Finding Love After Loss

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Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Me, Not You!

In relationships, it is really important not to take things personally. Remember, sometimes it just isn't about YOU!

Each individual has his/her own “stuff” with which to deal and unless you are privy to it, you cannot possibly know why he/she responds in a certain manner. Sometimes this is referred to as “pushing one’s buttons.” Due to past hurts or familial patterns, no matter what you say to someone, he or she will react badly.

Additionally, in a healthy relationship, there exists a sense of individuality as well as a partnership entity. At times, one individual might be preoccupied with his/her own thoughts and not focus on the relationship. This should not be taken as an affront or a time to panic and think that the relationship is faltering (unless this is a continual occurrence).

In The Psychology of Romantic Love, What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It Sometimes Grows, Why It Sometimes Dies, Dr. Branden states, “In the best of relationships there are occasional frictions, unavoidable hurts, times when individuals miss one another in their responses. The tendency of non-autonomous, immature individuals is to translate such incidents into evidence of rejection, evidence of not really being loved, so small frictions or failures of communication are easily escalated into major conflicts.

Autonomous individuals have a greater capacity to roll with the punches, to see the normal frictions of everyday life in realistic perspective, not to get their feelings hurt over trivia, or even if they are hurt occasionally not to catastrophize such moments.

Further, autonomous individuals respect their partner’s need to follow his or her own destiny, to be alone sometimes, to be preoccupied sometimes, not to be thinking about the relationship sometimes, but rather about other vital matters that may not even involve the partner in any direct sense, such as work, personal unfolding and evolution, personal developmental needs.

So autonomous individuals do not always need to be “center stage,” do not need always to be the focus of attention, do not panic when the partner is mentally preoccupied elsewhere. Autonomous individuals give this freedom to themselves as well as to those they love. This is the reason why, between autonomous men and women, romantic love can grow. And this the reason why, between non-autonomous men and women, romantic love so often dies; panicky clinging suffocates love.

No matter how passionate the commitment and devotion autonomous men and women my feel toward the one they love, there is still the recognition that space must exist, freedom must exist, sometimes aloneness must exist. There is the recognition that no matter how intensely we love, we are none of us “only” lovers – we are also, in a broader sense, evolving human beings.”

These are important points to keep in mind for those who are entering new relationships after having been single for quite some time. Singlehood has taught you how to be independent. It has given you time to fully concentrate on yourself without regard for a partner. And, even though you might have been lonely, it is easy to become accustomed to this "me" thinking. You might like to continue to have some time when you focus on yourself and not on your new relationship -- and that's perfectly healthy when in a relationship with another autonomous person. This is part of your evolution into the "new you."

Additionally, you might recall that after losing your partner, it was necessary for you to switch from couples thinking to singles thinking. Now, you must adjust your thinking again -- back to couples thinking so that you can start painting the picture of your partner into the landscape of your life. And he or she always remains there, even if you take a small respite to think about you!

Next up ... When Is The Honeymoon Over?

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