When we begin a new relationship, or, when we are attempting to rebuild a shattered relationship, we tend to wear our best face. Then, as our romance progresses, we begin to reveal both the good and the bad of our inner selves in the expressions of our thoughts, beliefs, and judgments.
It can be quite frightening to share our most intimate selves with our partner.
“Will he accept me knowing who I really am?”
“If I tell her my story, will she still love me?”
Still, we must develop an honest and open relationship if we hope to see any growth in this partnership.
If your partner turns away when you reveal something about yourself, remember that it is not “all about me.” Your partner may be distracted by something having nothing to do with you. Acknowledge that you have fear of being rejected, and let your Higher Power know that you trust in the care that is promised in Step Three of the 12 steps.
One of the strategies that we have found helpful is to set aside time on a daily basis to get current with each other because we have discovered that it is easy to run out of time for the relationship and the communications efforts that are needed to maintain romantic health. In fact, we have learned the hard way that maintaining pent up emotions can lead to explosive consequences.
We all say things in anger or fear that we cannot take back, and immediately regret saying them. Why do we wait so long to express our feelings that they become explosive and distorted when they are finally released?! The vulnerability that we may easily share within a fellowship meeting seems too risky to reveal to our partner because we fear that our romance might not survive the truth of our feelings.
But we feel what we feel: there is no right or wrong to our feelings, and our partner should not have to be comfortable with everything we share. Partnership implies a shared responsibility for how we cope with what we experience and how we feel. You do not need to have proof for what you are feeling.
The fact that our feelings cannot be proven can be disturbing – but it is true. Our emotions are neither right nor wrong, but they deserve to be heard if we are attempting to create or repair our bond.
We want authenticity and a spiritual connection in our partnership. To accomplish this, we must be true to both our partner and to ourselves. The excuses we give for not being completely honest to our partner or to ourselves are not valid. Our relationship can survive the truly candid moments when we express our thoughts and fears. It is when we “shut down” to protect our partner or ourselves that we do them and ourselves a disservice.
The emotional and spiritual connections the two of you make through honest vulnerability will help you to become one in the spirit of recovery with your romantic partner. Only by sharing of yourselves will your romantic love survive.
This article was written by John & Elaine Leadem, senior supervisors of the Leadem Counseling & Consulting offices in Toms River, NJ and East Brunswick, NJ. The content of this article is based on their soon to be published couples book from Leadem Counseling titled: Awakening To Your Soul Mate: A decision to be IN Love (Leadem & Leadem, 2013)
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Last reviewed: 5 Nov 2013