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.” This is a beautiful quote by Norwegian writer, Arne Garborg.
How do you bring back the love? ANSWER – Learn the heart song of your partner!
Relationships are not haphazard nor are they instantaneous. Relationships are not two people co-existing independently. Relationships are not throw away commodities.
Relationships are with real people with real feelings and needs. They take time, care and attention. Relationships need more than a superficial curiosity, they need deep understanding and listening. They need to have the desire to see and hear the potential and sweet internal beauty of your partner especially when times are tough. The heart song of your partner may not be one song, it may be many. It may be knowing your partner so well that you know what they need or that you are caring enough that your partner can ask for what they need. In a professional therapeutic relationship we call this attunement. In a couples relationship we call this LOVE!
Bring back the love – a 3 day Relationship Intensive.
If you are interested in bringing back the love to your relationship and want to spend 3 days in beautiful Noosa, Queensland, fill out the form below.
There are many accommodation options in Noosa, from Resorts to luxury Airbnbs. Maria Hull Noosa Counselling practice is located at one of Noosa’s famous beaches, Sunrise Beach.