Late on Saturday night thirty year old beautician Elaine sat alone in her apartment after a terrible fight with her thirty-two year boyfriend Dave. She was horrified when Dave lost his cool and accused her of disrespecting him by keeping her whereabouts a secret. Trying to defend herself led to a big fight which ended when she told him to leave. Two hours later Dave was frantic with worry.
You had a fight with your partner and they aren't speaking to you. Your spouse leaves to stay to with a friend or family member. You start to worry about whether you should just give it a little time or whether it means that your marriage is going to break up. After a day or so of not seeing one another, you send a ton of text messages and calls to your partner and get no response for several hours or even a whole day. You get anxious and start thinking about who your spouse is with, and what they are doing. You start imagining your partner cheating, or forgetting about you You find yourself looking back over the last few weeks and months for signs that your partner was lying and cheating that you ignored at the time
Have you ever wanted to say “no” to your partner when they wanted to go away on a trip with friends or family but didn’t because you wanted to feel unselfish? Then you have experienced the tension of conflicting motives, just like twenty-six year old Dianne did when her husband Neil had to leave her and take care of family business. She faced a tug of war between her secret wish for him to pick her over everyone else, and her overt desire to put his needs before her own by appearing supportive and encouraging.
Are you ready to walk out on your partner because you've had it with the constant lying and cheating? Have you had enough of broken promises, things going right for a little while and then being let down again? Has your faith in your partner been tested beyond your limit? Then you must have given everything you can into the relationship and feel devastated that your sacrifices have come to nothing. But you are still wondering if there is any hope left.
Do you get upset when your loved one wants to spend time with a friend or a relative? Does it feel like you are being discarded or abandoned? Are you also angry and ashamed of your feelings since you “know” that there is nothing disloyal or sinister in their motives? You don’t know whether to give into the feelings and have it out with your loved one or tell yourself to suck it up, grow up and step up! You find that if you ignore your feelings, then you take the risk of nursing the pain indefinitely and that isn’t appealing. If you show your hurt and anger then you risk feeling ashamed of your childish behavior and that doesn’t you feel good in the relationship.
When you are angry most of the time it's very wearing and tough to live with. You just want to numb it out so you can get on with the day. But when you go numb you get into a dark place. You get depressed and become isolated. It's good not to feel all that anger and other stuff but it's lonely, empty and demotivating. You want to come out of that dark place and connect with people but you don't want to bring all that anger that makes you so uncomfortable. In that depressing place you can't tell the difference between anger, frustration, irritability or guilt. Everything gets blurred and keeps you sealed up in listless depressing mood. But what if you could discover all the underlying emotions that got mushed into anger and use them to be an active player in your life?
Do you feel blown away into the wind when your loved one refuses to talk to you when you approach them? Are you hurt, angry and bitterly disappointed that all the work you put into getting ready to address an important issue in the relationship is now for nothing? Do you feel like you have no control over when your loved one is receptive, or when they will ever be? That is very frustrating and stressful. Not knowing when your partner is going to be in the mood means you have to stuff your feelings that you took a while to put in a way that you imagined would be acceptable, but now you have been gagged, yet again. Are you ready to stand up for yourself and your relationship by calling your loved one out in a way they can't ignore?
If you are a man it’s more likely that you are eager to shift away from bad feelings after having an upsetting interaction with your female partner. You get disappointed when your partner is reluctant to join you in a better place. If you are a woman it’s likely that you need more time to deal with all your sad, angry and fearful feelings and it’s aggravating when your partner tries to cheer you up just to make himself feel better, without considering your pace of recovery. You get disappointed that your partner is not in tune with your needs and that makes you feel even worse. The lack of synchronicity heightens the tension between you and can create schisms that erode the ties of your relationship.
Do you get so frustrated with the uncertainty of not knowing whether your relationship is off or on that you consider making your partner jealous? Do you have visions of flirting with someone else just to get a reaction from your partner that will show you that you belong to them? Are you needing to test your partner and the bonds of your relationship by bringing in a potential rival so that your partner will claim you and be true to you forever more? That sounds exhausting and very unsatisfying? When will it be enough? Will you have to keep doing it every time you feel insecure? Think of the damage it could do to the relationship in the long run, and the stress that you have to endure to keep your security levels topped up?
Does the stress of fighting with your loved one linger for hours if not days? Does the discomfort of the conflict turn into uncertainty about the status of the relationship? Then you must be aware that all that stress and anxiety clogs up the communication channels preventing transparency about how the relationship is faring from moment to moment. It’s an awful place when neither of you know what the other is thinking or feeling and so you jump to the worst case scenario, adding even more stress to an already charged situation. You are left holding your breath with anxiety about how things will turn out and what the long term damage will be to the nature of your connection. Why wait helplessly to find out how long the crack in the relationship will last or who if anyone should make the move to repair it? There is a much easier way to reestablish the connection you had before the conflict that can make you feel calmer, closer and more secure in the blink of an eye as Bridget and Patrick’s experience shows.