Being a Whole Self
It’s a giddy story. It’s a story that we all know and we all love. It’s a story about love, and passion and entertainment and affection. Right? It’s the story where a couple meets and then spends all of their time together. They lose touch with all of their friends except perhaps a sibling or one really close friend. Otherwise no one sees them for weeks or months after they meet, because they spend all of their time together. How sweet, right?
This is the part of this story where I tell you that this is not necessarily a good sign. Nor is it necessarily the start of a healthy relationship. In fact, I’d like to posit a theory that this is a great way to start a very unhealthy relationship. One plus one ought to equal two, folks, even in romance.
When we isolate ourselves away like this in the early stages of our relationships a few things are happening. One thing is that we are preventing the people who care about us from being a part of our lives. If we want those people to stay in our lives, then we have to include them. They may be there when we fall at the end of a relationship, but why not have them as part of the process? The honeymoon phase never lasts forever. As such, it is very important to be able to go back to a stable life with your friends that you already established after the initial complete bliss exists.
Another problem with this scenario is that we then struggle with creating balance in the relationship. There’s a country music song called “Beautiful Mess” by Diamon Rio, which pretty well explains the problems here. One verse maintains that his boss is threatening to fire him because he’s not doing his work correctly, he’s putting salt in his coffee and it’s all because he just wants to spend time with her. How sweet, that he wants to spend all of his time with her, however, he will still need to eat, and having a job in good standing will make that possible. Granted, this is an extreme example, but the unfortunate ideal of romance that it presents is a prevalent idea in our society.
I am not saying that it isn’t fun to be close to a new partner, but I am saying that it isn’t fun to be fused to a new partner. If we set up our relationships this way at the start we are likely to end up being unable to have a thought or emotion without them later, and that becomes very tiring, taxing, and often argumentative. We have inner selves. We are all born with personalities, and they will want to get out. If we spend this much time with someone, ignoring the other parts of our life, for a long enough era, we are bound to put some of our basic selfness at the back of our minds, and leave it there. Unfortunately, our selfness has a tendency to not make it comfortable for us when it is hiding or being ignored.
This week, I hope that you cherish your partner, and cherish your friends. I hope that you can find the pieces of you that you want to be at the forefront of your life. I hope that you can love you, independently of any romantic other loving you.
Nyssa Hoerner is an LMFT-Associate, supervised by Bill Woodburn, LPC, LMFT, MEd, and is currently accepting new clients. Sign up for her newsletter by visiting her website at www.nyssahoernercounseling.com. To learn more about the upcoming couples group that she is co-leading please follow this link and follow the group on twitter @CouplesBootcamp
Photo Credit: Sunday Means Get Together by Yassin Hassan. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yasinhasan/