Discover why some relationships are thriving and some struggle during the pandemic. Learn how to grow the most important relationship of your life, and explore the importance of partner selection with specific questions to ask while dating or in a current relationship.
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This year has been unprecedented in so many ways. For me, not being old enough to have lived through the Spanish flu, this is my very first pandemic experience. About a year ago, when I first heard of Covid-19, I, like most of us, thought that we would hunker down for a month or two and quickly get back to normal.
I felt that my husband and I could do anything for a short time. I thought we were courageous and resilient when the first Shelter at Home orders came down from our governor. We would stay home to do our part, wash our hands and not hoard toilet paper!
Obviously, that was wishful thinking because we are still threatened by this deadly virus many months later. In addition to watching my marriage go through the stages of letting go of life as we knew it, in my work as a Marriage Therapist, I have met with many couples on Zoom since last April. I started wondering why some of them have been negatively impacted by changes in their lives while others have found a way to thrive.
In many ways, these past months of 2020 have paralleled Elisabeth Kübler-Ross' stages of grief. Those of you not familiar with her work posits that people suffering loss go through five distinct stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
It's Valentine's Day, and ❤️ is in the air.
Not for everyone, unfortunately.
As a therapist, I'm often needed when love is no longer in the air. A heart has been broken, and love has turned cruel. Or the pain of loneliness has become unbearable. Only occasionally do people seek therapy when love is blooming like the daffodils.
But take heart. Like the words in so many songs, love is indeed the answer; it always has been, and always will be. It's the question that needs examining, that question being, "who do you love"?
Love Yourself First
People often give their love to another before they've ever truly explored what it means to love themselves, and this can be a setup for problems in the relationship. Why? Because until you truly deem yourself worthy of love, you may sabotage the love of another, finding it difficult to trust.
What ARE you looking for in a potential partner? For many of you, it may be easier to come up with a list of things you know you don't want than what you are looking for in a potential partner...and we can start there.
Many people are often not aware of how we are attracted to our partners and that most of it is an unconscious process. Imago Relationship Therapy, developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, states that we are attracted to our early caretakers' positive and negative traits and search for those same traits in our potential partners. This explains that when we find our partner, we often feel "at home" with them, as it feels familiar to us.
As humans, we are wired for connection, and it is within relationships that we grow and learn about both ourselves and our partners as we continue to make sense of the world around us. We essentially hire our partner to be the person who both triggers our wounding and who is also the very person who can help us heal from those triggers. This is the premise of the work we do as Imago Relationship Therapists and why I love the work I do.