BETRAYING INTIMACY We betray intimacy in many unsuspecting ways BY: Troy Murphy
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The intricate weaving of emotions, connection and vulnerability in relationships create a difficult maze to navigate. The unforeseen crossroads baffle our wisdom and send us scurrying for guidance and support. But flinging the mud of a partner’s imperfection against the walls of a listening ear must be done with care (or not at all). Under the guise of seeking support, we may be destructive. Careless partner bashing betrays intimacy, deepens divides, and secures stubborn positions rather than constructively seeking answers.
Sharing intimate details of disagreements to bolster support misses the mark. When we repaint disagreements with a one-sided landscape, most listeners will be sympathetic, supporting the limited non-compromising position. The guidance from a wise friend is a powerful resource; but when tainted by presentation that villainizes the partner, we aren’t seeking guidance; we’re seeking sympathy, supporting closed-mindedness, or softening guilt for disloyalty.
If divulging relationship secrets doesn’t widen understanding, resolve issues, or provide the moral support to work through difficulties, our careless bantering violates trust, further deteriorating the relationship. The meager rewards of partner bashing come at the cost of betrayal. An interesting study found that outside communications about relationship struggles were often effective for older couples while destructive for young couples. Perhaps with maturity the advice sought and given focuses on repair rather than villainizing the partner. Further studies on the differences in content between the different age groups would be enlightening.
Discussions with close friends shed light on the darker aspects of our personality; but only when we listen undefensively. A few defensive reactions to constructive advice closes the spigot, limiting the future flow of unfiltered wisdom. A friend, without the emotional investment in the relationships, may wisely see an issue with more clarity.
"Biased views confuse complex choices. Relationship issues rarely are a simple case of wrong and right, clearly defining one partner good and the other bad; both positive and negative aspects apply to both sides. "
Biased views confuse complex choices. Relationship issues rarely are a simple case of wrong and right, clearly defining one partner good and the other bad; both positive and negative aspects apply to both sides. By blindly accentuating our positives but ignoring the negatives our behaviors, deceptively appear as innocent, and we are wrongly victimized by a punk partner. We justify our role in conflict while magnifying the wrongfulness of our partner. Unless we open ourselves to constructive criticism, friends kindly oblige to support the tainted views. Often, to protect our erroneous views, a friend’s acceptance of our self-justifying stories becomes essential for continued friendship; the friend warning of possible personal imperfections is ditched for exposing the truth. How dare they be honest!
When enmeshed in conflict, our biased views confuse the path to resolution. We wander down the same dead-end streets that ruin countless promising relationships; stuck in pride we lose the resource of outside wisdom. Those less involved may see through the smoke, offering helpful insight.
With support and desire, struggling relationships can improve, bringing peace to our beleaguered souls. As we seek healing, viewing personal involvement with skepticism, we may escape the limiting veils of maya, blinding us from actions essential to create the intimacy we seek.