She Loves Me. She Loves Me Not.—The Personal Side
I could write at length about what I have experienced in my various relationships over the years. Instead, I am going to try to extract from my past and current relationships the most important things I have learned.
Before any romantic relationship can begin, individuals must be willing to be emotionally vulnerable with each other. Relationships are risky and people do get hurt emotionally. However, if any level of emotional connection is to be achieved, both parties must be open and honest with each other, willing to share their most intimate thoughts and feelings. Being emotionally vulnerable allows other people to see the humanity—however fragile—that exists inside of us. And, in healthy relationships where positive communication skills are used, being vulnerable empowers the person sharing to feel heard and deeply understood in a unique way. As this happens, emotional connection begins.
As couples feel more connected to each other, they must remember to nurture the connection they have created, as well as continue being vulnerable with one another. Relationships are like cars. They can last a really long time, but they need maintenance. Relationship maintenance includes things like premarital therapy, marriage or couples counseling, regular date nights and quality time spent together.
Of course there is more. Everything I have described above is wonderful in creating and maintaining long lasting, healthy, fulfilling, romantic relationships. But, life is messy. People get sick, lose their jobs, go bankrupt, have tense familial relations, pass away and experience a multitude of other things that create extreme stress in their relationships.
As these stressors occur, society and Hollywood continue telling us that relationships should be fun, romantic and exciting. And they are all of those things some of the time. However, because life is difficult at best, the strongest relationships I have seen require much more than fun, romance and excitement. They involve deep commitment, honesty, sacrifice, compromise, patience, optimism and hope. The best relationships I have witnessed and been a part of are where both parties see themselves as members of the same team. This means whatever life throws at them—individually or as a couple—they walk it out side by side, supporting and encouraging one another. They face life with all its beauty and tragedy together.
If you and your partner are currently facing a new stressor, if you are having trouble communicating or you feel emotionally disconnected, a relationship therapist can help. Please call Life Enhancement Counseling Services of Orlando today at (407) 620-7855 to make an appointment to speak with a licensed mental health counselor.