How to Go with the Ebb & Flow of Relationships
Relationships ebb and flow, like the waves of the sea. They swell with intimacy, passion, and energy and then naturally wane through periodic episodes of separateness, quietness and space. Attachment and connection, followed by detachment and disconnection. Up and down, back and forth, give and take, push and pull. Such is the rhythm of life—a necessary process to prevent stagnation and promote our evolution of our consciousness.
Sometimes relationships are as volatile as a tidal wave, with surges of frightening force and power that can render us feeling afraid, disoriented and caught in the undertow, unsure of which way is up. Other times, relationships are as smooth and tranquil as a glassy pond, promoting shared serenity and peace.
Like the seasons and the tide, relationships have cycles. A pattern of closeness, profound intimacy, followed by a pulling back, even disengagement, then re-engagement, and then closeness again. For some, these cycles occur within a day, a month, a year or periodically throughout the course of a lifetime.
The cycle has to do with vulnerability, trust, and intimacy. This is the human way of balancing fear and desire. Trauma, fear of loss and self-protection are the winds that fuel the waves. When trust and a stable attachment or connection is there, the waters settle into a nice loving flow.
The more we fight the natural ebbs and flows, the more we thrash or cling to our partner, the more we run the risk of drowning or pulling each other down in the process. When your relationship knocks you off balance, beware of the tendency to panic. Instead, trust in the rhythm of life and ride the wave.
While our relationships provide tremendous resources like love, laughter, mirroring and grounding, do not fall under the illusion that any relationship is your absolute anchor-–for no relationship or person is perfect and nobody can truly or consistently be your rock. If that is your expectation, you will be disappointed and afraid. Instead, know that you, your partner, and your relationship go through natural cycles that promote your psycho-spiritual development. Trust in the process.
Perhaps counterintuitively, solitude is an important aspect of establishing healthy intimacy. Rather than depending on another to refuel our love power, we need to access that source of love from within. This allows us to love in a way that is healthy and not enmeshed, dysfunctional or needy.
In moments of quiet and reflective solitude, we connect with our deepest, highest and most authentic self. This may occur during period of mindfulness activities like walking, deep breathing, meditation or prayer. We are able to recognize that our true anchor, lifesaver and ultimate love source is our higher power. For some that is God, Allah, or Buddha. For others, it is the universe, nature or the life energy that connects us all. Connecting with our higher power reminds us that we are all perfectly okay just the way we are—deeply and profoundly loved and lovable on our own, no matter what the status of our relationship.
Reflective solitude provides a deep grounding and re-charging. It provides clarity–the ability to separate our stuff from our partner’s. Solitude also reconnects us with our true life mission or destiny. This allows us to consciously move forward with intentions that will make our life vision a reality, rather than being unconsciously carried away with the current.
We are all interconnected. Relationships come into our lives to shape and mold us into our highest selves. Like the rock formations, seashells and sand are weathered and polished by the ocean waves, we are shaped and smoothed by the forces of our relationships.
Sometimes relationships continuously cycle and sometimes they end. Life may carry us away from a relationship we no longer need. Other times we find ourselves crashing into a new relationship that was unexpected. Or, we may be reunited with past loves….or, we may drift away. We may find ourselves sometimes feeling lost at sea and other times nestled on the shore in a relationship that inspires and ignites our light from within.
Where ever you are in the process of your life, love and relationships, know that all is as it should be. You are perfectly loved and lovable and all is well.
“I close my eyes
Only for a moment and the moment’s gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes with curiosity
Dust in the wind
All they are is dust in the wind
Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground, though we refuse to see
Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind”
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Marter, J. (2013). How to Go with the Ebb & Flow of Relationships. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 9, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/success/2013/11/how-to-go-with-the-ebb-flow-of-relationships/