Intimate Relationship as a High Cost Strategy
Anything you do can slip from conscious action to meet needs to unconscious strategies. Intimate relationship is especially vulnerable to this slippery slope. It triggers the wounds from your first intimate relationship with your parents and the drive to integrate and heal.
This drive to be fully integrated in body, emotion, and energy is a fundamental part of you. If you have wounding experiences of your past that have never been brought into the light of conscious awareness and met with empathy and compassion, they exist as unintegrated entities of sorts in your physical-emotional-energy body. As a result, your drive to integrate operates unconsciously. This most commonly shows up as partnering with someone who is similar to your mother or father. You unconsciously choose to repeat the relational patterns of childhood, hoping that this time healing and integration will happen.
When there is enough resource in both you and your partner and support from others, this kind of healing and integration can happen in a healthy and effective way. However, when those resources aren't present, the relationship can become a re-wounding experience.
From a reactive place, you can swing to either end of the pole regarding intimate relationship. You might decide that because in the past you had a relationship that was a re-wounding experience, you will not enter relationship again until you have worked on yourself. This seems a good idea, except that "working on yourself" can slip into simple long term avoidance and fear of never being ready.
On the other end of the reactive pole, you find yourself glued to a wounding relationship, driven to make it work, as if your very survival depended on it. The stressful days out number the joyful days 5 to 1 but you keep at it, becoming more depleted over time.
Being caught in either of these poles is a sign that you need support from individuals or groups that can meet you with compassion and help you be with the pain and fear so that you can relax into what's really true for you and make decisions from a grounded place.
With adequate support and groundedness, you can engage in intimate relationship as a conscious decision to meet your needs and the needs of your partner and, ideally, become a collaborative team that is a contribution to your community.
Take a few moments now to reflect on the decisions you make regarding intimate relationship. You can discern if you are making decisions from one of the reactive poles, by asking yourself some of these questions: Am I am making decisions quickly without reflection? Do I have a sense of being trapped? Do I feel like I am being pulled in by tractor beam? Do I have a long list activities or work projects that keep me from engaging intimately? Do I assume I know what my partner is feeling and needing and thinking about me?
Decisions from a grounded place often include include elements like: time to reflect on your values, support from others, gathering information regarding the other person's perspective, feelings, needs, and requests, a willingness to turn towards discomfort to see what's underneath, and a sense of compassion for yourself and the other person.