The Third Pillar of Awesome Relationships: from the book “Pillars of Awesome Relationships“
“feel the hurt?! I don’t wanna! How can that make my relationships better?”
This is what I often hear from people when confronted with healing a pattern that is plaguing their relationships. It may help to review the First Pillar of Awesome Relationships.
The Price We Pay in Relationships
When a problem comes up in relationships, it seems easier to avoid the problem by blaming our partner, ignoring the situation, ignoring each other’s hurt, finding new relationships, or just hoping it gets better on its own. While it seems easier in the short-term to avoid the problem in these ways, the long-term effects on our relationships is devastating. This type of avoidance will slowly degrade the quality and depth of our emotional contact and communication in all relationships. We make decisions a thousand times a day that either get us closer to each other or keep us away. Adaptations guide us to make decisions that are ultimately self-defeating in relationships, because our decisions, while keeping us from facing a fear, will be based on ignoring an important part of who we are. And that, in turn, keeps us from getting closer and creating more intimacy in our relationships in every part of our lives.
So we have these feelings we don’t like, and we bury them deep inside and hope it won’t effect our relationships. Ignoring those feelings keeps us from being fully present with each other, because it is impossible to be emotionally close in relationships without being emotionally present. In a further effort to avoid feeling our buried pain in relationships, when a hidden hurt gets bumped, most of us get mad at our partner or feel hurt that the relationship doesn’t feel good. Well, of course the relationship doesn’t feel good! When we ignore a part of our heart, and push our beloved away to further avoid that part of our heart, we are refusing to do what it takes to make our relationships feel good. By taking adaptive detours away from our hurts, we are cutting off the chance for deeper intimacy—even though deeper intimacy is what we want in our relationships in the first place!