Re-Create Your Love for Your Partner in Each Moment
The following post was originally posted in April 2013. Since Peter’s birthday and Thanksgiving are this week, we thought it would be fun to re-post it.
Most of us have gone through some version of the “fear of commitment” that is the subject of many movies, article, books, and conversations among friends (if not therapists, family members, etc.). Usually, we are blaming someone else for his or her fear when we are discussing the issue. We certainly aren’t admitting that we have the same fear. For this reason, I am coming clean with what I have been told is my “fear of engulfment,” a very specific type of commitment phobia. I am afraid of losing my individuality in a relationship. Using the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, I have finally learned to enjoy my time with a man without focusing on that fear and allowing it to take tangible form. Here’s how I worked through it:
I want to be in partnership with a man and share our lives, but I often get scared and sabotage potential partnerships. I disagree with, or fear I don’t know, what makes a good partner for me.
I want to have fun, be supported, feel supported, be and feel loved, be and feel valued, be and feel desired, love, share, create, and cultivate all of these wonderful experiences in others, especially in a partner.
If I could have this conflict resolve perfectly, I would be in a mutually loving and supportive partnership with a fun, adventurous man who plays a big game in the world and that might lead to cohabitation or marriage with me.
As I worked through the process, I realized I might already have the partnership I wanted. I was so focused on my concern that we might stop playing big games in the world and fulfilling on our life visions that I wasn’t seeing how we were actually taking steps toward that fulfillment. I also wasn’t seeing how much guesswork I was doing when there was a much better source than my head for the information I needed. I talked openly with the man I had been dating. It took me almost four months to do it, but I shared my fears and concerns. I learned that he had similar ones, which in retrospect is not that much of a surprise. We’re all a lot more a like than we realize. I had made up an entire story in my head about how it would all end, pretending that I knew. In some ways I did. If I had continued to live my “partnership” only in my head and without communicating with my partner, I probably would have already reached the end of this story.
Instead, I am having a wonderful time in each moment I share with him. We have agreed not to make promises we’re not sure we can keep. We trust each other to be authentic and fully self-expressed. I am committed to looking at him with compassion regardless of the circumstances and to re-create love for him in each moment. Eventually, I will have the courage to ask him if he has made an equivalent commitment to do the same for me. 😉 Hey. It’s a work in progress, and I am on PARR. I am planning to sing, dance, skydive, explore, visit friends and family, travel, hike, bike, learn, laugh, play, and enjoy life with him. We are sharing these experiences as our schedules and desires permit. We’re revising what doesn’t work, and we’re repeating the process as necessary. Life is good. 🙂
Take a moment to think about someone you are in partnership with, whether it is your spouse, business partner, friend, or family member. Do you have moments in which you avoid them or wish you could sever ties? Why is that? Has it always been this way? Can you identify three things you love about him or her? Write them down and review them regularly.
Now, choose one to three action steps you can take toward re-creating your love for this person. Some of my favorites are:
- Tell him or her the three things you wrote down and that you love about him or her.
- Share your vision for yourself and your life and how he or she has contributed to it.
- Ask for ways to improve the way you relate to each other.
- Schedule a play date and really go have some fun together.
- Apologize for any failure to see his or her greatness.