A very important element in a successful Relationship
“Tell me about how a relationship should be!” Said Suha, a teenager who has endured many hardships because of her dysfunctional family and approached me for some coaching. We have been working together for a few months now. During one of our sessions her free spirited curiosity kicked in and asked about this very important topic.
“Am I seeking love in the wrong places?” she said.
“You are seeking a relationship to fulfill your need of love but you end up in the wrong places!” I answered.
“Every time I meet someone and I feel he’s special, turns out to be my imagination. I’m in an imaginary fairytale world in my mind and he ends up to be in a totally different world. I want to love and feel loved so much that anyone I meet is a potential “love of my life” dream come true.”
“Have you ever asked yourself Why? Why do I need love so much that I’m seeking it from everyone and every where?”
“I did, but I always said to myself it is my nature, I’m a very romantic person.”
“Don’t confuse being a romantic person with needing love,” I said. “Romance are actions taken to fulfill the need, but the source of that need is where we must search for the why.”
“The source! Isn’t it natural for everyone to seek love?” she asked.
“Yes, it is a natural instinct in all of us, but its drive to be fulfilled differs from one person to another according to their environment and the reasons why one person’s actions is driven to fulfill that need while another person fulfills it in a subtle way while strives to fulfill another need, like safety, and his or her actions are driven to feel safe all the time.”
Suha took a deep breath and looked straight into my eyes and said softly: “I crave love in a relationship and I keep messing up my relationships.”
“A relationship is a bond, which holds two or more people together at different levels. When you are seeking love, then all your relationships will be focused on gaining and giving love, which in itself is a beautiful thing. The problems arise when the other person is not at the same vibration of love fulfillment. Each one of us need to fill our tanks of love in different ways. It’s so important to understand how you want to fill your tank and not expect the other person wants to fill his tank the same way.” I explained. “From what you’ve told me, Suha, your need to fill your love tank is by being in constant connection, either in person or on the phone, and receiving certainty from the other person by being in proximity to you and giving you all emotional support you need. On the other hand, the other person wants to fulfill his tank by working all day and night to make certain that his bills are paid and he gets the promotion he dreams about.”
“If we have different aspirations to fill different tanks, then how can we build a healthy relationship?” Suha asked with raised eyebrows and a confused expression on her face.
“The most important thing in the beginning of a relationship is to understand what is the other person searching for in order to feel alive and fulfilled,” I said, “the next step is how you are clear about your needs and how you like them to be fulfilled. This is a stepping stone in any relationship. When it starts on the right foot, you can expect either this relationship will continue or it will end before any commitments or heartaches.”
“I can’t tell him how I want ‘him’ to fulfill my need for love!” Suha exclaimed.
“Why can’t you tell him?” I asked and she could see my squinting eyes examining what’s behind her words.
“Never did I hear anyone in my family say anything about how they want to be loved!” she said with high tone.
“Ok, so you never heard anyone in your family say anything about how they want to be loved, right?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said sitting up in her chair.
“Can you clarify something for me, please?”
“Sure, what is it?”
“Could you tell me why did your mother suffer from depression, as you have told me before? Why did your dad talk to your mom with a harsh voice and would leave her crying for hours? Why was your dad angry most of the time?” Questions kept pouring out my mouth one after another recalling many of the facts Suha discussed with me in previous session about her family’s dynamics.
“I don’t know!” She exclaimed.
“Because neither your mom or dad learned how to express their needs in ways the other would understand and appreciate,” I said, “if they were taught how to express their needs and their feelings from the beginning of their childhood, they would have had a better chance of a happier life. Their relationship was damaged through the years by falling into a default pattern that was engrained in them by the culture they were raised in, and that’s where you’ve learned it as a child.”
“Next time we meet, we will practice together in role play setting how you can express your feelings and your needs without fear or anticipation of a backlash.” I ended our meeting with this note to give Suha a few days to think and contemplate about one very important element in a successful relationship.
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