Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

Good and Bad News on Relationships


Contributor
Love

There’s bad news, more bad news, and
eventually some good news, and then more good news when it comes to men and
women in relationships. 

The first piece of bad news is that Jonathan
Gray was right:  men and women truly are
different species.  Men really are from
Mars, as embodied by the Roman God of war. 
Women really are from Venus, as embodied by the Roman Goddess of
love.  We genuinely see the world from
two wildly different perspectives.  As
you might imagine, this can make it quite challenging to have a conversation,
never mind co-exist in a long term relationship.  As bad as this news is, it’s not really new
news, and most of you have already figured this out.

The second piece of bad news is that when it
comes to long term relationships, men really do marry their mothers and women
marry their fathers.  We are inexorably
drawn to the person who is the most capable of bringing out our deepest
childhood wounds so that we can have the opportunity to heal those wounds.  Of course, we rarely thank our partner for
this opportunity, but if we do take it, powerful healing can result. 

I see this repeatedly with my clients and
have experienced it in my own relationship. 
Our romantic partners are mirrors for where we do not fully love
ourselves.  We will attract, repeatedly
and assuredly, partners who bring up our original childhood wounds of
abandonment, unworthiness, and all of the myriad ways we split from our
authentic selves in childhood.  Most of
our parents, and most of us as parents, are not capable of giving deeply
unconditional love.  It makes sense;
people who didn’t receive unconditional love as children won’t naturally know
how to give it to their own children.  It
is a learnable skill, but it takes a lot of work. 

To heal these childhood wounds, you have to
change the pronoun.  Instead of saying,
“my partner doesn’t respect me,” ask how you don’t respect yourself.  Instead of saying, “my husband never pays any
attention to me,” ask yourself when was the last time you paid attention to
what your body is trying to tell you.  You
have to be willing to look at your story, own your part of it, and truly want
to change.  Many people prefer to stay in
victim or martyr mode rather than do the work necessary to take responsibility
for their lives.  That’s fine, as long as
you’re willing to own it.  If it’s easier
for you to remain a victim, that is your prerogative.  Nobody can make you change without your
consent, just as nobody can make you feel bad about yourself without your
consent.  You get to decide which you
choose.  That’s the good news.

The other good news is that despite coming
from different planets, and despite being magnetically drawn to the person who
will peel off the scab covering our deepest childhood wounds, it is definitely
possible to have an amazing, loving, conscious long term romantic
relationship.  The only caveat is that
you both have to be willing to do your inner work.  If only one of you is willing, then the
relationship is unlikely to make it through the intense personal transformation
that will occur for the partner doing the work. 
When the triggers of the childhood wounds no longer exist, the
relationship either naturally ends or the couple works together to forge new
bonds from their new emotional grounds.

It’s a long journey back to the innocence
and unconditional love that is our innate nature.  You need a trusted guide, someone who’s been
there already themselves and who has led others back to the home in their
hearts.  It’s a beautiful but intense
journey, like that of a caterpillar turning to a butterfly.  You will emerge a changed person, with your
essence shining through.  The chrysalis
that surrounds your heart, protecting it from being wounded, peels away and
reveals the beauty that was always there, longing to fly.

Author
Contributor

Explore YourTango