Are you scared to be happy?
See if this sounds familiar: You and your new partner are coasting along in your relationship, blissful that you've finally found "The One."
You really get each other, and you can finish each other's sentences. Nothing ever felt this easy and comfortable before in previous relationships, and so you're excitedly making plans for the future together.
Then, BAM! A big conflict arises out of nowhere that shakes you to your core and brings the relationship from cloud nine down to rocky terrain.
Or, how about this one: You two finally go out on a "date night." No kids, no distractions, no chores. You're holding hands and feeling more connected than you have in weeks. Until, someone starts a fight and then suddenly ruins your date night.
What's going on here? Are you two just not suited for each other? Will you ever be happy?
Although it might feel like there's something wrong with your relationship, something else is at play, and the truth will surprise you.
The reason everything has suddenly gone from happy and so-in-love, to miserable and doubting your connection, has nothing to do with the quality of your relationship.
It has to do with something else entirely, and it's a problem that affects almost all of us.
Too Scared to Let It Be True
"It's too good to be true."
"Don't count your chickens before they hatch."
"Don't get your hopes up."
You've probably heard these expressions all your life. They're meant to temper the excitement you feel about something, the connotation being that joy can be taken away from you at any minute.
As children, our parents or caregivers told us this in an attempt to protect us, but it also comes from their own fears of losing it all. This is especially true in families that have gone through financial hardship or other trying circumstances—their existence and happiness depended on not asking for too much, because they weren't going to get it.
As adults, we transfer those same feelings to our romantic relationships. Deep down, we worry that we're asking for too much, or that we're not entitled to so much happiness. We're afraid it can all be taken away from us any moment.
This fear is happening under the surface, and it's constant—like a watchdog. We're on the lookout for anything that could possibly destroy our good feelings.
When we're "too" happy in a relationship, our past conditioning kicks in, and we worry that this happiness is just too good to be true.
And so what do we do? We erect unconscious barriers, just like a protective fence.
And these unconscious barriers, meant to protect us from losing "too much," also prevent us from experiencing the full potential of love.
Your Happiness Barometer And How It Keeps You From Enjoying Love
This unconscious barrier is what we call an Upper Limit—because in trying to protect ourselves from possible loss, we inadvertently set a "threshold," or limit for how much good feeling we can tolerate.
As soon as we start experiencing "too much" joy in our lives and in our relationships, it's like the barrier sounds an alarm:
"Alert! We're getting a little too happy here. What if it's all snatched away? Better bring things down a notch."
And how do we bring things down?
You guessed it. We start a fight. Or our partner does.
Here's how this works:
Both of you are coming to the party with your own sets of fears and individual Upper Limits, and this creates a dynamic between the two of you where you're each trying to quiet your fear of possible loss.
This dynamic sets the wheels rolling on a conflict—any conflict—that will bring those happy feelings down to a more comfortable and less risky territory.
It's completely counter-intuitive, but it's what happens unless you understand what's really going on beneath the surface.
Enjoying Limitless Love Together
When you understand how Upper Limits work, you can end the fruitless cycle of fighting and instead experience greater love than either of you have ever known.
You'll be able to increase the flow of good feelings between you and your partner, helping you maintain the heights of positivity you occasionally experience while helping you reach for even more love, more connection, and more closeness.
Fights will diminish or dissolve altogether, and you won't be waiting for "the other shoe to drop."
A relationship overflowing with joy, laughter, and connection is not too good to be true. We've made it happen in our own marriage, seen it happen for countless couples, and we know it's possible for you, too.
Katie and Gay's free relationship e-newsletter, Hearts In Harmony, explores the challenges and glories of lasting love. Based on the tools they've developed throughout their 30+ year marriage and taught to thousands, you'll learn powerful insights and practical techniques you can start using today—whether you're in a relationship or eager to attract one.