Relationship problems. Maybe it was the day you realized, Wow, we are two Very Different People. I had no idea. Or maybe the sex isn’t clicking, and it’s getting to be a problem. Or maybe someone’s temper flared up for the first time, leaving you both extremely uncomfortable around each other.
And now you’re worried about the relationship. It feels threatened, at risk, tenuous, shaky. Which brings out your protective side. Which unfortunately comes off as clingy to your partner. Suddenly you’re:
- jealous and possessive
- trying to control and limit your partner’s behavior
- starting to keep tabs
And you might not be fully conscious of the fact that the road bump you guys ran into is bringing this out in you.
Or… maybe in the face of these issues coming up, your tendency is to pull back. The relationship feels burdensome and failing to meet important needs. So now this is you:
- “I need space”
- disengaged, distant, slow to respond
- “maybe we should start seeing other people”
- tempted to have an affair, or having one
Two opposite reactions to the exact same circumstance: the relationship isn’t as good as it should be. These responses should be instantly recognizable because they’re both so common. And it doesn’t take a degree in statistics to understand why so many relationships have one person being grippy, clingy and controlling and the other feeling choked, stifled and distant.
And guess what happens when these two are interacting.
The solution isn’t to be found in trying to tweak the boundaries, but in making the relationship better.
When your relationship feels fantastic:
- Your tight grip starts to relax. The relationship feels solid. You don’t feel like you have to build a fortress around your partner because you know they ain’t goin nowhere. No amount of promises or vows, no careful screening for “loyalty” in a partner, no amount of controlling, can match the sense of security you feel when the relationship is going great.
- If you’re the wandering one, less and less are you itching to escape. The green pastures don’t call so urgently; you’re really starting to see there isn’t anything out there that’s as good as what you have at home. This is how relationships are supposed to be.
So that’s why I so often focus on what’s going on inside the relationship. Is it good. How can it be better. Etc.