We are told from a young age that love is suffering. And suffering is titillating or aphrodisiac. But what our caregivers and even schools didn’t teach us is that love is not a suffering “contract”, but a place where our bodies can regulate and build together long-lasting last rewarding relationships.
When it comes to relationships and intimacy, we should keep in mind that we all possess different attachment styles. But also that relationships have six stages of development:
- The dating phase. Everything is beautiful and exciting.
- The honeymoon phase. Still a good phase. But first red flags tend to show up.
- The power-struggle phase. Relationships tend to fail because individuals focus on differences or flaws, and the subconscious mind programming takes over the conscious mind. Couples can remain in this stage for years.
- The stability phase, the acceptance of who we are, and mutual respect.
- The commitment phase. We surrender to one another.
- The Bliss phase. The phase where the couple creates a project together and meaningful to the world.
Wrongly the assumption that relationships develop in auto-pilot without much effort is what kills them from the very beginning. In reality, relationships to thrive need intentionality and the understanding that everyone has a visceral and deep programming need to feel safe and seen.
Another myth assumed by many is that we seek people with the same traits as us. In reality, our subconscious mind is always seeking trait variety in the dating/mating process. So we have an attraction for people who possess traits that we suppress but admire.
The problem begins when our polarities start to trigger each other emotional baggage. Are those relationships doomed? No! The power struggle phase brings the deepest lessons in any relationship. And the opportunity to bond with our partners at their core, with their imperfections and flaws. By dismissing the stories or beliefs of how someone should be.
One of the keys to handling the power-struggle phase is the understanding of how homeostasis works. Homeostasis refers to the body’s need to reach and maintain a certain state of equilibrium, with this in mind and thinking that we might have at some level an insecure attachment style in a relationship dynamic, most common anxious and avoidant dynamic.
In the power struggle phase, the avoidant partner will need to pull away because their fears are mining their feelings. Their fears are rooted in losing autonomy and independence.
On the other hand, the anxious partner will pursue the avoidant partner requiring emotional reassurance because of the abandonment core wound. So their polarities, the way they react to difficulties, is homeostasis taking place to restore equilibrium.
Lesson nº1: Our responses in relationships are survival responses.
Lesson nº2: Subconscious mind seeks trait variety and takes over the conscious mind. The push is the conscious mind wanting a different outcome. The pullback is the subconscious mind wanting comfort zone even if it wrong.
Lesson nº3: Individuals with anxious attachment styles should learn to stand for themselves and fulfill their emotional tank with activities that provide emotional well-being.
Lesson nº4: Individuals with avoidant attachment styles should learn how to rely on other people. Learn how to be vulnerable, and overshare what they want and feel. Learn how not to take criticism personally. But use it as a way to improve who they are. Learn how their behavior hurts their partners (stonewalling, emotional coldness, refusing to talk.).
Lesson nº5: You can find another partner. But without inner work and awareness, the cycle will repeat. Intimacy shouldn’t be a war place, but a place of growing and thriving.
To conclude, everyone has a visceral and deep programming need to feel safe and seen.