You’ve just finished a hard day’s work, and all you want to do is spend some time connecting with your partner. But they’ve had their own challenging day and are feeling exhausted.
“Can’t you just go to the gym and run off your stress? I’m in the middle of something.”
You find out that your partner has kept a gift that an ex gave them. This strikes a pang of jealousy in to your heart and you can’t explain why.
“Well, I don’t know what to tell you. It doesn’t mean anything, and I’ve never given you any reason to not trust me. So you need to look in to why you’re feeling that way.”
You storm home from work, furious with how one of your co-workers spoke to you as you left the office. You let your partner know that you’re angry, and you want to be left alone.
You slam the door to your bedroom… and they leave you alone.
The Western “Ideal”
In Western culture, independence is encouraged. We are force fed the ideals of “Be all that YOU can be” from a young age.
We are taught that to rely on others is somehow weak. To desire comfort or support from another makes us feel like we are less than ideal.
In all of the above situations, both partners retreat to their careers, and distractions, feeling unloved and disconnected.
This is the trouble with a balanced relationship. When both partners are 50/50 in everything that they do, it is very difficult to support each either when in need. These relationships can suffer from a lack of passion, lack of sexual intimacy, and a serious lack of connection.
The mind set of “your feelings, and actions are solely your responsibility” is timid.
And this version of half-love has no place in your empowered life.
The Other Extreme
I am in no way saying that one partner should have the vast majority of the power or say in a relationship (I call this a parasitic relationship). These are by far worse.
One partner feels that they are never good enough for the other. They feel that they can’t do enough to please the more dominant one. And they feel like they are walking on egg shells all of the time (for fear of being left).
The partner with more control feels like they are settling. They either feel this internally and feel anxiety, or verbalize this (abusively) to keep their partner in check.
And both partners feels unfulfilled, disengaged, and frustrated. An emotional stalemate where no one has the courage to leave.
People with self-esteem, intimacy, and control issues are the most likely candidates for these kinds of relationships.
What She Needs to Be
Your emotional anchor. Nurturing. A decision maker… sometimes.
Imbalance can work better than balance when the couple doesn’t subscribe to the idea that certain tasks are only for men and others only for women. In a brave relationship, there is an alternating 60/40 balance.
You might have had a challenging week of work, and your girlfriend takes the lead by planning a comforting night in.
Or maybe you find out that your girlfriend just had a massive fight with one of her best friends, and so you plan a last minute weekend vacation to take her mind off of it.
When you have this kind of flexibility in your relationship, it keeps you aware of each other’s emotional needs. It keeps you accountable. It makes you show up. It protects you from going into an auto-pilot mode of disinterest.
When you see your relationship through the lens of “what will we make together?” and not “what is it that we should be doing?”, you write your own rules. You check in with yourself (and your partner) to see what actually matters the most to each of you.
Going into a relationship with a list of predetermined assumptions makes about as much sense as traveling through a foreign country for the first time with a down-to-the-minute schedule of what you’ll be doing there. Sure, you can do it… but why would you limit yourself with such rigidity?
Let go of your agenda, and see what naturally emerges between you and your partner.
A Better Way
In order to feel true connection with your partner, you must come in to each relationship (and each moment in your relationships) with a mentally clear slate.
True openness requires you to be seen by your partner. Warts and all.
So… where are you in your relationship?
To your success,