People in relationships panic easily. The thought of losing your significant other can send you spiraling down an abyss of anxiety. No one likes the idea of loss. It triggers all our abandonment issues, fears and insecurities. So when you hit an obstacle in the road it can feel like a wall. But is it?
You may be panicking for no good reason. Your relationship may not be in a crisis after all. Instead, you may simply be experiencing the effects of phase two in your developing relationship.
Phase two is full of conflict, disappointment, anxiety and heightened reactivity. This is because you’re working through the realization of who your significant other really is and experiencing a slew of disappointments. You’re confronted with your own issues and past wounds. You’re confronted with your partner’s issues and past wounds. Your commitment to protecting yourself from another hurt or betrayal causes you to be hyper-vigilant and react in ways that ensure your safety and survival. Most of the time our reaction is over the top and a bit irrational. Other times we are right on target. Sometimes we can make the distinction and other times, not.
So what is there to learn and do during this challenging time in your relationship? Here’s a simple formula for you to follow. Do the work and you will discover there is so much more to learn about yourself and your significant other. Commit to the process and you will find deep love and intimacy on the other end.
- When you have a reaction to something your significant other did or said, stop and take a few deep breaths.
- Take the time to calm down and think about what it is that you are so upset about. Is the behavior familiar? Does it make you feel disrespected, scared, and unimportant? How much is your reaction based on this specific situation versus other situations that have happened in the past.
- Let your significant other know what it was that she did that created your reaction. Help your significant other understand why this situation affects you so deeply. Explain your beliefs, values, past, and expectations.
- Ask your significant other to clarify his intentions. Do some investigative work. Maybe your significant other really meant to hurt you, maybe not. Maybe your assumptions are correct, maybe not. Check things out.
- Lastly, make a request if necessary. For example, maybe you need to let your significant other know you don’t like to be teased about your crooked teeth; maybe you need to request that your significant other refrain from looking at other women while you’re out together; maybe you need to request that your significant other listen rather than defend when you express a concern and feeling. And so on and so on.
Let it go and give it some time. See if your request is honored. It may not be honored a hundred percent of the time, but if your partner is trying, then you’re on the right track. Don’t be surprised if this process needs to be repeated several times in regards to the same issue. Rarely do people change their natural style and habits overnight.
Remember, experiencing conflicts from time to time is normal. Hitting bumps in the road is inevitable. And while it may feel like a crisis, it usually isn’t. It really is just another day in the life of relationships. Another misunderstanding that needs attention. One more opportunity to learn and grow together. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
If you’d like more information on understanding what it takes to navigate through the four phases of a developing relationship, visit www.julieorlov.com/pathway-to-love . If you’d like more information on how to work with me personally, please contact me directly at 310-379-5855.
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