I started to explore the world of intimate relationships for myself more than three decades ago. What drove me was the proof that something in my own relationship life was wrong.
As a young man I thought that I understood relationships. My relationships usually started off great, but it wasn’t long before those feelings changed. Either my partners changed, or I changed, or we both changed.
It was obvious to me back then that they were the problem! I never knew back then how wrong I was. My thinking was if I did change this was because they changed first, or that they were unreasonable.
As I look back today on my younger self I can see that I was ill prepared in knowledge and skill to create the dream I had in my mind. As I started to explore the world of relationships I started to realise I was not alone.
The information I was not prepared to hear back then is this: I was the problem, or more to the point my thinking was the problem.
What many people today are not aware of is the way they think has a direct impact on how they feel, and how they feel impacts their behaviours.
Because very few people are aware of how to question their thinking effectively they can create automatic feelings that help them to lose feeling for their partner and they can detach emotionally.
One of the most common thinking malfunctions I see in couples of all ages is the need to hold back in their relationship.
In essence they hold back through fear of being hurt.
The reason this thinking is a malfunction is because if a person holds back, then their relationship is being fed a fraction of it’s true potential and so without the right food the relationship will start to die.
So the result of not wanted to be hurt leads to a ping-pong of destructive behaviours that cripple and collapse their relationship creating even more pain in the long run.
So the direct translation is this: Holding back actually creates more pain.
The bigger picture of the “thinking malfunction” that I see today is when a person lives constantly in a reactive state never really seeing the volume of other potential perspectives open to them.
Some communicate that how they feel is just who they are, totally unaware that how they feel is a learnt patterned experience.
My clients learn to take responsibility for their feelings and if the feeling is not the one then want they are taught how to change it so it can be.
Above all they are taught how to question their feelings and not see them as the only experience they could have had in that moment.
The biggest danger for all couples is when one or both people create thinking that creates feelings that will lead to ending their relationship. What’s sad is if they knew how to think differently with growth orientated perspectives about their experience a family break-up could have been avoided.
The big message here is just because you think it and feel it, it doesn’t mean that’s the only truth in that situation.
What I personally learnt and today teach couples today is how to learn to discover the truth in each others behaviours so they can both become valuable to each other in a meaningful way.