Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Great relationships are built on a mutual and ongoing commitment to nurturing the bond between two loving people. You can think of it as the longest, most rewarding, and difficult dance you’ll ever agree to.

Much like the last time you danced (think back to the last wedding or concert you attended), relationships have many similar elements to dancing. There is a leader and a follower, and these roles can change depending on desire, need, or circumstances.

There are the moves of your partner- fast, slow, sensuous, silly, loving, confusing- and how they make you feel- excited? Nervous? Frustrated? And then of course there’s the music, which is a beautiful metaphor for the emotions you are feeling and how they guide your dance.

Sometimes as you’re dancing along in your life together, on the dance floor of home, work, parenting, extended family, and finances…… your partner suddenly and abruptly stops. Their feet stop moving, they drop your hand, and they turn on their heel and walk off the dance floor.

You’re confused; what just happened? You think back…yeah, the music got really loud and fast, I couldn’t really hear what he/she was saying to me. Maybe when I was watching that other couple dance, that was what pushed my partner over the edge?? I dunno.

Where did you Go?

If you identify with being the partner who needs to walk off the dance floor, away under stress, then you might be feeling overwhelmed, angry, or criticized. You might be thinking “I can’t do anything right. Nothing I do is ever good enough. I’m constantly being criticized. My partner is crazy and they need therapy. I can’t deal with crazy, there’s too much to do around here.”

If you identify with the partner in the story who is left on the dance floor, you might be feeling “I’m alone in this relationship. I am not a priority for you. I don’t matter. I can never get through to you”.

When we look at this totally normal but very frustrating couples’ dynamic through the lens of Emotionally Focused Therapy, we use two names to describe each role: Withdrawer and Pursuer.

Using the dance and dance floor metaphor, if you leave the “dance floor” when you’re overwhelmed and stressed, you Withdraw. You crave space and alone time to process your thoughts and feelings. It looks like your partner is willfully attacking you without regard for your stress level. You often feel trapped or caught, and think the only way to feel better is to remove yourself from the situation.

If you are left standing on the dance floor, wondering what happened, thinking “great, I’m being left with all of this stuff again”, then you tend to be in the role of Pursuer.  You feel very anxious when your partner walks away to find space and alone time.

You might have intrusive thoughts that your partner is never coming back, or when they do they’re only coming back to tell you they are leaving you. You might feel very scared and have an intense urge to follow your partner to continue whatever “dance” you were engaged in, even if you can tell it’s not going well. You may also feel totally burned out by feeling rejected or your needs are minimized.

Ouch.

Relationship temperatures get icy cold when Pursuers stop pursuing and Withdrawers stay disengaged. The hugely popular Disney movie Frozen is a perfect example of how it feels when this happens. So how can couples warm things back up?

Cracking the Code on a Stuck Relationship

Temps Up

This is a dance that MOST couples experience in their relationship. “Opposites attract” isn’t a catchy phrase; opposite attachment styles create complementary relating. If one partner is warm and engaging to their loved one at parties to the other’s aloofness and reserve, then their partner can be drawn out and cozy up to feeling accepted and loved in public.

If one initiates lovemaking easily and with joy and the other freezes up and struggles to relax, then one can support a close and enjoyable sexual relationship while the other receives the gift without the intense fear of initiating.

Validation is Key

But if the dance is no longer pleasing or enjoyable, then the music of emotions has been muted and is not being followed. The key to turning the heat back on and giving each other the message that you care, you are there, and you are not going anywhere (essential adult attachment ingredients) is- you guessed it-listening for self validating and other validating core emotions.

Emotional Self Validating is when I affirm my own emotions and allow my bond with my partner to actively include what my emotions are, what I do when I feel them, how I perceive myself and my partner when they are intense, and what I need to feel safe and secure again.

Emotional Other Validating Is when I affirm YOUR emotions, allow my bond with you to actively include what YOUR emotions are. I ask about what you do when you are feeling your emotions and how you perceive me and you when they are intense. I listen to what YOU need to feel safe and secure again, and I try to do those things to the best of my ability.

So Where Do We Go From Here??

Seriously, watch the Frozen trailer! It will make you laugh (maybe?) about feeling so stuck and invite in some compassion, maybe lessen the judgment you feel about yourself and your partner.

Read my blog “Yes You CAN Communicate with Your Partner!” for more step by step tips on increasing emotional safety.

Reach out to us at www.restoringrelationships.today and ask for a free 20 minute consultation to see if couples’ therapy is a good next step for you.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.

Temps Up

Temps Up

You’ve been wanting things to be different for so long now.
You’re feeling all alone in this again. But trying over and over isn’t making things better like it used to. It feels like friends and family have happy partnerships with no effort- what are we doing wrong? What happened to being a team? You wonder why your partner doesn’t seem to notice you anymore. Life has its ups and downs, but coming home lately has started to feel like the job instead of the other way around.Restoring relationships
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