Patterns in dating

17 May

The conflicts and hurts in a relationship are the result of the threats that we feel to who we fundamentally are at that point.If we can tolerate the harm that we feel is being done to us, we have an opportunity to manage and fine tune our basic relational needs and attachment patterns in order to become more resilient and resourceful.I shouldn’t be surprised as it happens within every couple and family that I have ever seen. It is something that gives truth to the belief that as couples live together longer they end up finishing each others sentences.When people have been together, even for a short while, they build up patterns of communicating and relating that are based on their shared history.More often than not it is the woman in an opposite sex couple who is some 12 months to 2 years ahead of her partner, in coming to a decision that the relationship should end.Generally, the decision to seek counselling is part of a last-ditch effort to “save” the relationship.The partner who is bringing the couple in to counselling will have suggested professional help well before the couple show up.The other partner will have refused, promised that they will change without help, or insisted that the couple can “do it themselves”.

So, of course, they develop shorthand ways of patterning their communication. Even the couple themselves are not aware of their rapid communication strategies.

These emotions can be so raw and painful that people’s abilities to contain and soothe themselves are overwhelmed.

The job of therapy becomes containment and support until one or both people are able to look after themselves again.

This is a tough job as it is done in a highly charged situation under emotionally fraught circumstances.

One of the things that always surprises me when I am with couples is how quickly they communicate.