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When you're self-contained, psychologically separate, you don't look to another for completion...

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Recently, a couple comes in to see me as they are both willing to re-negotiate their relationship with a Therapist who has a 'dark eye', a subversive perspective. After just a few sessions, the younger partner's projections became very apparent: she wants more time with her partner, yet he is unable to give this to her due to his long working hours; she was also distrusting of him when he didn't answer her regular messages. Where was he? Was there a third party? So, reflecting backwards, she admits that she was brought up by a mother who had her own story: 'men are untrustworthy', her unconscious, unprocessed shadow...Her partner responded and told her that he couldn't answer every message and that his schedule is extremely busy...He admitted to being faithful and there was no time for anyone else...So the pattern began to emerge: the more she demanded attention, the more he stepped away. Eventually, he packed up and left their apartment because the container, for him, became claustrophobic, too hot, insufferable. In the process, although she felt defensive, she is also conscious that her current life stage is pre-occupied by motherhood and their relationship.... She is struggling to contain herself and can see she needs to develop a life of her own. Her image, or her narrative is to have a partner around most of the time and yet her neediness, her emptiness, is being projected onto him...His narrative from his past, was that he was brought up in a home where his father was a workaholic, so he too, is still unconscious of what is his father's story vs. what is his own. He has been in two monogamous relationships where he had been betrayed in both-He potentially hides behind a mask, of excessive work, to protect himself...


And its at this point that I am reminded of that quote from Rilke: "I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognise no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude. And only are those the true sharings which rhythmically interrupt periods of deep isolation."

And then there is also Kahil Gibran that suggests that the secret to a loving and lasting relationship is to "Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls...."

Then there is the paradox of almost something innate we all share: wanting intimacy and attachment, to wanting space, or to take flight...Because, sometimes, we simply need time alone to nourish our inner worlds, and yet, we also need time together to discuss, explore, make memories, be playful...


There is also a narrative in the West, in conjunction with the above case study, that in the 21st Century, there is a tendency to project much onto our partners as we no longer have the village to shoulder all of our needs. We tend to live in grand isolation...So our partners have to carry this hefty weight, which is simply too heavy-its not fair on them, and not fair on us...So in coming to this consciousness, this awareness, this need to separate out a little more, what would this life look like for you, for your relationship-what can you create on your canvass going forward? Perhaps to start, you could both spend time unearthing your needs by getting to know yourselves more intimately....This can be done for example, by journaling, reading books on the subject, finding a form of art to play in this realm; seeing a Therapist...Then, separate the two, or do the 'seperatio', which the Alchemists would suggest: discover what needs can be met in your relationship and what needs can you seek outside of the container-what would nourish you, them, give more meaning?; and are you neglecting parts of yourselves or giving into your addictions?; neglecting your health, your relationship to the god/s, your acts of charity, your connection to people close to you; and are you part of a wider community that cares for your welfare, and vice versa?

Once you have explored these needs, can you go on a date together, whereby you both negotiate them in your relationship, giving yourselves the time and space to explore some of your forgotten and buried selves- is it taking up a new hobby, another sport, volunteering, going on your own trips away, spending time with significant other people, joining a men's/women's group? This process is vital not only re-invigorating yourselves, but to become more interesting and interested. A recipe for a potentially healthy relationship....



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