Relationships are a representation of an inner programming from the past that can allow us to discover our value in the present. 

When you meet someone you have a “magnetic” attraction towards you set out on a sea of discovery.  You discover more about them, more about yourself and more about the relationship of togetherness. 

Many of you may have heard that “when you join two lovers together you actually multiply them by three”.  That’s presuming that they each had two parents. Add other significant people from their early childhood and the number of life defining relationships continues to grow. Your beliefs, habits and ways of interacting are learned responses.  Sometimes you can identify this piece of history.  Sometimes you can’t.

In the early stages of love there are generally gifts of flowers, shared poems and a constant urgency to share more of your world.  Perhaps your loved one knows ways of making you feel special that you never even dreamed of.  The good feelings that pulse through your veins are healing. 

At the point of trust the relationship can change.  One of you may become afraid of intimacy and start to withdraw. That opens the door to another learning experience. 

You can ask: “Is what’s going on something about me?”  “Is it something about you?”  “Something about the world?”

If the pulling away is on your part, then you can look at your own struggle and see if you are blaming the other for your lack of expressing your own needs in some way.

Are you taking care of the other at the expense of taking care of yourself? Are you cutting off from friends or activities that used to be important and helped you to define who you are? Are you asking in a clear way at an appropriate time for what you want?

The other view would be to examine how your partner is treating you.  Are they taking enough time for you to be involved in intimate conversation.  This is something that you usually have when you’re discovering more about each other in the beginning, but it may lose priority with time.  Is the other person supporting you to become all that you can be? Are you supporting them to be all they can be?

If you don’t blame, don’t sulk, but stay with your feelings and what they are trying to tell you, then you may be able to work through the block.

Problems are a part of life.  If you learn how to deal with them as they arise then you are transforming them into gifts.

Now let’s take another leap into a different direction.  Say you don’t make it through these struggles and separate. After the grieving process it’s helpful to examine what you have learned. 

If you get stuck with “I’ll never trust relationships again”. This reaction adds hurt upon hurt and you are the one that will suffer.  If you look at the relationship and take responsibility for yourself by accepting the lessons, you can expand your awareness.

Those special poems, phone calls, flowers, etc. made you feel special.  The actions were making you aware of your inner value.  They were teaching you how to love yourself and the more you love yourself the more exciting you are for new relationships or just for yourself.

You can prepare a special dinner with candlelight, flowers and whatever, just for you.  You can walk through a park and enjoy the trees just for you.  You can continue giving yourself the good things that you learned to enjoy in the relationship.  The entire play can begin to take new shape and form. 

All was not for naught. 

Judith Morton Fraser, M.A., M.F.T.