Over the past five months I have been particularly interested in intimate and loving relationships. I have spent much time learning about the many aspects of intimate relationships, and have had many questions regarding what brings people close to each other, and what causes tension and creates distance within the relationship. I must admit that much of the learning has been for my own benefit, and to answer some questions about my own life. One thing I have learned is that we cannot talk about loving relationships without talking about passion. The area of passion is not something I have been particularly comfortable writing about, and I would say that in the past, I have not been particularly comfortable talking about as a couples therapist, and yet I have come to realize that it an essential topic. I am again going to mention Ester Perel, because I can not take credit for her research and creative perspectives. She talks about an individual's need for security, trust and closeness, and the opposing needs which are related to adventure, freedom, and excitement. I have always held the belief that passion in a relationship was related to issues of communication and a loving connection. Communication is extremely important, and yet there is more to it than just the loving connection alone. I have always believed that freedom and individualism were essential to passion, however, I never understood the degree to which this is important. Mrs. Perel makes the statement that, "Fire needs air", For our partners to be passionate towards us, and for us to be passionate toward them, we need among other things, to feel support for our separateness and the encouragement to enjoy others. As we are encouraged to pursue our separate interest, other friendships, and our need for personal freedom, our passion develops and intensifies. As we encourage our partners separateness we actually develop a stronger bond and our relationship strengthens. Unfortunately our anxiety and excessive need for security may get in the way of our ability to get what we truly want. I am talking about responsible separateness, one that thrives within our committed relationship. We ourselves also can help bring about some sense of adventure and excitement by changing things up from time to time, and not making everything so routine, a new restaurant or a trip to a different place that our partner would find exciting, or even a different approach to being amorous. (but it is not just about being amorous, in may include that but it is much more) Much like we need to do right now in the middle of Covid 19. (Actually this is a great example, how boring life becomes when we allow everyday to be Groundhog Day.) We once were exciting to our partner, and they were once exciting to them. And for many people that may still be the case, but often it is not. It was an exciting adventure in the beginning, until we began to know each other better, the love may well have deepened, but several years later we missed the initial excitement. Maybe we need to reserve some things so we remain being new to them? (but not so reserved that we are not authentic} Pleasant surprises can be awesome and exhilarating. It appears that it is a myth that the passion is lost after the initial excitement subsides as many of us have come to believe. It is not the time in the relationship that makes the difference, but how we relate to each other. The initial passion can be replaced with a new and different passion, but we really need to pay attention and understand what our partner needs, and of course they need to share their vulnerability and be open. We need to do the same. How can we facilitate that level of honesty and trust in our relationship? Some things are so simple, questions like, What would you like? What would you like to do, that you might find really exciting? Or they may be already telling us, and we are not paying attention. Sometimes we are just "brain dead" I include myself in this group. There is much more to learn about this but these are just some of my thoughts for today.
Loving Relationships and Passion
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