Where is Your Relationship Leading You? (Part 2)
In 2001 I decided to explore what the key indicators were, which determined the direction intimate relationships would take – growth or atrophy. Below are listed some of the influences in most, if not all, intimate relationships.
- Agreement (Covered in Part 1)
- Appreciation (Covered in Part 1)
- Individuality/intimacy balance (I hour creativity per week)
- Emotional transparency
- The sacrifice/indulgence factor
- Accountability; increase of blame, complaints, criticism and judgment
One of the greatest difficulties in intimate relationships has to do with the issue of fusion, the emotional bondage which occurs when the need for importance and belonging becomes an obsession, and the partner is expected to be the one to completely fulfill those needs. If fusion occurs in your relationship, and you are the more emotionally dependent one, much of your behaviour and communication will be adjusted to manipulate your partner into ensuring that she/he will never abandon you physically or emotionally. You will also employ various techniques to get your partner to make you feel special and be sure that she/he does not irritate you, make you anxious, or otherwise cause you discomfort or pain.
If you appear to be the more independent one in the relationship, you may try to please your partner by performing various tasks that will show how much you value him/her, while at the same time proving your own worth and indispensability. You will do this while trying to maintain a certain aloofness and self-reliance. Unbeknownst to the dependent as well as the independent, both partners will ignore their individual preferences for the sake of maintaining their “special relationship”. Fusion generally leads to both parties compulsively falling into predictable patterns of behaviour.
Special relationships start out with expectations, which, when unsatisfied, lead to demands. If the demands are not fulfilled, the partners move on to threats (I’m going to have an affair, I’m going to leave you, you better love me or else…, etc). If the threats don’t work, the last step is the ultimatum. All of these stages are attempts at holding onto the partner, but in order to hold on like that, you must smother your partner’s and your own individuality and mold each other into a safe, predictable, satisfying servant of each other’s needs and insecurities. That is fusion.
People who want to experience true partnership confront their fusion and its tendency to stifle their essential nature. That nature is encouraged to express itself when individual preferences are recognized, appreciated and supported. Although it often happens that one person will experience some fear when the other decides to take a step and follow a preference, the step initiates the dissolving of fusion, bringing more freedom, creativity and passion into the lives of both partners.
Part 3 next week