Maintaining Love

Randi Pic 3

Throughout my life I struggled with relationships. I was a commitment phobe.  I loved beginning new relationships, falling in love, making love, and diving deep into intimacy. However, I could only go so deep until a panic would wash over me and I would escape the relationship. I talked a good game but when real intimacy would peer its head, I would run for the hills.

Life was not satisfying. I was beginning to see that my lack of connection and intimacy with others was only a result of a disconnection from myself. I wanted to learn how to be intimate. I wanted to Know myself.

I decided to change. I started connecting to myself and doing the work to prepare me for the next step; a healthy, deep and loving relationship.

This is a blog of my journey through my relationship with J.  He has agreed to let me write about our relationship to help others deepen their connection and love. I have had semi-long term relationships before, however I took a break to do my own inner work to prepare me for a more conscious way to love. So, needless to say, I’m new at this whole relationship thing and couldn’t be more excited to dive into real lasting intimacy. In this blog I intend to investigate, theorize, philosophize, experiment, respond to your questions, and most of all, practice intimacy while using my own relationship to determine what works and what doesn’t. My hope is that you write to me with questions you have about intimacy, relationship issues, conflict resolution techniques etc. Anything in the realm of relationships I will investigate, so that we learn what works for each of us to maintain our love.

I look forward to sharing my journey and process to continue to maintain a healthy, deep and loving relationship.

Advertisements

Gimme one good reason.

When in a relationship, every moment becomes an opportunity for growth. Today I will write about a recent observation I made about myself with regards to my moods. 

Is it common for us to search for something outside of ourself to have reason to feel upset? 

I’ll restate. How easy is it to feel upset or moody and find something in our partner/lover to blame it on?

A couple of nights ago I witnessed myself looking for something to get pissed off at in J. I made some poor choices throughout the day  that led me to feeling too hungry, too irritable, too rushed, unclear, and ended  up choosing to see a tear jerking movie (with J). Needless to say, I was not in a very good mood. In fact, I started to cry within the first 30 minutes of the movie and didn’t stop until the credits. I was emotionally vulnerable and reactive. 

After the movie, we went for some food. I noticed on our walk that I was searching for something in J to get angry with. I have enough self-reflection that I was able to watch myself, it made me curious to see my mind search and search for something, anything, to explain my upset. The self-reflection didn’t stop me from acting this way immediately, however I could see exactly what I was doing. I was in wonderment about how far I would dig to find something that I could project my moodiness onto. This is dangerous, and I don’t think I’m the only one to do this, but I’ll stick with my own experience for now. I observed that the more I tried to project, the more disconnected from myself and J I became. How far would I go?

I wanted a reason for my upset. 

Instead of just feeling moody, angry or upset due to lack of food and poor planning, I became too uncomfortable to own that state of being. My mind wanted me to move outside the sensations of the feelings and find a reason to blame my sweet tolerant man. I have a feeling that the root of many conflicts in relationships are due to this exact experience. Perhaps we are in constant reactivity to our emotions and states that we automatically need to project it onto our loved ones so that the feeling may have a cause or reason to exist. 

Why is it so difficult to accept that feelings are coming and going- constantly- for numerous reasons? Why do we need to put blame on those we love?

When we begin to see this process and how reactive we are to our various states of being, we begin to see how little we truly desire to take responsibility for ourselves. I watched myself search in J in order to  root my upset. I found nothing. I knew that I had to own what I was feeling. I told him that I was feeling upset because of the poor choices I had made earlier and was in reaction to the consequences of those choices. He understood and consciously and lovingly gave my feelings right back to me rather than engaging in them. Smart man. 

I had a client with Borderline Personality Disorder.  I gave him the suggestion of not processing any feelings or emotions after 10:00pm. I explained, that when we are tired our emotions become heightened and our ability to gauge what is real and what isn’t diminishes. Processing any feelings or relationship problems that late at night is begging for a good fight. I remembered my client in this moment with J. Perhaps a great agreement to have with him is that we do not process anything emotional when we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired. In many addiction recovery programs this becomes a commandment for the person in recovery. However, sometimes we are not  self-aware enough to know when we are in these states.

Is there something relieving about projecting our miseries onto our lover? Yikes. I suppose it takes the edge off of having to deal with something uncomfortable alone. It helps us to escape from the pain. Like an orgasm finding its way out of our body and into the ether. Sometimes we just want a release. 

I am thrilled to be able to have seen this part of me. My goal is to let go of reactivity and to grow. Even through the discomfort of feelings that I don’t particularly like, there is pleasure in taking responsibility for what is mine.  Here is a suggestion I’m making to J and to anyone that may be interested. 

Let go of control and be open to J to help me notice when I may be hungry, angry, lonely or tired.  In return, I will do the same for him, if he desires.  If we can’t trust the person closest to us to point something out before it takes us under, than what are we doing in relationship with them?

I have total faith that my beloved wants me to grow. I can trust him when I’m having trouble trusting myself and my emotions.  I just have to be open enough to the possibility that perhaps what I’m feeling isn’t the whole truth. Gently and with love, J and I can help each other entertain the possibility that perhaps we just need a sandwich before we discuss the root of the expression- ‘douche bag’.

The relationship entity.

Bill Bowen describes healthy relationships as a separate entity that needs to be nourished and cared for by the relationship’s participants. The relationship does not belong, nor is owned, by either individual. It is an entity formed and birthed from the individuals who are in love and partnership.

I think of my relationship as our first child. The child is our priority. When it comes time, if we choose to have a real child, the first child-our relationship- still must be cared for as the priority. It must be nourished just as we would our baby. If the relationship entity isn’t fed properly, it will feel neglected and undernourished.  Feeding the relationship is a conscious decision followed by a conscious act.  As soon as we stop feeding the relationship, it begins to die. 

I feel the act of consciously caring for and feeding the relationship entity is a great practice to keep the love alive. I want to be able to look at my relationship with new eyes all the time. In order to do that difficult task, I have to find ways to exercise those muscles. On a daily basis, I make a conscious choice to watch J as if I am in total curiosity and amazement, as if I didn’t know him at all. I try to look at life as an unfolding of newness in every moment. When I think I’ve experienced something or know someone that is my wake up call to open my eyes to the fresh new moment. What if there was no past? My experience of the world and the people within it would be filled with a child-like wonderment and curiosity. This is the orientation I hold onto in my life and in my relationship. There is something so lovely and fun about watching my lover through the eyes of a child. Even our disagreements can become entertaining and filled with humor when we believe there is no past. 

I want to hold onto the idea that each moment is new. I certainly would not look at a child without feeling their curiosity and excitement, it is contagious. That is how want to look at the relationship entity between J and I. I want to watch the relationship as if it is a child experiencing things for the first time. Can I look at the entity as if it may simply be wanting a cookie in the moment of conflict? Perhaps when J and I are in disagreement or conflict, we can step outside of our own individual needs and ask the relationship entity what it needs to feel nourished and cared for. 

What if I named my relationship? If it is our first child and it is separate from us, what name or word would I use to refer to this entity so that it truly becomes something beyond my individuality?  The first word that comes to my mind is ‘Entropy’.   That’s funny to me. 

 The definition of Entropy is: a measure of the unavailable energy in a closed thermodynamic system that is also usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder, that is a property of the system’s state, and that varies directly with any reversible change in heat in the system and inversely with the temperature of the system ; broadly : the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system.

Because I often feel like I am blindfolded and drunk when it comes to knowing what I’m doing in relationship ,  I pretty much feel like the potentiality of the relationship is  just a ball of chaotic, disorganized energy. The uncertainty of the system leaves me wanting to untangle the mess out of fear and control, while simultaneously appreciating the chaos and the unexpected. When there is no form and things are changing in every moment, there is something new to be experienced all the time. 

This weekend J is away on a trip. Even when we are apart I am conscious that ‘Entropy’ needs to get fed. If it doesn’t feel loved and nourished it will not feel needed, loved and will begin to disconnect itself from us.  In my experience, even a text message to J letting him know that I am grateful for what we are building together, will bring love and energize our creation.