What does it take to create the relationship you really want?
No matter how we go about it, we don't seem to select our partners rationally. We might have a list of all the things we're looking for, but it's often the feeling of 'chemistry' that overpowers any rational intent we have. We're open to creating a relationship, and before we know it — when we're ready — we find ourselves in a relationship.
And then beyond the power of our initial attraction, issues inevitably surface, and our personalities take over the interaction.
Yes — I am making a distinction here. You are not your personality.
How you show up in life, and especially in intimate relationships, has a lot to do with everything you have learned in your life to create security, to make the world understandable, and to manage interactions with other people. These behaviors, mechanisms, interpretations, and stories keep you safe and (hopefully) generally guide you to get what you want.
And this 'survival mechanism' is damn good at its job. It's got you to where you are in your life today, right now. It's probably telling you a lot about what these words mean and is relating them to your own past experience and the feelings that are associated with them. It is the lens through which you see the world — it filters your stories, your feelings, your experiences.
So what happens when 'personalities' — these 'survival mechanisms' meet?
In the initial stages of relationships, the intensity can, temporarily at least, throw the personality off, and make available a direct experience of the other. For a while, fear — which drives your survival mechanism — is put to one side. The intense 'rush' is worth it. When you fall in love — fear seems to take a hike.
And then the personality re-establishes itself and the protective suits of 'survival' armour we wear start to interact and bump into each other. With good will, these 'bumps' can be negotiated with compromises or agreements — tools that couples use to ensure that their suits of armour can remain largely intact, and by and large, glide smoothly past each other. It's healthy stage of relationship, but it's not all that's available.
And of course it's possible that over time, the clashes between the suits of armour become too painful, thickening them until the connection that was at the core of the relationship is unavailable, and the relationship breaks.
There is another way that things can go, and I think that everyone has the intuition that something more is possible beyond relating and 'negotiating' between personalities. What if the suit of armour could be taken off? What kind of relationship would be possible? Imagine how it would be for you to feel like when you first 'fell in love' in the later stages of your relationship.
Beneath the personality there is a richness of being that is way beyond the personality. It is there and it is available.
Here is the catch: there is work to do, and it is all about you.
You cannot take off another person's suit of armour. The journey is one of unilateral disarmament. It is a journey a couple can make together, or you can make alone. From your undefended 'essence,' not only is your experience of life richer, but your experience of your partner and your relationships can go deeper than you imagined possible. The survival mechanism, while sometimes useful, does not have to run the show.
The reward of taking this journey is to experience life and relationships more intimately, deeply, with a richer and more satisfying connection than you could have imagined possible.
It is the journey of a lifetime.
It changes everything.
And it is yours if you are willing.
More Dating Advice from YourTango:
- 10 Dating Tips I Wish I'd Followed While I Was Single
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