Having an intimate relationship with someone is one of the hardest things you'll ever do. The fighting, the arguing, the petty disagreements, the power-struggles, the betrayals and mistrust can leave you wondering whether it's all worth it. Perhaps you might feel that the best solution is to stay well clear of intimate relationships. But what if the people you are having relationships with are not the problem? What if the real problem lies much closer to home?
Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is to look yourself in the mirror, in to all of your buried fears and your emotionally repressed insecurities. It's something that most of us would happily avoid, but when you find yourself in an intimate relationship everything you tried to hide and avoid comes tumbling out of the closet. There is simply no place to hide! In this scenario you can either run, hoping that the grass will be greener on the other side or you can take a look to see what's in that hidden closet of yours.
Exploring what's inside this hidden closet of yours can be like opening a Pandora's Box. When you discover what you've stuffed in there, perhaps you might decide it's time for a spring clean.
In a relationship the darkest part of you will often come out of the closet. You realise that you had no idea that you could be so jealous, so possessive. Perhaps the person you are with makes you feel vulnerable, needy, so much so that your whole life revolves around that one person. You feel that whatever you do, you need their approval.
When we consider these complex factors, it's very easy to see how we can lose ourselves in relationships. We invest so much of ourselves in relationships that we often forget who we are.
When you look at the roles you played in your past relationships, and what it brought out in you, what was the overriding pattern? In relationships many people often repeat the same patterns even if it's not working. They attract the same kind of guy, the same issues resurface, they re-enact the same dramas, same script, just a different cast.
If you have negative patterns that keep showing up, perhaps it's time to go inward and start asking yourself some self-reflective questions.
What and who do you transform in to when you are in a relationship? What parts of yourself do you need to take a deeper look? And how is it preventing you from having the kind of relationship you say you want to have?
It really doesn't matter how long you have an intimate relationship with someone, the purpose is always the same, and that is to reflect the deeper truth of who you are and what you need to learn about yourself.
The point in which you need to get to is when you can focus less on the person, but on the deeper truth that this person can offer you about yourself.
When you couple with someone it is not just for romantic reasons, there is a deeper level of attraction that underpins it, and this is the real reason why you are together. Perhaps you are someone who has lots of unresolved emotional wounds from your past, and the basis of your connection with your partner is based on the fact that you share the same wounds. Or perhaps you are someone who prides yourself on taking care of other people, and you find that you are always attracting men who need looking after, not in a loving way, but in a parental way. These are just some of the unconscious patterns we set up in relationships and then wonder why they are not working.
So, how do we spot these patterns in ourselves and start creating healthy relationships?
In order to understand your patterns, you need to develop a more intimate relationship with yourself. Who are you? If you don't have a strong sense of who you are at the deepest level it can be very easy to lose yourself in a relationship.
If you find it difficult to trust people, ask yourself do you trust yourself? If you don't perhaps this is the reason why it keeps showing up in your personal relationships. If you see something in your partner that you don't like or that causes conflict perhaps you are seeing a part of yourself that you don't like. Rather than criticising the other person perhaps focus your energy on how you can help that person to become more conscious of that pattern as you become more conscious of your own.
Finally, start consciously using relationships as a process of personal growth. A breakdown in a relationship doesn't always mean it's the end perhaps it might be an opening for you to form a deeper relationship, either with another person or with yourself.