You are the Best Ever; I Hate YOU Bouncing between Love and Hate BY : Troy Murphy | April 2014
Finally, I‘ve found the love of my life, we triumphantly declare. Immediate attraction often is decorated with intense proclamations. Ohhhh, my soul mate—at last! An experienced therapist once warned a young apprentice, “You will on occasion have a new prospective client who, after a few visits, will praise with great embellishment. They will tell you how wonderful you are. They will triumphantly declare they finally found a therapist who understands. They will talk of the two of you making the perfect therapist-client match. Your ego will be stroked, and you will be inclined to believe in these wonderful affirmations; don’t take that client!”
Ponder this insightful instruction, applying the wisdom to romance. Several years ago, I participated in an on-line community. On many occasions participants paired up. Before even meeting, they would publically share their lucky find—they found a soul-mate. Most these relationships ended as quickly as they started. Embedded within is a yearning for a perfect match. The unrealistic expectations eventually prompt disappointment with the imperfect partners we inevitably meet. Unconditional love and complete acceptance are idealistic characteristics. Relationships scrutinizing against these ideal dreams will eventually be dashed against the hard rocks of reality. We will face evidence that our partner is not perfect—there will always be differences to address and disruptions to accept.
Whether we bond immediately with a therapist, a romantic partner, a friend or a facebook page, eventually differences will emerge and challenge the connection. Relationships require work, processing differences and working through emotions. With effort, we resolve some differences but not all; some conflicts continually resurface, demanding attention, igniting minor tiffs or exploding into relationship destroying brawls. When these challenges arise we have choices: We can dissolve the relationship, we can suppress the emotions, we can demand change or we can learn to love despite the divergence of ideas.
Over the last six-years at flourishing life society, many followers have come and gone. I have noticed a pattern. Occasionally a new person will start following, liking and commenting daily. The followers who reply with too much admiration, usually don’t stay involved long. The perfect match of philosophy eventually will be challenged. With the variety of topics, and the frequency of posting, there will always be some differences. Soon the perfect match disappoints and the page is abandoned for another site where the engagement hasn’t yet revealed a difference.
The next time you find that perfect match—your soul-mate—slow down and ask, “Does it seem perfect because the relationship hasn’t encountered its first conflict?” “How will I respond when relationship differences cause discomfort?” and “How will my partner respond to the inevitable discomfort?”
We need skills to process displeasure; then we need to refine those skills. Intimacy requires working through distressing emotions. Couples who successfully navigate through difficult emotions build bonds of trust. Those who explode when things don’t feel right or hide behind a mask of indifference make future unfavorable encounters more treacherous.
Beneath the surface of the immediate issue lies the unresolved hurts. The past discussions that ended badly leave us tender to new disagreements. Embedded emotions resurface and overwhelm. With change, trust can be established, proving the relationship to be a place of safety. Patience! Start peeling away the layers of hurt. Gain a few personal insights; give yourself a little compassion. Step by small step we invite intimacy. Trust creates security; security builds trust. Together relationships strengthen, intimacy is formed and greater transformations follow.