The Puzzle of Relationship

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @ 2:44 PM

Many couples find that a reoccurring trouble spot in their relationship is based in their difficulty managing how they react toward each other emotionally. These reactions may create various upset feeling and lead to disagreement and arguments. As time goes on and the same misunderstanding and confusion persists, the reactions and arguments become repetitious and predictable. It's like a dance that the couple engages in over and over again, despite their best intentions. In time, layers of hurts and resentments build up, throwing the security and intimacy of the relationship into a shambles.

We all come into intimate relationships with our own personal 'puzzle' of emotional reactions and related behaviors. Our puzzle was put together in our growing up years through the experiences we had in the emotional dynamics of our families - our first intimate relationships - and how we each as individuals learned to cope with them. We also interpreted our experiences in our own personal way and developed subconscious attitudes and expectations regarding relationships with others - more pieces of the puzzle. Most of this happened by the time we were six or seven years old. In the following years we viewed and managed life through our learned perceptions and interpretations, and reinforce and confirm for our self our initial understanding of ourselves with others.

To make the puzzle even more interesting, we usually think our way of perceiving and reacting is 'normal' or 'right', rather than just our own. We enter our adult intimate relationships often mindless of how significant our individual histories are. The pieces or the puzzles begin to show up as we get closer to our partner and thus more emotionally vulnerable. Depending on the intricacies of our puzzle, we may find that without strong communication shills, the ability to maintain our respect for each other when arguments ensue, and the desire and willingness to work through and understand these differences, the relationship will likely not grow and flourish, stricken by our self made 'baggage' of the past.

If you and your partner have a repetitious dance that leads you through reactive behaviors and unresolved arguments and leaves you hurt and misunderstood, you may find seeking help through Marriage/Couples Counseling can help you unravel your mutual puzzles and learn the skills to create a healthy and vibrant relationship. Please call for a consultation to explore these possibilities.

M. Leslie Owens