Lockdown is difficult for many and the effects of lockdown can put a huge amount of pressure on a relationship. I have done a lot of work on myself over the years so consider myself very lucky in that I can often realise when I am projecting something of myself onto my husband and not taking responsibility for what is going on for me. The issue is that how we view the person when we first meet and fall in love cannot be sustained. We soon begin to realise that our partners are human beings and not some god or goddess that we originally thought they were. We are all human beings with flaws and when we are with someone 24/7 we cannot fail to project some of ourselves onto the other person. What irritates us in others is often the flawed parts of ourselves being mirrored back to us. We don’t always want to admit to ourselves that we have flaws so quite often we can’t see our own faults. To have this type of awareness and to be able to view yourself objectively is really important. I don’t think I have ever made a secret of the fact that I go for private counselling because I realise that just when you think you have the whole thing sussed, something else comes and bites you on the bum! We are constantly learning and relationships are probably the biggest area of learning. The pandemic is actually forcing us to perceive the projections we are experiencing. Letting go of the fact you may want to change your partner and focus only on how you need to change can be challenging!
I have learnt that I cannot expect my husband to make me happy, I have to be responsible for my own emotional wellbeing. When I think back to relationships that I had in my 20’s I can see why things went wrong. One particular relationship was very controlling. He did not like the fact I had friends that I spoke to. He would get jealous very easily, possibly because of his own insecurities and it is amazing at how much you can go along with that until you wake up one day and start to see that they are in fact not a god but a human being and realise that all your needs are not going to be met because to get all your needs from one person is not possible, and to rely on one person in your life to meet all your needs is unsustainable. Putting that much pressure on a relationship is never going to end well. We can’t control other people. I missed my friends, my freedom. The basic rule here is to go and get therapy if you have those insecure feelings. Love is not about expecting your partner to fulfil all of your needs, that is impossible. We need friends, both male and female, and if there is not enough trust in the relationship to allow the fact that you are an individual person who needs to grow in their own way and have friends outside the relationship then the relationships is flawed. If the pandemic is doing anything, it is bringing our relationships into sharp focus.
I like to think of my relationship as one where the two of us are growing independently but together. Maybe we need to look at what our expectations are from our relationships. Do not see your partner as emmeshed in you. You do not have to do everything together. Communication is vital. It is okay to communicate all your fears, and issues you have but steer away from making your partner the cause or the solution to your problems. Talk through them and confront issues head on.
Pressures of the outside world are immense and we can often view what we want from a relationship through the lens of fantasy. Unrealistic expectations can often be a huge issue that are unconscious to many of us. When you realise that you are responsible for your own emotional wellness and realise that it is necessary to work on your relationship then you are half way there. Relationships are not easy. They can be hard work but it is okay to be your own individual within the relationship and realise that one human being cannot be all things to you. We need other people in our lives to help us be balanced human beings, we need our friends, our family members, those who can meet our needs in other ways. If you are in a relationship and feeling the need to check up on your partner, or you have cut off your friends because your partner is all you think you need, then it may be worth exploring that with a therapist. Of course, you are going to disagree at times, you will need to learn the art of compromise but you are also an individual who has to take responsibility for yourself.
If you feel you would benefit from some counselling or hypnotherapy please contact me