There are 6 people in a relationship. Does it shock you? Maybe it shouldn’t.
În the movie The Story of Us, Ben and Katie Jordan, after 15 years of marriage, in which they have lived experiences like all of us, reached a point where they tried to figure out if they divorce or save their marriage. A sequence is suggestive. You are in bed, talking about their situation, at one point they appear with them and their parents. The replicas that they gave to each other are doubled by the replicas that the parents gave to each other. In other words, their adult children repeated what they saw in their parents: the same replicas, the same attitudes, the same patterns of relationship.
Every man dreams of a good, harmonious relationship. And it is normal to be so. But in the mind of each partner, a ghost hides about the ideal partner and the ideal relationship. The girls dream of a Beautiful Baby, like the one from the stories of childhood, who will give them the liberating kiss and with whom they will marry and live “to the deep old age”. On the other hand, the boys dream of the princess who sits and waits for them in the tower while they fight, to prove their manhood and receive the big prize. Obviously, what happens in stories does not happen in real life.
At first we fell in love and experience “butterflies in the stomach”. But it is the period when projections “govern” the relationship. Each partner “sees” in the other the promise of fulfilling their own ghosts. Qualities take precedence over things we don’t like about each other, and the famous impression of “love blindness” appears. It is the period in which we want to spend more time together, to get to know each other. When this period passes, what remains?
Each relationship goes through a period of aggression, conflict. This begins to appear when the projections are withdrawn, the qualities remain there, but we begin to see the “flaws”, those things that we do not like the other. Features that irritate us and begin to gain ground in the face of qualities. It is the period when scandals “come out of you wonder what”. It is the aggressiveness accumulated by the multiple frustrations that the two have accumulated in previous experiences. In which “you are like a mother”, “you resemble your father” are the most common replies. Another type of projections occur, this time being the ones that reflect their main dissatisfaction since they were children.
This period of aggression and conflict is perhaps the most important part of a couple’s life. Once the projections fall, such as the “veil of the eye”, when we each see the other as it is or as close to reality, the relationship is at the crossroads. We negotiate with ourselves, we negotiate with each other:
- we seek to discover within us what the tolerance limit is,
- what are the compromises we can make without feeling that we are destroying ourselves.
- over what we can go through and what is unacceptable.
It is the period when introspection can play an important role. Assessing one’s personal needs and the ability to provide the other person with what he or she needs is essential to the future of the relationship.
If the couple manages to go through this period of aggression and conflict, the period of harmonization, growth and maturation of the relationship begins. A healthy relationship means a mature relationship. A mature relationship assumes that the two partners reach a level of psychic maturity.
Maturity means the ability to:
- to understand the other,
- to empathize with him,
- to give him freedom in elections without losing his own freedom,
- mutual support.
A healthy, mature relationship grows, is formed and involves effort, involvement and awareness of the responsibility of each partner in what involves the couple’s life. Overcoming social customs of the type “woman stays at home and cooks“, and “the man brings money and carries out the garbage” is part of the process.
There are no recipes to have harmonious, healthy, mature relationships. However, there is the individual choice to mature. We have the relationships we built. We can feel good about relationships or not. What we are looking for in a relationship must also take into account what the other has to offer. We cannot ask without offering. How can we not offer endlessly without receiving?
Love, beyond the period of adolescence-specific love, implies mutual respect, care, empathy, the ability to play, the ability to ask, to receive and to offer, the ability to offer and to have freedom. In relationships we gather memories of all kinds. When the beautiful ones, in which we have felt safe and supported, are more and stronger than the ones we have suffered, we can give the relationship a chance.
And last but not least, love involves a lot of humor. With humor we save ourselves individually, and together
Some indications of a mature relationship, as I discovered them not only from the specialty books, but especially from my work with people:
- When you feel free to talk to the one next to you about your fears, without even asking them to solve them.
- When you feel free to meet other people without the existence or need to have sex.
- When you have enough confidence in the relationship you have with the one next to you so you doubt, suspicions are not present.
- When you do not expect the other to satisfy all your needs, all your desires, all your expectations. And when the other does not have the same claims.
- When you do not feel in competition with each other for a better status at work. In fact, when you no longer feel like you’re in a competition next to you.
- When you feel you can ask them to help you and the one next to you does so with pleasure. Just as you are glad you can help the one next to you when he asks.
- When you respect each other’s opinions, choices and who you are as an individual.
- When you praise each other’s successes, when you support yourself in your individual efforts.
- When you feel compassion for one another, when you are empathetic with the suffering of the other, when you can stand next to each other without feeling obligated to make one another feel good, looking for all kinds of solutions.
- When you manage to take responsibility for your actions and your relationship. When you avoid blaming yourself and manage to offer and receive excuses for the inevitable mistakes.
Author: Andreea Talmazan, Psychotherapist – Translated by Ioana Hazinedar