I had a conversation with my client Tim the other day.
“You’re the only person that thinks we share too much,” he told me when I voiced that I believe relationships are on the decline because we aim to be too vulnerable and connected with each other. “We’re spreading the fear.” I declared.
“What do you mean?” he asked. He was curious to know where I was headed and I could feel his defenses coming up since he’s been told the opposite advice for years.
When Tim entered into a coaching relationship with me, he and his wife benefited greatly. They became more bonded and were having more fun.
A black cloud had lifted off the relationship that had become detached and combative. Through our coaching work together, it was evident that Tim’s addressing his own personal healing was creating the effect he wanted for his relationship.
It’s not about us as a couple. It’s about each of us and our wounded histories that cause disharmony in the union.
“As much as we yearn to be deeply connected with others, especially in our romantic relationships, the desire to be seen has more to do with our individual need to belong and matter in the world than it does to connect deeply with another.” I told him. “It’s all about the validation we seek from others that must come from ourselves about ourselves.”
I strongly believe, having had three marriages that ended in divorce and lots of inner reflection on who I was back then, that I understand today, it’s our own insecurities and fears that we want others to comfort us about and change our minds about how crappy we feel about ourselves.
It feels good to be vulnerable with others, but when this happens it can have a very negative effect on the relationship and even break it up. When we have an investment in that relationship it can not only feel scary, we can also become unattracted to someone who shares too much. Our admiration can turn into concern.
Even though it’s nice to think of our spouses as our best friends, lovers and confidants, there is a fine line that not many people acknowledge around the connection they seek. Whereas, we desire to connect emotionally, we don’t stop to think that the depth of that bond can destroy the connection altogether. Here’s an example.
In all my marriages, I believed that deep connection was the ultimate factor in recognizing whether a relationship was emotionally bonded. I wanted my husband to get me, to see me, to tell me about me and to be right about it. I was disappointed when that wasn’t the case.
Then, believing the relationship was broken, we sought marriage counseling, which I now believe is the fastest and quickest way to end a relationship for good.
If you’re interested, visit my blog at www.lessonslearnedinlove.com and read the article, “Kick Your Marriage Counselor Out of Your Bed.”
Getting back to vulnerability and sharing deeply in marriages, I don’t think it’s wise and I will tell you why.
One morning after making love with my husband, we had a deep conversation. I asked him about his romantic history and we were sharing with each other about our past.
“Most of the time, I wished my girlfriends would leave after we had sex. I just couldn’t wait to be alone. It was torture.” He told me.
Now, on the one hand I felt close to him and was happy he opened up deeply to me in sharing this bit of information. On the other hand, I was terrified every time we made love as to how he really felt. And, if he left our bed promptly, I was convinced it was to get away from me. The point is, this is information I wish I didn’t know and I couldn’t make it go away. It was part of how I saw us.
Imagine this scenario. Your husband runs his own business and he’s scared it won’t be successful.
Now, if a business is about to go into bankruptcy and your spouse needs to know, that is different. I am not suggesting here that we be deceptive.
I am suggesting we be receptive and ask ourselves if the information we’re about to share with our spouse or intimate partner is worthy of knowing and why.
If he’s scared the business won’t make it and talks to you about it, then he’s just spreading the fear. Now both of you are afraid and that’s double negative energy toward the business. It just doesn’t help things. Why spread the fear? I believe many people not only scare each other but don’t realize how detrimental it is to the success of the relationship. We need to have a positive vision in order for a relationship to thrive.
Whenever we are invested with our time, money and especially our heart, fear can set in very quickly where there is the threat of loss. If you hear about a stock crashing, it’s not important news. If you have money invested in the stock, it’s very bad news!!
Many people are confused as to why relationships change once saying “I do.” Once you say those words and start mixing finances, making purchases like real estate or involving your heart and your life in a major way, you’re invested big time! And, believe me, if most of us knew what we know later we wouldn’t have jumped in to begin with. So, it’s better to share the information that builds the relationship instead of tearing it apart.
What I am suggesting is that individually, we all seek counseling from a therapist or a Life Coach so that we can address our own doubts and fears.
We all need to vent and to get support about what we’re afraid of and our spouse is not a good choice because regardless of what they say to you, they will have their own thoughts about the discussion and it may be difficult to change their minds even when things start going well.
Many people in marriages and intimate relationships often say, “I love him/her, but I’m not in love with her/him. I believe this happens not so much with time and routine, more than it does with the expectations that we share everything, especially our feelings. Following that advice may give us the impression we’re deeply in love but it can can also kill the passion very quickly.
Again, I am not suggesting we be deceptive. Certain information needs to be shared such as a medical illness, impending bankruptcy, or anything that has to do with a major life change. But when it comes to our imagined scenarios and the doubts and fears that plague us, it doesn’t make sense and it will only make everyone uneasy. Also, others are not responsible for the feelings that we have. If someone has done or said something, it’s worthy of discussion but we still must take responsibility for the things that trigger and upset us. Otherwise, oversharing can create more secrecy and reluctance to share about what we’ve shared about or discussing other things in the future.
I can say personally, as a woman who very much desired this deep connection with the men in my life, that I am advising against it.
If I had done my own healing work and took responsibility for my emotional development sooner and didn’t look to my partner for validation, skipped the marriage counseling which was a disaster, I may have had a happy, successful outcome.
I think vulnerability is incredibly courageous and unlike others I do not see it as weak. I do believe though, that as much as we say we want it, we are actually turned off by it when it arrives. There are so many support groups, trusted friends and professionals to share deeply with and to process your feelings. If you want to keep your relationship interesting and inspiring then sharing hopes, dreams and faith will bring you closer together in a positive way.
The journey for all of us is to Know Thyself. It is up to each of us to take responsibility to look in the mirror and meet ourselves. It’s not realistic for others to show us who we are.
I am deeply saddened by the statistics of marriages that break up. I believe that many can thrive. If we each take responsibility for ourselves we will feel better about who we are and relate with others effectively.
Today is the beginning of the rest of your life. Make yourself and your emotional wellness a priority. Then everyone wins!!