How is it that we can meet the perfect partner of our dreams only to realise to our later disappointment and heartbreak that there is no way on earth the relationship can work in a way that we are happy with. Not only may we find it difficult to understand how we fell in love with this person in the first place, we can also find that we make the same mistake more than once? Also see > relationship issues.
When we feel attracted to someone there can be a lot of processes going on that we are not aware of. Sometimes we may have experienced relationships from childhood with too many disappointments, hurt, and insecurities which means we may still have a need for these past experiences to be repaired in current and future relationships – see > inner child. What can happen is that unconsciously we are attracted to people who may have similar character traits to what we experienced in the past and there can be an unconscious need to put our experiences right by getting what we didn’t get before. It can mean that staying with a similar relational dynamic can turn out to be very painful and yet also be comfortable because it is something we are familiar with. Often we prefer to stay with what we know rather than something different that we don’t know. Another way of looking at this, is that there may be an underlying belief that relationships don’t work, or I dont deserve better, and so there is a sabotage aspect to this. Unconsciously we can set ourselves up to fail because again this is what we believe and we are able to prove it by getting involved with the wrong guys which ultimately tend not to work. Unfortunately, this can lead to a negative cycle of relationships.
NEW ROMANCE AND IDEALISATION
Being in a new relationship can sometimes feel the best thing we have ever experienced, it may be anxiety provoking as well but overall it can have a feeling of utter bliss, and a dreamlike quality. It has been likened to feeling crazy, and has even been termed as a temporary psychosis as there is sometimes an aspect of reality missing from the experience. New love can create masses of endorphins whereby there is an enormous feel good factor, and only the good in the other person can be seen. We can idealise the other person as being perfect and any warning signs or negative signals to the contrary can be ignored, or denied without being aware of this happening. All of this is about maintaining the connection; keeping the relationship bonding and creating attachment.
NEW ROMANCE AND REALITY
In reality of course no one is perfect and we all have differences, and things which another person may think or do that we do not like, or agree with. Sometimes finding the right person to be with is so powerful that we can continue to ignore differences which may actually be problematic, and we can minimize them, or deny them until they do start causing problems later on in the relationship. We may have a need for approval, and have a fear of rejection which means we avoid facing issues which we may think will threaten the relationship. Our identity and beliefs may be about working hard to please the other person and not doing anything which we think may upset them. The difficulty here is that we are not being true to ourselves and we may suffer with low self esteem; we may not be getting our needs met; and this also means we start to develop a mixture of emotions building up because of the difficulty of expressing them (emotions support us to get our needs met) or they may be expressed in an unhelpful way which does not support the relationship.
Eventually there can come a point where the negative experiences in a relationship can start to outweigh the positive, and we might start becoming more aware of feeling unhappy, hurt, disappointed, anxious, angry, depressed and unable to sleep properly etc. We may start to look at the relationship we are in and feel confused or question what we need to do. As said previously it is normal to experience differences in relationship, and ideally we need to address any niggles and difficulties from the start so it is clear for both parties to be aware of others expectations, hopes, values and fears.
REPAIRING A RELATIONSHIP
It is normal and necessary to be able to address minor problems so they do not develop into more damaging and maybe less repairable issues. If two people are in relationship together they both need to be responsible for the part they are playing in that relationship, and show a caring, and respectful way of being with their partner. Making reasonable changes and compromises, is often a vital part of sustaining a healthy, enjoyable and meaningful relationship. Sometimes we may have issues which need additional support from counselling, so that further awareness and understanding can be gained; and painful emotions and unhelpful thoughts and behaviours can be addressed in a therapeutic relationship.