I want to let you know about a huge secret.
How to stay fulfilled in long-term relationships.
Relationship counseling where we learn how to increase vulnerability, ask directly for what we need, repair breaks in connection, and how to navigate intense conflict.
The first thing to understand is just about everyone struggles with long-term relationships. Many, many things cause us to shut down, turn away, reject, many things trigger enraging emotion about the other.
This is not exception, it is the rule. In other words expect to encounter problems in intimate long term relationship.
It doesn't matter if is a family relationship, a relationship with a business partner or a good friend, a girlfriend/boyfriend, or if you are married.
Long-term relationships will inevitably bring up conflict, and at times the negative will seem to out-weigh the positive. A lot of people think this is a sign to bail.
You can, or you can use the relationship as an incredible tool for growth.
What the hell is the point of long term-relationships anyway?
How can relationships be worth all the struggle?
Long-term relationships don't always feel good?
Why bother when they are so inherently problematic?
The answer is secure attachment.
Secure attachment = healthy relationships.
“Ok what is secure attachment, and how do I do it?”
One of the markers of secure attachment is you believe your caregiver (aka wife, husband, bf, gf, bestie etc) will truly be there for you in times of struggle. True Support. True kindness and understanding. A true bond.
Secure attachment is a term borrowed from child psychology. The idea here is that the degree to which the baby/child feels secure in it's caregivers ability to calm it down once it is upset, the more it will go away from safety to explore new things and challenge itself - thus developing it's greatest potentials.
The thing is, as adults we still need secure attachments, and most of us don't truly recognize the importance of them.
Secure attachment means your partner more than consistently has your back. No matter what you’re going through.
You can take more risks because your partner knows how to help you regulate your nervous system.
Truth can live in this secure attachment relationship as well. Because there is a commitment to justice, sensitivity, work, and fairness.
So the relationship is safe even in honesty, feedback, and truth telling.
A few things I notice are present in healthy long term relationships:
1). A mutual understanding that long term relationships are difficult and we likely won’t endure and thrive in them unless we make some agreements. I don’t own the truth and neither do you, but more of it likely exists between us. Let’s commit to utilizing the power of the diad, and learning things about being together. This way our relationship doesn’t have to be perfect for us to keep going. There is still richness to be found.
2). A secure base. The implicit, unflinching understanding that I’ve got your back no matter what comes up. I accept all of you, and despite how it may trigger you, you are willing to accept all of me. We’re in. We value being together and want to deepen the journey for a long time even amidst intense feelings of aversion, and other challenges.
3). We’re both here to learn stuff. We have to be willing to listen and hear one another especially when the other is pointing out something painful about ourselves. We trust the other has benevolent intentions and will support us. We yield to humility, vulnerability, and the goodness in the other. We trust.
4). I can ask big things of you over the course of our relationship. It’s my responsibility to communicate my needs despite how much they might trigger you. Despite how inconvenient they might be, despite how much you may not like it, I will speak my needs and I’ll ask you to meet them. I will work with you if you try. If you won’t, or can’t, I will keep trying to ask in a way that helps you. If you still can’t, and we’re stuck, I will begin to meet those needs outside of the relationship. Until this is reconciled we understand will likely not be as close.
5). We will make agreements around conflict and return to them when/if things get really heated. (A few examples) - a) We won’t threaten the relationship when we’re super frustrated (violates rule #2). b) We commit to repairing and disarming during conflict as quickly as possible (we respect and honor our human nervous system). c) We will not blame, instead we will assume individual responsibility when something has gone wrong (this is a big one). d) we will speak respectfully, without a raised voice when disconnected. If we cannot do this we will announce the need for space, and return as quickly as possible once calm.
With the right kind of support and practice, we can learn how to have fulfilling long-term relationships.
Are you ready to shift your paradigm and fix this?
Office or International Skype Sessions available