TheConfidante In the Media
Ever bought into some Disney/Hollywood-inspired beliefs about relationships that have had you come crashing down? It is love month featuring Valentine’s Day. In partnership with my love feature in Woman’s Day this week, I step you through myths about relationships that need busting!
As a marriage therapist, I notice a lot of unhelpful idealisms. When these expectations aren't met, it can cause a lot of relationship distress resulting in way too many Tim Tams, wine or whatever the choice of quick fix.
Love is about finding someone who completes the missing half of you. As much as Tom Cruise declared his love with "You complete me” in Jerry Maguire, we need to get this sorted. Can we update this to “You complement me”?
Not as dramatic I know, however we need a healthy level of interdependence and dependence instead. This means you can enjoy your own pursuits, and maintain your own identity. This is the fabulous person you were when you first hooked in your spouse.
Interdependence is a healthy balance of enjoying each other's company and relying on each other. We need to be able to enjoy someone who compliments us when the chips are down. For example, when unwell, lost your job, or any of life “hits” that overwhelm us. That is the most beautiful part of a relationship where you can enjoy your partner to help support you…. not complete you.
It is my job to be the best version of me. It is my responsibility to stay healthy and be as close to, or even better than the person my partner met. I strongly encourage couples to make sure that they don't assume that their partner is going to be their self-esteem and continually tell them how amazing they are for the duration of the relationship. Whilst words of affirmation are a lovely form of love language, it is not your partner’s role to be your self-esteem booster. This is your responsibility.
People in love never fight. You didn’t pair up with your clone! Funnily enough, the partner you chose is likely delightfully different to you, which makes them particularly attractive. Your partner might be that person who challenges you, levels you up, and frustratingly wants different things to you at times or might go about doing things in a different way. Annoying!
Aim to confidently approach your disagreements featuring attentive listening, respect and kindness. When you can’t do this, recognize it and step out to self-regulate and calm yourself. For every single fight, your greatest outcome is a deeper connection founded on the additional information you have about each other as you navigate life together, armed with this new wisdom!
I love guiding couples through this process in the counselling room. It's such a prolific experience when we can look at the toxic unhelpful cycles that we can get caught up in. We will generally repeat the same behaviours and swap out the topics.
We examine what you're doing now then find a new, healthy conflict cycle. People in love disagree and know it is a healthy and normal part of their relationship.
Love means everlasting happiness. It is exciting to create your new love nest and honour the beautiful rituals and behaviours from your family legacy… oh, and choose to drop the unhelpful traits.
When considering a long-term partner, it can be helpful to include the perspective of those people you love on their opinion and vice versa. If your friends and family dislike your partner, there might be a reason. The term, love is blind is a thing! When the love drug, oxytocin is flowing, we take risks and feel flushed with all sorts of happy chemicals that can inhibit our decision making.
When you commit, it’s often a rude shock to realise there are a stack of people attached to your beloved that infiltrate your love vortex. This is one of the most common topics I collaborate with couples so it's worth contemplating your long term boundaries.
Your love boat is not going to always sail on calm seas. So when you choose that partner, it's helpful to know that that person has the same values as you and continues to enjoy you with respect and kindness to navigate the storms.
Here’s the link to Woman’s Day for the summary article.
Joanne Wilson is the Relationship Rejuvenator and author of Renovate Your Relationship – All The DIY Tools For Your Most Important Project ($29.99). She is a neuropsychotherapist inspiring the community for thriving and dynamic relationships that impact generations for mental well-being. Find out more at www.relationshiprejuvenator.com
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised. Approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Solution Focussed Therapy and Emotionally Focussed Therapy may be incorporated.
Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples online around the world and servicing areas for face to face sessions including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.