19. HOW AND WHY WE CHOOSE OUR PARTNERS
REALISING YOUR PARTNER ISN’T PERFECT CAN BE ONE OF THOSE AHA MOMENTS – AHA YOUR FANTASY HAS JUST TURNED INTO REALITY
When couples have done good work with me, there is a moment that occurs between each couple, that illustrates that they have absorbed the relationship principles and knowledge, that they have understood their past issues and how and why they have chosen each other.
I call this the AHA Moment. It is when the couple gaze at one another with a look of understanding and acceptance that the relationship will never be anything other than what it is. It is that moment when the fantasy or hope that a partner can heal your past, and give you everything that you grew up hoping for, is brought back down to reality. It is when we finally accept our partners – warts and all.
This AHA moment starts in childhood.
When studying and observing babies or children, every now and again there is a moment or split second between a child and its mother, when whilst gazing at each other, the child relaxes. This is when the gaze is softened and the mother reacts similarly – her gaze softens too. It takes experience to know what you’re looking for and when it’s observed, this moment can be very special indeed.
It can almost be said that by relaxing, the child is experiencing a kind of sigh and an ‘oh well, I realise my mother isn’t perfect but I accept and love her all the same’. It’s when there is a recognition that yes, although you are not perfect I accept you warts and all. And you may remember from my previous blogs that our first relationship we have is usually with our mothers. So we learn about relationships from our mothers or our parents.
This AHA moment is when the child accepts that the parent is neither too good nor too bad, but rather ‘good enough. Both Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott did extensive research in this area.
The same moment can occur within adult relationships. It is when a couple accepts that however flawed their relationship might be, it is ‘good enough’ and that it’s not going to change. This is how it’s going to be. This is when the fantasy turns in reality.
This moment comes after your Knight in Shining Armour has fallen off the pedestal you put them on. It is after you have felt let down by what you expected from your partner. It is after you feel utterly crushed and disappointed by your relationship.
And it’s around this point that you then have a choice. You can either leave the relationship or you can stay, knowing that it is not ever going to change. You can either accept your partner for who they are or you can leave.
In a ‘good enough’ relationship the couple can choose to work with the reality of what they have and not the fantasy or unreal expectations they may have had in the past. This understanding often deepens a relationship as each partner learns to put aside their unreal expectations, in order to work with what each partner can realistically offer or bring to the relationship.
This AHA moment as I call it, is quite an important step within relationships. It is when the couple begin to accept one another, failings and all.
Just as when we were children, we may have learnt that our parents are both good and bad. We don’t always have to agree with their actions or their decisions. But they remain our parents. Who may have also taught us about the value of unconditional love.
And similarly, within relationships a couple may come to realise that their partners and indeed the relationship itself, may be both good and bad, and once accepting this, their relationship needn’t fail.
Note: © 2014 Information Copyright Deidré Wallace
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